Where can I find myself a mate that is a furry and is around my age? I broke up with my boyfriend months ago and I've been craving to have another mate ever since. I feel so alone at times without a mate. I can't stand it.
Codes the Fox (Illinois, age 16)
I just joined a furry online community and I don’t know where to start. I wonder if you have any tips on how to make friends. This website is all local furries in my state, and I have a few friends who don’t mind furries but I want to make friends who are in the fandom. Can you help?
Sahara Fox (age 15)
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Dear Codes and Sahara,
I grouped your two letters together as they are related, so I might as well answer you both with one reply.
There are two ways to meet furries your age: 1) in person, and 2) virtually. In person means getting together with people at furcons and furmeets, or, sometimes, on a one-on-one basis, but that last one is more typical after you’ve already met them at a social function. Now, Codes, you are in Illinois, which means you are not too far from the biggest con currently running in the United States: Midwest Furfest in Rosemont just outside of Chicago. You might also be interested in Indy Furcon in Indianapolis. Sahara, you didn’t tell me whereabouts you live, so you might check out FurryCons.com, which is a great way of finding conventions that are active near you.
If you are looking for something smaller than a convention, then we’re talking about furmeets. There are a couple ways to find meets. One is the website MeetUp.com. Go to the website, set up a free account, and search on subjects of interest. For example, you can type in “Illinois furries” and see what comes up. If you don’t find a group near you, you might make bold and start your own furgroup!
Also, at your age, when you are still in high school, you might even locate some furries at school. There used to be a great site called FurryMap that posted locations of furries all over the world, but, unfortunately, it recently ceased operation. You might also check out cosplay, sci-fi, anime, manga, animation, comic books, and fantasy groups as members of those groups sometimes are also furries.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Amino sites offer lots of furgroups to join and make friends on. Amino has several specific groups; for example, I am on the Bear Furries Amino group. Facebook also has a lot of specialized furry groups, such as furries who like gaming, Christian furries, furry bara groups, furries who are car or train enthusiasts, and so on.
Search social media but narrow your focus not just to furries but to furries who share some of your special interests. Then join discussion groups and chat up the members there. If you do that, you are bound to make some connections with people with whom you have things in common.
Once you have made contact with some people like yourself, the best way to make friends is to make sure it is a two-way street. Show an interest in their lives and don’t just make it about yourself.
If you are looking for more than just friends but mates, my advice is to always start with a good friend and, if the chemistry is right, that friend will become a wonderful mate. Don’t plunge into a relationship with sex and matehood expectations. That usually ends in disaster as one discovers that the person you had some great sex with turns out to be an unpleasant person as a companion. Friends first, then mate.
I have been in the fandom for almost a year now. The problem is, I have not made any friends.
I have an account on twitter where I post artwork that I make (that is my main interest in the fandom). People comment on my art, and I comment back. I also follow accounts that post artwork, commenting on their work. Sometimes they reply back. There are some people I am mutuals with, and we are both interested in each others art, commenting on each new piece that we make. That has been the extent of my interactions in the fandom.
Some things to know about me is that I am autistic. In real life I only have around 5 friends, a small group that I play DnD with. I don't know how exactly I managed to become friends with them, but I think it had to do with having common interests and being around each other a lot. I really like them, but none of them are furries, which is why I am looking for more friends.
So my question is, how do I make furry friends?
A Confused Bird (Colorado)
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You make furry friends the same way you make mundane friends. As with your DnD buddies, the best way to make friends is to share common interests. It is also easier to make friends if you do so in person. You can make friends online, but they tend not to be as deep a friendship as you can make when you know someone in person. My first suggestion, therefore, is to try and start meeting furries in Colorado. Fortunately for you, there is quite a vital furry community in your home state. The main organization is called, unsurprisingly, the Colorado Furries, which has about 2,000 members. They don't seem to have a website, but they do have a Meetup page that you can check out, as well as a Facebook page. Finally, of course, there is DenFur in August, which, if possible, I would recommend you attend. I have heard good things about it, and going to cons is a great way to make friends, provided you are not so shy that you can't introduce yourself to people.
