Last year I got a new job and around that time, a good friend of mine stopped talking to me. I tried to find out what happened but I was hurt. After a few months of silence after sending multiple messages, I blew up and told him he was being a terrible friend and he blocked me.
Losing him as a friend was hard and it took a long time to get over. However, I still wish I knew what changed and got some closure. I want to reach out but I'm not sure if it's appropriate, especially since this happened a while ago. Do you have any advice?
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The first thing I would suggest depends on whether you have any mutual friends. If you do, contact them and see if they have heard anything. Usually, such behavior from people is the result of misunderstandings or miscommunications, so, yes, it's important to find out what went on so that you can try to clear things up. If no mutual friends are available, perhaps you can scope out his profile on some furry social site or other, then go there, read his posts or journal entries, and see whether they offer any insights. Your friend might have blocked you in a messenger or email program, but he might not have elsewhere, you see. There is also the very old-fashioned telephone, but of course, that can also be blocked. Next, there is in-person contact. Does he go to a particular furmeet or furcon on a regular basis? Perhaps you can go to one of those and try to talk to him in the real world.
So much could be going on here that led to this state of affairs. Perhaps he was going through something personal and difficult and was unable or too tired or sad to contact you and then when you blew up at him he was shocked and hurt. Perhaps he heard a false rumor about you that made him stop talking to you. Perhaps he's just a jerk. You don't know until you can talk. When/if you do, start with an apology for blowing up at him, tell him your friendship is valuable to you and that you will do anything you can to reconcile (within reason, of course).
Bear in mind it is possible you might never be able to talk to him again, and you will never get that closure. Could be one of those lessons that, in life, nothing is guaranteed and stories often don't come to satisfying conclusions. I hope that it works out for you, however.
I want to write to you about is cannabis. You see, medicinal cannabis is going to be legalised in the UK tomorrow [November 1] for only those who need it the most. If I’m correct, it’s for epileptics whom have had no success with other treatments. I want to say that this is great news and all that, but I’ve had this strong prejudice against cannabis since the first days I learnt what drugs were. I think I can pin it down to 3 key factors:
Since joining the fandom, though, I’ve come to discover that many of the friends I’ve made are cannabis users, to varying degrees, and even those who aren’t tend to have no issue with it. Not to mention a lot of celebs I like, like Morgan Freeman and Whoopi Goldberg, have been outspoken about their use of weed. So, I’ve found myself in this predicament where I’m trying hard to work all the propaganda, bad apples and smoking-bias’s out of my head ever since.
I’ve done a ton of research about cannabis since then. So, I know the difference between CBD-based and THC-based varieties (essentially, it’s the THC kind that makes someone high). I know that the CBD-kind can work wonders to cure/suppress all kinds of medical and psychological issues. I know that even the THC kind is neither as addictive nor as dangerous as a lot other substances, legalised or not. And, I know that legalising it would both increase business and probably make it a lot easier to manage since it’d discourage people from using the black market to get their fix.
But, despite all these positives I know about... I’m still uncomfortable about the prospect of it being legalised. It’s not like I’m denying these facts about it at all, it’s just that they’re not working to change my mind for whatever reason. The friends I have are good people, and I don’t want to think bad of them just because they might use wacky-backy once in a while.
So I ask, how do I get rid of this prejudice against cannabis which I’ve had for so long? How do I make myself okay with it?
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What follows is simply my personal opinion on the subject, so take it with a grain of salt. As with anything else, there are good and bad things about weed. Let’s begin by why weed was illegal and had a bad reputation in the first place.
Why was it considered bad? I can sum it up in a few words: weed has been seen as the drug of the poor and the foreign, and so a campaign of criminalizing and stigmatizing marijuana was initiated by the elite. There is an excellent article about this here. It has nothing to do with “drugs are bad,” since the wealthy and the corporate have been pushing drugs for centuries (from the Opium Wars to today’s opiate crisis in the medical community, rich people are drug pushers of a disgustingly immoral sort).
Naturally, this orchestrated stigmatization perpetrated by those in power includes the public education system, which is where you were indoctrinated into believing weed is evil. Word of advice to all those reading: public education is a scam to brainwash children into becoming good little cogs in the machinery owned and operated by those in power (educate yourself by searching for books in the library and book stores and read read read).
In the last few years, the government stigmatization of cannabis (in America and worldwide) has changed to be more favorable because of three things: the preponderance of evidence that cannabis has many medical benefits, that it is really no worse for you than alcohol, and because there is a lot of money the government can make through taxation if it is legalized.
