Ever since starting college, I've been lucky enough to make some quality friends. The people I've met, including one furry who connected me to the local fur scene, really seem to be a good match for me. When we're together, the chemistry is good and I have a good rapport with them.
The problem lately is that the time for quality interpersonal interactions with my friends has been limited, and it's making me doubt some of my friendships. In community college, people are often on different schedules and have jobs. One key friend of mine is always super busy. He runs one of the school clubs (where we met), has two jobs, is a full time student, and is currently planning his wedding (he's 21). Because we're in the club together, and we have a weekly D&D game, we see each other a lot. But the quality of these interactions rarely goes deep enough as I really want because he doesn't really have time (or doesn't like me quite enough to make the time) to just hang out casually and have conversations. Our friendship feels stuck. And sometimes, if I catch him in the library or something, I'll approach him and he'll say, "Well, I have class soon so I can't stay." Recently, he said this when his class didn't start for 25 more minutes. It's just frustrating because I thought we had something good, but it's either not able to go anywhere or he doesn't like me as much as I thought. He's a very kind person, very supportive of me being gay and furry and all that. He'll even hug me too. But I fear that his tolerance has fooled me into thinking that we're closer than we really are.
I'm just wondering: how do I know when a friendship isn't worth pursuing anymore? It's difficult because I haven't had a friend like this in a long time, so I'd hate to let it die on the vine. But at this rate, I'm wondering if it's worth it.
Murray the Rat
* * *
Based on what you have written here, your friend is sincerely, incredibly busy! I mean, my gosh, he has school, a job, runs a club, and is planning a wedding! If I were him, I wouldn't have time, either, and would be seriously stressed out. And it sounds like the time he does give you is as good as he can do at this time in his life.
I believe you are reading far too much into his reactions that he doesn't have time. (And 25 minutes is NOT a lot of time, as you seem to believe). Don't be offended, but in my opinion, you are being rather selfish expecting more from him just to focus on you and your need for a long chat.
Do not dismiss the friendship you have with him lightly. Just enjoy what time you have, such as playing D&D and participating in the club, and don't worry about it. Most friendships made at college dissipate, anyway, as people get jobs in different cities and lose touch. I don't have any friends from college today, and only one friend from my childhood keeps in touch. All my friends were made from my first real job and thereafter.
So, is it worth it, this friendship? Yes. Enjoy it for now. Don't "pursue" it like some forlorn lover (or are you smitten by him?), because, frankly, that can get creepy and stalky if you get too insistent. Be cool. Relax, and enjoy the present.
I apologize in advance if this comes across as a bit of a ramble, but I wanted to ask for some advice.
So, long story short, I decided to try my hand at writing furry fan fiction (mostly just a bunch of one-shots) to the point that I created several concepts for stories - some general, some a bit more mature in nature. This is mostly because I want to get my ideas out of my head so that they don't start bothering me. But I'm beginning to get cold feet about it for two reasons.
First, the fact that the group of friends that I normally socialize with (which contains at least three furries) have openly decried the subject of "yiffin,", leading me to think that they don't have a high opinion of people who do any sort of adult content reagarding the furry community, along with other factors, makes me feel ashamed of even considering the idea in the first place. That said, I do know of one friend that engages in the more mature aspects of the community, but this is something that I discovered by accident.
The second reason is that I have already submitted literary work online, and I am very worried that people will recognize my writing style, and therefore find out who I am (as I intend to submit these works under a completely separate account). I've seen a lot of people submit mature content in addition to more general stuff, but unfortunately, I don't have that kind of confidence. There's also the fact that I already have a very slow upload rate as it is due to factors that are essentially outside of my control, so people might either recognize my inconsistent upload rate or try to pry into my personal life.
So my question is this; do you think that I should submit my ideas under a different account, or should I just put my works on hold and/or scrap them if necessary? I'm just not sure if there would be any point to me trying to maintain what is essentially an internet double life.
* * *
There is porn and there is mature content when it comes to stories. When you say you sometimes write stories of a "mature nature," are you talking about flat-out yiff or are you talking about stories that have some adult situations? Porn, to my mind, is fiction or art that is just meant to get the audience off; mature fiction has a story, characters, themes etc. that just happen to occasionally (and with reason) have some lovemaking in them. If you are writing porn, I can certainly understand writing such things under a pen name. Writers do that all the time. And unless your style is extremely distinctive, I doubt anyone will know it's you. If you are embarrassed about it, however, why write it? If you are not embarrassed about it, then you should not care if others disapprove, no?
Leading a double life, as you say, is nearly always a futile endeavor. Eventually, one way or another, the secret will out. If you are not prepared for that, then you should not do it. If you absolutely need to write some of these stories down to get them out of your head, then write them down, but you do not need to publish them for the effect to be as cathartic, you understand.