Before you go out making furiends, you might need to brush up on your friend-making skills. First, define what a friend is for yourself. A friend is someone who treats you nicely and with respect, shares some common interests of yours, and, if you are having a tough time with something, is willing to be there for you, give you a hug, and listen. The other half of friendship is you should do the same for your friend. Next, and this might sound silly, write out a practice script of what you might say to someone you are meeting for the first time and practice in front of a mirror. Personally, I find a terrific way to break the ice at, say, a furcon or furmeet, is to give someone a compliment. For example, you might notice they are wearing some cool jewelry. Go up to them and tell them you think it looks terrific, then ask if they made it themselves or, if they bought it, where they got it. This can break the ice and lead to further dialog. Remember to take an interest in the other person and not just talk about yourself unless they ask you. Find out if you share some interests (e.g. you both like anime or Star Trek: Discovery) and talk about that.
So, in summary, to make new friends find people who share your interests (furries, natch), make contact with them in person if possible, show an interest in them and be kind to them.
I hope this helps!
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
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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 aspire to become a furry YouTuber later on. I plan on being a well known contributor to the community, but I have a few setbacks: finding new friendships with people who actually desire to be there for me personally (instead of with those who only like me for my "fame"), while not falling into traps of bitter drama that the fandom sadly brews nowadays. How do I fully discern which members of the fandom really do mean me well? Thank you.
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Being a YouTuber and finding quality friends are two different things. Let's start with the former. Your goal is to become well known. That is the wrong goal. You should not do stuff because you want to be popular; you should do stuff because it is something you enjoy and you want to do some good in the world. If you do things just to get noticed, validated, and find fame, that is not an admirable goal.
It's ironic you want to be famous and then disdain people who want to be around you for the very thing you desire: fame. Anyway, you are putting the cart before the horse, assuming you will become famous and then have a bunch of groupies, whom you will then dismiss because they just want to be around you because you're a popufur.
My advice, Luzaster? Get your priorities straight. When you have solid goals based on solid values of being a good person, good friends will follow. If your goals are shallow, your friends will be, too.
I recently discovered that somebody who I follow on FA who I shall not name for their own sakes doesn’t have the best view of the LGBT.
Essentially, he posted a short journal expressing how fed up he was of how much the media hypes up Pride Month, which… fair enough; a month is perhaps a little long and it’s definitely become a lot more commercialised in recent years.
That said, in his journal he stated that he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman because marriage to him was about “producing babies” (which, btw, is a term a little too clinical and unloving for my taste). This is such a weak argument against same-sex marriage for a multitude of reasons, the most obvious ones of which I shall list below:
1. Not all opposite-sex couples have nor want to have children, so why do they get a pass whilst same-sex couples get criticised for it?
2. Being married to your own sex doesn’t render you incapable of having children, and artificial insemination isn’t the only way of going about it either.
3. Marriage is not a legal obligation to have children, and having children is not a legal obligation to marry.
Having not long come out as a gay man myself – started about 8 months ago but been doing it in baby-steps – part of me thinks I should just not follow in on FA anymore, but I’m not sure. Even though his reasonings against same-sex marriage make no sense, he’s not called people discriminatory names or called for Obergefell v. Hodges to be abolished etc. (at least, not from what I’ve seen). He seems to have adopted more of a “live and let live” attitude about this sort of thing.
One one paw, I think to myself that he’s merely expressing an opinion and not being “abusive” as such. But on the other, it’s one thing to have an adverse opinion about, say, whether being vegetarian is healthy or not, it’s another to have an opinion that denies someone their equality because of something against their control.
What do you think, Papabear? Is it fair to unfollow someone on social media for their unjust opinion, even though they’re not being abusive about it?
P.S. Congratulations on your own marriage to Michael, btw! :-)
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Whom you choose as a friend is totally up to you, and you should be friends with people around whom you are comfortable. Being gay myself, I'm not entirely objective here, but I agree with your arguments as to why it makes no sense to say that marriage is for the purpose of procreation. That would mean, using that argument, that he would be against a man and woman marrying if, for some reason, they could not have children. He is, in reality, just trying to come up with a justification for his prejudice, and that is a sign of a lack of empathy and of a big character flaw on his part. You say he is not "abusive" about his prejudice. Hmm, well, you don't have to physically abuse someone, or even be extremely verbally abusive, to be a homophobe, which he clearly is.
