Dear Harlan,

I’ve been a religious follower of you and the “Getting Naked Experiment” for almost a year now. It’s brought me social, emotional and personal success. So, when I saw a pretty girl at a party last night, I went over to her and introduced myself. And made her laugh. And asked about her life, her major and her dreams. And when I left, I was filled with so much optimism and so much hope that I would eventually find the love of my life by talking to pretty girls I see across the room at a party. But then I woke up, and I can’t stop thinking about this girl. She left in a hurry, and I was too afraid to ask for her contact info. I also noticed that she was texting a guy and, while I don’t know for sure, I think she might be dating someone. Now I’m obsessed with this one girl I barely know and can’t really get in touch with, and I can’t stop thinking about her. And now I’m sitting here, proud of myself for taking a risk but also disappointed that we didn’t end up frenching in the back of her car. I can’t help but feel this isn’t the lifestyle you had in mind. I want to move on, but my mind is stuck on this one girl. Any advice?

Naked Experimenter

Dear Experimenter,

Yes, this is exactly the lifestyle I had in mind. You talked to a girl you never would have interacted with in the past, made her laugh and connected. Huge win. This is a process. Never forget about her. Think about her every time you meet another girl who gives you “that” feeling. Then, get the next girl’s last name and number. Being afraid is done with. Give women permission to think whatever they want. Flex this muscle. Build emotional stamina. That’s the Getting Naked experiment. Oh, and the guy she was texting? It was her dad.

Dear Harlan,

My school built the on-campus apartments on an auxiliary campus about a mile from main campus. I moved here with a friend from my floor last year. I find that it’s a completely different ballgame from dorm life. I’ve only been in my apartment a few days, and it’s a struggle to meet my neighbors, remember anybody’s email address, catch up with my old friends who still live on the main campus and get around. I also have a boat-load of new responsibilities to worry about: cooking actual food, cleaning, buying groceries, etc. Do you have any tips for the middle situation between dorms and off-campus housing?

Halfway to Independence

Dear Halfway to Independence,

I’m surprised they don’t have resources. Check. A lot of off-campus residences have staff, activities and organizations as part of the community. If not, consider moving to the main campus. You have the rest of your life to clean, buy groceries, pay bills and cook. As for some quick tips, cook lots of meals at once (freeze extra). For example, cook a bag of pasta and keep the extra in the fridge at all times. Always use coupons. Buy one and get one free. Buy in bulk. Make a cleaning chart. Avoid being at home. Work, play and eat on campus. Get a meal plan that keeps you on campus. Last suggestion: Create a reason to talk to your neighbors. Organize a block party or an event in your complex. If you organize it, you’ll meet people.

Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at [email protected]

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