So, this is gonna be a bit of a long one but I need some guidance because I don't know where else to go.
Recently, I left the furry community due to feeling I didn't fit in it no more. I was in a depressed state. I lost people that brought me out of my shell and got me to do art again, and the people that were still there for me stopped helping me as they didn't know what else to do.
To provide context, I was with a group of people that inspired me to draw again - and I happened to piss them off doing an RP. I tried doing art for them as a way of saying sorry, and after that I was gonna leave them alone, but it backfired hard in my face and got me chewed out by a few of them.
When I talked to this other group of friends, one of them exhausted his options to help me get over it, and the rest just stayed silent no matter how much I reached out.
And it got to a point where I didn't want to stick around anymore. I couldn't handle the weight of the pain I felt. I got tired of dealing with it, and there was nothing else I could do to help alleviate the pressure of it all.
Today, I am getting help and taking steps to keep myself on the up and up. But every now and again I keep thinking about those people I RP'd [with] and I've been trying to forget them so I don't hurt anymore.
The question I have is: How do I come to terms with this whole thing, even though I've accepted that I'll never see them again?
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Apologies for the slow reply.
I'll start by giving you kudos for getting help, which I interpret to mean some professional counseling, an excellent step to take. Since you only provide generalities here without explaining details as to what you did, exactly, to upset your friends so much, I will reply with some generalized words of advice.
As much as we want to be furry, let's face it: we're human. And being human means we can make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes hurt feelings and cost us friends. In the worst-case scenarios, those friends are gone for good. Even a sincere, heartfelt apology combined with attempts to make amends and compensate for the hurt will not work.
It's also natural to think a lot about what happened and even obsess about the past, creating a cloud over our heads that casts a shadow on our lives.
So, what do you do?
Take stock of what you have done so far. The essential steps include: 1) Admitting you made a mistake; 2) Apologizing for the mistake; 3) Making amends for the mistake; 4) Promising not to make that mistake again and to try to do better in the future. At any point in the process, the person you have offended can reject your gestures. When that happens, you will just have to accept it.
An important lesson in life is that you can't change other people's behaviors and reactions; you can't control them. The only thing you have control over is your own actions and reactions.
It is also important to keep in mind that when you do something wrong--whether or not you intended to do it--it is not necessarily a failure. We all make mistakes, and the key is to learn from those mistakes and take those lessons to heart so you may become a better human being as a result. If you constantly strive to be a better person, then even if those people you have wronged in the past do not forgive you, it's okay. It's not a loss; it's a lesson.
And that's how you come to terms with something like this. You accept the consequences of your mistake and consider it a lesson in life that will help you to evolve into a better person in the future. We cannot change the past, but changing the past is not what life is about. We are here to learn, and as long as we keep learning, we will stay on the right path in life.
Hey, there. My name is William and I had been lying about my age on my Twitter for about a couple of months. I came clean to my online friends who were 18+ artists just yesterday. A big reason I lied was due to how the fandom treats minors who are just trying to enjoy themselves. But I still felt icky and guilty doing it. I told it publicly. Some were hoping to see me when I was 18, but I hurt one of my biggest friends and supporters, and I don't know if I could come back after 4 years knowing what I have done to my most loyal followers. Do you have any advice?
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To be frank, you have a lot of damage control in store for you. As you know, you violated people's trust, and it sounds like you did so for months (or years?) That ain't good.
There are several steps you need to take in order to try to repair this and move forward. Oh, and don't expect this to go quickly. You lied for a long time, and now it will take a long time to get back what you've lost.
1. Confess your lie not just once but two or more times--publicly.
2. Apologize profusely for what you did.
3. Explain why you did it, honestly, but also do not say that this is an excuse for lying.
4. Invite those you lied to to tell you how they feel about what you have done and read (or listen to) every word they say. Don't interrupt. Listen. Don't argue.
5. Make a promise and commitment to yourself and others that you will never ever repeat this mistake or lie again in any other way.