My guess is that, unless he changes his attitude, the two of you are eventually going to butt heads and the friendship will end. You can always, of course, try to shine a light on his thin argument and reveal it for what it is. There's a slim chance you might open his eyes. In my experience, that doesn't happen too often, but you can try.
So, is it "fair" to unfriend someone who has such opinions? Certainly. Personally, I am only friends with people I like and who I respect, and I can't respect someone who is not only prejudice but who is also stupid about it.
Normally, I would post the following as a comment under the original letter, but in this case I think my reply deserves its own post. The following is a response to this letter. It is a good example of what happens when writers to this column aren't really clear about the situation about which they are asking.
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Your response wasn't what I expected, at all. The fact you are accusing me of furthering drama that degrades the furry community is really a low blow and I sense a very aggressive overtone in your message. To answer your question I did finish the handpaws for him, since I didn't want to be in debt to him and having him posses power over me any longer.
After reading my initial message again, I see that I left out quite a bit of information. This interaction that sparked the entire fire happened over 3 years ago, given I have matured a lot in the recent few years as everyone does at university. I can see my errors and I'd like to rather see these as life experience than outright shortcomings. I have my fair share in selfish reactions in response to the situation and what happened and I have apologized to FurX for this and I've really been trying to move on from what happened.
Your response is quite accusing of my own behavior and given the information I gave you I can understand why you feel the way you do. I know for a FACT that his intentions of starting to make suits wasn't as pure and was simply to get attention and wanting to be better than me or anyone else for that matter. He has confessed to people that his only intention for even making suits is for the attention. I am honestly happy for him that he made his suit ,because before he made his own suit he would sit and sulk at meets where I or anyone else for that matter had our own suits there. Like a jealous petty child.
He is an EXTREMELY toxic and jealous person and isn't well received by our local community for this, as I even said in my original message he oppressed someone who considered him a friend merely because of the fact she started making her own suits and loving it and she is better than him at it because she has a pure passion for making the suit and making others happy probably a more pure intention than my own by the looks of it. He did the exact same to her what he did to me. He even told her that he doesn't understand why she gets commissions and he doesn't, he won a cosplay contest with his work and she didn't.
Your response is exactly what enrages me about this entire situation, his pathetic behavior is scoring him sympathy from outsiders. It's exactly the type of game he plays. He is the scourge this community can do without, but yet you accuse me of wanting to be "popufur"!? When his literal only agenda for doing anything, for entering a cosplay contest with a fursuit, for making a suit, for doing anything within the community is solely for the intention of garnering the attention of others.
We are in a communal telegram group started by myself to promote our local artists and crafters in our community, when others post their work in progress he rips them to shreds with condescending aggressive messages and criticism that breaks others down instead of giving valuable input to help others improve on their work. He constantly complains about how hard his life is and needs his ego stroked whenever he posts anything on the group. I try to be as objective as I can when it comes to his work but he makes it really difficult, it's come to the point where I just don't want to post anything I do anymore on the group due to him responding the way he does. It's a sick and toxic situation and I've been actively trying to work around it or resolve it.
Yet you accuse me of doing this? You feel I need a wake up call?
I give and give and try my best to resolve things but it's a one way street apparently and the more I try the more I come across as the person in the wrong? If I ignore him he gets worse, If I actively go out of my way to try and resolve things I get accused of being the toxic person? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I've been trying to get out of this proverbial drama pit, but he constantly drags me back into it with petty behavior, passive aggressive responses to everything I say and do on chat groups. But it's my fault? Even though I've tried my absolute best to make amends, apologized to him on MANY times for my behavior yet he never does the same? It's easy to say just ignore his actions, but how much can a person really take before breaking?
To answer your 3 advice points directly
1)These hand paws were finished within a year of the initial agreement
2)I have done so, on multiple occasions in many different forms but it seems to always be in vain
3)I'm not jealous of him, I might have been intimidated by him starting to make his own suit back then since I was the fursuit maker of the community and was promoted as such and it did go to my head a bit. Your intial assumption of me acting in a manner that only benefits myself might have been correct was it 3 years ago, as I confessed I did act in a selfish manner of wanting to be "THE" maker, I have moved on from this mindset and I now actively go out of my way to try and help others starting the craft by giving them advice and constructive criticism. I guess I hate seeing in him what I saw in myself back then and that's what drives me to want to resolve it and give him advice where I can to help him out of the mindset. Yet it's always badly received by him and I come across as the person in the wrong.
