Quit if you can afford to

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… When I started out in my job, I thought I would never leave. It was the kind of work I loved to do, and the people I was working with were wonderful.

But that was years ago. Things have changed and it’s far from the enjoyable workplace it was when I first started here. I often spend my nights at home crying. Yes, it’s gotten THAT bad.

I’ve been thinking about leaving, but the only thing that’s keeping me back is the fact that I’m paying for my little brother’s college education. He’s still got two more years left, and I don’t know how easy it is to find another job in my field at the moment.

How do I make the decision? Do I stay in this job and just make me feel terrible every day for my brother. Or do I take the risk and quit to at least give me a sense of relief even for a short moment? -Veronica

CHICO SAYS… Life often puts us in a place we don’t WANT to be in, but we unfortunately HAVE to be in. Life isn’t always cooperative or considerate of how we want our lives to turn out. The only answer I have to your question as to whether you should quit is…can you afford to? If you have the resources to tide you over, until you find a job, no matter how long that might take, then by all means get out of there as fast as you can. But if this job is your only source of income, and if your brother’s education and daily subsistence depends solely on this job, then I think it’s still a small sacrifice to keep your heads financially afloat. Some people endure much worse just to put food on the table. Or if you really want out, maybe you can start looking for a job before you resign. You wouldn’t want to be left floating in limbo, jobless for longer than you expected. It’s like jumping from the pan into the fire.

DEALAMAR SAYS… Look for a job while you’re still at your present work. If something opens up then you can go for it. No need to quit your job because let’s face it putting your sibling through school is more important. You can endure. You can. Just think of the end goal — your brother’s college degree. Besides just two years more and you can quit if you still want to. There’s an end to your stay at your current office. Either a different (hopefully better) job will come along or your brother final graduates.

For me, having a bigger reason than just working for myself, I can endure in an office where I feel it’s a dog-eat-dog kind of set-up. If I know that there is a more important reason for me to stay then I can manage. You just have to keep your eye on the ball. Also, quitting when you don’t have a next job to go to is irresponsible. You need to work. You need to put food on the table. Even if you didn’t have a brother to send to school I wouldn’t advise you to quit your job without a new one to transfer to just because you don’t like the people there. You’re an adult. You can endure. You can. Just learn the art of not getting involved in the social aspect ofyour job. Just put your head down and work. Let everybody else get into the politics at the office and just do what you’re being paid to do. Meanwhile, start sending out your resume so when something opens up you can finally quit and start a new job. Warning though: ALL OFFICES HAVE ITS OWN PROBLEMS SO BE PREPARED. You might just be trading one set of problems for another.

GINO SAYS… I’m pretty sure that you’re not alone in this problem that you’re having. I know a lot of people who get unhappily stuck with their jobs but they have to keep doing it because they’ve got mouths to feed or something to that effect. The best piece of advice I can give you is to try looking for a job without leaving your work first. Look for other opportunities without quitting first. Then you’ll have all your bases covered. The way I see it, that’s the best way about doing things without compromising your brother’s education. While you’re doing that though, try to save maybe? Just in case you find it difficult to find a job while you’re still working, maybe you can save enough to buy your brother like a year’s tuition so you can actively look for work with all your attention on it.

Maybe you can talk to your brother about it, too? Maybe he can get a part-time job to help out with his schooling too.

But yeah, I know a lot of people who don’t leave their jobs unless there’s a job waiting for them once they do. I’m pretty sure you can do that, too.


Make it real

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… I’m shy by nature, and I don’t often do as well in situations with a lot of people. However, I am good with chatting with people online, and it’s where I’ve met most of my friends.

It was online that I met Alex. We really hit it off on Skype and we’ve been seeing each other for close to three months now. I feel like we both like each other, and I don’t think he’s lying to me about himself either because we’ve seen each other on Skype and everything.