Moving on to your personal observations with weed users. I know several people who use it (smoking it, eating it, or taking it in pill form), and they are all very nice people. You, apparently, have met a lot of unpleasant people who like to imbibe. The fallacy of reasoning here is that using marijuana makes you a bad person when, in fact, you are simply encountering bad people who happen to use marijuana. Marijuana doesn’t make you a bad person; being a bad person makes you a bad person.
I agree with you that the smell of weed is unpleasant and that those who don’t like it and don’t want to be subjected to it should be free of such a pungent environment. I feel the same about tobacco smokers (except pipes; I love pipes) and people who blast unwanted music in my ears. This is a matter not of weed but of manners, civility, being a polite person. These days, many people forget what it means to be considerate of others. Again, that’s not weed, that’s the decline of manners in society. So, when you come across friends blowing smoke in your face, politely ask them to take it elsewhere. If they don’t respect that, then they aren’t very nice friends. Tell them you don’t object to their using marijuana; you just don’t like the smell. Perhaps they can have some edibles instead?
You are completely within your rights to not like weed and to not use it, but you should also respect the fact that weed is here to stay, whether or not it is legal. Recognize that people have different likes that don’t necessarily reflect your own and accept that, as long as they aren’t doing any harm to anyone, they have the right to enjoy cannabis.
But friendship is a two-way street, and your friends should acknowledge just as much that you don’t like weed, and they should respect your boundaries, too.
I went to a furry convention this past weekend is one of my former hometowns. While I do not know any furries there I thought it would be a good way to meet new people. Unfortunately I had a miserable time. I was lonely and had trouble finding anybody to talk to.
When I showed up on Friday evening I checked in to my hotel and suited up. I went do the con space and there were maybe a dozen people there. I tried talking to them but they were involved in their board/role playing games and not interested in meeting someone new.
The next day there were some 100 fursuits in the parade and photoshoot. However I do not know where they came from or where they went. There were very few fursuits out during the convention and when I was in suit I was frequently the only suiter.
I did get invited to 2 dinners which I thought would be a good place to socialize. On the first night I sat across from someone with a lot of drama who constantly complained and next to a guy that kept talking about his My Little Pony story. The next night I rode with some furries to a pizza joint 45 minutes away. During the car ride the couple in the back seat were talking so loud with each other the driver and I couldn't say anything. At dinner we had 8 people total. I ended up paying for the pizza for everybody (easy and quick) but despite that didn't have anybody talk to me.
Everybody was focused on the people they already knew and I get the feeling they didn't want to meet new people. I tried making small talk on many occasions, asking people where they were from or about their fursona. Got simple answers and could not spark a conversation.
The most ironic moment though was when I was at the restaurant across the street for a drink. Siting next to me at the bar was a furry (I could tell from his badge) and I tried to talk to him but he was not interested in a conversation. I noticed in Telegram he was complaining to the con chat how bored and lonely he was.
Normally when I get bored at a con I jump into suit and start shenanigans in the con space. However, this wasn't possible because there was seldom anybody to engage with.
In the group Telegram chat everybody was talking about what a fun and wonderful experience the convention was. My experience was very lonely and boring.
What can I do to make these conventions more fun and enjoyable? I tried everything I knew to get out and be involved but did not have any success.
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What an outstanding question; thanks for asking it, and sorry your con experience was a bust.
I have been on both sides of this fence, I can tell you. Back when I was attending the University of Michigan, I was a horribly sad, shy, and lonely kid who was overwhelmed by being alone in a huge university. One day at lunch, I was eating by myself in the cafeteria when this stranger sat across from me. He was friendly and chatty; he asked about me and tried to strike up a conversation. I had never had anything like this happen to me before in my life; I was intimidated, suspicious of his motives, and gave mostly one-word replies and stared at my food a lot. In retrospect, I know that this kind young man probably saw I was alone and was trying to be a friend to me. I wish I could thank him for that now, but back then I was a terrified and painfully shy 18-year-old. I think a lot of furries are this way, too. It is very hard for them to come out of their shells, even in the friendly environment of a furry convention.
Fast forward some years to find me as a much more confident and outgoing bear in the furry fandom. There have been many times when I have been at a convention or meet or other furry function and could not break through. Sometimes it was because the other person was shy, but more often it was because the furry/furries already were there with friends and didn't want or need a new person to join them. You may have noticed that there are cliques within the fandom, many of which are not very welcoming to new blood, although some are.