Am I really to blame for his jealousy, how much of his behavior can I really be blamed for? I have done some injustices in the past and I have tried to correct these as I stated so many times on multiple occasions. I've tried moving on with my life, he somehow manages to worm himself right back into it. He wasn't in our crafters group until very recently and he just overwhelms it with his negativity, attention seeking petty behavior and if I call him out for it I'm in the wrong?
I'm honestly at an impasse where I'm highly considering just dropping all the furry stuff and moving on with my life as to get him out of my life for good. Maybe myself "leaving" the community would be what's best for it?
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I can only offer my replies based on the information I have been given. My original response was therefore appropriate. And I certainly stand by my advice that goes back not just to Mom but to Shakespeare: "Never a borrower nor a lender be." You also did not make clear that you had completed the paws, which is great, but I also stand by the statement that you should not have agreed to do something you didn't have time or desire to do. I am glad to hear that you have tried to apologize, and it is too bad he has not, apparently, accepted this apology.
Now my turn to apologize. I'm sorry I misinterpreted your letter and the situation. I'm also glad you have matured, but you need to not only mature but also move on. The letter you wrote to me portrayed a situation and a person (you) as they existed in 2016. My response was completely appropriate for 2016, as you yourself confess you were concerned about your reputation etc. etc.
So, back to square one, answering the question you initially asked. What does one do with a bothersome furry who has been causing drama for three years now and won't stop? It would have been much simpler, in this case, if you had simply asked something like, "What do I do about an annoying furry who criticizes everyone else's fursuit creations?"
The answer is that you treat them the same way you would any other troll. Ignore them, block them, shun them away. The only reason people do this sort of thing is to gain attention, and you are catering to that. NO, you are NOT to blame for his jealousy. You are not to blame for the way other people behave, just the way you behave. By letting this guy get to you, you are letting him win. AND! If you decide you will be "dropping all this furry stuff and moving on with my life" you definitely are giving up and letting him win.
Remember this, if nothing else: it takes at least two people for drama to be a problem: the drama giver and the drama receiver. Don't be a drama receiver? How? Well, by not allowing yourself to be upset by it, by not giving the other person power by reacting to it. Silence is your weapon. When I get criticized, I always think of this: "Do I respect the other person who is criticizing me?" For example, if my fiance, Michael, gave me harsh criticism, that would hurt me a lot because I love and respect him, and I would try to do something to improve myself and my actions. Do you respect and admire FurX? Obviously not, so why the hell do you care what he says? He's not worth it.
It takes two to tango, which also reflects back on my first letter in which I said you are part of the reason all this drama is still going on after three long years.
My advice is to make this letter your last one regarding FurX. Don't talk to him. Don't read his posts. Don't listen to him. And certainly don't give him the power to take away something you enjoy doing.
Hope you like this response better than my last one. And I hope you stay in the furry community. I'm sorry for any part I might have played in discouraging you.
I have this gnawing issue: I live in a country where fursuiters are scarce due to fur being extremely scarce. I eventually saw an opportunity to make my own fursuit when I got ahold of some nice furs and I did quite a good job at my first suit.
Cue Furry X (FurX). Just as I started being noticed by our local community for my fursuit making abilities, FurX came into the picture. We at first started chatting as friends, which came from another turmoil I had with a really bad person and FurX was there to talk to about it. He also had a bad experience with this person. He eventually told me don't worry about the bad person because he's just like that and he does things like that to people.
We eventually started becoming closer and closer friends, going out for drinks, going out on excursions. You know, just having friendly fun times together. Cue Boardgame convention (Bcon). So I was cash strapped and couldn't grab a ticket for the convention in time, and so was another friend of mine. FurX offered to grab the tickets for us if we paid him at a later time, which I saw no harm in at first. So we went to the convention. Both me and FurX suited; he had a suit he purchased from someone else just like me who started making suits.
Time passed and I grew increasingly more busy. Eventually, FurX tried to strike a deal with me where I'll make him a pair of handpaws in exchange for the tickets he purchased for us for Bcon. I thought at first the admission for the tickets aren't the value of handpaws; they barely cover the costs, but seeing as we are friends why not. BIG MISTAKE.