6. Do NOT indulge in creating a new fursona or other identity and then try to pretend you are not the same person because that is yet another lie, and, as a lie, it will eventually be discovered, and THEN you will have NO HOPE of recovering any legitimacy to your good character ever again. I've seen furries try to do this, and what happens is they end up on furry beware lists and become anathema to the community.
7. Learn from the comments you hear. Really listen to how you have affected others. Use this as an opportunity to grow as a person.
8. This step takes the longest: spend the next months and years being an honest furry, one whose word is as good as gold. You must rebuild your reputation not just with words but with actions. Be very patient because, as I said, it will take a loooooong time, but, eventually, people will begin to trust you again with enough evidence provided by you of your good character.
9. Accept that, no matter what you do, you will lose at least some of your friends. Not everyone will forgive you no matter what you do.
10. Finally, learn to forgive yourself. What you did does not necessarily mean you are a bad person, just that you have flaws. We all have flaws. The good news is that if we allow ourselves to acknowledge these flaws, we CAN change. I do not believe in the old saw that people don't change. They do; they can, if they are willing to put in the effort.
The good news? You're young. You have time to recover from this.
I've written to you before, but I used the name StormFolf! Well, when I wrote you, Storm was my first Fursona, and I hadn't fully gotten into the fandom yet. But now I've done my research and things are going great!
My new name is Harmony. I'm a Raptor! Anyway, I took your advice and told my family and friends about being a Furry, and they were entirely supportive. A few days after telling my brother, he bought me a raptor mask, and a few days after THAT, one of my friends that I told bought me some paws, and painted my mask! Its all thanks to you, and I thank you greatly.
I am doing great, except for one thing. I told one group of friends that I was a furry, but they have banded together and won't stop taunting me. They tell me that I'm a f*g, and tell me to stop watching animal porn, when I've made it clear I'm not into that. I've told many adults, but nothing helps. My mom says I may have to stick up for myself, but idk how.
Harmony (age 13)
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Thank you for your letter and I'm very happy for you that your family has been supportive of your furriness :-3
Okay, about bullies: You may have read some of Papabear's earlier posts about bullies, and the same kind of logic goes with your situation. All bullies are alike, and sometimes they glom together in bully cliques to torment innocent kids like yourself. Bullies behave this way for a couple of reasons: 1) they are insecure about their status in their social group, so they tear down other people to lift themselves up; 2) they have no skills or redeeming qualities in themselves, so to feel better about who they are they pick on others to try to make them outcasts; 3) they are like wolves in a pack, and sensing weakness in others gives them a reason to go on the attack to assert their place in said pack; 4) they are emotionally troubled because they have a lousy home life, which causes anger to build in them and they release this anger on others because they need to vent their frustrations and sadness in some way (even if that is an inappropriate way [this is like the character Gideon Fox]); and 5) they are fearful of anyone who does not adhere to what are considered "social norms," and fear leads to hate, which leads to bullying.
Once you understand some of the psychology of the bully (or bully group), you will see that the flaws lie within THEM and not within YOU. You don't get bullied because there is something wrong with you; you get bullied because there is something wrong with them.
You describe these people as "a group of friends," but I assure you, they are not. Not if they treat you this way.
The way to defeat bullies is to take away their power. What is that power? The power is the ability to make you feel bad about yourself. This is reinforced by the strategy of trying to stick a label on you such as "f*g."
The most effective way of fighting back is to show them that what they say has absolutely no effect on you. Yes, at first, this will be difficult, but the more you practice it the more it will be true. When they say things like "You want to watch animal porn" or "you're a f*g," just say something like, "That would really hurt my feelings if I cared at all who you are or what you say. You're not my friend and I have no respect for your opinion." Don't say this with tears in your eyes or angrily. You must do it with great calm and indifference. The more indifferent you are, the more they will see they are not hurting you, and bullying you won't be fun for them anymore.