You were doing a lot of correct things in your effort to find new furiends at this con (although I would not have paid for pizza for a bunch of unfriendly furs, but I know personally what a generous guy you are), so it's not your fault. The obvious first solution to this problem is to never go to a con where you don't know at least one other person you can hang out with. Once you have this base, you can endeavor to widen your circle, but even if that fails at least you won't be eating by yourself.
Another strategy is to try to project an image of welcoming to attract people to you rather than approaching them. This is why it can be hard to make connections with others when you are in your fursuit because many furries have been told that fursuiters often do not speak when they are in character and often do not want to be approached without being asked first (this applies to fursuiters who are a bit concerned about damage to their fursuits or to being startled when someone approaches them outside their narrow line of vision, as I'm sure you're aware.) So, you increase your chances of making friends, ironically, when not in fursuit. You can also bolster your chances by wearing a shirt that advertises one of your interests. For example, if you wear a cool Dr. Who shirt, you might attract some fellow Whovians. Or you might wear a custom shirt and get people to ask questions about that. I often wear shirts displaying my interest in the bear community, which tends to attract furries who are into bears.
Funny side story: one time, I was at MFF and wore my Bear Furries Forever shirt, which shows a bunch of bears around a campfire (colored yellow). A friendly young man approached me because he thought that the fire was, well, pee, and that I was into watersports. We both had a good laugh that broke the ice and that really helped us connect and we became friends. He's very sweet and very intelligent.
Humor aside, what you need to try and do is connect to some kind of SIG: Species Interest Group. For me, it's bears; for you, dragons. Try and connect to your fellow dragons instead of randomly picking out someone. That way, you immediately have something in common to form a foundation for fellowship. It doesn't have to be a species commonality, of course. It could be a number of things, such as a greymuzzle meet or a meet of people into World of Warcraft. Oh, and if you wish to get in on a game, it is best to try to do that before the game actually starts. Once you approach a group that is already involved in a game, yeah, it's difficult to break into that circle if they are really into some RPG.
So there you have it: when looking to make new furiends at a con or meet, try to find a common foundation to build on. This will increase your chances dramatically in connecting with other furries.
Hope your next furcon is a lot more fun!
I hate to be a pest, but I got another issue here I need advice about. I'll try and keep this as short as possible.
Essentially, I have two friends in the fandom. When I went to my first convention in 2017, they were best friends with one another, practically inseparable. Then later that year, after a bad experience at another convention, and increasing tensions between one friend and the others partner, they now hate each other. That was some 7 months ago, and they're still not on good terms.
I wasn't there to witness what happened for myself and only got info through IM, so I refuse to judge either party and rather keep both as friends. Granted, one of them I only became friends with because the other one was their friend once upon a time, so we were never that close to begin with. Even so, he's never done any harm to me, and nor has my closer friend for that matter.
Well this year, I'm going to be attending the same convention I went to last year, and as I think you can probably guess, both of them are going to be there. They pretty much refuse to talk to one another, but I have spoken to both of them about each other and begged them to not get into any confrontations. The one not as close to me insists he won't, but the other gave me answers that I honestly didn't find to be that clear. As best as I can figure, his answer is essentially "it depends".
For one thing, if they do fight, I may end up feeling forced into choosing one over the other, which I seriously don't want to do (albeit I think it's fairly obvious the one closer to me would be the one most likely to stick). I was in a similar situation once before nearly a decade ago. I was friends with A, then friends with B, then A and B were friends, then A and B fell out, then I was only friends with B, and before I knew it, I was friends with nobody. I might as well have been friends with zero. It's hard enough for me to make friends to begin with; I don't know how many more I can lose!
The other thing is that this I don't attend multiple conventions a year. I'm crossing an ocean to see these guys, among other furs, and have used much of my hard-earned savings to do so. I do not want my one convention of the year to be ruined with them two having an altercation. Good grief, last time, one of them gave me their soda to look after for a short time, and once I'd lost it, I moped for the rest of the day about it. He told me to stop worrying about it because, as he said "it's just a soda", but it was fruitless. I still worried, like I always do.
What can I do to be sure that they don't end up fighting one another? Not just for my sakes, but for the both of them, too. I don't care who "started it" and I'd rather things be the way they were before, but the chances of them being able to "kiss and make up" are slim to nil.
