Dear Nicole: How do I handle dating two guys?

Dear Nicole,

I happen to be dating two guys who are friends. Let’s call them George and Jeremy. We are casual in both cases. Jeremy knows George and I are dating, but not vice versa. George (the oblivious one) is starting to demand more attention, but Jeremy isn’t ready to be exclusive. How do I handle this?

— Stuck in the Middle


I’m just going to say it: Jeremy doesn’t like you enough to be exclusive but clearly likes dating you. Now what you do depends on if you want an exclusive relationship or not… and how much you like George.

Let’s have you score your like of George from 1 (I think I am more interested in my mailman) to 10 (I want to marry him right this second and clone him for all my friends).

Scenario A: You are fine with a casual relationship, George feelings level 3: Keep dating Jeremy… but you need to tell George.

Scenario B: You want an exclusive relationship, George feelings level 3: Clear them both out of your schedule for someone better who wants a serious relationship (yes, I assure you this person exists).

Scenario C: You want an exclusive relationship, George feelings level 8: Dump Jeremy (or whatever verb you use for someone you are dating) and date George.

Scenario D: You are fine with a casual relationship, George feelings level 8: Keep dating them both. But you gotta tell George.

Scenario E: You want an exclusive relationship, George feelings level 5: Dump them both and free up room in your life for some third better option.

You aren’t responsible for George and Jeremy’s friendship, but you are responsible for giving them both the same amount of information if you continue to date them both. It’s only fair.

If George wants something exclusive and you don’t, you have to free him up to seek that. Remember, options are good, but at some point everyone has to choose something. Sounds like you are there.


Dear Nicole,

We do Secret Santa at work and I picked someone who is hard to buy for. OK, not hard to buy for exactly, but hard for me to buy for. This guy shoots down all my ideas in meetings, carbon copies emails to my boss that throw me under the bus and other stupid stuff like this. I’d like to spend zero dollars on him, but I clearly can’t. What should I do?

— A Grinchy Reason This Season


Guess what, Grinch? You have a rare opportunity here to be the bigger person. If you would have just randomly started being nice, this person may have been suspect of your motives, but Secret Santa means an interaction of determined length and purpose to test the waters.

Be a thoughtful, but not necessarily high-spending Secret Santa to your jerky co-worker.

I know most Secret Santa things are supposed to bring cheer versus create an opportunity to see who can drop $50 or more. See if for $25 you can keep this person cheery: a favorite coffee beverage left on a desk, a candy cane, a link (printed out) to a funny YouTube video he’d enjoy.

I’ve been kind in the past to people who were mean to me and guess what? Sometimes they turned into Nicole fans. Someone who treated me really cruddy when I started my business is now actually super nice to me and sends me work all the time. You never know.

And you know what? They all didn’t turn into Nicole fans. But guess what? I still don’t regret being nice to them. Because being nice is good for you, health-wise and otherwise.

And as Marcel the Shell would say: “Want to know why I smile a lot? Because it’s worth it.” Get rid of your Grinchyness, not for this lame work dude necessarily but for you.


Dear Nicole,

This is more of a general question. How are we supposed to handle farting in the workplace? Do we pretend it never happened? Acknowledge the stench? Thoughts?

— Clearing the Smoke


OK, you guys really need to send me questions. I’ve heard this one around before. I told my co-worker, and she dared me to put this in the column so here it goes. You acknowledge farts when at least one of the following is at play:

1) It was audible and therefore unignorable.

2) You know the person well enough that you have or would cry in front of them if so moved. (i.e. someone you can admit vulnerability in front of. Your wife? Yes. Your boss’s boss? Probably not.)

3) Someone says “What is that smell?” Always fess up; it looks dumb if you try to blame a non-guilty person.

4) Look to see if there is a dog in the office you can blame it on.

Otherwise, keep your mouth shut. No need to interrupt a meeting or stop someone in your bookstore aisle to tell them you dealt it, it’ll dissipate soon enough. Most of us people will never say anything. Just assume it’s a passing (haha) thing.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]
Nicole Ouellette

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