On deleting a former friend


I know you get about 1,000 questions per week, so I thought I’d try this again.

Last October I confronted my oldest friend (of 26 years) on a pattern of dick-ish behavior. He replied that it was all in my head, and that I was jealous of him because my life hadn’t worked out. Honestly, if we were making a material measurement, which I believe he was, I’d be generous to say we’re even, but that’s not how I ever thought of us.

To say the least, I was surprised by his very long reply, and then more so by his complete silence.

What’s eating me up is that I’m holding on to it – it’s still on my mind just about every day – and as a means of dealing with this I’ve kept an email in draft that I’ve read and revised as time has gone on. It was very extensive to start, calling him out on a long line of his bullshit, and has since been reduced to a sentence or two; a simple reply to when (not if) he comes around – he’s gone ghost on me twice before, and then comes back with a long story about what he was going through.

My 2 questions: 1) Fuck him, right?, and 2) Why am I holding onto this for so long?

Thanks for your site. I’ve gotten some huge laughs and have forwarded so many of your answers to friends.


1. Sure, fuck him.

2. I don’t have the slightest clue why you’ve been holding on to this for so long. The only thing I know for sure is that you’d be a lot happier if you weren’t.

So, you tell me. What are you getting out of it? What purpose does it serve for you to keep him under your skin?

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s somehow a product of your own self-loathing. (These things usually are.) If you had more self-respect and/or self-worth, you’d have dropped this asshole decades ago and never given him another thought.

If you want to borrow some of my self-respect, go right ahead. As soon as you’re done reading this, immediately trash that email. While you’re at it, unfriend him across all social media. Gather up any mementos or reminders of him that you keep around and either throw them away or stick them in a box.

Fucking delete him already. Let him go. Move the fuck on.

That’s an order.


On being your own advocate


If you believe you were misdiagnosed with Schizo-Affective Disorder instead of Asperger’s Syndrome, but didn’t have a family member that could advocate for you, where would you start to try to get correct diagnosis/help/treatment? How would you convince medical authorities to take you seriously if they’re starting from a “you’re bat-shyte cra-cra” baseline?


I don’t know what you mean by “medical authorities.” I’m not a doctor, but I don’t give anyone authority over my health or my identity. Neither should you.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to your treatment team. You should, but if you feel you are being misdiagnosed, go get a second opinion. Find a psychologist who works with people on the autism spectrum and get a comprehensive assessment.

Maybe you’ll get a new diagnosis. Maybe you won’t. Maybe they’ll tell you that you have both a spectrum disorder and schizoaffective disorder. (That’s possible too.) Whatever they tell you, try not to let any diagnosis become a part of your identity.

If you feel like you’re not getting good treatment, go find it. I know it’s tricky with mental health, because you start to doubt yourself, especially if you’re dealing with psychotic symptoms. Still, you have to be your own advocate. Your treatment team may be experts on certain aspects of mental health, but they aren’t experts on you.

You are the only expert on yourself.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


I really dislike my therapist. I just started therapy for an anxiety disorder (couple sessions in). Should I feel some kind of click? Or is that not important at all? I really don’t know anymore.
Find a new therapist.

Holy shit. I think you just changed my life by introducing me to Bumble. Tinder and POF were laden with creeps, and here I’m actually finding attractive, professional dudes. Since ladies have to message first, I’m curious to know what your opener is? “Hey” is getting boring already.
I typically start with a “Hey there,” and then I ask a friendly, general question like “How’s your day going?” or “How was your weekend?” or “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

I need a guide about how to casually date through dating apps. Every time I log into one, I don’t stay 48 hours. Too time consuming, too tiring, and too many people thinking I’m a Manic Pixie who’s supposed to save them from their boring lives. Any tips?
You realize that you just described your entire love life in a nutshell, right? The dating apps aren’t your problem. You are.

I’m in the happiest healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in. Why can’t I stop Facebook stalking his ex and mine? Why do I give a fuck about what either of them are doing?
Because you are an insecure little monkey who gets a jolt of dopamine every time you click on their profiles. (It has nothing to do with how happy you are in your current relationship.)

I want to go on antidepressants, but I’m worried that I’m just muting normal human sadness and blues.
You needn’t worry. That’s neither how human sadness nor SSRIs work.

If I’ve never written anything do I really want to be a writer?
You may want to be, but you aren’t.