What I have doubts about is whether I’m the only girl that he’s talking to. How do I find out if I am? Is that something I can ask another person I’m sort of seeing? I just want to find out if I mean as much to him as he does to me. –Alma

CHICO SAYS… While you remain in a relationship that is PURELY online, the answer to your question as to how you’ll know if you mean to him as much as he means to you, is, you won’t. I’m not hating on online trysts, I’m sure it has its merits. But all I’m saying is, until you see each other in the flesh, spend time with each other’s physical matter and not just mere digital representations, and for substantial amounts of time, all you’ll get is a partial image of who he really is, and miss the bigger, more important picture.

You need to know how he looks like in person, how he smells, how he chews his food, how he is with waiters and security guards, how he behaves when he’s bored, how he is during a fight. When all you know of a person comes from that small screen of your computer monitor, it can’t be a very accurate assessment. You asked if it’s okay to ask if he’s talking to other girls. Of course, it’s okay to ask, that isn’t the problem. If he tells you there are no other girls, will that appease your doubts? Other than his word, is there any other way you can verify his online activities? No, and no. If you know a person exclusively online, then you will only see what they are willing to show you. You’ll never know what happens post-BRB, post-GTG.

DEALAMAR SAYS… It is a digital relationship for now. Apart from what you can or would reveal on Skype, there is no other way to know each other. So that leaves you no other way to know for sure unless you ask him pointblank while chatting, right? There isn’t any more room for checking it for yourself. So, that pretty much answers that.

But can I just say? Of course, you assume since he spends time chatting with you surely he doesn’t chat with anybody else in a romantic way. Not anymore since you came along! But then again, you never know if someone is being true with you the way you’re being true with them. Leaving something unasked especially when it is important to you will drive you crazy. You won’t be able to just sit there and not think about it. It’ll stain whatever nice moment you have with him because you’re always questioning if it’s real or not. You won’t be able to take the first real steps to trusting someone unless he knows your vulnerability. You have to trust him to take it the right way when you ask because he wants to be sure with you too! That’s because you both know that what you have together is real. If he thinks you’re clingy or demanding, then it’s his loss. Clearly, you know you’re not on the right page with each other. Maybe you want something more than what he is looking for. If that is the case, then better that you know now, before you invest anymore time, feelings and moments with this guy.

So, YES! YES! YES! Go ask. Make this digital thing you have with him one step closer to being real!

GINO SAYS… To be completely honest with you, I don’t think that you have the right to ask that yet. I know this causes paranoia and of course, it’s something that you really want to find out. But, have you ever laid out the ground rules between the two of you? Are you “exclusively” seeing each other? You’ve only known each other for roughly around three months, do you really want to seem like the jealous psycho type by asking him if he’s talking to other girls? It might just raise a red flag. Unless you can deliver the question very casually, I suggest don’t ask and try not to be affected by it. On a side note, I hope that you at least meet him in person before you get into anything too serious.

Say it when the time is right

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… I’ve been friends with Benedict for years, and we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs together. We’ve celebrated each other’s victories and consoled each other when we were down. We tell each other everything.

Well, almost everything, because in the past few months I think I’ve fallen in love with him but I haven’t had the courage to tell him yet. There was also the fact that he still had a girlfriend, and I didn’t want to be the other woman in that situation. So I kept things bottled and just tried to be the best friend I could.

A couple of weeks ago, Benedict and his girlfriend broke up, apparently because she had been lying to him and cheating on him the entirety of their relationship. I wanted to tell him about my feelings when he turned to me for support, but my friends told me that it’s not the best time and that I would end up just being a rebound anyway.

I wanted to ask you guys: How long does one have to wait to tell someone that you like AFTER they’ve gone through a break-up? – Jacklyn

CHICO SAYS… The truth is the truth whether served piping hot or dished out after it has cooled off a bit. True, pouncing on the guy fresh off a break-up is a bit vulture-ish, and we all know that with these things, timing can be crucial to the outcome. Of course, it also will depend a lot on how Benedict actually feels about you. If he’s been harboring the same unplatonic type of feelings for you, then you’ll only delay the inevitable. You’ll end up with each other eventually. But if he only sees you as a friend, then your amorous over-eagerness might seem a tad predatory. In my opinion, there’s never really a way to measure when the right time is. Is it a week, a month, a year? If I were in your shoes, I’d say it once the opportunity presents itself. Once it feels right, I’d spill the necessary beans. It won’t guarantee positive results, but at least you said what needs saying. Don’t wait too long though, another “bird of prey” might scoop up your spoils.

