Hello, precious readers! Today, I will answer two questions about love. A week ago, these questions trickled into my Google form a day or so apart:
“Dear Katherine,
What should I do if I really like somebody but I don’t want to tell him because I’m afraid of jeopardizing the friendship?
Smitten in Smith Union”
“Dear Katherine,
What is the best way to let someone down kindly and still remain on somewhat friendly terms?
Reluctant in Reed House”
Well, shit, I thought. I hope these people aren’t talking about each other.

When I became an advice columnist (that is, two weeks ago), I dreaded administering love advice.* Love a terrible thing to advise. This is because people in love never take good advice. Love makes people self-deluding and deeply, deeply stupid.

Love is also hard to give advice on because love itself is rogue.

People talk about love as chemistry. Let me tell you, they are similar only in that I understand neither. But chemistry, at least, follows rules. In chemistry, opposites always attract.** In love, opposites attract sometimes, but also what about those couples who look like siblings?

Love hates rules so much that it joined an anarcho-communist commune. Love doesn’t let children catch up when playing duck-duck-goose. Like Sarah Palin, love is a maverick. Love also really enjoyed the Celebrity Wife Swap episode featuring Bristol Palin and the daughter of the late Joan Rivers. (I am also, in that last sentence, not not talking about myself.)

What I’m trying to say is this: since the beginning of time, people have been giving advice and making rules about love. All of it is useless and much of it is harmful. Look at what love did to Romeo and Juliet! They took love advice and it literally killed them. So pile up all of your love axioms: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” “once a cheater always a cheater,” “love is blind,” etc. Set them on fire. Good.

Having thus undermined my entire column: Smitten, you like someone, but you don’t want to tell them for fear of ruining the friendship. Well, lucky you! Friendships are not mavericks. Friendships are Joe Biden.

In the future, I would try to stop falling in love with your friends. But for now, I would recommend asking yourself these questions before deciding:

1.     Do you really love him? Or do you love the idea of him?
2.     Do you, without doing that crazy hoping against hope thing people in love do, think he really loves you?
3.     Would you still want to tell him even if you knew he didn’t and wouldn’t love you back?
Reluctant, you want to let someone down easy. I think the answer to this conundrum depends on the situation: is it a rando? A friend? A person you’ve been hooking up with?

If it’s a friend or hook-up, you should address it directly. If it’s a rando, probably better just to drop hints and decline invites. Regardless, your biggest job is to be kind without being self-effacing—if you do that, you have succeeded.

Think about those things. Or don’t. You probably won’t take any of this advice anyway, because you are stupid self-deluding people negotiating love. 

Regardless of your choices, though, remember that friendships are resilient, like denim or zombies. So chances are, in both your cases, your friendships will rise again. If I’m wrong, however, and your friendships deteriorate, blame the Orient.
*Defining love broadly here, but as romantic, and not so broadly as to include those people who fall in love with their cars and dolphins.
**I am making this up. I know nothing about chemistry. Professor Ray, if you’re reading this, please do not fail me.