Dear Harlan: I'm in a comedy troupe at my university. This year, like every year, we took four new freshmen, including a girl who I fell in love with pretty quickly. Night after night when I thought we were going to hook up, she would leave, leaving me confused and angry. I figured that some space would do me some good (I left for a semester), but it got much worse. It culminated with me spilling my guts. She thanked me for telling her and basically told me that she wanted to be just friends. It was a super-awkward conversation to have over the phone. It hurt, but I figured I was going away and time would heal the wounds. It hasn't. A mutual friend has told me that she's not sure how she feels about me. She sees me as a great friend or big brother and doesn't want to screw that up. And I understand that, but I still can't get over her. I've tried not talking to her, being with other girls, talking it out with friends. I still lose sleep over her every night. It's killing me. — Tragedy or Comedy

Dear Tragedy or Comedy: Did you hear that Tiger Woods has reportedly been playing golf with nagging knee pain for the past 10 or 12 years? And yet he has been able to win tournament after tournament with this nagging pain. See, it is possible to live life with an uncomfortable pain and still win a major. Likewise, it is possible to have a painful crush and still win big. You just have to play through the pain. Trying to move on by hanging out with her is like someone trying to lose weight hanging out at a doughnut shop. If you can't function, talk to a mental health professional (you might be suffering from depression that has little to do with her). If you can't be friends with her without wanting her, stay away from her.

Harlan is the author of "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College" (Sourcebooks). Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan! 2506 N. Clark St., Ste. 223, Chicago, IL 60614. © Harlan Cohen. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.