Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Good Girl/Bad Girl Approach

I usually avoid the “relationship questions from readers” sections in magazines because I almost always completely disagree with the response. Mainstream mags directed at teenage audience are particularly guilty of encouraging girls to ease off their stances, over-justify their reactions, and employ short-term solutions to their relationship problems. In other words, we’re building a new generation of Stepford wives who are falsely empowered by what they think they are doing to manipulate men.

One particular website, which I won’t name, was answering reader questions with topics like “I’m upset that my boyfriend has all these ‘just friends’ girls writing flirty messages on his FaceBook page” and “I like this girl at work but I might become her supervisor soon, can I still go for it?” And as I was reading it, I couldn’t help thinking about how I would answer questions like that. But as I continued reading, I realized that I probably would have two answers to every single topic.

See, here’s my secret – I’ve got the Good Girl/Bad Girl Approach.

The Good Girl, like the good cop, always tries to make nice and work things out. The Good Girl is the sweet, understanding relationship-type that always stands firmly but calmly on her stance. If you can’t articulate your feelings about a situation in a cool, collected manner then you are probably overreacting to something. Of course it’s fair to get caught up in the moment but if you can’t say what’s at the root of the problem then there is no point in addressing the surface of it. Tell him that it bothers you that he appears to be flirting online because he’s giving off the wrong impression. If you’re going to be together (always work the "we" angle), then his behavior in all respects should reflect how he feels about you.

But the Bad Girl, she wants to play the game too. She doesn’t care how it hurts the relationship, or lack thereof, in the long run because the battle is more important than the war. She can react however she wants because it’s simply how she feels and why should she have to compromise for him? Play his game in your court, don’t give him the advantage. He flirts online with others, you flirt in person with others. “That’s just how you are. It doesn’t mean anything.” See how he likes that.

The compromise. It is almost always a compromise between the two above extremes. Let me tell you, that FaceBook question – I think it was ridiculous to begin with and poorly answered to end with. Yes, she had the right to be upset but no, demanding his login name and password is not the way to “prove” that it was harmless flirting. Yes, she should state her opinion calmly instead of screaming but no, giving him a taste of his own medicine is not going to change his mind or behavior, at least not in a healthy and productive way.

I'm really both the Good Girl and the Bad Girl. I commit myself wholely to making a relationship fully long-term functional but I also did the full dating scene. Plus, I'm a huge Sex and the City fan. You don't watch that show without developing a lot of opinions about dating, relationships, and sex.

I’ve always wanted to answer relationship questions, but I think most people find me to be entirely too blunt. What do you think? Should I pull some questions from dating websites and give the answers a Good Girl/Bad Girl revamp? Answer them my own way? If you'd like to see it, leave a comment and I'll review the responses!


  1. i definitely like both approaches and i feel like i have both sides in me as well. but it all comes from our experiences. i would say "no way" to the person who wants to date someone he/she works with... because i've done that and it's a bad idea.
    i think you have a great insight into it all!!

  2. oooh i love this post. i totally hear what you're saying. i try to write good advice on glamour but it can be so tough! i'm inspired by your post :) joannaxo


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