Dear Harlan,

I’ve been seeing a guy, and whenever I’m around him, I’m not myself. I’m usually a strong-willed, independent, opinionated feminist (I don’t hate men, I promise), but when I’m around him, I’m kind of shy, much more girly and always apologizing. Sometimes I feel like I’m not beautiful or pretty enough for him, which is stupid, but I can’t stop thinking that way. I’ve always thought that I’m pretty, but that most guys won’t go for me because I’m not well-endowed and I have a weird nose. I feel like I have a look only certain guys would go for. I haven’t criticized my looks this harshly since I was 10. This guy doesn’t make me feel inferior. We laugh all the time together, and he’s always been really nice to me and listens. He said he likes me, and I like him. Why am I doing this to myself?

Not Good Enough

Dear Not Good Enough,

It’s habit. We are taught to feel ugly. We all have ugly days. I have at least one or two a month, sometimes three. When I feel ugly, I do something about it. I exercise, I fix the problem, I turn to people who remind me that I’m lovable. Here’s the truth: He loves your nose. He likes boobs that won’t hurt him. He thinks you’re hot. Don’t fight it. Give yourself permission to have a bad day or two. If it’s bad month or year, that’s a problem. Get help. WARNING: Keep thinking you’re not good enough, and eventually he’ll believe you.

Hey Harlan,

I am extremely interested in a lady friend. We talk all the time, we have a great time together and I think that we could be absolutely incredible in a relationship. But we are just friends. This is because we have never talked about being anything else. I have never brought it up, but not because of fear of rejection or ruining the friendship, or anything like that. My issue is that I know that she is extremely interested in my best friend, a man I consider to be my brother, and I know that he is extremely interested in her. The only difference is that she wants to date him, but he just wants to sleep with her. I feel like it would be a betrayal on my end to tell her that he just wants to sleep with her or to tell her how I feel, and I feel like even if I did tell her that, she would be mad at me and I would lose one of my oldest friends. So while I am all for saying how I feel and being honest, I don’t want to lose a best friend. So is this a case where I should say how I feel and hope that all parties involved are understanding? Or should I just let this one go and accept that there are thousands of other women out there who might be just as amazing?

Secret Keeper

Dear Secret Keeper,

Accept that there are thousands of other women. This one is too dangerous. Let their relationship run its course. If it crashes, you can clean up the pieces. If they get married, you can be the best man. Until they get together, you don’t know what’s going to happen. The good news: There are millions of other women out there who are attractive, available and not set on dating your best friend.

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