I welcome comments and letters for advice, but before you email (at the address listed below), please read these guidelines first:
1. By sending me questions, you are granting me the right, in perpetuity, to use, quote, alter, and/or display those questions however I choose for commercial and non-commercial distribution. I will assume you have changed names and removed identifying details before you send.
2. Before you send your letter, please check the archives or search tool in the sidebar for columns that address your issue. If you have found my site by Googling a topic and landed on a column that is similar to your issue except for just one little detail, I’m not going to write a whole new column just for you, sorry.
3. I don’t answer questions privately. DO NOT SEND YOUR LETTER IF YOU ARE NOT OKAY WITH ME PUBLISHING IT.
4. Please keep your letters under 500 words and please, for the love of God, use paragraph breaks. If you can’t keep your letter to under 500 words, you probably need a therapist more than an advice columnist (and that is not an insult; it’s a tip). Therapy is awesome. If you think you can’t afford it, research sliding-scale therapists, community counseling centers (they often serve low-income individuals), and university psych departments in your area. In addition, 12-step programs are a wonderful way to get cost-effective group therapy in a supportive environment.
5. I do not answer every letter I receive, nor do I promise to answer them in a specific time frame.
6. I will not share your personal email address or identity, unless you threaten or harass me or other posters and commenters. If that happens, I will not hesitate to share all identifying information I have with the appropriate authorities.
7. I am not trained or staffed to answer or handle crisis questions. I’m just not. It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s that I simply cannot. And you deserve to be helped, so please, if you are in a crisis and need immediate care — someone to listen to you, a safe place to stay, medical care — contact people who are specifically trained and staffed to help you. The best way to do that is to google or search for “hotline or helpline” + (nature of your issue) + your town or city or state.
8. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer or you want to make a comment or just say hi, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.