Other things you can say:
Remember, in NO WAY show to them that you are upset. This is actually where you can take some advice from Nick Fox in Zootopia: "Never let them see they got to you." Don't try to defend yourself with arguments or denials because this is engaging with them and that is exactly what they want. They are not interested in your arguments or in the truth. Their sole purpose is to upset you and pick on you. Don't let them. If you do a good job, they'll get tired of you and pick a new target. Then, you might share with that new person what you have read here.
Get the idea? You can come up with your own comebacks, too, as you feel appropriate. (Remember, if they turn violent, report it at once. I doubt they will because most bullies are cowards, but you never know).
I hope this helps.
Thanks for reading Ask Papabear.
So, I have a friend group, and the "leader," let's call him Fred (not really), is purrfectly fine with furries (see what I did there?) and couldn't care less. However, if I tell him, the other, not so nice kids are bound to find out, like the notorious Steve (also fake) will go, and I quote, "You're f@&$ing a!$ stupid for being into that porn &h$!." And they will tease me about it. I don't know what to do! Please help! ;w;
Anonymous (age 12)
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Ah, group dynamics are a complex thing. After years (decades, really) of failing to belong to any groups myself, my approach now and forever more will always be to have friendships on a one-on-one basis. You don't have to be friends with everyone in that social circle, especially those who are going to act like "Notorious Steve." Don't worry about that. Why would you want to be friends with haters? Be friends with those who accept you for you, and the others can go take a long walk off a short pier.
This is a good time in your life to learn how to figure out which people are friend material and which ones are shallow and judgmental. If you learn this at the age of 12, you will be way ahead of most people in the world by the time you are an adult.
Remember, you were not put on this planet to get people's approval. You are here to lend a unique voice to the chorus of humanity. Your job is to learn who you truly are as a person and to live your life genuinely, truthfully.
I wrote this in the hopes of getting your advice regarding a person I know.
This person is called Kevin, and he is autistic. I've known him since late middle school, but I wouldn't call him a friend. You see, Kevin didn't really have friends, and because my mom knew his mom, he essentially latched onto me and would follow me around in and outside of school.
Other people didn't particularly like him, and because he always followed me around, my highschool friend group was small. Kevin had a tendency to talk a lot about things he really liked, and would often interrupt me in conversation (and the things he liked were video games and cartoon TV shows, which he very regularly derailed conversations to).
Fast forward to the end of high school, and I now saw Kevin less. I came into my own more as a person and my friend group grew larger, which was great. Kevin was still around of course, having not made friends in high school. His mother seemed to sense a distance growing between us, and would often invite Kevin to events or excursions I was planning without my permission. For example, Kevin was dropped off by his mom at a hike myself and some friends were about to start. As it wasn't TV or video games, Kevin complained during the whole hike (admittedly, he wasn't hugely active either, having zero interest in sport or exercise). This reached boiling point when one of my pals said to his face "shut up r****d". I was so embarrassed.
This brings us to now. I am currently attending college in Ireland. I love it over here (despite the constant rain) and my roommates (who are all Irish) are probably the friendliest people I've ever met.
Recently though, I started getting messages from Kevin's mom. They started harmless enough, asking me what it's like in Ireland, what my accommodation is like, etc. However, Kevin's mom started asking questions I didn't like. "Do they offer games coding courses in the college?" "I heard there's a spare room in your apartment, is that right?" "They have a games club on campus don't they?"
Kevin's mom wants to send her son all the way to Europe just to bunk in with me and my roommates. I did not leave the Midwest just to end having to deal with Kevin again.
I haven't responded to these messages, but even my own mom agrees that this idea is beyond ridiculous.
How do I respond? What do I do? I'm not Kevin's babysitter and he's not my friend. I want nothing to do with him anymore, and he needs to find his own friends, and not follow me around the world.