I had other commissions ahead of his; my other commissioners were fine with waiting a bit since they knew I was busy juggling full time studies with suit making. FurX eventually started pressuring me to finish his handpaws even though I explicitly said I do not have time. I was busy with my own bodysuit that I had planned long before this.
I was studying during the day and working on my suit during nighttime; at the same time my gran's health was deteriorating very fast, and since she's the person who taught me a lot about my craft and how to sew and work the machine I wanted to get the suit done in time to show her. She was extremely proud of me making my head and handpaws. This all while FurX is constantly applying pressure to me to finish his handpaws, I was studying for mid-semester tests and trying to get my fursuit done in time for my favorite gaming convention (Gcon).
My gran passed mere weeks before Gcon; I never got to show her my finished suit. The day Gcon started, I was writing a double test since my units were a bit messed up and I had to write two tests in one day. During the day, FurX would message me and ask about the handpaws. I didn't reply since I was stressed for the tests. Furthermore, I had LAN tickets, so I still had to pack my car with my PC and my suit and all my stuff for the weekend. I got home at around 4pm, dead tired from writing a double test series. I had to fur my feetpaws to have them done for Gcon. As I was busy furring them, FurX messaged me and I simply snapped. I cussed at him and told him he'll never get his handpaws if he talks to me the way he does, and I ended up blocking him.
He didn't respond to this well; he started facebook shaming me and going onto every platform imaginable to slather my name and tell people what a horrible person I am. Luckily, the audience he reached knows me and they know what my situation is and promptly defended me.
I was mad as hell for his super-inconsiderate actions and his entitlement to something that was actually done as a favor for him. I arrived at Gcon after a 30-min angry drive from home. I arrived at 7pm, tired and defeated, and still had to set my computer up. Luckily, my friends kept a place for me to sit. It was only after setting up that I received a message from another fur saying that FurX is really upset and that I shouldn't dare show my face at the annual Gcon furmeet we have. I spoke to a few other furs about it and decided I will make a point of going to this furmeet. I eventually pulled up my blow-up mattress and fell asleep ... at a LAN at 10pm I was exhausted after that day.
The next day was exciting since it was my first time ever going in fullsuit to any kind of convention, and it was my first reveal to the community of my suit. I was nervous and excited. I had a wonderful day and I couldn't wait until the furmeet we have at night after Gcon, the very same one FurX tried to ban me from.
I was at the meet. FurX showed up too, and I kept on chatting to my friend who went through the entire thing with me to help me remain calm. I wanted to approach FurX and give him a piece of my mind, but my friend stopped me. Eventually, came time to suit up. I got suited up and everyone loved my suit. It was one of the first suits at a furmeet, and since it was a relatively new thing I got a lot of attention for it.
Until a point where FurX and his other friend started talking to me and picking my suit apart, showing all the errors and asking me things like “why didn't I do X or Y?” I brushed it off and moved on with my weekend. They weren't worth my energy and spoiling my afternoon to engage. I was a bit down after I unsuited though.
The next morning, I decided to unblock FurX, and he got hold of photos of me at Gcon through the Facebook grapevine. He sent a picture to me outlining even more errors on my suit. I immediately responded with “Are you enjoying constantly showing errors in my suit?” to which he just responded, “No,” and the conversation ended there.
So that is the brunt of the story, until this day over 3 years later there is still beef. I have tried on many occasions to just move on and be the mature adult—you know, shit happens; live and let live.
He eventually started making his own fursuits. Probably to spite me or be better than me at fursuit making, to which I say, “Great, more fursuit makers!”
But his constant growing jealousy of what he perceives of me being "famous" for fursuiting is growing worse and worse. I was approached by a local radio station for a live on-air interview with a group of other fursuiters of my choice. I didn't choose him, and why should I?
We were also interviewed at our second annual con by a local magazine and I was one of the people that were specifically approached to be interviewed. FurX very angrily and slyly would glance at me and constantly walk past the table where I was being interviewed. I had a blast talking to the interviewer especially since we're both from the same cultural background, so we understood each other on a different level.
FurX was intensively jealous of this.
