Dear Annie: I’m a young man fresh out of high school and taking life one day at a time.
“Rachel” is my best friend. I’ve known her family for many years. We confide in each other and have no walls. She’s quirky and sometimes calls me when she’s home alone because she’s frightened of thunderstorms. She is often physically close and says she loves me because I don’t judge her.
I’ve had feelings for Rachel for a long time. I’ve watched her date many guys over the years, and the relationships go nowhere. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve “dated” more than any of those other guys. I want to spend my life with someone who is also my best friend. But I have told Rachel how I feel, and she brushes it off.
This has caused fights where I wouldn’t talk to her for weeks and found out from other sources that she was miserable. I don’t know what to do. Advice, please? — Stop Kicking My Heart Around
Dear Stop: Your feelings for Rachel are much more serious than hers, and she simply is not ready for such a relationship. It’s also likely the “love” she professes is not romantic, but the kind between close siblings. She is dating others. You should, too. You have focused so much on Rachel that you have excluded the possibility of finding someone who may be more interested in and equally suited to you. Please don’t rush your future. It will be easier for both of you to evaluate your relationship more realistically if you can create some emotional distance.
Dear Annie: Can you help me come up with a socially acceptable but not obscene hand gesture that says “put your cellphone down and pay attention to your driving”?
Maybe it could be the generally accepted sign for “phone,” with the thumb pointing toward the ear, the little finger toward the mouth and the three other fingers bent under. — Worried Driver in Lafayette, Indiana
Dear Worried: Actually, that’s the generally accepted sign for “call me,” and some distracted drivers might be confused and think you are asking for their phone number. Most places have laws prohibiting the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, but enforcement is inconsistent, so people feel free to ignore them. But talking on the phone can be a major distraction, and we won’t even get into people who text while driving, which is truly alarming and highly dangerous. If any of our readers have some good ideas to convey your message about putting the phones away, we’ll be happy to print them.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Sad in the Suburbs,” who is having trouble making friends in her new East Coast location. I’d like to tell her to hang in there.
Sixteen years ago, I, too, moved from the Midwest to the East Coast. I quickly noticed that the social climate is very different. I also had a difficult time connecting with others on a meaningful level. It took some time and persistence, but I now have close friends and a decent social life.
I will say, though, that when I go back to visit family, it becomes apparent that there is a friendliness in the Midwest that does not compare. When going to a grocery store in my Minnesota hometown, I felt that the short interaction I had with the cashier was more genuine and meaningful than many I’ve had in my current location. The East Coast is different. It is a challenge. But there are people there hungering for friendship, too. — A Midwesterner at Heart
Dear Midwesterner: In some places, particularly large cities, people develop outer shells as a protective device. It doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly. It means you have to give those friendships time to develop. Thanks for giving “Sad” some encouragement.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.