Adam’s Apple: getting over breakups


Adam Jutt ’25 is a math and economics major from Cincinnati, Ohio who writes articles sometimes. Contact him at

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

Who do you turn to when you need advice? A family member, such as a parent or sibling? A significant other? A best friend? A religious authority? If you have a trusted advisor who fits one of those descriptions, I have a message I think you’ll want to hear: You need to drop that person from your life, immediately. 

You should never take advice from people close to you, from people who you trust and whose opinions you value. People like that provide clouded judgments influenced by their imperfect impression of who you are and often molded to align with what they think you want to hear, meaning the recommendations they provide will be biased and unreliable. And that’s the best-case scenario. That presupposes that they at least have good intentions, which is seldom true. In fact, in the long run, following the advice of trusted peers or mentors will likely get you killed. Often, at their very hand. Just ask Caesar, a man killed for heeding Brutus’s advice to go to the Capitol. Whether or not I slightly altered the details to make them better fit my thesis of “if you ask friends for advice, they will probably kill you” is not important. What is important is the question: who can I trust to give me good advice?

I have spent a long time dwelling on this question, and I have an answer. I’m not definitively saying my answer is the only valid answer, but I would be seriously wary of anyone trying to tell you something else. The answer is this: me.

You might be struck by the coincidence that, as the person who has meditated on the question of who to trust for advice, I happen to be the one presented as the only trustworthy advisor. Some of you might even try to calculate the odds that the answer to a question with eight-billion possibilities happens to be the one who is answering the question. Surely the odds of that are low, right? But please, don’t waste your time on that problem! I did, and it took me a really long time. The answer, though, is that the odds are actually pretty high, and you shouldn’t be surprised or suspicious about my conclusion whatsoever.

Now that all doubts have been assuaged, put yourself in my shoes. You have just come to the remarkable conclusion that your advice is the only advice in which anyone should be interested. What do you do? Why, you start an advice column at your college newspaper, of course! It has been suggested by some that the idea for this column was actually a collaborative effort by Editor-in-Chief Anna Arnsberger and Executive Editor Agavni Mehrabi, i.e. that it was not my idea at all. And while that is technically and fully true on all levels, the flow of this introduction hinges on my ability to claim ownership. 

So, after the column was created (note the intentional passive voice), I asked Flat Hat Social Media Editor Karis Koutsourelakis to post about it on the Flat Hat Instagram story, so people can send in their questions for me to answer in subsequent print issues of the paper. (For future reference, assuming this column continues, meaning Anna does not read this, regret letting me take the job, and kill the column to cut her losses — a non-negligible possibility — I believe that Instagram stories will be the main way questions are solicited. However, if you don’t have Instagram — very mature of you — or miss the story, questions will always be welcome at any time at any Flat Hat-associated email address. Please send them in!) The post read as follows:

“Need advice? In a predicament? Would appreciate some guidance? Then submit questions here to be answered in the Flat Hat’s brand new advice column! (Disclaimer: the advice given should almost certainly not be followed)”

That disclaimer at the end there is, of course, nothing more than a spritzing of humor/sarcasm into the post: the advice I give here SHOULD be followed at all costs, no matter what happens. Not exactly my type of humor, but the hope was that it would appeal to our social media base. 

A day later, I checked in with Karis and learned that we had collected a grand total of three responses. The Flat Hat Instagram account has 3,378 followers in total, which means that the 3,375 people who didn’t respond with a question made — and I don’t want to exaggerate here — the single biggest mistake of their lives. I feel heartbroken for them, of course, but nothing can be done. 

The next task, then, was to pick which of the three questions to answer. It was an incredibly tough decision, one that made me wish I had someone like me in my life to consult. One of the questions was from a member of the Flat Hat staff, so I ultimately could not pick it due to the ethical issues. One of the remaining two questions was written by a close friend of mine, who wrote it only after I forced him under implied threat of violence. So, thankfully, it cleared the ethical hurdle. I watched the gears spin as he brainstormed … here was an opportunity for me to solve any of his life’s problems for him in plain, written form. He eventually typed the following: “ingrown toenail fix, ASAP.” At first, I was grateful that he felt comfortable being vulnerable with me about the difficult medical issue hampering his quality of life. It occurred to me later, though, that he might have been joking. Unable to take the gamble and risk making a laughingstock of this column, I decided we had to go with the third and final question: “How do you get over a bad break-up, when you don’t dislike the person?”

Some would say I am the last person who should ever take a stab at a question like this, having never gone through a breakup, much less one of the bad variety. Some would say it’s almost impossible to give good advice here without more details about the situation. But I say: 

Probably time and space would be good, maybe (unless you don’t think so). Basically, you are in a very tough spot (very sure about that). Distancing yourself for a while to help expedite the moving-on process is pretty ubiquitous breakup advice (from what I’ve heard), but that is much easier when you come to the conclusion that the other person is awful (I assume). That said, it is important to differentiate between whether “not disliking them” means you just think they are a respectable person or whether it means you are still romantically interested. Sometimes, the former possibility is a disguise the latter possibility wears (totally winging it now). If it is the latter, either go all-in to try to save things (though apparently that doesn’t always work too well) or seriously heed the time and space thing. Just don’t seek out the middle ground (friendship, I guess) under the pretense of just liking them as a person, if you secretly want to get back to the way things were (which involved kissing, maybe). So, just do what feels… right. And mature. And appropriate. (And fun, if possible.)

Hopefully that helps! I would go into far more depth but, unfortunately, I am out of words, having already devoted around 1400 words for the exclusive purpose of answering your question. To those who suggest that 1200 of the words did not deal with the specific question at all, perhaps so I could avoid having to say much of anything about the actual topic in light of my ignorance, I won’t stoop so low as to respond. 

See you in two weeks (please don’t kill this, Anna).



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