Honestly, I feel like I'm starring in a really bad melodrama!
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Furry drama—or drama of any sort involving anyone—is usually cheap, petty, and involves misunderstandings. Let's start with misunderstanding. Currently, you are operating in the dark. You don't know what started their argument at all. So, if I were you, I would ask each of them what happened first. After hearing their stories, it will likely be a lot easier for you to, if needs be, pick a side. I mean, it could be that one of these guys is being a total douchebag and it will be easy to pick. On the other hand, it could be the result of a total misunderstanding or a completely minor situation blown out of proportion. If one of these lesser offenses is the case, you could very well act as an intermediary and show them the error of their ways, which might, in turn, result in a reconciliation. But you can't do any of that unless you know the facts so get those first.
With luck, things will turn out all right. But there is also the chance that one or both of them is being a drama queen and will refuse to recant or relent. In that case, you can try just being a friend on an individual basis. If they try to make you pick sides, just tell them you prefer to remain neutral as their argument is between them. If that still doesn't satisfy them, then either pick the person you feel is the most likable or back away from both people; your choice. Just don't allow them to manipulate you into a fight that is not your battle.
P.S. Don't sweat the small stuff like losing a soda. No biggie.
I've written to you a number of times, and I'm sure you know I've seen my fair amount of stress in my life thus far. There is someone I have mentioned before, one of my first friends in this fandom, and one of my closest friends to date. Basically, we both went through a lot together, and she was a breath of fresh air after the long time I spent isolated socially.
But the thing is, there is another person I'm gonna refer to as "Z" who a bunch of us met a while back. Z, no offense to him, just isn't the kind of person I really like. He is a little over the top when it comes to dirty jokes, and seems like he never could take something seriously, despite the fact half a year ago I saw him be serious. But then again, half a year is a long time.
Basically the thing is, when Z popped up, my old friend started spending more time with him. And yea this isn't bad, but it caught me off guard a little. He came out of what seemed like nowhere. This isn't something that bothered me, but eventually things like her drawing endless amounts of art for him, almost flat out ignoring if the three of us are all in the same room, and straight up acting more like Z than how she did before. And although I am severely angry at my brother for snooping Z's phone he promised he wouldn't, it turned out some NSFW things had happened with roleplay between them, as well as Z and almost everyone else I knew in that friend group. It didn't help my liking toward him, but I did realize that was private and isn't something I should be concerned about or really even know. Me and my old friend had actually dated in the past, and split over a matter of sexual orientation, so I couldn't decide if this was affecting it or not as well.
It’s no surprise to me what this is: jealousy.
I have spoken to her a couple different times, and she has debunked a lot of worries I had. Like drawing a lot of art for him, his fursona is good as a template tester since it's not very complex. But for some reason it always keeps coming back to me, and I just don't know what to do.
I think part of it is she means a lot to me after everything that has happened, and I am just scared of being abandoned. I lost T.R. before (albeit in a much worse manner than this), and I still get scared of losing those close to me now.
Bottom line: what can I do to end this jealousy over my old friend and Z. It's been bothering me for months by this point.
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Friendship jealousies in the fandom are quite common and are usually tied to one’s insecurities. The first thing to be done is to acknowledge that jealousy, recognizing it for what it is, and you have done just that—good for you. Next, you need to think about why you are jealous, and you have done that as well by noting that you are afraid you will lose you will lose her like you did T.R. and you will be abandoned. A third thing to do is to talk about your feelings and fears with your friend, and you have done that, too! My goodness, you are three for three so far. Excellent.
The only thing left is to figure out where to go from here. When we form friendships, we typically find that different friends fulfill different needs in our lives and enhance us and complement us in different ways. For example, Papabear has friends in the fandom with whom he can talk about furry stuff, but he also has friends who are not furry with whom he shares other interests, such as politics, religion, outdoor activities, movies, going out to eat. None of my friends fulfills all my interests, but all of them together do.
You talk about how Z is not like you in their sense of humor and, apparently, interest in furporn. These are things that your long-time friends seems to find interesting and so they have glomped on to Z pretty hard, spending a lot of time with them. This often occurs with new friendships but usually dies down a bit after a certain amount of time. Your old friend denies preferring Z to you, and I would take them at their word for it. It is just an early fascination.
What you need to do, then, is target the things that you and your old pal have in common that you can share and that have little or nothing to do with Z. Say (just making this up) you are both into Pokémon Go and Z isn’t—then spend some time playing that together. Be the friend that fulfills interests that Z can’t or won’t.
