Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG.

Welcome to Dear Jane, Jezebel’s advice column.

Dear Jane,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 6 or 7 months. Minus the usual ups and downs, things are pretty good. However, he is a truly horrible texter. I would say the average time he takes to respond to any given text message is 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Frequently he doesn’t reply at all. He doesn’t have a smart phone, so he’s not attached to his phone in the way many of us are, so that could definitely the cause of the problem. Or maybe, like many of us who even do have smart phones, he’s just bad at checking his phone.

Either way, I’m beginning to find it pretty intolerable. I don’t overly enjoy small talk over text, so I’m fine with not constantly being in touch. But there’s just something that really bothers me about someone starting a conversation only to sporadically engage in it or not follow up at all. For example, he’ll ask me how my day was, I’ll respond relatively promptly and ask how his was, then he’ll respond hours later or not at all. I should also mention that his unreliability over text makes it very difficult to make plans when talking on the phone isn’t feasible. Basically it all boils down this: I’d rather just not hear from him at all on any given day than only hear from him over text.

Here are my questions: am I right to find this annoying? Should I just ask him to only communicate via phone call? I’m not really interested in trying to get him to respond more promptly, as that seems unlikely.

Thanks Jane!

-No New Messages

Hey NNM,

The cool thing about our personal annoyances is that we don’t have to justify them, they just are. You know what I hate? When people text me asking where to park. Wherever your car fits closest to the place where we’re meeting perhaps!?

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So, yeah, be annoyed all the live-long day if you feel like it. Or you could add up all the hot klews you have here and figure he’s just kind of a luddite. Maybe give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s trying to meet your texting enthusiasm halfway? He’s clearly not succeeding, but if this is his worst failure as your boyfriend, huzzah!

My advice is to receive his message—the one he’s clearly sending you about not being good at text messaging. If you had a child together or an ailing parent or a business or something, then I’d be on board with making this A Thing. But you’re just dating and he doesn’t have a smartphone. He’s like an alien! A very uncool alien. You picked an uncool alien to date, sorry dude. Take the texts he does send as signs that he’s thinking about you and then respond when you have reason to believe he’s available to take a phone call. Also, try planning things for the future when you’re in person. Old fart-types love that shit. If, after trying things this way, he still feels distant and you still yearn for a super-attentive texter (but how can they respond so quickly? do they have a job? are they obsessed with you? with their phone?) try meeting someone through a dating app. Those fuckers LOVE texting.


Hi,

There’s a lot of shit just from 2017 that I could talk about, but I’ll limit this to my work life and mental health.

I was fired earlier this year, and my depression has gotten a lot worse this year as well. The job sucked—it was a full-time office gig, but I had to split my time between multiple locations, and I had to work every weekend despite multiple pleas for a new schedule each time a Monday-Friday position opened up within the company. No one in my life had the same schedule as me, so I couldn’t really be social on my days off, and I was the only staffer scheduled for weekends, so I was basically totally alone on those days too. My Depression got worse largely because of my work life, and my depression affected my ability to do my job.

Six weeks later I finally got a new, better job. The pay is a little better, the commute is easier, and I finally have weekends off, so I can have a life. BUT it’s a temp-to-perm position, and no one has really given me any indication of if/when the perm part will happen. The employee I replaced left kind of in a hurry (but not on bad terms) and definitely didn’t do a thorough job of explaining my duties, so there’s been a lot of catching up. I only trained with her for two days before she left.

Despite that, she was extremely well-liked, and I’ve been feeling like I am... not. On her last day I heard so much about how people were going to miss her outgoing and bubbly personality, and when I’ve reviewed with supervisors, the only negative feedback I received was that they weren’t seeing that in me. But it’s just been so hard to force myself to be that way with how I’ve been feeling. Aside from small talk, most people here don’t really talk to me that much. And now, this week, I keep hearing bits and pieces of information about a party one of my coworkers is throwing and like... clearly the invites already went out. Maybe it’s dumb to be offended but I’ve been here a while. I feel like it’s a cycle—I’m not feeling well enough to be outgoing, so they don’t want to talk to me, so I feel even worse, etc.

I’m so anxious and overwhelmed all the time. I’m worried that I won’t be hired here because they want a clone of the person I replaced. Will I ever stop feeling like this? Am I just a mediocre baby who doesn’t know how to be a person?

Sincerely,

Tired of Crying in the Bathroom Like a Weirdo

You’re depressed. You said it yourself. And it sucks, right? I mean, a lot of this sucks, but there’s not much to be done about any of it while you’re depressed, so your number one goal should be addressing that. Once you’re feeling better—and treating your depression will help you feel better not only mentally but physically—you can tackle annoying work shit and social stuff from a new angle.

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Now, I know what you’re going to say: I am a temp worker with no insurance and no time. Got it. You’re going to have to get creative, which is understandably pretty difficult when you’re depressed. (This fuckin’ stupid disease!) If you can’t find a cheap therapist to work with you on the weekends, I suggest trying an online service. I’ve actually used one and it was awesome! A year ago I lost my insurance for a bit and needed to talk to someone for a few months on the cheap while I worked on getting my coverage back. This isn’t an ad, but the service I used was TalkSpace and it was something like $35 a a session, which we did via FaceTime whenever I could find a free half hour. I definitely prefer in-person therapy, but it worked when I needed it and helped me keep my head above water. If any readers have another internet therapy service they would recommend, please tell us in the comments.

Give therapy a try along with all the other stuff you need to do to “nourish your soul,” as someone way more believer-y than me would say. Eat well, drink stuff that works for and not against your body, meditate, move around. It may turn out that you’re still not bubbly or outgoing, but if you’re feeling better about yourself, you may not care so much when other people recognize that in you.


Dear Jane,

I need your suggestion asap!

So New Year’s Eve is coming soon and I can’t decide what to do for dinner. My two ideas include a fancy dinner of steak, lobster, salad and wings (got to have wings for NYE) or a “smorgasbord” of different foods like Chinese, pizza, fried mozzarella, burgers or cheesesteaks, salad and, of course, wings!

The cost for each is about the same and steak and lobster always sounds nice but I can’t stop thinking that once the steak dinner is done, it’s done, while we can eat off the “smorgasbord” throughout the night and probably have dinner for the next night too. What do you think? I can’t make up my mind and just need someone’s I’m not related too opinion because the ppl around me just agrees to both ideas or shrug.

NYE is soon so I need an answer asap!

Smorgas all the way. Fight me in the comments.

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