Advice From Paradise: Love Advice (and Music) from Nedelle Torrisi

This week: how to cope with deciding not to date, and forming platonic relationships.

Hi, my name is Nedelle.

I’m a musician who started playing the violin and singing in musicals at age seven. I come from a Sicilian–American family; I’m the daughter of an ex-nun and an ex-priest who ended up working at a prison. My brother is a neuroscientist and will probably discover something really awesome someday. We’re all musicians, too.

I’ve put out a bunch of albums on different labels and under different monikers: Nedelle, Nedelle and Thom, and Cryptacize. The most recent one just came out on Ethereal Sequence/Drag City under my full name, Nedelle Torrisi, called Advice from Paradise.

I also began giving out love advice semi-professionally on my Tumblr a couple of years ago, after doing it unprofessionally for friends for years before that.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ask me anything at advicefromparadise@gmail.com or ask anonymously at advicefromparadise.tumblr.com.


Hey Nedelle,

I am 26 and I’ve never had a boyfriend—by choice. It’s because I can’t feel. I always felt like I was a sociopath because all the indications point to that. I can’t feel anything, and I don’t care too much, but people I know in my life are starting to ask questions. I’ve dated tons of guys, but I only do it to get free food; I don’t stay with them long. Is there something wrong?

Firstly, I feel like this answer needs a disclaimer, which is: I’m not a psychologist. If you can get to a real “pro” to tease out this intricate question, that’d be my first piece of advice.

I definitely know some “lone wolves” who are single by choice and don’t really date at all. A couple of them have never had a long-term relationship. It’s not a bad thing. They aren’t even misanthropes, though some might be—they just really love being alone! Notable “lone wolves” include Bill Murray and Morrissey, who said, “I am attracted to humans… but, of course… not many.”

Remember that show Dexter? Well, I loved it, and sometimes I wondered if Michael C. Hall, who played the titular serial killer, was affected by the sociopathic and psychopathic nature of his character. Did he ever find himself relating too much to his character, and if so, did that scare the bejeezus out of him? What’s my point, you ask? Well, I’m talking about our impressionable natures. Things affect us and change us. I wonder whether more people are feeling numb these days—with the access we have to every horrid thing happening everywhere on the planet at all times, it can feel like life is a bad movie, and what’s worse, you’re the viewer of your own bad movie. I digress.

That said, I think describing yourself as a sociopath might be a little extreme. Yes, this might be true, but you know how self-help books tell you to smile if you’re bummed, which tricks you into feeling happy? It’s the whole autosuggestion thing. When it comes to feeling things, I’d say keep an open mind about who you are. You’re young, life is long, and anything can happen! You might not feel love right now, but you probably feel some things. Scared at horror movies? Sour tastes on your tongue? Excitement when…fill in the blank. And if you don’t feel anything ever, you can always try seeing that therapist (or psychiatrist) I mentioned above.

As for what other people think, this is a good time to exercise your IDGAF attitude as a self-defense mechanism. People will judge, people will talk, and that’s probably because they’re boring and have nothing better to do. But you do! You’re on a path to self-discovery, and no one can fuck with that! Try and enjoy the bizarro journey.

Song Recommendation: “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young

I recently met a woman who I think would make a good new friend. We are both in relationships, though, and I know you have been less than enthusiastic in past posts about forming friendships in these situations. Still, I find myself more drawn to the company of women and have had many platonic opposite-sex relationships, even with people who are crush-worthy. How do I let the woman in question know my intentions? I sense her aloofness and wonder if I’m sending mixed signals unintentionally. Maybe she just doesn’t think I am friend material? Help!

Hi! Many thoughts come to mind. I think it’s hard to make new friends, especially after a certain age, because it’s natural that some people reach their friend capacity. (Granted, I have no idea how old you are, I’m just saying…)

Secondly, committed relationships take up tons of time! Why isn’t yours taking up your time?

My guess is this person works hard, has a hobby or something, and has a ton of friends already. There are only so many hours in a day—don’t take it to heart! She is probably spending her time doing the thing that made her awesome, which made you like her in the first place. In the meantime, you have your special so-and-so to worry about. TBH, I have a hunch that is the real issue at hand. Good luck!

Song Recommendation: “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” By War

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