Everything you need to know

**Dear Janet,

I have a friend who’s going through a breakup. But there is a problem. She seems really caught up in it and it’s a lot of what I talk about with her. How can I forcefully say that while I feel her pain, I don’t think she’s benefiting from dwelling on it? I don’t know how to say that without seeming to be saying “STFU” because truthfully I want to support her. She’s definitely the type of person who dwells on things rather than moving on to the next big deal.

—Thanks, Painful Aftermath of Love**

Dear PAL,

That’s a tough tightrope to walk — you want to be supportive of your friend, but after a while you get so sick of hearing the same thing over and over that you just want to tell her to get a grip. In my experience, the best way to get out of a situation like this is to push your friend toward new experiences and moving on ­— toward concrete action. If she’s complaining about something that happened, help her figure out something to do or say. Also, always take a hard stance on self-pitying statements. If she ever pulls out the “I’ll be alone forever, nobody will ever love me again” card, point out to her both the absurd falseness of that statement and the fact that she’s a beautiful, strong woman who doesn’t need a stupid boy.


**Dear Janet,

I hooked up with a girl I just met at a party. We spent the night together and didn’t get much sleep, if you know what I mean. We were just so into each other that we didn’t use any protection. She looked clean, so I’m not worried about catching anything. My question, though, is how do I tell her that my herpes was starting to flare up?

—Itching to Know**

Dear ITK,

Though I know your question is probably a joke, I’m going to answer it anyway because it’s a valid issue. Unfortunately, anytime you hook up with somebody you need to have that uncomfortable talk with them about sexual health and whether they’ve been tested recently. At some point after it gets hot and heavy, but before the clothes come off, you have to ask, and if you do have a sexual health issue (like you, ITK) you have to say something about it to your partner. If there is an STD in the mix, there are still safe ways to screw around without infecting your partner; you just have to make a little more effort to be safe. If you care about the person enough to sleep with them, you should care enough to talk to them about this, however uncomfortable or mood-altering it might be.