I’m in LA for the summer. I have no car and no friends in the area. Am I doomed to a dull few months?
Depends. Are you hot?

I feel like there is this line that marks when my relationship is done. I can’t tell if I’m on it or past it. If I am on it, I can’t I tell if there is anything I can do to keep from crossing over.
The line only exists if you draw it.

Who is your favorite advice columnist?
Me. (Duh.)

Best-Of Advice

On grief


Dear Coquette,

Eight months ago today, my husband killed himself. Last weekend, I finally held his memorial. I’d been planning it since the day he died. It was a big party, with food and drink and fireworks and friends and so many memories. Lots of family, too–including my in-laws, whom I met for the first time (he’d been estranged from his family). It was both very good and very painful, which I expected. I didn’t expect the emotional aftermath. I’m spacey, exhausted, irritable, fragile, unstable. Can’t eat. Can’t sleep. Can’t read. Can’t listen to music. I feel like I did in the first weeks and months after he died. Before the party, I was feeling ok. Not great, but better than I had in a long while. Now, the grief is raw and fresh again. I’ve learned that grieving isn’t a tidy, linear process, but I’m desperate to make some sense of it. If I could parse it, I think I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed, but I can’t. It just seems chaotic and terrifying.

Can you explain grief?

Thanks for everything you do, always.


It’s never going to make any sense. That’s not part of the deal. We don’t get answers to those kinds of questions. Never have. Never will. There’s no point in trying to parse it. You’ll spin yourself dizzy and just wind up confused (or worse, religious.)

Instead, sit down next to it and just be. Feel all of that shit. Let it wash over you and through you. Do it again and again, as many times as necessary. Don’t be afraid of it.

In a few days, you’ll be back to relative normal, but four months from now on the anniversary, be prepared for this to happen again. It won’t be quite as intense, but it will still be significant. Let that be okay. (And when the day comes that you finally move on, let that be okay too.)

Your grief is real, and nothing real is tidy or linear. You’re doing it right, though. You’re supposed to be exhausted, irritable, fragile, and unstable — but you’re also resilient. One day food will bring flavor again. Sleep will bring rest. Books and music will bring joy.

That’s how this works. It’s not the same thing as any of it making sense, but it’s all we’ve ever had, and on most days, it’s enough.

Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


“If Omar Mateen doesn’t represent all Muslims, why does he represent all gun owners?”
This is a straw man fallacy built around a false equivalency. No one is suggesting he represents all gun owners, and no one is suggesting he represents all Muslims. (If you actually know folks who suggest either, you may safely ignore whatever else they have to say, because they’re fucking idiots.) The only group Mateen represents is the tiny population of men with the potential to commit suicide by mass shooting in a fit of their own self-loathing and narcissistic rage who have absolutely no business being able to legally purchase firearms of any kind, much less assault weapons with high-capacity magazines that have no legitimate purpose other than military combat.

I know you’ve spoken about owning a gun before, but forgive me for not getting it. There is absolutely no fucking excuse for it, especially when it’s someone as smart, politically and ethically sound as you.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons to own a firearm. Don’t be an absolutist about this kind of shit. It makes it harder for the rest of us to get public opinion and legislation moving in a direction towards effective gun control.

Coquette, how do you meet guys? I do not want a relationship but I’m missing the little crushes here and then. I´m not a party girl, so clubs are out of the question. Any tips? I’m a fairly attractive 25 years old female not having sex.
Lately? Bumble.

I tend to be attracted to older men. Why do the older men I choose keep turning out to be ones who claim to typically be attracted to older women?
Oh, honey. That’s just their way of letting you down easy.

Top sex tip for a young couple who’ve been together for 2.5 years and whose sex life is starting to wane?
Eye contact.

When is enough enough?
Right before it’s too much.

I want kids someday, but I don’t want to bring them into this shitty world. What would you do?
I dunno. Get pregnant in another dimension?

You’re Bill Maher’s secret love child aren’t you?
No, but I used to party with the strippers he fucked.

I don’t think I’m good enough for him.
With that attitude, neither will he.

Do you still smoke(habitually)?