GINO SAYS… I don’t think there’s an EXACT amount of time when it comes to things like this. Most people will probably say three months (mostly because of the whole three-month rule but that’s not an exact science if you know what I mean). I think you’ll know when it’s time. I guess it’s when you see that he’s not as hurt anymore or he’s not as vulnerable. Just remember that there is no guarantee that it will turn out happy. I don’t want to rain on your parade or anything like that but what I’m trying to say is that even if you tell him at the right time, there’s a possibility that you could still be his rebound, or that he might not feel the same way about you. But of course, there’s also the possibility of it actually working out. So I say just tell him when you feel like the time is right. When you can’t contain your emotions anymore or when you feel like there’s a perfect moment to say something, then say something. If all else fails, well then I think three months is pretty acceptable.

You have every right to go out with him

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… I met Nico a few weeks ago and we really hit it off. We found out that we will both be going to the same college this school year, which drew us even closer. Eventually, he started flirting with me, and I of course, flirted back.

I told my best friend Chloe about meeting Nico, and it turns out that the two of them have already met. In fact, I found out to my dismay that she had a crush on him, and that she was hurt that I was flirting with him. When Nico texted to ask me out, I had to tell him that I was only interested in friendship for now. To his credit, he took it well.

But now that I’ve had time to think about it, I feel like changing my mind about just being friends with Nico. It’s not like I knew about Chloe’s crush on him when I started flirting with him. Besides, if Nico was attracted to her, I feel like he would have already made a move before. Am I being a bad friend if I decide to go out with him? -Sharon

CHICO SAYS… I understand your friend’s hurt when she found out about your flirtation, but for her to take it out on you is sorely misguided. She should get hurt, but only for the reason that he’s not into her. She shouldn’t be angry with you because one, like you said, you had no idea that she had a crush on him, and two, it isn’t your fault Nico like you and you like him back. Remember, you can’t steal a guy from a girl who never had him. To crib from pop culture references, there was never a “them.”

If you decide to back off for the sake of your friend, then I guess it’s noble. Noble, but definitely not necessary. But if you pursue whatever might turn out between you and Nico, then you would be going after what you want, regardless of what your best friend might feel. True, you could lose a best friend over a guy who might or might not stay relevant in your life, but the same could be said of besties as well. If you want to be a good friend, you can spare her the pain and inevitable awkwardness between you, and leave the guy alone. But in my opinion, more importantly, if she wanted to be a real friend, she would give way and not stand in the way of a budding romance between her best friend and a guy who isn’t interested in her.

DELAMAR SAYS… I don’t know that your friend has prior claim on Nico especially if they never went out, never flirted with each other, or he never asked her to go out with him. Also, she has no reason to get hurt that you flirted with Nico because you didn’t even know your friend likes him. As a matter of fact, you didn’t even know they knew each other! Honestly, I don’t get why you can’t go out with someone just because your friend likes him. He asked YOU out. How sure is she that he would ask her out if you don’t go out with him? His romantic attentions do not automatically go to her if you turn him down. So, it makes no sense. At least, not to me. Of course, hanging out with your friend and Nico together will probably be impossible as it will be awkward.

