Ask Michael Cohen: 'Kinda" Is not Acceptable

06/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I've been dating this guy, who is a professor, for several years now. It's a roller coaster relationship. Recently, I noticed when we are on the phone he says "I kinda miss you" and when we meet up he says "you kinda look hot." My question is when did "kinda" become acceptable and what should I do because I'm not liking this? P.M.K, New York

Honey, be happy you are taking my class and not his. Here is my first lesson and this one I learned from my mom at an early age: "mean what you say and say what you mean." Either he misses you or he doesn't; either you look hot or you don't.

Now, before I jump the gun and tell you to put on your new Louboutin sneakers and run, you should look a little bit deeper at your relationship and the intentions behind the Professor's comments. Is he using the term 'kinda' as a way of being cute? Does he say it with a little twinkle in his eye and bite his lower lip? Is he afraid to give it all away to you because your "roller coaster" relationship? I'm not a shrink. I'm just saying. Maybe this Six Flags ride you are on warrants couples counseling?

Sometimes, we may not always hear something the way we want to, but yet the message from the other person is loud and clear. In the end, I lean more towards my mother's lesson: next time he uses 'kinda' to tell you how hot you look, start feigning heat, take off all your clothes, screw his brains out and leave him.

Then find yourself a man who knows what he wants.

I have been dating this girl for over a year now. We get along incredibly well. We love the same movies, music and the sex is really good. She likes to cook our meals which I don't mind (hey I'm a guy! I get laid and dinner!), but I do like hitting the scene and eating out at restaurants. Every time we go out either she hates the menus, something is wrong with her food or she is a bitch to the staff. It's really embarrassing and uncomfortable which causes us to fight like crazy. I don't know what to do. It's kinda beginning to be a make or break deal. Eric, Y. New York City

So by the time I was seven years old I knew the difference in steak temperatures. One night we had a family affair at Peter Luger Steakhouse to celebrate god knows who or what and my steak came to the table slightly more on the well done side than medium. Everyone else at the table was in carnivore heaven. Me, not so much, and I was ready to send my sh*t back. That is until my dad stopped me and said, "Deal with it. This isn't your last meal on earth."

Now as I imagine you are not a middle-aged Jewish dad, this may not work for you. But I think you get the point. Ask her to lighten up. But first get all your ducks in order. You have a good thing going (she feeds and f*cks you) so you want to do this right.

I know this might sound crazy, but let her to humiliate you and suffer through this dinner on the town two to three more times. Make mental notes of what she orders and what happens next. Then run to the bathroom and jot it all down in a little pocket sized notebook (I'm serious I used to do this as a reporter when a source was talking up a storm and I always had my facts straight.)

Although this might seem lawyerly, on a calm night, after a bottle or two of red wine (unless drinking exacerbates your woman's rage), bring it up to her and explain your case. Don't attack and use your notes wisely. Remember it's all in the delivery. While she might think it's outrageous that you've been taking notes, it sends a signal that you are serious and are making your best effort to methodically work though this situation. Get to the root of what this is all about. Maybe she is ordering the wrong food? Maybe she's a mid week diner and Saturday night crowds affect her sensibility? Whatever the case may be, let her know that having an unsociable, intolerable partner at the dinner table won't kinda bring down the relationship, it will.

After raising three kids, and being a soccer mom, my husband and I moved out of the suburbs into the city. We live in a luxury high rise condominium with only four units per floor. I thought this would be ideal because I would still have my personal space but alas I live next door to an overbearing neighbor who unannounced rings my doorbell in an attempt to socialize. While I appreciate her welcoming gestures, her intrusion into my personal space is beginning to kind of bother me. Carol, K, Philadelphia.

Seems like your neighbor is taking the slogan 'the city of brotherly love' a bit too literally. And this shouldn't kind of bother you, it straight up should. I too live in a high rise condo and there is a trade off. You don't have to mow the lawn, but you lose privacy and you get to know your neighbors really fast.

However, this does not mean that neighbors have any right to knock at your door should they hear you flipping T.V. channels or the water running. I suggest a few ways to handle the situation without being the new bitch in town.

The next time your neighbor pulls a ding dong, invite her in as you already have and share a glass of wine, tea, whatever you may fancy and, well, be neighborly. Tell her about your adjustment to condo living and have a conversation about how you value your time behind closed doors. Explain that it's your new dwelling and you need some time getting used to such cramp quarters, which is a bit of an exaggeration, but you trying to make a point.

If you happen to really like this person, exchange numbers and explain the best way to spend time is to call ahead because knocking on the door isn't your preferred mode of communication. This is where you can insert the joke that you may be walking around the house naked.

If you aren't her biggest fan, exchange emails and do that delayed reaction response. Your neighbor, unless she is truly clueless, will get the point that your house is not lined with cups of sugar. So what happens when you run into her in the elevator? Well, pleasantries are always nice. A smile and a comment about the weather is sometimes enough conversation for me and sounds like it may work for you too.

You can submit your questions on my website or in the comments section here.