On reacting to reactions


Coke, if I have to listen to one more person’s opinion on the Orlando shooting I’m going to scream. It’s not that I don’t think it’s tragic. I’m upset, I think it’s awful, and I have a lot of opinions about it, too. But the way everyone on the internet feels obligated to yell about it the moment it happens, I just can’t stand it. It all feels so performative, and the genuine emotion and sadness gets drowned out by people that need to write eight paragraphs about it on Facebook or whatever. I’m sure the next stage is all the thinkpieces about how “actually everyone is reacting to this big news event THE WRONG WAY #hottake,” which, barf. I dunno if I really have a question here, just something I don’t feel like I can talk about with anybody else. That and a vague sense of guilt that I’m just being an asshole contrarian or disrespecting the victims or something by keeping quiet about the shooting.


1. You know this is what happens.

2. No one is forcing you to read shit on the internet.

3. No matter how basic, everyone’s reaction to tragedy is valid.*


*Including yours.


On suffering a bit of a princess


Dear Coquette,

My college friends have stayed close over 10 years and we’re a solid bunch. We look out for each other. We call each other out on our bullshit. Your blog has seriously influenced half the time we’ve known each other. We’re all 32 or 33.

One of our number (we’ll call him Jim) is planning to move in with a newish girlfriend. She’s 25 but acts much, much younger. When I first met her my gut said “not today, Satan” but I persevered in being warm, welcoming and inclusive.

But now the red flags are popping up and I don’t know how to respond to her behavior or be a good friend to Jim.

After introducing herself to people as ‘a bit of a princess’ she has:

– Screamed at us. And him. A lot.
– Faked seizures and other conditions when she isn’t the centre of attention.
– Quit her job. (He’s footing the bill.)
– Cried during games. (Cards Against Humanity was messy)
– Shown an apparent lack of friends.
– Read his Facebook messages.
– Announced that they’re getting a dog. (Better than a baby, I guess)

We’re planning a big getaway as a group and she is bound to come and make a scene.

Have you ever had someone like this in your midst and is there a way we can support him without excusing her rude behavior? I’m worried if I stick my neck out I will be painted as a harpie.

Thank you in advance.


Ah, yes. Jim and Princess are very familiar to me.

I’ve had many sets of friends over the years, and inevitably there is always that one guy dating that one girl who everyone tolerates through gritted teeth. Usually she’s just an idiot or a bore, but every so often, she’s a walking red flag collection with a saucy mélange of Cluster B personality disorders. Those you should never take lightly.

In order to be a good friend to Jim, you first have to recognize that he’s blinded by the sheer intensity of the relationship. His senses are overwhelmed by chaos, fear, and the best sex he’s ever had in his life. He will likely mistake this condition for love, and it’s your duty as a friend not to reinforce that belief.

This may sound cruel, but the best way you can support Jim is to add to his suffering. Princess is his responsibility. Hold him accountable for her actions. Do not accept his apologies. Punish him for her behavior.

I know you’re worried that if you stick your neck out you’ll be painted as a harpie, but trust me, Princess is counting on you to keep your mouth shut. Fuck that. If she’s truly as awful as you make her out to be, then everyone else is sick of her shit too.

Broach the topic with your friends. Form alliances. Keep Jim’s best interests at heart, but also set some boundaries. Agree that when Princess makes a scene, he will be ordered to remove her. If she acts inappropriately, they will both be called out. Let it be clear that she is no longer welcome to ruin everyone else’s good time.

You can soften the blow by letting Jim know ahead of time that you’re done putting up with her flavor of crazy. It helps to have a group consensus, and it’s most effective if performed in the style of a classic intervention. (You know, sit him down and give him the whole “we’re here because we love you, but this behavior is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated” speech.)

These may seem like drastic measures, but I assure you, nothing else will work. The only other solution is to hold your breath and stay miserable until the relationship implodes upon its own chaos.

Bear in mind that it’s possible to lose Jim during this process. I’ve had to let go a few of my close friends because of their poor choice of partners, but I don’t think that will happen to you. As you say, you’re a solid bunch. You look out for each other. You call each other out on your bullshit. If that’s the case, Jim will eventually come around.

In the meantime, no one else should suffer Princess but him.