The other thing is to diversify. Like a stock portfolio, it is unwise to invest all your emotional cash into one or two friends. That way, if one of those friend’s stock crashes (i.e., they abandon you) you’re not left all alone. I’m not saying that will happen, but it’s just wise not to lean too heavily on just one person.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
Well, I just moved which has been quite hard on me. On top of that I just started my freshman year of high school. Now I feel like I don't have anything in common with anyone there and even if I do they all hate me. This mentality may have been founded in the fifth grade where I realized, or maybe imagined, that my "friends" weren't really that. I felt excluded and like they all hated me. I never really felt connected to any of them and was really awkward around them; of course, my fifth grade self didn't realize that but now I do.
Time skip to eighth grade. That had probably been my most enjoyable year of school in a while. I really connected with my friends there--they weren't the same ones in elementary school--despite my small issue at the beginning of that year and (not major) self-harm fits over the course of that year. Anyway, I really liked them. I never invited them over, though, because thoughts that everyone hated me still lingered. The best part of that year, I'd have to say, was going on the 8th grade trip. No thoughts of them hating me, just fun.
Anyway, that was the summer we moved, this summer. It got really bad when we moved. "Everyone hates me!" "I hate everyone!" Things that make me seem like an emotional teenager. But that's when it got really bad. I started actually drawing blood in my self-harm escapades and have thought about suicide in a positive way on way too many time for it to be healthy.
My parents are amazing and have a lot of stress on them right now (we're still remodeling our house so we're renting right now). Honestly, I don't know how my "depression" or whatever this is even started with such great parents. And if I'm being completely honest the only thing that has stopped me from suicide is them.
On a side not,e I'm also very socially awkward and don't enjoy being around people too much.
I know I need to tell my parents about this, but how? I don't want to put stress on them. Plus I don't even know what I'm going through...
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I am SO SORRY this reply has taken so long, but here are my thoughts now....
First of all, just a quick check: do you suffer from some form of autism (e.g. Asperger's) or social anxiety syndrome? If so, that, of course, could explain why you have a hard time being with people.
I suspect that's not it, but just wanted to check to be sure. I'm also concerned about your self-harming, which needs to be addressed, and your thoughts of suicide (suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255; this national hotline is staffed with professional counselors to help you any time of day or night).
I understand how hard it can be in school to socialize. I was pretty much an outcast myself and had a hard time making friends. My family moved a couple times when I was a kid, and it took me years to develop friendships, if at all. But while you say you don't enjoy being around people, you also say that your happiest times in school were when things were going well in 8th grade and you had a lot of good social interaction. Seems to me you DO want to socialize, but the process intimidates you.
The first thought that came to mind was trying to look outside the school environment to make friends. You could explore volunteer work, or get a part-time job, or join a club, or get active in your church. Such places have very different social dynamics than schools do and it might be easier to get out of the clique mentality that exists in schools.
Another thought is--if you would rather avoid people for now--try and do something with animals. Do you have a pet? Bonding with a pet can be very therapeutic. Or you could--similar to the above--find an organization, zoo, nonprofit, or whatever that helps animals. Working with and playing with animals does a lot for us in developing empathy and affection with another living being. And this could help, in turn, form an entryway that will lead you to better relationships with human beings.
Here's an article about human-animal interactions and their benefits in young people.
I'm glad you have good parents. Talk to them about what you are feeling. Do NOT think that you are bothering them or stressing you out. They LOVE you and are there for you. To break the ice, maybe start by asking them if you can have a pet--if not now, then when you move into the real house. When they ask you why you want a pet, say because you want friends in your new home and an animal is a good way to start.
Please write again if the above was not helpful.
Lately, I have been feeling down and lonely quite often. The problem is I kinda prefer to stick to my old friend and not struggle to talk to new people. Do you have any advice?
Lara X (age 20)
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Hi, Lara X,
When you say "stick to my old friend," do you mean just one friend? How is your relationship with that friend? Many people struggle to talk to new people. Telling me a little more about your life and background can help me to provide feedback.
* * *
Well, yeah, it’s mostly one relationships with new people don’t seem to last long and we get distant. As for my past life, I unfortunately grew up watching my father abuse my mother and sisters, and kinda feeling guilty for not also getting hurt. This has given me a distrust of most men, which is awkward considering I’m gay, but I also have a distrust of women because almost all of the girls in school used to bully me. This has caused me to be pretty lonely and to limit who I talk to.
