Hi Michael,

I’m from Sydney, Australia where we all walk on our hands and ride to work in kangaroo pouches. And have gay sex. Lots of gay sex.

I’ve never asked for advice before from a baker/actor/singer (you are a unique triple threat) but, you seem to go on plenty of dates, so here goes. I’m not very good at that moment when we’ve met once or twice and the other person is into meeting again but I’m not. I have this kind of people pleasing mentality where I don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings by rejecting them. I seriously had a relationship for seven years with someone who I wasn’t totally into for this reason.

Basically these are good people, don’t get me wrong but there’s something about them that might be just slightly off. Like they turn up on a date with an umbrella with a handle shaped like a samurai sword and tell stories that are biographically inconsistent. Or you go to their place and they have industrial quantities of Jack Daniels and three years worth of unemptied ashtrays. Or maybe there’s just a bit of a creepy vibe for some reason you can’t put your finger on.

I get the sense that people get a bit damaged by life and I don’t want to contribute to that. But equally I don’t want to end up gay married to some person I’m not into just because I can’t say no to people.

Anyway, I’d be interested in your advice. How do you deal with this situation? Do you just tell it like it is and let the other person deal or do you have some strategy for softening the rejection?




Thanks for writing in.

It’s funny, I found your letter increasingly disturbing, the longer I mulled it over in my head.  At first it just seemed like, aw, this guy is too nice for his own good – maybe he needs me to tell him to man up and say ‘no’ more often.  But the more I thought about your problem, them more alarmed I got.

Carl, don’t you think it’s alarming, what you’ve said?  On the surface it might just seem like you’re a nice guy, staying with someone because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. But, what does it say about your own sense of self worth?  To me it says that you don’t value your own happiness enough to put your needs first.

Isn’t your  life important enough for you to insist on being with someone who fulfills you?

You have to get better at saying no.  You have to.  Statistically speaking most of the dates you go on will not lead to a relationship, so you have got to get more picky, my friend.  You don’t want to wind up the husband of someone who buys samurai sword umbrellas and doesn’t empty ash trays.

Listen, Carl.   You get one life.  One.  Live it for yourself.  Make yourself happy.  In order to do that, you have to learn how to say no when you’re not into someone.   Don’t settle for less than the life you deserve.  If the guy you’re on a date with doesn’t inspire you, or make you feel weak in the knees, or have an awesome comic book collection, then you have to kick him to the curb.  This can be done bluntly, or more gently, but you have to get the job done, kiddo.

You’re worth it.  You are.

Thanks for writing in.


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