On enjoying the ride


I’m 26, she’s 46. We’ve known each other for several years. I asked her out a month ago pretty convinced she’d turn me down on principle, but instead she said yes and it’s been amazing (loving, supportive, attentive…). But..I think both of us are feeling like we’re taking advantage of the other one. Her as the older, “should know better/I’m getting the better deal” standpoint, and me from the “I have a whole life of other options and the ability to get away if things go south” standpoint. Maybe they’re not relationship-ruining concerns, but at least for me, I have a fairly constant fear of eventually breaking her heart and then disappearing. I guess I’m asking if we are doomed, or if I should just accept that things could always end and I should enjoy the ride.


No, no. Don’t accept that things could always end. Accept that things will always end. Embrace the inevitability. That’s the only way you’ll ever truly enjoy the ride.

(This applies to everything in your life, not just your doomed relationship.)

Fun-Sized Advice

On more fun-sized advice


Do you give to charity? My friends (some of whom make more than I do) totally recoiled when I said I give a significant portion of my income to charity. I have zero idea how prevalent it is.
Yes. I give to Planned Parenthood, March of Dimes, and two local charities that I can’t name without revealing my location.

How do you tell someone to get over it (!!!) without coming across as harsh? My brother is heartbroken over someone he dated (drama the entire time) for like 3 months and I can’t keep being sympathetic. I know this makes me sound like a complete dick and I hate myself for it.
It requires that you be both empathetic and firm. Respect that the pain he feels is real while at the same time enforcing emotional boundaries that prevent him from wallowing in your presence. Say something like, “I understand that you’re still heartbroken, but you can’t bring that shit around me anymore.”

Is my life going to get better?
I can’t predict the future, and “better” is an impossibly subjective concept, but you can definitely change your circumstances. Start there and see what happens.

What is the title of the last one of those three books in your ‘stay wild’ photo? I can make two out: Triggers by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith and Diplomatic Pursuits by Joseph van Westphalen, but not the very last one.
The third book is Ernest Hemingway on Writing. (I love that my readers are such bibliophiles. You guys are impressive even when you’re being creepers.)

Why does Hillary act like she’s making history as if she’s the first rich white woman to succeed at the expense of marginalized women?
Oh, fuck off. Hillary isn’t perfect, but goddamnit, she is making history. If you can’t see that, then you’re blinded by that massive fucking chip on your shoulder.

Do you still do drugs sometimes like in your wild days or did you get over it?
Both. I’m over it, and I still party on special occasion. I’ve gone from a couple times a week to a couple times a season.

I’m addicted to you. I need more updates please! (sorry I know you have a life and whatnot but I NEED MORE.)
Patience, dear. I come and go in waves. Always have, always will.




Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice


When the fuck will I know what the fuck I want to do with my life?
Maybe never. Get cozy with your chronic, low-grade existential crisis.

Is constantly wishing to be dead part of that “chronic low-grade existential crisis”, or is it depression?
Yeah, that’s depression. Nothing low-grade about it. Get help.

Is high functioning avoidant personality disorder a thing?
Not really. It’s common for individuals to display avoidant personality traits, but it doesn’t really rise to the level of disorder unless those traits cause significant functional impairment.

I might have the opportunity to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony, during a very transitional period in my life. Should I go for it?

You’ve talked before about how your co-workers don’t know anything about your actual lifestyle. I just started my first job in a corporate setting and I’d like to divorce my work life from my personal life as much as possible (both to be professional, and because I don’t trust my co-workers). Should I just work harder at lying well, or do you have any other tips?
You shouldn’t have to lie. If you can’t keep your privacy with simple deflection and omission, then your co-workers are being nosey, and you should feel free to be rude.

is there any archive of your style blog? or any chance of a reboot? I’ve only been reading since last year and am kicking myself for not finding you sooner.
My old style blog posts are now just blended in with all my original blog posts. (Select “style” from the categories menu to see them.) I might occasionally post new style stuff. We’ll see.

Years ago you wrote some custom wedding vows. I’m very curious to know what you said.
Yeah, right here. They’ve been married for five years now. I even heard from them on their anniversary a while back.

I am sending my narcissistic mom a low/no contact letter today. I am standing up for myself. I am so scared. I want to cry and vomit at the same time. Send me good vibes, please. I don’t know why I’m sending this to you.
Good luck and good vibes. Sorry that your mom sucks. (It’s okay to cry and vomit.)

Why do I orgasm louder and deeper when I play with myself versus when I have sex?
Because you’re less self-conscious when nobody else is in the room.

It’s so weird…i really expected a post today.