I eventually got a message from FurX saying he's surprised I didn't choose him to go on the air with me on the radio interview and that he's proud of my achievements. But at the end of the day that was exactly the reason I didn't choose him. I'm not pushing a personal propaganda I'm pushing the furry propaganda. I didn't go on the radio for myself; I went on the radio to represent the furry community. He wanted to be on the radio for the simple matter of being "popular."
I have friends who tell me that he complains to them because all he wants to be is popular. But it's gotten to a toxic level where he oppresses even his own friends. One of his friends started making fursuits as well and their work is better received than that of FurX, and FurX made the new maker feel so bad for being better than him and the new maker took it up quite personal which upsets me because fursuit making isn't about who can make the best suits; it's about creativity and giving back to the community that we love. Being contributors.
So I'm constantly dealing with FurX being condescending and passive aggressive toward me in a group where I am forced to be as an admin due to my status involving our convention. It's starting to grow worse and worse where he's targeting my messages and anything fursuit related he has some kind of comment to make, especially if I post it. But it extends to more than just this group. In general, he has become this person who just sucks the joy out of life.
I feel sorry for him, I really do. Trust me, I've tried to make things right but I have eventually given up since I don't want to deal with him anymore. He just makes me negative and doesn't really listen to anything one says. He even steps on those trying to help him.
People think that he's like this to me just because of our history and some people laugh it off and says, “You, too.”
What I am ultimately asking for is advice. How can I just move on from this and get him to stop griping at me for being me? His jealousy is extremely toxic, and I've been trying to eliminate toxicity from my life. I'm so tired of this pettiness, and a single message from him can really ruin my entire day. I'm sure others see his aggressiveness toward me and see his ill intentions, but honestly I've been trying actively to get over this issue and every interaction with him is like one step forward and two steps back.
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First, my condolences over the loss of your grandmother; she sounds like she was a sweet and supportive lady. I just wanted to say that before you read the rest of this, which I hope you will take as a wake-up call.
It’s not difficult to see where you went wrong here. Actually, there are three places where you went wrong, at least, compounded by bad behavior on both parties.
Let’s begin with my policy about money and friends/family. My mother wisely advised me years ago, “Never loan a friend or family member money; you either give them the money or you don’t. Do not expect it to be returned; provide it as a gift, and only give what you can afford to comfortably.” In your case, FurX offered to cover your entry into Bcon with the expectation that you would pay him back (a condition to which you agreed). I would never have done this. If I chose to help a friend get into a con, I would pay the way as a gift and never ask for the money in return. Or, as in the case with a room, I would offer to split the cost of the room, which helps the other person while not getting yourself into the quandary of having provided a loan. Loans are a recipe for destroying relationships, as you have found out too late.
Your next mistake was agreeing to his offer that you make him forepaws in exchange for—according to you—the less valuable tickets he bought for you. Not only did you feel this was not an equitable trade, but you did not have the time to sew the paws as quickly as you should have, and you knew it, or really should have known it.
Your third mistake was cutting off all communication with him. That is very unprofessional of someone who considers himself a businessman in the fursuit industry. You should always openly and honestly communicate with your clients, especially about the status of their commissions. You’re belief that you are doing FurX a favor is incorrect: you agreed to do a trade with him, entering into a business deal, which is not a favor, and you should have treated it as a business contract.
From this point, things go precipitously downhill, with your making speculative claims that FurX decided to make fursuits to somehow spite you, and with your cutting him out of the interview you were asked to do, which was actually a wonderful opportunity to mend bridges if you had taken it.
Given the three things above, I’m definitely leaning in favor of FurX’s point of view, not yours. That said, he has also behaved a bit immaturely by criticizing your fursuit-making skills, but at this point a bit of bitterness on his part is understandable.
One wonders, as well: did you ever finish his paws? All you seem to care about is your own fursuit while simultaneously accusing FurX of wanting to be a popufur. Hmmm. Pot, meet kettle.
You wish to move on? My advice is this: 1) If you haven’t already done so, finish his paws and give them to him; 2) apologize to him if you haven’t already (you don’t explain well how you tried to make amends); 3) stop being jealous, stop worrying about what he is doing, and focus on your own business. Stop worrying about who is a popufur and stop claiming that you have noble intentions to promote the furry fandom when it is quite blatantly obvious you are more concerned about your reputation as a fursuit maker.
