America's Smartest Girl

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portland, oregon
America's Smartest Girl, Nicole Georges, channels her powers for good as she drums up answers to the world's most complicated questions.

Romance, Career, Health, Pets, Finance. Send questions to Nicole via twitter (@nicolejgeorges) or addressed to her via No suicidal inquiries. Please limit all questions to 150 words or less.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Sisterhood is Powerful, and offering to Kick the Ass of Other People's Enemies.

Dear Nicole,
Without delving into the ridiculous drama surrounding my ex-boyfriend and myself, I'll give you a brief summary of what's been going on: After being friends for about a year, my ex and I developed feelings, dated for 9 months and were totally in love and great together. He broke up with me about two-three months ago and a month later, him and my best friend were together. I know the best option would be to have dropped both of them, but my relationships with them were too strong and I have major soft spots for both of them, so I've kept them both in my life. It hasn't been easy, but I'm attempting to deal.
The problem is I started sleeping with my ex again a couple weeks ago; we hooked up a couple times, stopped, and two days ago we were hanging out and ended up hooking up again. I know this is completely wrong, unhealthy, stupid, everything, but he's the one initiating all of this and I get the feeling he's regretting breaking up with me for her, at least a little bit. I expect you'll tell me to stop this from happening again, but my big question is Why am I feeling no remorse for what I've been doing? I don't feel bad at all, and that's what's been bothering me the most about the situation. I'm sworn to secrecy with all of this, so I have no one else to ask this advice of.

No Conscience in Cleveland

Dear No Conscience,
Dude. So, your ex boyfriend is dating your best friend? And now you're cheating with him on her? ...?....!?

Have you ever heard the term Frenemy? A frenemy is someone disguised as a friend, who actually does not have your best interests in mind and will secretly tear you down while being ruthlessly friendly to your face.
You , at this moment, are a frenemy to this girl. So you need to cut it out.
Cut out pretending to be her friend. It’s not serving either of you.

Here is why I think that you feel nothing: You’re engaging in the old Eye for an Eye act. A song as old as time. You obviously have resentment towards this girl that you have not let go of, and now you’re getting your sweet revenge for their bad boundaries by having Even Worse boundaries. VERY anti feminist.

I'm sure it feels validating to get attention from someone who once dissed you, and to feel like you're better than your friend because he is Choosing You Over Her, but You are not Karma’s right hand man, and you don’t need to get your hands dirty by hurting someone else.

And on to your partner in crime:
How does this dude get off scott-free in the situation and get to throw it in BOTH of you, while simultaneously tearing you apart from each other? That makes me want to breathe fire. Not feminist. No girl solidarity happening here, just letting dudes create a wedge and scarcity dynamics between you. Not necessary.
Being supportive feminist allies in a patriarchal, misogynistic society is So Much More Important and soul nourishing than getting some sloppy seconds from your piece-of-shit, amoral EX boyfriend! Seriously. You have to know this.

I think there are healthier people in the world you can hang out with, and there is a path of least drama that is well worth taking if you want any mental relaxation in your life.
Life need not resemble and Avril Lavigne song.

Hi Nicole,

Recently, I've started to notice things about myself that really didn't occur to me when I was younger. Mainly, how easily influenced I am by other people. I’m in university studying pre-med, but I don't really know why I decided to, or if I really want to. I'm really creative and pretty good at art but I didn't pursue it because I figured that I wouldn't make enough money doing it, and that In order to be really successful at it I would have to be better than I was. Everything from my likes to my dislikes has been influenced by my family or my friends. I don't really know anything about politics, current news or art history; I can't dance, play an instrument or even swim. I feel like I have nothing going for me and I want to change that, and try to discover who I am. I just don't know where to start. I'm having a total and complete identity crisis. I was hoping you could give me some suggestions on how I could get to know myself better, or reinvent myself so I am my own person.

Thanks for taking the time to read this

dazed and confused

Dear Dazed and Confused,
It seems like you need some headspace.
I wonder if, during the summertime, you can do something totally radical that you’ve always wanted to do?
Make a list of what you know makes you happy, or what you’ve always wanted to try. A literal, piece of paper list. Tack it up somewhere. Over your desk or on your refrigerator. Look at it every day. Add things to it as they come to mind.

If it were me, I would go do an internship at a farm or an animal refuge for a month (where you live there and work for free), then go visit a couple of friends out of town, then go and spend some time alone on the coast or in a cabin or on a trip. Three months full of solid reflection and nourishing inspiration. How does that sound?

