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Parallax - Advice

July 22, 2002

A foreign affair?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!Six months ago, I met someone online. He lives overseas, is five years younger than me and has a career in a prestigious school. We instantly hit it off because we had many things in common—music, passion for life and the cinema. We seem to always be on the same page and understand one another. I had a crush on him because of his accomplishments and talents, but did not think of him in a 'special way.' Then we exchanged music tapes that we made for each other. After that, he said he can't stop thinking about me. (He says he likes me in a 'conceptual' way, and he wrote a beautiful song about me.) We must meet. He can't come to the United States in the near future, so I'm planning to go to Europe in September, but I'm scared to go alone. I have family overseas to stay with, and a friend plans to go with me but she may back out. Should I follow my heart and go—with or without my friend? If I go, how am I supposed to act? Quiet and reserved? Or excited and passionate? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Music-maker,

Of course you should go alone.

This decision is not about your friend. It is about whether or not you want to meet said fellow—and clearly you do. So, be bold, and meet him. Imagine your level of regret when your trip opportunity has come and gone and you have still not met your mystery guy. Don't get yourself all worked up, though. He may have no major drawbacks, but he may also be a huge dork wearing purple socks.

Think of it as a fun little adventure, catch up with some family while you're there and just think of it as meeting a new friend. It is—at minimum—a fun, little, life teaser.

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His view:

Dear Music-maker,

You've already overanalyzed this. Soon you'll be writing quadratic equations on the blackboard to evaluate every possible variable. If you stay on this path, whatever you do is going to get screwed up by too much worrying and mental hyperventilation.

First, get a grip. Next, don't plan the trip around him. Plan other things, with your relatives or by yourself. Plan on seeing him once or twice, at the most. Then go. You have nothing to lose.

September is the best month to go to Europe, and a romantic interlude could just make it better. But don't build up your expectations (if this is at all possible). And don't set yourself up for disappointment.

Once you get there, if he's everything you thought he'd be, you can always change your plans and spend more time with him. Keep in mind, though, he may be busy, and may not be able to spend as much time with you as you'd like.

Finally, whichever way you act, don't let him see the paranoia you've shown in your letter—I guarantee it will freak him out.

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