All the best,
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You are clearly a kind person, being so tolerant of Kevin all this time and being so sympathetic to his situation. As you know, autism is not a mental handicap but, really, an emotional one in which the autistic person has a hard time dealing with social situations. They also don't like unfamiliar places and they don't like change. You represented familiarity because your mothers were friends, and so that felt comfortable to him. I am, frankly, amazed you allowed this to go on for years even though the two of you have nothing in common. His mother foists Kevin on you because she wants her son to have a friend, even an unwilling one.
You are under no obligation to be Kevin's friend. Kevin's mother is extremely rude and presumptuous to try and keep pushing Kevin on you. The proposal that he should follow you all the way to Ireland is worse than absurd. It's completely outrageous. You should, frankly, get a medal for putting up with this for so long, but at this point, they are using you so hard that it is almost criminal. You have a right to your own life and your own friends (and kudos to you for finally getting that in Ireland).
I had something similar to this happen to me in high school when this dorky kid with whom I had nothing in common followed me around, making me quite uncomfortable. What I did was, basically, ignore him and refuse to acknowledge him until he eventually got a clue. I didn't do this very gracefully (being young and inexperienced), but it worked.
I don't know if you have ever said "No" to Kevin or his mother, but it is time you start. You don't have to say anything so inept as, "I don't like Kevin. Bugger off." But what you can do is simply say things like, "There is no room for him here." Do not offer any contact information or, Lord knows, addresses. Tell your mother not to give out such information. If that doesn't work, it is time to start ignoring him and his mom. Don't answer phone calls or texts. Give them deafening silence. If you don't put your foot down now, you will be living with Kevin for the rest of your life. He is not your responsibility. And you are 100% right that he needs to start making his own friends back in America.
Don't let them push your sympathy button. Don't allow them to make you feel guilty. Kevin's happiness is not up to you. You deserve your own life, friends, career.
If your mother tries to guilt you, tell her what I said. Tell her to not give Kevin and his mom any of your contact information. If that causes a rift in the friendship between moms, then so be it. That is not your problem either. Kevin's mom is a user, and users are to be avoided at all costs because they can seriously destroy your life and happiness and make you feel guilty while they do it. It is the worst kind of passive-aggressive behavior.
I think you already know this. I hope it helps you that you have a bear here who agrees with you and is telling you that you are not a jerk for finally being free of Kevin.
I have been in the furry fandom for about 6 or 7 years, give or take, and have been making fursuits for about two. i don't post about my fursuits to online forums, but I do distribute to friends and family. Recently, I came under some drama because of one.
I had made a black wolf suit a while ago and gave it to a friend, who sold it last year as they no longer wanted the suit or the character the suit was based of off. Recently, adult content featuring this suit has popped up, and most people don't care, but my friend group, and people who know me personally/know my friends and work, have been harassing me and the person who originally owned the suit.
I believe the person who owns the suit now converted it into a murrsuit, as I made repairs to the suit before it was sold because of a popped seam in the armpits, and on the neck of the head, and there weren't any naughty holes in it then.
I have tried to explain the situation to others, but I can't seem to get it through to them. Any advice?
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I've come across many similar situations from my readers in my inbox. While the specifics are different, the results are the same. A furry gets accused of something they didn't do and no one will believe them when they deny it, even when they present evidence to the contrary.
When this happens, the letter writer always asks me for advice on what they can do to convince their friends and family they are innocent. Wrong question. You did nothing wrong. The real question is this: WHY don't they believe you? There could be a couple of reasons for this. Are you an untrustworthy person who has lied before? If so, like the boy who cried wolf, you are unlikely to be believed.
I don't think this is usually the case, however, with the people who write to me, including you. Far more likely is that these other people don't like who you are or don't agree with what you are doing. Therefore, when they find some "evidence" that justifies their point of view, they believe it and will not change their minds about it because it validates their opinions. This is the same reason we have Trump voters. Despite all the evidence to the contrary that he is a horrible person and an incompetent leader, people voted for him because he validates their worldview concerning white superiority and the fear of people who are different. In your case, the idea that you make murrsuits validates their worldview that all furries are perverts, so they stick with that interpretation.