If you need more time than the summer has to offer, Then I would like to remind you that No one is going to die if you leave school for a year. You can always re-apply if you leave and decide that it is actually your heart’s desire. Some people may be momentarily disappointed , but you may find a completely different, fulfilling, and nourishing new trajectory for your life, (plus the skill of bravery from standing up to your school or parents) which seems like a worthy trade off.
Wouldn’t it feel so much better to return to school on your own terms, knowing that this is something you are consciously Choosing after weighing all the different options for yourself?
Good Luck, and I hope you have a summer full of adventure and swimming lessons.


hey nicole,

so there's this girl who's out to get me. i don't get it. we used to be good friends and then one day, she stopped talking to me completely. i asked her what was up and she said she didn't want to tell me. so i said "alright, if that's the way you feel" and left it at that. we haven't talked for months. then the other day, at my friend's birthday party, she stuffs cake all over my face and hair. in front of all my friends and everyone. what is her problem! (i even asked her this after she caked me and she laughed in my face and left the house.) i honestly don't know what to do. i can be the bigger person and just ignore it, but i also don't want her to mess with me anymore and i want her to leave me the fuck alone.

signed, fed up with high school drama bullshit.

Dear Fed Up with High School Drama Bullshit,

When reading this letter, I imagine the scenario kind of like a movie. And in the movie that is your life, I wish that when she started in on the cake shoving, that you responded by punching her in the face. But in real life, that would get you safer-spaced out of town in a heartbeat.
What you COULD do is practice some offense based self defense. Write her an email and say “I don’t know what your problem is, but you need to leave me the fuck alone.”

When you see her in public you don’t need to punk her out, but you do need to vibe that you need her to stay away from you. If she comes up to you, you have a right to say “Stay away from me. I am not into you.” If she doesn’t stay away from you, I think you should say it louder I ALREADY ASKED YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM ME. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE. . , or just leave.
Is there a friend you have who can be your ally? Someone who can have your back if they see her messing with you? Not in a violent way, but if you need to leave a situation, or you need someone as a witness, they can be there to help out, and to give you a hug if you're feeling upset. I recommend it!
Good luck, and please know that I would be very willing to kick this person’s ass for you.

Dear Nicole,
First, I just want to say I think yr advice column is the best there is. My situation is basically this. I currently live in an area far from Portland, OR, but I am making it my goal by January 2010 to move there. I have visited there twice, as I had dated someone there years back, and I fell in love with it. Could you possibly please assist me in any way with the best way to score a job in the non-profit social services field, and a place to live, whether or not I bring a friend or two from here out there with me when I/we move? I feel like this might be tricky, trying to land a job and an apartment when I essentially live on the other side of the country. I have moved around a lot in the past, and it's always failed, due to NOT going out there with a job nor a stable place to live, and I don't want to make that same mistake again. I'd appreciate any and all help you can give, and, again, I think yr advice is pretty much always right on target, so that's why I'm coming to you.

Depressed, Lonely, Cold, Tired, Cranky, and Poor in Not Portland


Here is my real, practical advice:
Move here and sign up with a temp agency. You can probably afford to work part, or ¾ time in Portland and still totally thrive. While you are temping, send resumes to non profits; but mainly, start volunteering at a non profit that you like, so as to get your foot in the door. See if you like them, and get them to like you. The next time a job opens up, you will have displayed your dedication and good work ethic , and will have a much larger advantage in the company than if you were a random Portland transplant off the street looking for the same job.
There is something here called CNRG that is a list serve you can get on which posts non profit job openings and calls for volunteers.
As far as housing is concerned, I think you may have a hard time finding something from cold calling craigslist people. What you need is someone on the ground here in Portland to give you a heads up when living situations arise. In addition, I would consider looking up some rental agencies and keeping in touch with them about your situation, asking their advice, and seeing if they can find you some good apartments or houses before they get on the general, rat-race market.
Good luck!

*image at top of page from LTTR


julia gfrörer said...

Great advice as usual, Nicole.

I think the first writer's lack of remorse is partly because she still thinks of the ex as her boyfriend, and the friend as the interloper. It might help to spend a little time looking over artifacts of the breakup, thinking about why it took place, remembering the reasons she thought she was better off without this guy, and appreciating the life she enjoyed without him. Testimonials (complete with gory details) from fourth parties who witnessed the breakup might also be helpful.

Ask Nicole said...

ooh yeah. bring in testimonies from the witness stand. excellent tonic for post-breakup angst.