I'm getting mixed messages from a younger man

Dec 26, 2012


Q: Alright, so to start off, this guy is younger than I am. He is mature for his age and I’ve had a crush on him since last year. I finally got the nerve to talk to him. We started talking a few days ago, and we became close really fast. He figured out that I like him, without me telling him. We are really open when we talk. I feel completely comfortable talking to him about anything. We have even discussed dating. Well last night, he told me he doesn't really want a relationship, because he has been hurt. He doesn't want to be hurt again. He also said he wants to take things as they happen. How can I get him to see this is a good thing? Every time I try to leave, he asks me to stay. He also talks to me while playing video games. I think he and I would be really good together. I just don't know how to make him see it. Is there anything I can say or do to help my situation?

A: You can do a lot to help your situation. First understand that you cannot possibly feel that close to anyone within a matter of days. Well, unless you’re a preschooler who lacks any concept of time or rational thought process. Relax before you scare the poor guy off. At this point, I’m scared! You’ve only discussed dating and yet you’re ready to walk him down the isle. He sounds like a pretty intelligent guy and you should simply let things happen. If you try to shove the commitment pill down his throat before he’s prepared, he will more than likely regurgitate it.  


Q: When I graduated from college last year, my friend and former coach who I have known for a long time (she's quite a bit older) offered me a job. She is a contractor and has a small company. I had never really been interested in that type of business, but since she seemed to be in need, I accepted the job. Now, what's happened is that I end up working long hours, between 45 and 50 hours a week, and only getting paid for 40 hours a week. On top of that, I have to put up with her disorganization, and yelling at me whenever something goes wrong, despite the fact that I knew nothing about the business going into it. I talked with her about these problems a few months ago, and told her I was going to quit if things didn't change, and well she stopped yelling so much, and for a few weeks, I got compensation for the extra hours. Then the compensation stopped, and I know that money was tight for her, so I didn't ask for it. I've been working myself up to ask her for a raise, and today I brought it up when I was on the phone with her. I asked her if when the money started coming in more a few weeks from now, if I could get a raise. She didn't react well, and said she'd call me back and hung up. Hours later she called me back, explaining that it's a small business and she doesn't have the money. I told her that it wasn't fair that everyone else on her payroll i.e. the laborers get paid hourly, but I'm on salary, and get paid for less time than I actually put in. She told me to start keeping track of hours and I'd get paid hourly, and that it was unprofessional for me to ask for a raise over the phone. While she might be right about that, and I trust that she'll pay me for the overtime I've worked, I feel our relationship has been damaged by this whole situation. We used to be very close, but it seems that working so closely has been toxic to our relationship. Does anyone have any advice on how to fix the rift that I feel is growing between us?

A: It was unprofessional of you to ask for a raise by phone; it’s even more unprofessional of her to not compensate an employee for work completed, on time. Her budget was tight? Whose isn’t? I suggest you begin looking for another job unless you enjoy working for free. This obviously isn’t working out and you really can’t trust that she will pay you what is owed. She may be a good friend but a good business person she is not.




To the 2nd question; sometimes boss spelled backwards is double sob. See many on salary get "strung along." If she values you she should compensate you for those extra hours. Sadly she seems to be using that old trick of getting more for nothing. Maybe you should really consider the friendship - being forthright is still in style for some.


"He also talks to me while playing video games." Sounds like a keeper.


#1. A few days may feel like love and forever but it's just infatuation. Stay by yourself for as many days as you have put into this so called relationship. No calls, no texting, no contact at all. You sound as if you are on a rebound, IMHO.


question 2: I agree with Kurtje. Find another job. And another friend. Anyone that would use you like that, yell at you and not pay you fairly is neither a good employer nor a good friend.


I agree that working for a friend can be asking for trouble. I disagree, however, with the wage issue. Did he not KNOW the job was salaried as opposed to hourly when he took it? If he did, then he needs to quit whining about working a few extra hours every week (lots of salaried people work far more than five extra hours a week, and are grateful they even HAVE a job).

Sure, look for another job. Sure, take some lessons learned away from this one. But stop being a baby about a bad decision that YOU made and deal with it until you no longer have to!

Sheesh. EVERYthing is ALWAYS somebody else's fault...



Phil Packer

You're assuming it's a woman...


The headline says "younger MAN" but his age is not evident from the letter, and for all we know, the "guy" could be 15.

The writer says "we became close" but in the next breath, "...he doesn't want a relationship."

Does the delusion reflected by that contradiction show immaturity, or rather, irrationality that calls for professional help?

I know the information is never complete and you gotta write a column, anyway, but this one presents quite a range of possibilities, depending upon the subjects' ages.

That was probably the best possible answer to a crummy question that omitted the essential age information.

I liked the answer to the second letter, but I would add that the wise employee does not burn bridges and goes to great lengths to avoid it.

When you quit, FIRST thank you employer profusely for the opportunities (regardly of how you REALLY feel), and then give ample notice.

Be prepared to be sent home on the spot. (It's always good to negotiate a flexible start date with your new employer.)

If they get angry and launch on you (and the worst ones will), just take it without saying anything negative - apologize for dissapointing them and repeat your gratitude.

There are two kinds of employers: the minority who treat their employees fairly, and the rest, who can't, and/or won't.

Employment, like life, is a game. As in Chess, there are rules and exceptions. It never happens the same way twice. Among the winning advantages: experience, which you can't do much about, and the ability to see several moves ahead, which you can do a little bit about.