Relationship Advice From Severus Snape

Dear Professor Snape,


OK, I'm a 13-year-old girl, and I'm having a super-hard time with my friends. One of them, Britney, used to be BFFs with Mackenzie, but then Mackenzie made Britney mad and now they're totally enemies. Now Britney wants me to hang around Mackenzie just to find out embarrassing gossip about her, and Mackenzie wants me to do the same thing with Britney. I want to be friends with both of them, but they're not letting me. Help! -- Choosing Sides

Dear Choosing,


Clearly, what you must do is act as spy for both girls. Tell Britney that you are associating with Mackenzie for the sole purpose of learning her weaknesses and flaws, and tell Mackenzie that you are associating with Britney for the same reason. Each girl's circle of friends will suspect you of being loyal to the other side, and this will only increase your embitterment and jealousy. But that is a small price to pay in exchange for having two such powerful friends, Britney and Mackenzie. In the end only one of them will emerge victorious, and you will be in a good position to profit either way.

-- Snape


Dear Professor Snape,


I come from a mixed family: my mother is Methodist while my father is Episcopalian. I'm their only child. I identify as a Methodist, but I'm not ashamed of my Episcopalian roots. The problem is that there is a lot of tension at family gatherings, with the Methodist and Episcopalian sides always at each other's throats. I feel like I'm the source of their conflict. How can I get them to "live and let live"? -- In a Holy War

Dear Holy War,


Your real problem is that you're not ashamed of your Episcopalian roots. It isn't your fault that you're of mixed blood, but it is your fault that you're not doing everything in your power to hide this shameful fact, and to reject all that the non-Methodists stand for. Renounce that side of the family at once, and hereafter associate only with those of pure Methodist blood. -- Snape


Dear Professor Snape,


I work in the accounting department at a medium-size business. I enjoy my job, but I'd like to advance in the company. I have an MBA and am well-qualified for greater responsibility. I have been a loyal and devoted employee. However, year after year, when it comes time for promotions, I am passed over. I don't want to be pushy with my bosses, but I am getting more and more frustrated at being kept from the job I feel I deserve. What am I doing wrong? -- Unfulfilled in Philadelphia

Dear Unfulfilled,


Assuming you are as deserving of career advancement as you claim to be, the only possible motive your bosses can have for denying your wishes is personal spite and jealousy. Continue to make it known -- loudly, caustically, and to all who will listen -- that you want the position. Sneer at whichever employee gets the job, and insinuate constantly that you would be better at it. In the meantime, work with surliness and cruelty at your present position, as this will get the point across that you were meant for better things.


Dear Professor Snape,


Years ago I was in love with a schoolmate of mine, but she went on to marry another man. I recently discovered that their teenage son is a sandwich artist at the Subway where I get lunch two or three times a week. I hate to admit it, but it breaks my heart to see my childhood sweetheart's offspring blithely constructing five-dollar foot-longs, a constant reminder of the happiness I never had. What should I do to get over these feelings?
-- Brokenhearted in Boise

Dear Brokenhearted,


Your feelings are understandable. The wisest course for you would be to treat the lad with contempt. Bombard him with sarcastic remarks as he assembles your sandwich, deriding his pickle-distribution technique and his careless method of inquiring whether you want to add chips and a drink. No matter how much praise he receives from others -- no matter how masterfully he handles meat and cheese, no matter how capably he toasts bread -- you must continue to berate him. Just be careful not to gaze into his eyes, his beautiful, beautiful eyes. -- Snape



Eric D. Snider (website) doesn't approve of racist terms like "muggle."