Question: how good of a friend is your friend? If she’s your bff and there is a possibility you’ll lose your best friend over this I’d advise you to think twice about going out with Nico. Your bestfriend will most likely outlast most of the frogs you’ll have to kiss before you get to your prince. So it makes sense to think twice if you’ll risk losing your bestie for someone you’re not sure will be your happily ever after. If she’s not that close to you, I’d tell her that you’re attracted to Nico and would like to find out if it would go somewhere. That’s your right. It’s not like your asking permission as it is just letting her know your plan so that she’ll never think you went behind her back to date him anyway. Actually, I’d tell her you plan to go out with Nico whether she’s a close friend or not. If she’s really a friend she’ll understand. If she’s not, then she has to learn to deal with the fact that guys (and girls, for that matter) are not like territory we get to own by virtue of our feelings for them, especially if the guy doesn’t even like her in a romantic way. Nico is fair game. For both of you. Nico is a person who has feelings for whoever he chooses. He is not an object that can be owned by someone who sees him first. He has his own mind and heart. So, if your feelings are strong for this guy, go for it.

GINO SAYS… Straight up, I’m going to tell you that no, you’re not being a bad friend. Your friend Chloe, on the other hand, is being a bad friend for not letting you get a shot at happiness. Let’s get some things straight, Chloe has a crush on Nico but they’re not dating nor are they together.

You didn’t know about Chloe having a crush on Nico prior to you telling her about it. Nico is asking you out, not Chloe.

If your friend Chloe is a real friend, then she’ll let it go and let you go out with Nico since she’s not in the running anyway. Don’t even think that you’re being a bad friend, that’s just ridiculous. If Chloe can’t accept this then maybe you should reconsider how good of a friend she actually is to you. Go out with him and don’t even feel slightly bad about it.

Find out the truth and be ready for it

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… My parents are on vacation and I’ve been left alone in the house. I’d usually enjoy this, but a task my father had me do messed everything up.

Because there was no internet connection where they were, my father asked me to answer a work email, and he would coach me through the replies. While waiting for the client’s replies, I looked at the rest of my father’s inbox. Imagine my surprise when I found a series of emails with the subject of “Hi Dad!” I’m an only child, and I definitely did not send those emails.

Reading the emails, it turns out that my father has another family that I didn’t know about. I do not know if my mother also knows about this, or if she is as uninformed as I am. I couldn’t confront my father about it on the phone because I think this should be something we should talk about face-to-face.

Is this something I should confront my father about? Or should I just let it go, since he has been able to keep this secret for so long already? – Nick

CHICO SAYS… My question for you is: What are YOU ready for? Learning the truth is sometimes a violent awakening that doesn’t always have a happy ending. I hope I could assure you that the truth will set everyone free and things will fall back to where they once were. But often the truth shakes up your world in ways you can never imagine, and trying to get back to how it was, is much like trying to put toothpaste back in a tube you already squeezed. If you want the truth, then go get it; you deserve it. But knowing about your dad’s other family will entail your mom finding out too, and that is another ballgame all together.

Are you prepared for what could happen next? I’m not saying one choice is better than the other, I’m just asking if you are prepared to pay the price for finding out the truth. It could mean setting you free, but freedom isn’t always comfortable for everyone. For me personally, I will always prefer the truth. It may sound simple and easy, but it isn’t. I have discovered truths that have destroyed me, and killed me, and turned me inside-out, and changed the way I see the world permanently, irreparably. For the better? Who knows. But at least I know the truth. But this way of thinking isn’t for everyone. Your mighty kingdom of a world as you know it could all crumble into dust. But amid the rubble, you can build a more truthful, although possibly humbler, new world in its stead.

DELAMAR SAYS… Hell, yeah!!! That’s my answer to the question: “Should I confront my father?” Definitely. This is a crucial piece of information that cannot and should not be swept under the rug. Part of me thinks your father probably intended for you to find out. I mean, seriously! If he were trying to keep it a secret he would have been more careful. People with secrets are very, very cautious. Most especially when it comes to opening up their email, cell phone inbox and their credit card billing statement to other people. He must’ve planned to break the news to you this way. And even if he didn’t mean for you to find out, the cat’s out of the bag now and with this kind of info, you HAVE TO confront him. This is between you and your father. Bring it up! You have to know if you have a brotha (or sistah) from another motha. Do not even try to pretend that this never happened. Confrontation doesn’t automatically mean histrionics and making a scene. It can be quiet and without the usual fanfare of tantrums, screams and tears. The opportunity has presented itself so take it. Get as close to the truth of your family life as possible. I mean, isn’t it about time?