Thanks for your time and patience.
* * *
Dear Lara X,
I can understand why you might be socially shy, given your past. I don’t know why your father didn’t abuse you the same way he did your mother and sisters, unless it’s because of your gender (i.e., he would only abuse females), but please don’t feel guilty about that. Bottom line on that part of your life is that it is NOT your fault; it is your father’s fault. Assign blame and guilt where it is due. You are guiltless.
Recognizing you should not feel guilty is Step 1. Step 2 is to realize that just because your father was an abusive douche doesn’t mean all men are like that. As for women, your experience in school is pretty typical. Schools can be horrible social environments where kids who are seen as outsiders in any way are picked on and abused by their peers. Like packs of wolves seeing a weakness in a non-alpha, they swoop down to nip and bite you (both boys and girls do this). In your case, because of your father’s abuse, you were probably shy going into school. Kids sense that and go on the attack.
Okay, so, I’m hoping now you are out of the house and well out of high school. Getting out of negative environments is key to your mental and emotional well-being. What you need to do now is try to put the past in the past and focus on where you are today.
The good news, I believe, is that you have recognized and accepted that you are gay (some people drive themselves nuts for years refusing to believe their own identity). The other good news is that you have at least one friend, so forming friendships is not an impossibility for you since you’ve done it before.
The key to finding new friends is to start in a comfortable environment. Since you are gay, I would recommend that you look within the gay community and other people who are similar to you and will more likely empathize with you. See if you can find a gay men’s social group near you; I would not recommend gay bars (and certainly not gay clubs) at this point, since they might be overwhelming. Anyway, you’re looking for friends, not hookups.
See if you can find a social activity with gay members. A quick Web search, for example, shows me that there are several LGBT Outdoor Clubs in Wales. There is also the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus (if you like to sing). If you visit the Meetup website and enter some appropriate parameters, you are going to find some social meetup groups, too. So, give that a shot.
Finally, don’t push yourself to make a lot of friends all at once. Start slowly, making one or two new friends to start. What often happens after you get a core group of friends going is that these friends will, eventually, introduce you to their friends, and so on and so on. Before you know it, you’ll have dozens of friends and probably some of what I call “good social acquaintances” who are not close friends but fun to hang out with. It is the lucky person, after all, who has more close, sincerely genuine friends than he has fingers on one hand.
I hope that helps. Good luck!
I don't know if you remember me, specially with the new name, but maybe my email will remind you.
You helped me become a whole person, to get out of an abusive relationship that scarred me for life, and to begin to love myself.
I took a huge step in recovery last week by finally closing the book on that ex you saved me from years ago. It was scary, a bit upsetting to see him living so happily after destroying me, but I felt a million times lighter and content.
Unfortunately the same day I lost someone very close to me in a very ugly way. I was standing up for my other friends when he was acting out of line, and the things he said ... all I could see was the words flying out of the shitty people in my lives mouths.
He was a totally different person, he didn't care about any of us, he accused me of so many things and took my most personal and fragile parts I trusted in him and used them as knives against me.
I already lost a major portion of my friend group last year due to us growing apart so I'm down to less than 10 friends.
I'm scared, papa bear. I've seen what he's done to people in the past. We were never close but we were growing closer until he just ... snapped. I changed all my passwords but I'm so, so terrified he's going to find the one place I didn't or he's going to spread stuff about me just like his old friends and exes from years past.
I JUST healed from my ex doing that to me.... I can't bear to go through it again with someone I knew and trusted and loved for over 10 years.
And now I might have to move and leave what few friends I have left behind. We're not close enough to keep in touch and I'd have to move back into the house where my exs abuse happened.
I don't know if I can....
I don't know what to do. I'm so afraid I'll loose my irl friends and my online ones will follow. I'm so afraid my future friends will have my ex friend fill their heads with bullshit. I'm so afraid to have to live in that house again but it's beginning to be my only option.
I just.... Do you have any advice on how to strengthen friendships, make new friends, and live without fear of being sabotaged?
If I can strengthen the friendships I have and make new ones I won't have to be so afraid, but I can't comprehend relationships and how to meet people.
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Forgive me if I'm repeating myself. I thought I had responded to this letter but now I'm not sure if I did. So, I'm writing again (or for the first time!) Forgive a senile old bear....