Another possible reason is that they are looking for people to put down so that they feel superior themselves. This is the trolling syndrome and is also true of bullies. Many people who have low self-esteem become bullies or trolls and look for signs of weakness in others in their community. Whether or not that "weakness" is true or not, they will glom onto it and begin a campaign of trashing you so that they can say, "Hey, look, that person is a loser. They aren't like me. I'm awesome and superior to them." (They don't talk like that, but you get what I mean.)
So, my advice? Since you can't argue with stupid people and hateful people, all you can say is this: "Well, I have told you my side of the story, which is true. If you refuse to believe me, that's on you, not me." The burden is on them to fix the relationship, not you. The good news, if you want to put a positive spin on things, is that now you know which of your friends are derps and should be avoided.
Then look for better people to befriend. They are out there. I know a lot of them. Fortunately, sounds like not all of your friends believe this lie, so that's a great thing!
I've always had this bitter feeling between me and my parents. It's not hate or spite. It's just a unpleasant. I feel like it has to do with differences in political views. I hate this feeling. I feel unwanted in this world in I'm around my parents or any authority figure. The only people that make me feel whole and wanted are my friends. I love my friends, they make me feel wanted, like I deserve love. However, there's this fear in my head. I'm afraid of that bitter feeling and I'm afraid of that bitter feeling spreading. I mean, I've had friends with different political views but I never had any feeling of bitterness with those select friends. All of my friends, and I mean; ALL OF MY FRIENDS make me feel whole and wanted. What I'm afraid of is that the bitterness would spread in some friendships. I absolutely don't want that. I don't think I can bare such an oppressive feeling. I have a good feeling that it will NEVER happen. But I still fear it. So what do you think is the deal? Why is it that my parents and authority give me that bitter feeling? It confuses the hell out of me.
Maxi (age 18)
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It is quite natural for teenagers to resent, disagree with, and even sometimes hate their parents. I would, however, be hesitant to believe that you "always" felt that way. I'm sure that when you were a baby and little kid, you loved and looked up to your parents. As you got older and started to form your own opinions and worldview that didn't mesh with your parents' views--and, also, found them to be authority figures who restricted what you wanted to do (i.e., your "freedom")--you began to dislike their company. This pretty much always happens. My theory is that Mother Nature plans it this way because fledglings eventually have to leave the nest, and it is easier for parents to kick their kids out of the house (or to see them go on their own) during a stage in their lives when they become obnoxious, disrespectful, and petulant.
You see, Maxi, growing up comes in three phases: 1) infancy and childhood, when you depend on your parents as your sole source of nurturing and comfort and you believe they know everything and they are your world and you crave their attention and love; 2) puberty and the teen years, when you suddenly know everything, you're always right, and your parents become utter morons who should be put in an institution for the sake of public safety; 3) adulthood, when you realize that both you and your parents have good and bad points, know some things and not other things, and you are all basically good but flawed human beings. You are currently in Stage 2.
Stage 2 is also characterized by the forming of close bonds with your peers, who you feel more closely reflect who you are, what you think, and how you feel. All of you are in the phase when you resent your parents as authority figures, and this is often expanded to all authority figures (teachers, bosses, police officers, politicians, etc. etc.)
As your friendships progress, you will lose some friends along the way (they will move or you will stop sharing interests or you will find out they are jerks), but you will also form new friendships. Do not become distressed by this because this is also perfectly normal. Do not be upset if you become "bitter" about some of these lost friendships. That is also normal.
Do you see a theme here? The theme is: You are normal. Everyone goes through this to a greater or lesser degree. You are not suffering from any weird psychological or emotional disorder. You're fine.
Eventually, as you mature, in all likelihood you will realize you are not as smart and cool as you think you are and your parents aren't as despotic and mean as you think they are. I feel quite confident that you are not unwanted and that your parents actually love you quite a lot. Over time, you will also get better at forming true, lasting friendships and recognizing which people are just fair-weather friends or, perhaps, even users. You will form better friendships and your relationship with your family will get better (this, again, is a typical pattern but there are always exceptions, but I see nothing in your letter at this time to indicate it will progress otherwise).