GINO SAYS… Had I been in your shoes, I would totally ask my dad about it. Maybe I would do it in private first to give him the benefit of the doubt, I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to cause a commotion, especially when it comes to my family so that’s how I would go about doing it. It’s obviously not an easy matter to discuss, but I’m pretty sure it’s something that HAS to be talked about lest it bother you for the rest of your life. Can you just imagine how haunting it will be to never find out the answers that you need to know? Mostly, that’s what makes life really difficult, it’s the unanswered questions that you have. Once that’s out of the way, it will be much, much easier to start dealing with things.

Talk to your dad about it in private, see what he has to say on the matter. I think from then on, that’s when you’ll get to decide if it’s something that your mother has to know about (though I think that it’s a pretty big deal and it has to eventually reach your mom). I don’t think this is something you can let go of though because this is a pretty big deal. I’m hoping that eventually you’ll find out that even your mom knows about it and that they were just waiting for the right time to tell you. No matter how it turns out, good luck.

Settle unresolved issues

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… I’ve known my best friend Aldren since we were in our first year of college, and next year will be our senior year.

However, an incident happened where we ended up fighting and not communicating with each other. We made up, but the friendship is no longer the same. He only texts me when he needs something, and only greets me when I greet him first. It hurts me because he’s the one who keeps saying that we’re best friends, but it seems like it doesn’t mean anything to him.

He’s well known around campus, talented, has a good sense of humor, and is cute and kind. My friends tell me that I care about him too much. Should I continue being best friends with him? Or should I let him be and stop caring about him? –Jessa

CHICO SAYS… I don’t know the nature of your fight, the one that caused you to drift apart, because it might give a clue to his behavior now, but I suggest you learn to relax a bit as far as your almost manic approach to your “friendship.” Why the quotes, you might ask? I suspect you might be seeing him through more than just platonic eyes. I’d go as far as saying you might have a thing for your friend. You seem to be obsessing about the term “best friend,” as if it were a literal crown that you yearn to wear on your head. Is it not possible to be just friends? You seem bent on the idea that the choice is either you’re the bestestest of friends, or none at all. Why are the choices only the farthest ends of the spectrum? Can’t you be friends, period? This is why I say you might have a crush on him. This sort of all-or-nothing ultimatum is usually issued by a wounded heart. It’s one of those, “If I can’t have ALL of you, then I want NONE of you” kind of statements. If he’s really just your friend, and a true friend at that, whatever he can offer friendship-wise should very much suffice. But if you feel more than just friendship, then that’s a whole new ballgame. You need to figure out first if the feeling is mutual, then depending on the answer, act from there.

DELAMAR SAYS… For the record, you can’t just stop caring for a friend any more than you can force him to be your best friend. You think you can just stop wanting the old friendship back but you can’t. You still care about him. You think you can make him want to be your friend again after the big fight but you can’t. Some damage was done.

The truest of friendships are tested by time. They’re tested by fights and arguments. For it to survive, both friends have to hold on to the friendship through thick and thin, the easy and the hard, through disagreements and make up’s. And sometimes even when you think the friendship is over, it comes back at a later time. I don’t know what your disagreement was about but it seems to be serious enough to have created damage on the friendship. My advice is find out if the fight was really resolved. Maybe it was just smoothed over and you never talked about whatever the real problem was. If so, talk about it. You can’t bring back a friendship if there are still unresolved issues. That needs to be addressed for you to get back to wherever you were as friends. That’s assuming he even wants to talk about it now. You’re the one who wants your friend back. So the duty of taking the first step falls on you. Tell him you miss your friendship and ask if there is a way to bring that back. Wait for his reaction and whatever it might be will tell you if you can be friends again. If you’re able to “fix” things, then good for you. If not, then you have to accept that the four-year friendship ends at four years.

GINO SAYS.. I understand that you’re feeling tampo because your friend doesn’t necessarily go out of his way to hang out with you, but maybe there’s still something unresolved there. How long has it been since the incident? And how sure are you that it’s been COMPLETELY cleared up? You might want to look into that first. Maybe that’s the reason why he’s acting differently.