Most of all, write because you love to write, and tell tales that are honest and true. So long as you do that, you should be able to find satisfaction with yourself. What others think does not matter in the slightest.
A Fellow Writer,
A week ago, I had my first ever major workplace injury, burning my hand with boiling hot milk. I’ll explain the story as briefly as I can…
Semolina is a dessert similar to porridge but sweeter, more grainy and traditionally eaten with a dollop of jam (jelly). You make it by mixing the grain and milk together cold, then slowly heat it up whilst stirring. The employee we had as chef that dat wasn’t a professionally trained chef, so he thought you had to heat the milk up first then add the grain after (that’s how we do the custard).
When he asked me to then do the semolina, I had to improvise my way around it by mixing semolina grain with cold milk in a jug then pouring that into the already-hot milk, sticking that back into the steamer and taking it back out again to mix. This lead to the tin becoming over-filled.
For some reason, we don’t have any oven-gloves in the kitchen. Instead, we use thick tea-towels to handle hot things. It’s hard to explain but this meant whilst holding the tin with a tea-towel, the middle of it hung under the tray in a ‘U’ shape. So when I was taking the hot, over-filled tin out of the steamer, the ‘U’ of the towel caught the corner of one of the work surfaces, knocking the tin to the side and causing boiling hot milk to spill over my left hand.
I immediately put the tin to one side and stuck my hand under a cold tap. Nobody saw the accident as it happened and I withheld from screaming, but the chef noticed when he saw my under the tap and the milk all over the floor and worktop. I tried to continue working, but I couldn’t take my hand away from the cold water.
Surprisingly, chef was a trained first-aider, so he got the first-aid kit out and applied a cooling gel pad to my hand and wrapped it up in bandages. We called for an ambulance, but they later called back asking for more details and, upon realising it wasn’t a life-threatening injury, sent a taxi instead. This was paid for by the hospital.
After 3h of waiting, they took off the bandages and pad. There was some very small blistering around my thumb and finger but no massive bubbly ones, so they applied more pads to it and re-bandaged it. After a few days, I took the bandages off again. The doctors advised me to see my local GP once I took my bandages off, but I didn’t fancy being in a waiting room again so I skipped.
As of this moment, the blistering has mostly come back down, but the skin has discoloured, feels hardened and looks like it’s lost texture, too. I could be wrong, but this to me looks like it’s scarring and it’s now for life.
I’ve been debating whether or not I should claim compensation from my workplace for this injury. On one paw, this injury likely would have never happened if a) we had oven-gloves in the kitchen and b) a professionally trained chef was left in charge. On the other, I’ve developed a good relationship with this care-home in the four years I’ve been there. I don’t play golf with the manager or anything like that, but they know me as the one who does the job, never complains, never goes off sick each weekend and does as he’s told. I don’t know if claiming for compensation would damage my relationship with them, or worse, prompt them to let me go.
What do you think, Papa Bear? Should I claim compensation, or should I keep my mouth shut?
* * *
Hmm, this is a complex question. You need to ask yourself, "What do I stand to gain/lose by filing a claim against my employer?" The injury happened and filing a claim won't change that. Based on your story, I don't think your employer was being deliberately neglectful or hostile to you. If your medical is being covered, then the only other thing would be asking for damages, which would definitely put off your employer and damage your relationship with them. I would also consult with a doctor and ask their opinion on what the lasting damage will be.
If it were me, and I liked my employer, I would discuss with them what happened, why it happened, and how best to avoid such things occurring in the future. I would have a meeting with them (after you know the full story with your doctor), and ask the employer if they can do anything else to help you. (Also, do you have an employment agreement? If so, read it and see what it says about lawsuits and whether you are required to go to mitigation before filing a lawsuit).
I wasn't sure about U.K. law in this matter, so a little research told me this: Unlike in the U.S. and some EU countries, the U.K. does not have workers compensation laws or programs. What your country has is the Health and Safety Executive, which requires employers to have liability insurance covering up to £5,000,000. I would work closely with your employer in a nonconfrontational way to see if their liability insurance can help you with any further medical expenses.
Yes, your employer should have had a real chef in the kitchen, and yes, oven mitts would have been better, but you also have some responsibility in being careful in the kitchen, which obviously has some hazards such as hot ovens and sharp knives. You also bear responsibility for getting further treatment, and deciding not to go to your GP for a follow-up was not the wise thing to do if you want to improve your chances for as complete a recovery as possible.
I'm sorry to hear about your injury, but I would suggest working closely with your employer, offering them feedback on how to improve the work environment, and asking them for help rather than filing a claim independently. That said, if your employer proves unhelpful or even hostile to your situation, then yes, I would consider filing for compensation. (I know your past experiences with the law have been bad, so you see my reticence in going down a legal path for you).
Wishing You a Speedy Recovery,
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.