I hope this makes you feel better, Maxi. You are just at the beginning of exploring deep, meaningful relationships because you yourself are becoming a more mature, complex, and interesting person. Roll with it.
I guess I should start at the beginning. I had a friend, I’m not sure I should say his name. Let’s call him Ron. Ron and I were inseparable. I mean, we were only friends online, but we were closer than anyone. Almost like twins.
Ron and I talked all the time, but of course we both had our own lives, so it was normal that he and I didn’t talk for a few days. He had his own friends, and I had mine as well. But we were always there for each other. Best friends.
I noticed that after some time had passed, years I mean, that he started talking to me less and less. Even though I’d message or call him. He’d start to leave me on “read” or even just flat out send me to voice mail. Which didn’t bug me at first. He was probably just busy. Then I noticed it happening more and more. And I saw that even when he was online he still wouldn’t reach out to me. That started to get to me a bit. He started commissioning art that both of us had planned to get together with others. Ideas that I shared with him and we both promised to get.
Over time, I asked him what was going on. Did I say something? Did I do something? And he just flat out said “our friendship has run its course.” That hurt me so hard. Someone I had considered family to me, would just turn their back on me like that. And without a word.
Years later. I have a best friend now, we can call him Jude. Jude and I are the same way Ron and I were. Closer than anyone ever. Actually, we went to high school together. We have known each other for 11 years or so, but only have considered each other best friends for about 5-6 years probably. It feels like forever though. I love this guy to death, and I’d risk my life for him. And he feels the same way, I know it. Mostly because he told me so.
But . . . well again he has his own friends. And sometimes he will be with them instead of me. And...I really hate to say it, I feel paranoid. Almost like he will see a better friend in them instead of me, and leave me for them. Just like Ron did. He’s gotten so close with others. Even artwork with them and it scares me. Wow, typing this out, I feel disgusted with myself. And he’s noticed this. He does say it does bug him that I get like this. I tell him I’m fine but he says he doesn’t believe me when I say that.
Jude guarantees me that we are best friends until the literal end. And that he would never think about turning his back on me as Ron did. But I still get really scared.
No friendship should be like this. How can I even call this a friendship with how selfish I act like this? Am I just a terrible friend to him? I know it’s completely unfair.
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This is a good example of my belief that online relationships aren't the same as in-person friendships. Real friendships require a commitment and dedication beyond typing or video chat. They take some sacrifice along with the rewards. When there is no real-life contact with a friend, when you don't go through troubles and tribulations together as well as good times, then no strong connection will form. Oh, sure, you can have friendly chats and if you share hobbies and philosophies you can feel as if there is a strong bond there, but, just like the internet, it's only virtual. "Plans" to meet sound nice, but then reality gets in the way (money, work, school, pandemics) and that "someday we will meet" gets pushed farther and farther into the future until it never happens.
Your friendship with Ron was only virtual. Eventually, he got tired of it and turned his attention to friends he could actually see and do things with in person (my theory). So, he became bored and moved on, tired of waiting for you. Jude, on the other paw, is a friend with whom you have a shared past in high school. This is a totally different ball of wax. It is much more real. It is therefore not the same as your friendship with Ron. You should not compare apples and oranges, Tieg. And you should not allow one bad experience with one person poison your friendship with Jude. If you do, you will find yourself creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, you will become so paranoid that Jude will dump you that he will feel you don't trust him and he will dump you.
Get over Ron. Jude is not comparable. Commit to this relationship; trust Jude, and don't act like Jude is Ron. If you do, you will poison what you have.
You are not a terrible friend. You're allowing fear to control you. The absolute worst thing you can do to yourself is allow fear to rule your behavior. A common human foible. Forget about Ron. Live for today. Today is all you have. Ron is the past; Jude is the future. Enjoy your friendship with Jude and trust him to be there for you. And stop torturing yourself. What happened to you is totally understandable, but now is the time to learn and grow from the experience and don't obsess over it.
