DEAR AMY: I'm 27, and several months ago I ended a long-term relationship. I've been on the dating scene for a few months, and every time it's the exact same thing: I'll go on a wonderful date (or two), and then the guy will just stop texting me. I don't understand it.
This past weekend, I met an amazing guy who had every quality I've ever looked for in a guy. He never texted me until after I sent him a mean message. I said it's harsh that he wouldn't at least let me know that he wasn't interested in me. In my text, I told him that now I know he's a write-off. I wish I hadn't sent the text because I guarantee he's a keeper, so I probably messed up!
How can I possibly trust any guy when all guys do the same thing? I recently told one guy I'm not interested because I feel like I'm a dating disaster. He told me not to date jerks. He said he's different. I said, "Hah, heard that before!"
A male friend of mine said that maybe I'm expressing too much interest at the beginning. I've tried the whole "playing hard to get" thing, and it never works either, because then they think I'm not interested! I don't understand it. Guys: You say women are hard to figure out. Well last time I checked, a simple text message wasn't too difficult to master!
— Over It
DEAR OVER IT: Women are hard to figure out. You, for instance. According to your own account, you come on strong, and then when you don't get exactly the response you want or expect, you retaliate. Scary.
The best predictor for relationship success is found in how you treat other people. If you behave like a relaxed, in-charge and open-hearted person, you will attract people who appreciate and share these qualities.
If you behave like a demanding harridan, you'll get what you've already gotten. Being confident, relaxed and laid-back is not "playing hard to get." It's taking the time to make a good and thoughtful choice.
If you are drinking too much and/or becoming physically intimate with a guy soon after meeting him, stop it. You're less likely to be disappointed by a lapsed (or late) text if the stakes are lower. Your focus should be on getting to know someone rather than trashing an entire gender based on your own insecurities.
DEAR AMY: My wife's family and I have a difference of opinion in the amount of cash to give to children on their birthdays.
I think giving an 8-year-old $40 is too much. The child loses the value of the dollar. This creates an entitled generation.
I say any child up to a 5-year-old should get $5, up to 10 is $10, up to 15 is $15, up to 18 is $20. Am I old-fashioned?
— Tom in Portland, Ore.
DEAR TOM: Getting a particular sum of money for a birthday doesn't create an "entitled" generation.
Thoughtful parents help children spend wisely by teaching that a percentage of the child's money should be saved (some parents also ask kids to hold out a percentage of their money to donate to a worthy cause).
For parents who give an allowance, the amounts you favor are more appropriate for that than a special-occasion gift (though you shouldn't give a cash gift to a 5-year-old). I agree that $40 for an 8-year-old sounds like too much, but again, the amount isn't the issue as long as it is handled wisely.
DEAR AMY: "Confused Commuter" asked a good question about the most efficient way to merge two lanes of traffic into one. You quoted a California official who suggested merging early.
In the state of Minnesota, where I live, they encourage and promote a "zipper merge." That's when two lanes travel to the merge point, and then take turns "zipping" the traffic together.
— Minnesota Merger
DEAR MERGER: Many Minnesota readers have told me this. Thank you all.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.