Story | Aunt Agony
Illustration | Ishmam Ahmed
Dear Aunt Agony,
I need your advice. I am really awkward around guys when they express some sort of interest in me and I don’t really know how to act…. I guess most of the time I am really fearful to lead guys on or lacking the courage to start something new by reciprocating the interest. What do I do? (especially when I don’t know them well enough yet as a friend?)
Experimentation is never bad. You have options and positive intentions. Know that this will neither be your last, nor theirs. You’re not the Wattpad bad boy with the disheveled bed head and swoon-worthy eyes who goes around breaking hearts left and right. Do not delude yourself, dearest child.
Start slow and stay steady. Be a friend. Establish the necessary systems of communication. Set boundaries and make your intentions clear. Take the initiative to have difficult conversations prior to establishing your romantic and sexual relationships. Don’t feel as if you can’t use personality 5 with the personality 8 individual. If they want to know you, they will try. After all, if you don’t enter relationships being 120% yourself, will you ever feel comfortable in it?
Being fearful of leading people on may stem from deep-rooted trauma, leading to a fear of commitment. But I’m here to tell you that you will never know how you really feel about a person or an experience until you give them a shot. It might be freer than you would have initially thought.
And courage? That’s just a matter of hitting the send button. If you are sure of yourself, then trust your feelings a little more and see where it takes you.
Dear Aunt Agony,
My high school ex and I broke up on pretty okay terms and we finally decided to talk. But while talking to him, I felt that he kept dropping hints about how he is not over me. I recently had a break up and am still recovering. I honestly feel super uneasy. I know the best thing to do is to just avoid talking to him for a while, but I can’t stop feeling bugged and somewhat irritated by it. How do I stop myself from feeling this way? :((
Avoidance is not cowardly, but quite the power move if you will it to be so. If anything, purposeful avoidance should be normalized. Media has painted an interesting image of what the strong look like: indifferent but charged, passive but direct, and cold but confrontational. But I find that sometimes the strongest thing to do is not to dwell on such things. You’re smart for realizing that and distancing yourself from him.
Take this moment to reconcile with yourself. The person you were when you were with him is still within you. Don’t internalize the avoidance. Slowly but surely, come to terms with your feelings and consolidate yourself in all your entirety. Remember, if you’re homesick about a person, actively make the distinction that it’s not him you’re missing but the person you were with him. Realize that you are a self-sustaining life force, and that is absolutely gorgeous!
So go ahead and archive him on WhatsApp, block him on TikTok, and mute his DMs on all social media platforms. Remove him from the periphery of your life and occupy your mind with the better things in life. Reduce his presence in your life.
Overthinking, however, can be a slightly harder challenge to tackle. People always say that overthinking achieves absolutely nothing. Molehills are made into mountains and feelings begin to create more feelings. Keep yourself distracted, stay hydrated and be social.
Know that you are more than your feelings, and a passing breeze should be just that.
Have a problem? Send it to Aunt Agony at https://forms.gle/RuKiXGFjCVeKqGgk7
Disclaimer: The advice provided in this column is no substitute for professional advice, and should not be treated as such. The Octant understands the sensitivity of such issues. If anyone has any complaints, concerns, or comments please feel free to contact The Octant at firstname.lastname@example.org.