Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Theory & Essay

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Am I Really Annoying Him?

Dear Damon, I was with a man and we have been off and on for the past year and a half, he recently lost his job and somehow that has changed everything between us. When we first met he used to love having debates with me just because we have different opinions and our information was always from different sources. He’s an information junkie but I’m a student. He used to tell me how smart he thinks I am and how he loves that I am so articulate but since losing his job he barely wants to be around me or communicate with me because he says I annoy him. The last time we spoke I asked him if he was still planning to come to my graduation, two hours went by and still no reply from him so I told him he no longer has to give a response I will take it to be a no. This infuriated him and he said it’s things like that that make him not want to talk to me. My question is can someone who truly loves you and want to be with you, which he claims that he does, find you that repulsive to the point where they don’t want to be around you or talk to you, or is something else most likely going on?

Dear Shelia,

Let me share something with you. When I respond to these letters, I usually try to stretch a two or three sentence answer into two or three paragraphs. I employ this tactic for various reasons—to give context to a certain point, to make an analogy so that a point is better understood, to riff about Love and Hip-Hop etc—but overall, the main reasons are to soften the answers and make them more readable. Even if a 300 word long question could be answered in three, I try to shy away from doing that because it seems condescending and (just as importantly) no one wants to read that.

Anyway, I’m bringing this up because I’m struggling to provide an insightful and non-condescending answer your question, because the answer is in the first sentence of your question. He lost his job. He’s obviously upset about this, and the emotional, mental, and financial strain of losing employment has begun to strain the relationship. Honestly, the fact that you haven’t made this connection—and you using hyperbole like “repulsive” to express a point as well as you taking a two hour gap in communication as a sign that he doesn’t want to be with you—shows me that you both might be a bit too young to even be thinking about serious relationships (and also kinda proves his point about you being annoying).

Read more at Madame Noire

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Tes

    If I may… By no means am I a relationship expert like Uncle Champ, but with this particular thing I think I have some insight.

    He just lost his job. If he is a totally independent person, meaning he lives and supports himself, at this point he’s entering the “Oh sh*t, what now?” phase. In this phase, though you may be important, you are not putting food on his table, or providing him a place to stay. You are not helping his situation, his very real, very present, very “right the f*ck now” situation by asking “Well, where do I stand in all this? How do you feel about me and us ?” That is not only annoying, but sort of self-centered.

    Simply put, if you’re not a part of the solution you may be a problem. Give him space. Understand he’s a separate person going through something that has nothing to do with you. Do what you can to help out without making it seem like pity. Treat him the way you would want to be treated in this situation.

    *gets off soapbox*

  • She annoyed me with her questions and I only had to read them. I don’t even want to imagine how annoying she would be in 3-D.

    • Rogman


    • Kim

      Lmao in 3-D…She’s annoying Him and Us.

  • Todd

    Homegirl is a chickenhead. I mean dude had something major happen to him, and she thinks of herself? He needs to and find someone a bit more grown in the head.

    • Chocolatte

      I am roooolllliiiing at this response.

  • whateversclever

    i have to respectfully say “y’all trippin”. while ol girl may be quite self-centered, his calling her annoying (repeatedly?) or saying that’s the reason he can’t talk to her…means it’s time to chuck the deuces…if you love someone you gotta be more respectful, and put ish into perspective…the economy is bad & getting worse…people will continue to lose jobs. not an excuse to lose affinity for your mate.

    • weethomas

      Sometimes you need to call your mate out for what she is. If she’s being annoying and nagging, there’s only so many times that you should ignore it before you say, “Babe, you’re being a nag. Stop it”. Now, of course, she’ll get mad and say why didn’t you say something all along. Of course, if you told someone she was being a nag the first time it happened, you’d look like the crazy one.

  • Grown folks know that the ones you care about the most are sometimes the ones you want and need to be farthest from, due to the deep feelings involved. The job loss is no joke especially to a man and he probably doesn’t want to be near anybody right now unless they have a lead. 2 hrs without hearing anything back- She’s mad and this dude is trying to figure out survival? GTFOH. I sure hope their main activity together wasn’t debate. Job or no job, that gets OLD quickly.

  • Smilez_920

    She said She’s a student so she could possible be anywhere from (21-25). I think mentally she still a little young for a relationship. It seems like he was giving her a lot of attention in the beginning , and instead of reciprocating that in his time of need, she busy saying ” WHAT ABOUT ME”.

    Girl give him some space. When he does call let him just talk, maybe he has something’s to get off his chest. But like someone said above, if he someone who is completely independent he is stressed about what his next step will be and you’re asking him about graduation. I mean a job loss is one of those life changers. I’m not saying let him completely be mean to you or anything but back up off him. If you really need that attention you may just need to be friends with this dude and move on.

  • au napptural

    I disagree. Recently I lost my job. As a student I feel this puts me in even more dire straits than this guy, b/c that throws off everything in my life. But guess what? I still found a way to get home for Easter and my lil’ bro’s deb. ceremony. Next week, I’ll have to go home again for mother’s day. I could b!tch and moan about how I don’t have it, or this takes time from job hunting, or w/e.

    But first of all, no one cares. We are all grown and have our own issues and no one really wants to hear anyone else’s. Next, so what? I lost a job, I’ll have to manage till the next one comes along. But if I turn on my family and SO at this moment, they’ll still remember what a b!tch I was when I get a job. And
    in a year, no one will care why you didn’t show up for one of the most important days of their lives. All they’ll know is you weren’t there. This guy is a dick. He’s taking his frustrations out of his girl instead of letting her a.) be happy her life is going right and b.) being honest and letting her comfort him. He wants to look hard? He’s going to be out of a gf as well as a job.

    • You missed one important detail- He never said he wasn’t going to her graduation, she made that decision for him. That’s what set him off and she had it coming. This is one of those situations where a person is just creating more drama out of thin air. He may have had time for her but not for THAT.

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