Dear Annie: I am 21 years old and was asked out on my first date a month ago. I was thrilled. "Brad" and I went out three times, and we really seemed to like each other.
Well, it's been two weeks since our last date, and I haven't heard from Brad except once when we exchanged small talk. He's made no effort to see me and hasn't returned any of my calls. Yesterday, I left him a message, asking why he's been blowing me off for two weeks. I haven't heard back yet.
I'm really hurt by this. Brad was the first guy I ever dated, and now I'm afraid something must be terribly wrong with me. I've been trying to keep myself busy and forget him, but I can't. I don't want to date ever again if this is what it feels like. How can I get over the hurt? Heartbroken Hannah
Dear Hannah: Welcome to the world of dating -- some men (and women) are jerks. Brad may have felt you were getting too serious, or he may have met someone else, whatever, but there is no reason to assume the fault is yours.
Since this was your first dating experience, it's possible you could use some pointers. Ask your closest friends to give you a brutally honest critique of your appearance and your approach. Consider the "Brad experience" a way of getting your feet wet. Now it's time to wade deeper into the pool. There are lots of great guys out there, and we hope you will meet one of them soon.
Dear Annie: While in high school, I could have written the letter from "Look What Followed Me Home in Texas." I, too, had a "tag-along" friend who wouldn't leave me and my friends alone even though she was unwanted company. I first politely asked her to go away, and then ignored her. Finally, I thought I could help her develop some needed social skills so someone would want her as a friend.
Optimistically, I tried to focus on her good qualities and stuck up for her when others maligned her. Soon my own friends began to move away from me, and eventually, I felt strangled by her desperation.
Befriending someone out of pity is not being a true friend. I put too much of my energy into trying to help her while important years of my high school life went by. And in the end, I was no help to her at all. I decided to separate myself from this girl, and in the effort, I, too, was mean after all else failed. One day, I just exploded. I'm not proud of what I said, but it worked. I never saw her after that, and I felt I'd had a hundred-pound sack of problems lifted from my back. Glad To Be Free
Dear Glad: We appreciate your honesty and agree that you aren't obligated to be friends with everyone. We only wish you had found a kinder way to extricate yourself, instead of piling additional hurt on this unfortunate girl.
Dear Annie: My wife died several years ago. At a recent bereavement meeting, we were asked to bring a love letter or note written to or from our loved one to share with the group. I read a short note my wife wrote me on our 40th anniversary, but surprisingly, very few people had anything. I then asked who had received comments written on birthday or anniversary cards, and one woman said, "My husband always signed his cards, 'With much love.'" Another found one of her husband's notes and framed it -- the only written expression she has to remember.
I wish I had more than the dozen handwritten notes from my wife that I read, clutched and now cherish. A Grieving Husband of 50-Plus Years
Dear Grieving Husband: The art of the handwritten letter has gone the way of the Pony Express, and you have eloquently pointed out what has been lost. Our condolences.
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