Dan and Hannah and Philip Galanes – Some Coronavirus Relief

Thanks to the coronavirus, have you been spending a lot more time with your spouse/family over the last five plus months?  Are you thinking about having one or two people over for socially distanced drinks and apps on your patio or deck?  If you are ready for someone new to spice up your life, let me introduce you to Philip Galanes!

Galanes him

Philip Galanes

Recently, with our dear local friend Karen, and later with our longtime friends, Donna and George, who were passing through on their way home to North Carolina, we took our conversation to the next level thanks to PG.

Galanes images

As an advice columnist for the New York Times, each Sunday Philip in his Social Q’s column tackles four relationship questions from readers.  Witty, real, and insightful in his analysis, he brings a light-hearted touch to awkward social situations.

Here’s the routine that we use.  I read aloud the first question in the column to Hannah (and/or our friend[s]).  Before reading Philip’s response, I set the column aside, and we all discuss what we think we would advise this person to do.

Here’s a recent example of a reader question titled “When the Lease is Up.”

I recently moved out of my apartment, parting ways with my roommate of one year.  She thinks we’re best friends and intends to remain close.  She is a kind person, and I wish her well, but I don’t consider her a friend.  She has many traits I find frustrating: She is too dependent on me, and we lack interests in common.  I was friendly while we lived together, but I no longer want her in my life.  New York is so big it would be easy to never see her again.  But part of me wants to express myself and tell her I don’t want to be friends with her.  What should I do?  Liz

These situations are opportunities for Hannah and me and our friends to share our insights, reveal our values, begin a conversation of depth, and learn from each other.  Often, we are pleased with Philip’s insights and good humor that we neglected to include in our conversation.

Galanes columns

For this above dilemma, we draw upon our own experiences.  I brought up, does Brene Brown’s advice in social situations that clear is kind apply?

Try answering the above dilemma with a spouse or friend before you look at Philip’s response below.

Here’s one more dilemma from Social Q’s titled “Gotta Get My Keto.”

I am a 60-year-old man in great shape with a lean and muscular body.  I have been sheltering in place with my younger girlfriend since March.  We get along great.  Since we’ve been together, she has adopted my ketogenic diet.  The good news: She has gotten much leaner and looks amazing!  The bad news: It’s getting harder to find enough keto friendly, grass-fed beef, kimchi, macadamia nuts, pasture-raised eggs, organic greens, and avocado oil at the supermarket.  Because of Covid-19, I only shop once a week.  How should I approach her about not finding enough keto food for two?  Jonathon

Consider discussing this one before you see Philip’s response below.


Philip’s response to Dilemma #1 – I get your impulse to speak out.  It seems to be tangled with some pent-up annoyance at your ex-roommate.  But it would be cruel to tell her pre-emptively that you don’t want to be friends.  She hasn’t asked you for anything yet!  Take a break.  Tell her you’re settling into your new place when she asks to hang out. (New Yorkers have the best excuse in the world right now: social distancing.)  You may be surprised, though.  After a healthy absence, a kind person who cares about you may sound pretty good.

Philip’s response to Dilemma #2 – Your gratuitous bragging – about your foxy body and younger girlfriend – and even longer shopping list do not make me terribly sympathetic with your plight (Surprise!)  Consider modesty the next time.  Level with her.  Perhaps she can shop on a different day than you, after the market has been restocked, or she explore shopping online.  I hear young people are great with computers!

Philip is our guy.  If you have found these two social dilemmas and his responses intriguing, google “Philip Galanes – Social Q’s” to find more of them to deepen the conversation you have with your spouse and/or friends.

16 thoughts on “Dan and Hannah and Philip Galanes – Some Coronavirus Relief

  1. Oh, how fun. I too am a Galanes fan, reading his advice column even before perusing the Zoom weddings or tackling the crossword. Love his kindly scolding of the Keto guy—I would have been much more harsh. I hope you’ll forward your blog article to Galanes. Authors always love hearing from fans.

  2. I know why you like this guy, Dan. He’s your twin. It was always so fun to talk about an issue with you – because you looked at different angles. I’m still nudging Targe along. . .to talk. One night we were laughing and reminiscing in pool, and I was so happy to hear him seemingly so happy with old stories. . .till I realized his eyes weren’t focusing and he was about to fall in the drink?! “but only two glasses of wine!” oh, right, those plastic 12 oz glasses – Great post, my friend.


    • Thanks, Diane. Though he went to Yale, he didn’t go to the Harvard of the West – Arizona State University – like we did. He can only aspire to such greatness. Two glasses of wine? Remember the last time you two were in Maine one hundred years ago or maybe 35? That’s right, we made serious work of four bottles over the course of the evening. Good times in Arizona with you two, especially when we ended up in the Dash Inn. We still use the Kachina glasses you gave us the day we moved to Maine from Arizona in January 1982.

      • I like his responses too, he is tactful and to the point! I don’t think I would get along well with keto guy! And I agree, its something ELSE to talk about! The Dash Inn!!!! That took me back in time!!

      • Let me know if you get this reply. Some readers don’t see my replies and I always reply individually to those who comment on my blog. Tell us more of your stories with the Dash Inn. Supposedly it is being reincarnated. Please let us know if that is true on your next visit to the Valley of the Sun!

  3. Done. Tweeted your blog article to Philip Galanes. Luckily there’s a Twitter button at the bottom of your blog. If he responds or “likes” the tweet I’ll let you know.

  4. We’ve always been fans of Carolyn Hax and now look forward to having another advice columnist to consult/enjoy. Thanks for the introduction to Philip Galanes and the fun accompanying social activity. This might work well for my weekly family Zoom meetings. We sometimes struggle not to circle around Covid talk. I’ll give it a try this week and let you know!

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