On the other hand, if you’re absolutely sure that everything’s all good and he’s really just different now, you have to come to terms with the fact that people change. Sometimes you outgrow certain friends and maybe that’s just the case between both of you. I’m not saying that it’ll never be the same again, but maybe one of you just has to lower their pride to really make time to hang out if you really want to keep the friendship. As for the best friend part, for me that’s always just a title. What’s really important is that should something important come up, you know that you can count on that person. I have so many friends who I don’t see often or who I don’t see as much as I would like to, but I know that should anything come up in my life where I really need them, I can count on them. If you have friends like that, then I think you’re good.

Give her a second chance

DEAR CHICO, DELAMAR, AND GINO… Mona and I used to be friends when we were younger, but we had a falling out because of her attitude. She was always having a crisis, and while I was always there for her during the beginning of our friendship, in the years that followed I soon began to realize that these crises were always the same, and she never followed any of the advice that she kept insisting she needed to hear from me.

We drifted apart for a couple of years, and I had begun to recover from being sapped by such a taxing friendship. Just recently, however, Mona messaged me on Facebook trying to reconcile and restart our friendship. My first thought was, “Is she having another crisis?” My second thought, surprisingly, was that I really do miss her.

My other friends say that the mere fact that I could admit to missing her means that I should rekindle the friendship. But I can’t shake the feeling at the back of my mind that this will pretty soon devolve into Mona having a crisis again and turning to me to “save” her. Should I restart this friendship considering I have that apprehension? Or do you guys think I should give it a try, misgivings or not? – Veronica

CHICO SAYS… I really think you can find a way to balance between missing your friend and making sure she doesn’t drain you again emotionally. True, some people tend to be emotional vampires. They don’t mean to, but they tend to suck the very life out of you. But remember, they don’t do this without your consent. Maybe you need to check if you are her enabler as well. Maybe she has this habit because you let her, or sometimes even encourage it. It’s quite possible that you’ve spoiled her by being too good a friend, at your expense. I think it’s quite possible to rekindle the friendship without letting her have access to what you want for yourself. You just need to put your foot down sometimes. You can be her friend without being available to her 24/7. Think of her as an infant. But instead of milk, she craves emotional attention all the time. As her friend, you can train her that she can’t have her “milk” every time she craves it. You can still give her some every now and then, but not each and every time she wants it. That way, you can let her back into your life without letting her clean you out emotionally.

DELAMAR SAYS… I’m not sure your friend is aware of how she drove you away. She probably has no clue that she is perennially in crisis and in need of saving. Those kinds of people really have a way of zapping the energy and joy of living out of you. So, I don’t blame you for pulling away. However, the optimist in me says friends are friends. They aren’t objects that we discard when we are not pleased with them. We work things out. We fight if we need to fight, confront if we need to confront. Argue if we need to argue! We find a way to address what needs addressing while the whole time holding on to each other and the friendship. I’m a big believer of giving second chances. Maybe you can see if things have changed? And aren’t friends worth that? If she has changed, then you gain a friend back. If not, then you’re even more convinced that you really can’t be friends the way you used to be. Either way, in my book it’s worth checking out.

GINO SAYS… While I understand that you want to stay away from a very negative kind of friendship since it’s a lot like having an emotional vampire around, I’m also a very firm believer of second chances. If you say that it has been YEARS since you’ve fallen apart, maybe now that you’re older it won’t be the same kind of friendship. I have no idea how old you are now, but I assume that you’re both way more mature now than you were back then. At least, this time around maybe you can be more honest should the friendship fall back into how it was before, and maybe she’ll actually start listening to your advice.

As I grew older, I began to realize that most of your friends will have flaws that either bother the crap out of you or are just plain and simple annoying. You learn to accept your friends even with all these little quirks because you start to understand that their good qualities outweigh the bad ones anyway. Maybe the same thing will happen to you should she revert back to her old self.