Have a good holiday and a blessed New Year.
Hello again, Papabear,
I’ll get to the point. Within my years in the fandom, I realize I sometimes gravitate to furs a bit older than me. I do have plenty of friends my own age, and I’ve made sure not to put myself in a compromising situation (any con or furry meetup I’ve gone to my mom has gone with me, and I of course follow safety rules on the internet). I find that I sort of seek out these older figures; but I don’t quite know why. I have a good relationship with both my parents, and they’ve both been there for me. So why do I want to seek out these relationships? (never romantic mind you).
Galaxy (age 16)
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As you know, much has been going on in the world and it has been affecting my life, so sorry for the slow reply. I have a question or two first: Do you gravitate toward older males, females, or both? Are these furries a LOT older than you or just a little older? Is this attraction physical or more intellectual or emotional?
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Worry not, the virus has affected many, many people including my own family. Hope you’re safe! And to answer those questions, I find I tend to gravitate towards male furs (though that could be partially due to the surplus of male population in this fandom), however I have found some older female friends in the past. These furs tend to be in their early 20s (which I realize is the most common age for furries), though l I’ve met a few who are older mostly online. When I do form a bond, I tend to see them as an older sibling sort of figure in simplest terms.
Hope that clears some stuff, if you have any other questions I’m ready to answer.
* * *
Well, it could just be that you find older furries more interesting (or, at least, just as interesting) as those your age. Older people tend to have more experience, wider interests, more things to say about the world and life in general, and so your being fascinated in them probably is evidence that you have a bigger, more expansive menu of things about the world that you find compelling, too. So, I would say that your attraction for friendship with older people speaks well of who you are and that you have a wide range of things that you like to think about, talk about, and do. Good for you! Nothing wrong with that!
My name is Marco and I have been vocally active in the furry for 3 years. Ever since then, I have learned no so many good things, but have tried to stay strong. It's just that I feel like a lot of the groups I'm interested in really grind against my values as a normal person. For one, I am really into roleplaying and talking about silly cartoon stuff a lot, but I still cannot really find my footing in feeling like I belong. I just feel like all the searching has done has only increased my sin of assuming things about others, and I dunno if I'm necessarily right about being that way. I really just want people that aren't all in crazy about a specific fetish or are not too far gone in themselves. I'm sorry if I am a bit self-centered about this myself, I really just want help that isn't so neutral and just want people see myself as who I actually am.
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So, basically, you want the furry experience sans porn and sans people who are too far into themselves. Well, on the latter, that is more of a society issue than a furry one. In this world, you're going to have a rough time finding people who are not preoccupied with their own needs and concerns. That's just the nature of people. I can't really offer you a good solution there other than to pick your friends carefully. There ARE many good people out there, furries and mundanes alike, but you have to be patient in finding them. Don't lose heart just because you run into a lot of trolls, users, and haters along the way. Eventually, if you keep trying, you'll find good people.
As for staying away from fetish stuff, it depends on where you go. You can avoid FurAffinity, or just press the Safe For Work (SFW) link to clean up the site automatically. Stay away from Tumblr and e621.net. SoFurry.com is a pretty clean site. You might also, if you're a Christian, try Christian furry groups. Furry Amino (for your phone) also seems like a fairly safe place when it comes to art, although I have heard complaints about drama and such there. On Facebook, you can try joining Clean Furries (https://www.facebook.com/Clean-furries-162730203792649/).
In short, there really is no simple answer to your question. As with life, you have to sort the wheat from the chaff; you can't just buy a handy bag of wheat off the shelf, unfortunately. This takes time, patience, and understanding on your part. Keep putting yourself out there, keep reaching out. When you run into someone unpleasant, don't be afraid to just block them and avoid them. Then continue on in your quest.
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.