Snide remarks land friendship in E.R.

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Dear Carolyn • A close friend and I are entering health science careers via graduate school. We are pretty competitive individuals, and she puts a lot of her competitive emphasis on the academic realm. She is going through medical school now, and I am going to school this spring for physical therapy. My problem is that she consistently, unintentionally dismisses my profession as easier than hers or less difficult to get into. She often makes comments such as, "I know you'll be offended by this, but most medical students who are close to failing out choose to go instead for physical therapy." I'm hurt that she could think so little of me and this profession.


Dear Hurt • Define "unintentionally." The competitiveness of your degrees and professions is irrelevant. There's just this: She: "I know you'll be offended by this, but ... " You: "Then why say it?" Consider it a public service to all the non-M.D.'s this eventual M.D. will rely upon — heavily — over the course of her wow career.

Dear Carolyn • What are your views on whether a man, if he is truly interested, will make a move to ask out a woman? I feel like we are bombarded with ideas and celebrity figures telling us that if a man doesn't make the first move, he is "just not that into you." This doesn't seem to leave room for the inherent fact that every person is different and responds to situations uniquely. Is this just another tactic to keep women from feeling too powerful, keeping them from stepping up by promoting fear of rejection? Or does this simple idea ring true for the majority of people?

First Move or No Move

Dear First Move • Countless traditions and expectations don't "leave room for the inherent fact that every person is different." Yes, boys are culturally influenced to understand that it's incumbent on them to act on their romantic interests, so, yes, a man who hasn't asked you out often is not interested. Sometimes, though, he just hasn't noticed you (yet), or he assumed you were out of his league, or is shy, or etc., so the uniqueness of the people and situation has to prevail over "rules." Calling it a "tactic" ignores individual differences, too, no?

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