Finally, in the future, do not promise things you can’t or don’t want to deliver on.
Sorry for this rather harsh letter, but you need to hear it. This is exactly the kind of drama that degrades the furry fandom, and you are contributing to it.
FurX, if you are reading this, you would do well to drop this issue, too. Learn from it, and try not to repeat your mistakes.
Good Luck to both of you in your future fursuit-making endeavors.
What should I do about past mistakes?
Hello there, I'm a furry from the UK. Due to past experiences (which I'd rather not disclose), I ended up developing a very unhealthy coping mechanism that involved me posting controversial (think political) comments, with the intention of sowing hatred against myself. One of these incidents, involving a well-known furry, went too far, and I was evicted from at least one furmeet on the grounds of causing them unnecessary drama.
Since then, I've thrown all of my effort into a complete turnaround of who I am as a person, and I honestly like who I am now. I've accepted that some bridges must remain burned because of my past actions, however, I do still think about my mistakes on a daily basis, to the extent that it has affected my overall mental health. I've accepted that I'll likely have to live with that mistake hanging over me for the rest of my life, but it has also manifested into an innate paranoia that those who have 'let me back in' secretly despise me, and are waiting for an excuse to cut me out yet again, despite what they have said to me directly. I'm not sure what to do regarding these feelings, as I see people being 'cancelled' every day for mistakes I feel are far less egregious than my own. I'm at the point where I'm honestly just waiting to be 'cancelled' myself, and it's giving me no end of stress.
What should I do regarding my past mistakes and how to deal with them?
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Everyone is guilty of some transgressions in their lives, and no one can “cast the first stone” as a result. In other words, we are not perfect, and that’s okay. I’ve certainly done some things that I regret and that have hurt people in the past. Since you do not detail exactly what you did, I will speak in generic terms here, which in its way is better as this letter could help others who read it more if they can see how it applies to a variety of cases. For that, I thank you for your important letter.
What you need to do is take the path towards forgiving yourself and getting on with your life, whether or not others forgive you, too. Remember, you can’t control how others will react, but you can control your own actions.
You have already taken the first important step, which is acknowledging that you did something wrong in the first place, so good for you on that point!
Second is to ask those you have harmed for forgiveness. Doing so must be absolutely sincere (people can tell when you’re not sincere, so don’t kid yourself), but you should be prepared for the fact that not everyone will forgive you. Hopefully they will, but you’ll have to accept that they sometimes won’t. It seems, too, from your letter that you are coming to terms with that, which is quite mature of you.
Third is to forgive yourself. You can’t move ahead if you don’t believe in yourself and that you can do better. If you’re always saying negative things about yourself (e.g. “I’m a bad person,” “I’m an idiot,” etc.) you will bury yourself in a deep hole from which you can’t climb out. When you feel negative thoughts enter your head, counteract them with positive statements like “I am a caring person who is trying to do better and to be more helpful to and appreciative of others.”
Fourth: learn from the past. Let’s face it, we can’t grow as people if we never make a mistake! Learn from those mistakes. For example, many people (including yours truly) have sent off angry emails (or social media posts) without thinking first only to regret them later. Before you shoot yourself in the foot, the lesson here is, take some time to cool off and really think about what was said and how you will respond. Then, go ahead and write that email, but save it in a draft first. Wait a day, then go back and re-read it. At that point, you might choose to edit it or maybe delete it entirely.
Fifth: Go out into the community again (yes, in person if you can) and try to make amends with others and be good to them. Three things can happen here: 1) you will find that you are forgiven a lot sooner than you expected to be; 2) you might not be accepted right away but, with time and work, you will regain your friends’ trust; or 3) some might never forgive you. All three of these have happened to me, and #3 can be sad, but at least you will have learned more about relationships and, in the future, be prepared and equipped to do better (I am a much better friend these days than I was as a kid and as a young adult).
Sixth: Gain empathy. Now that you know you’re not perfect and you need forgiveness, you should develop empathy for others so that when they transgress against you, you will know what this is like from their perspective and be able to forgive them should they seek that forgiveness.
Seventh: Realize that you are worthy of love and friendship. We are all beautiful in our emotional and psychological complexities. We have good and bad points. So give yourself a break and go buy yourself a nice ice cream treat.
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.
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.