Dear Amy: I found a group of people who share the same deep love and support for an international sports team. We meet up to watch the games, but we also see one another outside of match day.
We’ve established a group text; the makeup of the group is predominantly male. Occasionally, some casually misogynist language will slip into a conversation. At first, it was gently commented on, but of course no one wants to be a killjoy, so now it just sort of happens.
I’ve spoken with the other women in the group, and everyone’s pretty uncomfortable with how these occurrences derail the conversation. We don’t want to be harpies; we just don’t want to be reminded that the majority of people — even ones we’re friends with — still see our presence in a group as the exception to the rule. Do you have any advice?
Amy says: You have two options. For one I’ll paraphrase therapist-turned-Oscar-nominated-writer Emily V. Gordon: In a 2014 article she stated that the word “inappropriate” is almost magic. In her experience, when she told someone that their behavior was inappropriate, the behavior would stop. This worked on the young and the old, in public and in private. I can speak from experience: She’s right.
The next time you see this type of behavior, go for something simple and direct. Getting a text that says “guys, that language is inappropriate” will correct this mortifying lapse in judgment, and having it in the text chain will serve as a reminder of what this group text is for.
If that doesn’t work, try option two: Call out this sexist behavior for what it is: sexism. This is not being a “harpy,” but offering an honest reaction to friends.
Life isn’t a romantic comedy
Dear Amy: If you were writing love letters to someone in anticipation of one day giving the letters to him, all the while suspecting that your roommate (his ex) would find them through snooping, would you continue to write said letters?
This guy doesn’t even know that I love him. Should I let him go? Try to move on? There are a couple of other cuties out there, but this guy is special.
Amy says: You write like you’re living in a romantic comedy with this (typical) plot: Your crush will find one of your letters at the perfect time, rush to your side and declare that it’s you — it’s always been you! But real life doesn’t work like it does in the movies.
There’s nothing wrong with writing letters to a person that you like, but if you really want to be with him, then you will have to tell him. This is complicated by the fact that your roommate is his ex; you will have to decide if you can risk these relationships. Equally important: if you don’t want your roommate to see the letters, then don’t leave them where she can find them.
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