Dear Harlan,

Why are guys such creeps? Why do they act as though girls’ feelings are nonexistent? I’m losing faith in your gender. Any advice?

Losing Faith

Dear Losing,

For sure, my gender has creeps, but we also have loving, generous, empathetic and compassionate men who are capable of loving you. You’re either a creep magnet or you’re hanging out in places that attract creeps. Try an experiment this year — make 2013 the year that you put yourself in different rooms with different men. Then, approach them. When you approach these men (online, at work, in class, through friends, while living life) take on the mindset that you’re going to find out if these men are as interesting as they are attractive. Make it a rule that you need to get to know someone long enough to get emotionally naked before getting physically naked. Get set up. Meet men while doing things you love to do. Talk to men who are sober (while sober) during daylight hours. When you approach men online and offline, make it clear that while you have no problem expressing yourself, you have old-fashioned values. Make it easy for the right men to meet you, but don’t be easy. If you put yourself in rooms with different men, talk to different men and find all the different men still are creeps, there might be more going on. Write me back and we’ll continue this conversation.

Dear Harlan,

I was approached at a party by a guy and I immediately didn’t want him to be anywhere near me. He was perfectly nice and even offered to take me for a walk, which I quickly declined. We ended up exchanging phone numbers (which I instantly regretted), and that decision worried me the majority of the next day. When he finally contacted me, I explained that I no longer wished for him to have my contact information, and he obliged. Ever since that encounter, I can’t imagine myself being in a relationship; I’m scared to give guys a chance. I honestly don’t like the idea of getting hurt or taking risks. Any wisdom out there for me?

Full of Fear

Dear Full of Fear,

No one likes getting hurt – with the exception of people who are into bondage. Think of yourself as an emotional stuntwoman. Your job is to learn how to take a fall so you can take risks and find love without fear. Make 2013 NOT about finding love – rather, make it about safely preparing to find it. Ask yourself, What is the worst thing that could happen to me in a relationship? What could a partner say or do that would hurt me? Once you have an answer, focus on training in your dating thong so you can prepare for the worst. For example, if you are afraid someone will leave you, make sure you have a life that no one can ever take away, friends that will always be there and a world that makes you happy independent of a relationship. Appreciate that you always have options and a life that will make you much more empowered. Surround yourself with people who can guide and support you. The goal isn’t to get hurt, it’s creating a life where you feel beautiful, good enough and fulfilled. Create the dynamics so that you can never get hurt the same way you did in the past. The woman you will soon become will not be the woman who got hurt in the past.

Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com. All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.

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