I'm not entirely certain what my question actually is. I am partially writing this just to get my thoughts and feelings in order. I will attempt to explain my situation, and maybe a question will come to me.
As of a few weeks ago, I have effectively severed all ties with the furry community. I have stopped talking to, and in some cases blocked, everyone I used to talk to. At the time, I wasn't entirely certain why I did that. I felt distraught, confused, and scared. Pushing everyone away seemed the only option at the time.
After I calmed down, and reflected on what I had done, I began to understand what had upset me so much. I am an introvert, and I do not make friends easily. In my life there have been less than a dozen people I could really call a friend. Within furry fandom almost all the last friendships I had developed were, on at least some level, sexual. (I had one friend with whom sex was never a factor, but he rarely contacts me. I doubt if he even really considers me a friend at all.)
It was the sexual aspect of my friendships that had upset me so much. I wasn't sure exactly what my friends wanted, or why they had a sexual interest in me. Was I just simply convenient, and available? Did they want to be "friends with benefits"? Did they see me as a potential mate and long-term partner? Even more confusing and upsetting was a question that kept rattling around my head. What did I want from my relationship with them?
Anyways, I was scared, and confused, so I cut them all off. I know I hurt, at least, one of them because I gave no explanation for what I did.
I should wrap this up with a question for you. I guess my question is should I try to explain what I did and why to my friends?
No One of Consequence (age 42)
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Dear Someone of Consequence,
If you still consider them your friends or want them to be your friends again, then, yes, you do owe them an explanation. As someone who has been on the receiving end of this situation (a furry I knew in San Francisco stopped talking to me, and I never found out why), I can tell you that not knowing can really hurt one’s feelings.
So, try and reestablish contact with the ones you felt were your friends and explain yourself to them. Tell them you got freaked out by the sexual content of the conversations you were having and apologize for overreacting—yes, overreacting.
In my experience, a little online RP or flirting is usually harmless among furries and means nothing really, other than they are horny and seeking a little fun. Also in my experience, if you come across a furry online and he or she makes some advances on you and you ask them to stop, they will, and they usually apologize. What you need is the courage to communicate your boundaries to those with whom you are forming relationships online (or in person) in the furry community. You, being a shy introvert, probably failed to do that because you were embarrassed or felt overwhelmed by others’ forwardness. You shouldn’t be afraid to express what you want in a friendship to others, especially at your age.
Part of communication is explaining not only what one wants but also what one does not want.
I know you are a shy person, which makes it harder for you to approach people, but when you yourself are approached be open to new friendships but don’t be afraid to tell someone “No, thank you” if they makes a move on you that you are uncomfortable with. Learn to set your boundaries, but be kind ("Thanks for the flirting, but I'm really not into online sex talk.") People, in general, will not get mad at you; indeed, many will respect you for not letting yourself get pushed around and for knowing what you want.
Hope that helps!
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