Hello Harlan!

It’s been almost two years since I wrote you that message from my “guyless island” asking for rescue, but I wanted to let you know that your advice helped me to find the lifeboat! I finally sent Scott a message on Facebook to initiate a real conversation again (as we had met once briefly in real life). This led to exchanging numbers, sending creative and exciting text messages back and forth and then meeting in person for a date, at long last. We went to Mike’s Grill, a great hamburger place in our hometown, and everything just seemed to fit and flow naturally. We officially got together in July 2011, and have been going strong ever since! Once I realized that I do indeed have the “ovaries” to go after someone I care about, it was such a powerful feeling. I no longer have that overwhelming anxiety from high school, which had me in a constant state of self-doubt, unable to take any action. Though I no longer need the skill for romance, applying your universal rejection truth to my life has really helped me grow in confidence. Honestly, it scares me to think what would have happened had I never taken that initial, real chance, giving Scott the little nudge he (well, both of us) needed to seal the deal on what has become one of the most rewarding, beautiful relationships of my life. Thanks again!

Unstuck

Dear Unstuck,

So happy to play a small role in this — but you are the real hero. I just helped you to believe that you live in a world of options and that you should take a risk. Love this letter. Thank you!

Dear Readers,

Breathe deep. Smell it? Valentine’s season is just around the corner. To inspire the world to take the risk and find love this Valentine’s Day, I’d love your stories. Please send me your “How we met” stories and I’ll share them during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. What to send me: How you met, where you met, who made the first move, who said what and what happened next. Also include a sentence about your love life prior to the meeting. Send stories to [email protected] subject: How we met.

Dear Harlan,

Do you think it’s possible to find the love of your life, the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with, at age 18?

Falling

Dear Falling,

Yes. For sure. But I’d wait until you’re at least 19 (nah, 21 … actually, 25) to commit to the rest of your life. Love at 18 is very different from love at 21 or 25. It’s like going from 11 to 18 in terms of emotional maturity. Teen love can be more about being wanted than about knowing what you want, running away from being single instead of running toward a relationship, or more about pleasing other people instead of pleasing yourself. It takes getting comfortable in your skin and understanding what you like and don’t like to commit to spending the rest of your life with someone. If the idea of waiting bothers you, ask yourself why you’re in such a hurry. If the idea of waiting bothers the person you’re dating, ask yourself why he or she is in such a rush. The rest of your life is a long time. There’s no need to rush it. You have the rest of your life.

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