Once again Mrs. Linklater butts in to prevent an advice column tragedy.
COPYRIGHT Chicago Tribune December 2, 2004
Dear Amy: I'm torn between my friend and my brother.
Here's the situation: Last year, my friend "Cornelia" got a crush on my older brother "Robert" and confessed it to him at the end of the year.
At the time, he was a senior in high school and we were both freshmen. He is now in college, and the two keep in contact through e-mail, but haven't seen each other since graduation.
Cornelia is increasingly upset over not being able to see or speak to Robert. When he comes home for visits, she calls me up and asks me to hand him the phone so she can talk to him. Ordinarily this wouldn't cause a problem, but he doesn't have any feelings for her. He tells me not to let her talk to him, so I'm forced to come up with an excuse as to why he can't come to the phone.
I feel terrible about lying to my friend, but I also want to respect my brother's wishes. If I help one, I betray the other.
I know that there will end up being hurt feelings, but is there a solution that won't cause too many hurt feelings?
-- Caught in the Middle
Dear Caught: The only thing you've done wrong here is to lie.
Here's what you do. If Cornelia calls over the holiday break and asks you to hand the phone to Robert, I suggest that you go ahead and hand the phone to him. He's a big boy -- he can handle his own business.
If Cornelia continues to bug you about his feelings toward her, I think it's OK to say, "Cornelia, as far as I can tell, he's just not that into you." Sure, it's going to hurt -- it always does.
You and your friend might want to visit a library and check out "He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys," by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (2004, Simon Spotlight Entertainment).
This very funny book spells out in pretty plain language how to tell when a guy just isn't that into you. Your brother Robert is displaying all of the classic signs.
This "just not that into you" thing is so simple it seems brilliant. Learning this lesson while she's young will save your friend a lot of heartache.
Mrs. Linklater butts in – Hold it, hold it! hold it! Apparently Amy has never had an older brother. Little sisters can’t just HAND the phone to an older brother and expect him to take it. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
Like Amy says, “He’s a big boy.” He’s going to look at his L’il Sis like she’s a piece of lint and walk away. Besides -- and here’s the most important lesson to be learned -- L’il Sis will burn all her bridges with him for any future favors SHE might need. And trust Mrs. Linklater, she’s going to need them.
As for dealing with Cornelia – what’s with the trip to the library? Like Cornelia has a library card. What are you going to do hand her the book. And run?
There’s something else for L’il Sis to keep in mind. What makes you think Cornelia is really your friend?
Mrs. Linklater bets that the only thing you two have in common is the crush she has on your brother. Change the subject and see how fast it comes back to the bro. When that happens you can say, “I don’t want to talk about my brother anymore.” Then be prepared to listen to silence.
Just what makes Mrs. Linklater so sure about Cornelia’s agenda? Because she was once a Cornelia herself. Been there. Done exactly that.
Keep your brother. Adios the friend.