Dear Blake,

I’m 26 and not currently in a relationship. I don’t have many friends. I’d like to have more, and I try. I wasn’t popular in middle and high school, either. I have been in and out of college, so I haven’t been able to make friends there. I have worked at my job for three years and it’s the same story.

People say I’m “sweet, nice and cheerful,” but those traits aren’t helping me. I know you’ve written about this problem before. Can you give me some tips for being someone who others want to be around?

Signed, Josh
From Bryson City, North Carolina.

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Dear Josh,

There can be a variety of reasons why no one seems to “get” you. You live in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains, so I have to determine why you are being rejected by fellow hillbillies. Is it possible they think you’re uppity because you wear shoes? Or, does your neighbors think you’re a traitor to the community because you buy liquor from a store, rather than make it in your backyard using a still? Or this possibility. Maybe the people in your town think you feel you’re too good for them, because your parent’s home has a his and hers outhouse. But I think the most likely reason, is because you’ve been in and out of college. I believe the people in your town are hoping you’d come back with a college degree, so you can then volunteer to teach the rest of the town how to spell, read, and bathe. I hope this helps.