Dear Carolyn:

I am a 19-year-old college sophomore who cannot communicate with my parents. I am dating my best friend of six years and plan to marry him. I know my parents won't accept this (at least now) because they think I should be focusing on school, which they are paying for. My parents barely know this man and already dislike him. They think we are casually dating. I want to share an apartment with him for many reasons. Instead of leaving the state and my homework every weekend to visit him, we could spend time together casually every day and I could pursue my career to the fullest. I know I could trust him financially. I also think it's safe to live with a man when you are in a city and can't afford an apartment with a doorman. I will only have one chance to plead my case and want to do it professionally and honorably. I am insanely stressed and suffer from insomnia because of worrying. I want them to see the pros of this situation and realize I am only trying to create the least stressful situation.


No, you're trying to move in with your boyfriend because you love and want to marry him. Admit that, at least. It won't persuade your parents that shacking up at 19 is smart -- in fact, it'll confirm their worst fears -- but it's the truth, and you won't get anywhere arguing anything but.

By contrast, everything else you offered up is a rationalization geared to counter your parents' disapproval. The travel thing, the career thing, the money thing, the doorman thing. Each one is not only transparent, but also incidental. Your folks aren't talking travel or safety. They're afraid you're closing your mind to the kinds of things life offers, via college, only once -- that you're too immature to be so deeply involved. Your whopper about "casually dating" only supports this, and the fact that they "barely know" your "best friend" since 13 is suspect.

So demonstrate how responsible you can be by addressing their doubts head on: "I know you think I'm too young and I'm closing my mind to the opportunities college provides. And you may be right. (Note crucial show of maturity.) But I'd like the chance to find this out for myself." They may still reject the idea, with gusto. That's their prerogative as long as they pay the bills. But better to have them reject it with respect for your honesty and realism, rather than with despair at how badly you're missing their point.

Dear Carolyn:

On a blind date, what are the basic ground rules to make sure things go smoothly? Any specific things to avoid?


Avoid: misrepresenting yourself, depending on your date for transportation, forgetting your wallet, getting drunk, choosing venues too noisy for regular speech, and having any expectations whatsoever.

Except awkwardness -- you can safely expect that, so have conversation starters ready ("So, what's your worst nightmare, besides having nothing to say on a date?"). And since you can't be "sure" anything will go smoothly, be sure of the next best things -- that not all surprises are unpleasant, and that even the worst date in recorded history eventually came to an end.

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