Since you don't provide any background, I cannot guess why this other "friend" would snap and suddenly attack you. But this makes two toxic people who have come into your life, which makes me wonder if perhaps you are having difficulty determining what sorts of people are good friend material and what sorts of people are toxic. The other side of this is that you seem to also have trouble realizing who isn't toxic (i.e., true friends).
Hon, true friends will always stick by you and will not listen to the venomous lies spouting from the mouths of toxic people. If you lose any friends because of some lying jerk, then they weren't good friends to begin with and you are better off without them. In fact, this might be a litmus test to determine for you who are your friends and who are not, so that might turn out to be a good thing. Don't worry about it.
One thing Papabear has learned in his 50+ years is to not worry a damn about what other people think. If you know in your heart you are a good person who tries to do the right thing, then that is all that matters. Again, the people who are wise and not shallow will perceive this goodness in you and want to be your friend. Treat your friends well (that's how you strengthen friendships) and shun your enemies. And if you are concerned about your passwords or anything, just make it a routine to change your passwords once a month. If you get attacked online, inform that website's administrators. Keep records of any harassment you get from toxic people.
Making new friends? Big topic, but, in brief, look for people who share your interests and take an interest in their lives. You should expect the same from them. The danger is always one-way "friendships," which aren't so much friendships as people using you. With practice and experience, you will develop a kind of sixth sense about other people. I quickly get a feeling about others as to whether or not they are worth my time. The ones who aren't exude a kind of "creepy" vibe that makes me back off right away. You'll get better at this as time goes on.
Strengthening friendships you currently have mostly involves doing your best to make time to work on the friendship. The more time you spend with someone, the stronger the relationship will become.
As for the fear of being sabotaged: hey, it happens. Even when you get good at judging other people, occasionally a troll or, let's face it, psychopath will weedle themselves into your life. All you can do is cut them off as soon as you recognize them for what they are beneath the mask. Control your fear by realizing that shit happens and you can't prevent it from happening, but you CAN control how you react to said shit and this will make you a stronger person.
First, I'm sorry if I make some grammatical mistakes here and there. English isn't my first language, but I try my best.
I've been wanting to ask something for a long time, but I always thought at the last moment that I'll just ask some other time and I can handle the problem myself. But now I'm starting to lose hope, so I finally decided to write to you.
I'd also like to say, before I start, that I had never met the person that I'm going to talk about, in real life.
It's about a friend of mine. Or, at least, he's a friend FOR ME. He doesn't call himself a friend of mine anymore.
He's ignoring me. I met him in an online game in the second half of 2014. We had been talking for a few months, Then FNAF [Five Nights at Freddy's] came out. Long story short, he managed to get me in the furry fandom thru FNAF. (Quite cringy, I know.) I created a furry Steam account, that I started using as my main account for that app. He helped me find my first furry friends online, got me in some furry groups, etc. It all was perfect, we talked a lot, we were great friends overall. But then he started to get busier and busier.. or at least he said that to me. We started talking less and less because he wouldn't respond.
End of 2014 comes. I was at a party with some IRL friends. They ask why my steam acc is so cringy, if I'm really a furry, if I'm bisexual, etc., etc. I decide to take ALL furry stuff down from my account because I don't want to lose the only people I talk to, in real life. Even though they weren't great friends, I still cared about their opinion.
In the year 2015, nothing much happens. Me and him barely talk. He seems to forget about me, and removes me from Steam at the end of the year. (I didn't notice it, hadn't checked.)
2016 is here. I was wondering why hadn't talked to me for a long time. I checked and realized that he had removed me. I try to regain contact with him thru the online game which I met him in. He still has me in his friend list (never removes me there in the future, too), but he clearly ignores me.
Second try. I try to regain contact thru his friends, befriending them, asking if they could help me and such. He had told his friends that I was some random stalker.
I'm almost done at this point, I try one final time - I try to get my friends to talk to him. They all end up blocked by him.
I still to this very moment try to talk to him on a messaging app called Telegram from time to time. The funny thing is that he hasn't blocked me. He READS my messages. Never replies, though.
Sometimes I just start thinking about him, thinking how much of a great friend he was. Then I feel like shit. I feel like it's all my fault. I may even cry. This happens about 1-2 times a month.
I just want to know what should I do. I can't simply forget him and move on. Everyone has already told me to do it, but I can't. I want to talk to him at least once more, ask him why he's being like that, why he's ignoring me. But it all seems impossible.
