Arts Post
Posted at 07:58 AM ET, 05/18/2012

Carolyn Hax told you what to do. So what happened?

“I went out with a guy a while ago and am now still totally in love with him. He broke up with me because of some stupid thing I did. ... I still love him and want him back. What can I do? I can’t wait any longer.”
Fifteen years of Hax advice , fifteen years of Nick Galifianakis cartoons to go with. (Nick Galifianakis)

So begged a letter-writer in the pages of the Post on May 19, 1997. And what followed was our first taste of the refreshingly direct, sharply witty and increasingly wise words of Carolyn Hax. The advice maven has been at it for 15 years now, answering too many questions to count. Chances are pretty good you’ve either sent her a question of your own (send her another, Fridays at 12 ET!) or seen shades of yourself in someone else’s letter. And whether you’re the LW/OP for whom her advice was meant, or just a regular reader who adopted her suggestions for your own situation, we want to know what happened. The comments section eagerly awaits your take on the real-world application of Haxian wisdom. (After the jump, a look at her five most-read columns).

“Tell Me About It” started as an advice column for the under-30 crowd. The first few weeks invited topics that would become familiar territory over the years — the dilemmas of the lovelorn (“Love means not scanning the room for better prospects,” she told a a woman whose man said he wanted to be with her “as long as he didn’t find someone else.”), the frustrating busybodies (“All you owe rude people is the civility not to punch them in the throat,” she warned a reader who was reluctant to answer obnoxious questions about her relationship).

After a decade and a half, the column has matured beyond the bounds of the 20-somethings. But while the questions — and Carolyn’s answers — have grown more complex, the base issues the motivate us to ask remain so familiar. Take, for example, the five most-read columns on our site:

What happens when parents go broke during their golden years? (November 2011)

What do stay-at-home-moms do all day? (May 2007)

A daughter doesn’t get along with dad’s new girlfriend (January 2010)

He cheated on his wife, and it’s a weighty issue (August 2010)

How to plan the wedding you want without alienating others (January 2012 — though this one’s a roundup of questions from as far back as 2002)

Families in crisis, friends who don’t understand, and the ever-invisible line between what you need and what they want. Some waters will always be tricky to navigate on our own, and so we ask for help. If you’ve used Carolyn’s advice in the last 15 years, tell us about it in the comments below.

And a happy Hax-iversary to all.

***

Archive: Catch up on past columns

Debut column: Flashback to 1997

Q&A: Join in on Friday at 12 ET

Contact: tellme@washpost.com | facebook.com/carolynhax | @carolynhax

By Amanda McGrath  |  07:58 AM ET, 05/18/2012

Tags:  relationships, advice

 
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