He Says, VERSUS She Says
Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but who is better when it comes to dishing out advice? Two self-proclaimed ‘experts’ battle it out as they answer your top life (and love) concerns!
QI got into an argument with my best friend, and we haven’t spoken since. We were both at fault but I just don’t want to be the one who always gives in. She never buckles! How do I make this work?
—Maya, 25, Delhi
“You should just apologise and put an end to your misery—remember, it was partly your fault, too. Once things are back on track, talk to her about your feelings. She probably hasn’t seen things through your perspective.”
“What’s more important—your ego or your friendship? You don’t have to apologise. Just give her a hug and tell her that you miss her. Gently bring up that you don’t like being the one who always takes the first step to resolve a fight.”
It’s important to remember that making up after a fight doesn’t always have to equate with you apologising, says Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. and author of Best Friends Forever. If something bothered you once, it’s likely to bother you again if it isn’t resolved. Be honest with her, let her know what bothered you during the argument, and apologise for what you genuinely regret saying. More importantly, tell her how much her friendship means to you, and it hurts you that she never initiates contact after an argument.
Q I broke up with my BF of two years, three months ago. Now he keeps texting saying he wants to talk. Even though I was very attached to him, our break-up was pretty ugly. Should I consider taking him back? —Khushboo, 27, Mumbai
NELTON SAYS “It depends on what the texts say. Don’t assume talking means he wants to get back. There’s no harm in meeting him, but give yourself enough time to think it through and wait for some clarity to kick in.”
SHIVANI SAYS “It’s been three months and he still thinks of you, which is interesting. Break-ups can be ugly, but they leave you wiser. Meet him and see if you still have that spark left. If the answer is yes, then I think you should try to work out your differences and give it a shot.”
EXPERT SAYS According to Dr Dar Hawks, author of Stop Being Single Now, you need to ask yourself three questions before you decide to consider getting back with your ex. 1) Why do you want to get back? If you only miss him when you’re alone, then that probably means you’re just feeling lonely. 2) Why did you break up in the first place? Irreconcilable differences are difficult to get past, but if it was in the heat of the moment, that could simply have been bad timing for you. 3) Has anything relevant changed since then? If the reason for your split is still revelant, it’s probably a bad decision to get back. If not, start afresh and go slow.
Q I’ve been seeing this guy for over a month now. He’s a lawyer who works long hours and says he can only meet up at certain times. Is he into me or just after the sex? —Shagun, 23, Delhi
NELTON SAYS “I think you should give him the benefit of doubt. If he puts in a genuine effort to spend time with you soon, then stick around. However if he can’t make time for you now, then he probably never will.”
SHIVANI SAYS “It’s only been a couple of weeks. Meet him if you’re enjoying yourself, but make your own plans, too. Maybe he wants to take it slow, or maybe he really is a workaholic. Give each other time before you jump to conclusions.”
EXPERT SAYS Suggest meeting for dinner or drinks at a casual restaurant, and then make up an excuse for why you can’t join him later. He’s probably in the habit of committing for a few hours, so use them to get to know him. If he can’t make this work, then he probably has other interests in mind. Jerusha Stewart, author of The Single Girl’s Manifesta suggests reviewing the guy’s ‘romance resume’ — does he have any past experience in maintaining solid relationships or is he strictly a nighttime-only man?
Q I’m meeting my BF’s parents for the first time. I’m super nervous! What should I do... should I cook something?! — Pavni, 25, Kolkata
NELTON SAYS “Just put your best foot forward by being your usual warm self. Gifts and cooking should come later...slowly and spaced out. But it’s your personality that should really impress them at first!”
SHIVANI SAYS “There are a lot of expectations attached with cooking and you don’t want to compete with the prospective MIL’s cooking yet. Play it safe and take a bouquet of flowers his mum likes. Calm those nerves, be yourself, and don’t forget to smile!”
EXPERT SAYS It’s never a good idea to show up empty handed when you’re visiting for the first time. But unless you’re super confident in your cooking skills, skip the home-made stuff and stick to a carefully selected, thoughtful gift. CosmoTV’s Jen Kirsch suggests you do a little research, like asking your BF what kind of stuff his parents like. But most importantly, don’t let your nerves get the better of you—there’s a reason your guy is with you and wants to introduce you to his family.
Q I’ve been best friends with this guy for five years now... we went to college together and remained friends after. Recently, after a very drunk night, we hooked up and enjoyed it. Neither of us wants a relationship. Is this dangerous territory? —Kirti, 25, Bangalore NELTON SAYS “No matter how convenient it may seem at the start, friends-with-benefits can land you in trouble. Insecurity, emotions, and guilt, all mix to create a terrible cocktail. It’s probably best to end things now rather than regret it later and lose a friend.”
SHIVANI SAYS “Have you watched Friends With Benefits? I think it describes the situation pretty well. It’s easy to let something physical crossover to the emotional side. If you’re someone who gets attached easily, I’d say don’t even think about it.”
EXPERT SAYS The FWB equation is complex, and can lead to hurt and resentment. But if you’re sure about what you want, it can be great! Janis Spindel, author of How To Date Men, lays down a few rules: a) be honest if you start to develop feelings for him; b) be honest about the sex—being FWB is all about the sex!; c) don’t get jealous of any other relationships he might have; d) be absolutely positive that you are ready for this because casual sex can be emotionally rough for anyone.
Q I’ve had this sex fantasy for a while now, but I’m too shy to share it with my boyfriend because I’m worried he’ll think I’m a freak. What should I do? —Rhea, 26, Mumbai
NELTON SAYS “Be smart about it. Don’t narrate the scenario to him, but suggest it as a game that could be both fun and satisfying. And you never know, he might be really into it, too!”
SHIVANI SAYS “It’s okay to be nervous about sharing something so
intimate with your BF, but you need to muster the courage and just tell him. Then gauge his reaction—if he seems shocked, just laugh it off as a joke, and if he’s interested, well, good for you!”
EXPERT SAYS While it’s okay to be apprehensive about sharing your deepest, darkest fantasies with your partner, you need to remember that you share a certain level of comfort and understanding with him as well. Chances are, he’ll be relieved and excited that you shared these intimate thoughts with him. LA-based psychologist and relationship expert, Dr Adam Sheck, says the secret is in communicating your fantasy to him—give him the benefit of doubt in embracing your fantasies and make him a central part of them.
Q This colleague at work keeps stealing my ideas and sending them to the boss. She gets all the credit at the end of the day and I look unproductive. How do I get her to stop? — Sonam, 22, Delhi
NELTON SAYS “Use the ‘iron fist, velvet glove’ trick. Come up with a dumb idea, but camouflage it as the coolest thing ever. Let her steal your idea and watch the show with your boss.”
SHIVANI SAYS “How does she get to know? Could you be sharing it with someone close to her? Start keeping your ideas to yourself and install a password on your computer.”
EXPERT SAYS California-based career coach Charmaine McClarie explains why there could be various reasons for your colleague staking claim on your ideas: either she’s insecure about her own or she’s just plain lazy. Unless there’s a really good reason not to, you should talk to your boss, but do it in a non-accusatory manner. Also, don’t let go of the ideas once she’s presented them. Send a follow up e-mail to the team with your thoughts on how to take it forward—this will let the others know that you’re a leader and a strategic, result-oriented thinker.
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Sure, the swing was fun, but what he really wanted to get some dinner