Zen (age 15, Estonia)
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(BTW, your English is quite good.) Papabear gets many, many, many letters like yours. I hear this story all the time about some online furry friend who seems great at first and then, suddenly, ignores and drops out of the life of the furry friend. Repeated efforts are made by the letter writer to reestablish the friendship--all to no avail. The person writing to me is left wondering what went wrong, with no sense of closure, and yet still wanting to be the friend of the person who snubbed them.
So, here is my advice.
Is this all disappointing? Of course. Life is full of disappointments. If you can, learn from them, and then move on.
OK so first I've contacted you I believe three times before. The last time I really felt like I had wasted your time with since there wasn't really an honest question in it now that I look back on it, and I do wish to apologize for it.
But now I've been facing another problem. One with a friend I met recently. This is basically what my problem is.
1) The one furry I actually get to see IRL, and we're really super close friends.
2) He's really sensitive and gets depressed
3) He has an unrequited crush on me
4) I can't seem to get him to accept I'm not interested in that kind of a relationship
5) He feels dependent on me, but it's kind of my fault for letting him be
6) He gets depressed in roleplays easily, but he sets up really depressing events himself. I understand just avoiding role play but it seems like it just is part of the ways we chat, it's automatic
7) I want to make him happy, but he can't accept where I draw the line on what I'll do for him
8) Anytime i mention this he talks like he's suicidal
9) He used to have a GF but she was forced by her parents to cease contact since they didn't like the fandom
10) I've been on the other side of the unrequited love equation, I did manage but nothing that worked on me seems to work on him
I really could use some help, how do I get him to accept I'm not going to take that kind of relationship?
Anonymous (age 16)
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No need to apologize for the earlier letter. As for this one: is your friend getting any help at all for his depression? Neither one of us is a psychologist or therapist, and it really isn't our job to attend to his mental health. We can be supportive, though.
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Yes, neither of us are trained professionals, and as for if he has seen any I'm not sure. But with how he is I don't know if it would be easy to ask him either. If he hasn't though, I do want to make sure he gets help, or minimally some other friends for when I can't be around, and other things so he becomes more independent and doesn't have such a low self asteem in the future. But my issue I'm asking about and need help with first is how to approach someone like him with such topics. Because he takes so sensitively for some of the things I say, he worries about everything, and easily interprets a friendly joke for something deeply offensive. Like for instance, he told me he loved me more than he knows. Then I said:
"That scares me a little, you already have told me at such high levels. I think you know how much you love me, you tell my every day XD"
Well me saying it "scares me" kind of made him start worrying a bunch. Maybe I need to be more cautious about how I word things but idk.
But also, like I said, although I do "love" him (like he was my brother, in that kind of manner, and a lot), he wants to try and take it to a romance level that I don't want. At the same time, I still would like to be friends with him, and even if I would just forget that and let him go, I can't for fear of what he'd do to himself.
Convincing him to accept how things are for our relationship is something I'm not sure how to do. But I need to know how to approach him with any topic like that without him freaking out.
Hope I cleared up a lot things.
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What you are experiencing is a case of emotional blackmail. This can be done in a number of ways, including some you have mentioned, such as threatening or implying one will commit suicide if not paid attention to or insisting that they love you when you don’t love them back, thus making you feel very guilty.
First thing to come to terms with is this: you are not responsible for his emotional problems. You are clearly a good and caring friend, but you have to keep your own emotional state stable and not allow yourself to feel bad or responsible for what is going on in his brain. I’m assuming he is about your age (teen) and that he has parents or other family, and it is THEY who really should be dealing with this first. Offering support is great, but you are not the primary caretaker in this.
Once you get over that emotional burden, you are better able to speak frankly to this kid. When you do, he will probably respond with the usual drama—depression, “woe is me,” even suicide threats. Remember, these are just tools to manipulate you. They are inspired by his lack of self-confidence. He is afraid of losing you, and the way he deals with this is through threats and appeals to your good heart.
The undercurrent of all of this is, of course, low self-esteem. Instead of addressing the symptoms (e.g., how to respond to his appeals for love and his neediness), what you should try first is to help him improve his sense of self-worth. There are lots of sites you can google about improving your self-esteem, as well as some things I have written here in this column.
Try coaching him in these methods to make him feel better about himself. The goal is to make his ego strong enough so that, when it’s time, you will be able to speak to him frankly about sensitive topics without him collapsing into a defensive ball.
Give it a try. Good luck!
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