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Dear Captain Awkward,

Over the years, my smart, funny, fun friend Elizabeth has become ruled by her insecurity, anxiety, and grievances. She’s close with my friends from a couple of overlapping friend groups — I met my boyfriend through her — and somehow, her emotional needs have become the center of our lives. We are constantly trying to manage around Elizabeth’s irrational reactions.

Any time she isn’t invited to anything I’m doing, I’ll hear about it directly and again passive-aggressively. It doesn’t matter the reason. Every low-key hangout becomes a dilemma: do I invite Elizabeth, do I lie about my plans, do I just endure the confrontation. If I invite her when I don’t feel like it, she claims I wasn’t happy to see her. If she’s busy when we make plans, she’ll still say how left out she feels. Any time anyone has big news — they’re engaged, moving, pregnant — telling Elizabeth is a whole thing that has to be strategized around.

It’s not hard to tell this is the result of some deep and miserable insecurity and loneliness. I feel terrible that she feels that way. But she is using her anxieties to control everyone around her, and I’ve realized it’s a fucked-up game that I can’t win.

If she weren’t friends with all my friends, I would cut her out of my life entirely. Given the overlap, though, that would be difficult and dramatic (and maybe end up ruining her relationships with people who are frustrated but not yet totally fed up. She does need friends. I just can’t be one anymore). I am trying instead to see her as a friend-of-friends who I don’t care for. I don’t feel guilty about ways I inadvertently hurt those people. I don’t vent for hours about them to mutual friends. I don’t go to parties we’re both invited to and leave frustrated by all the ways they are disappointing me.

But I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to react the next time she tries to make me feel guilty or make something about her. I don’t know what to say that doesn’t turn into a big, involved, emotional conversation that I do not want. She always wants more from me. I want to give her less. I know what my boundaries are. How do I make them clear to her?

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Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 14th October, 12pm onwards.  Please note slight change of location, same as last month – Green Bar rather than Blue, e.g. same thing as the previous location but the opposite side.  Also please note we are starting an hour later than previously.

Colouring in – please bring copyright-free images, pens and pencils, etc.  Or just come and chat with us!

The venue sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most food requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.
Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Green Bar (go up in lift 1, sadly not as musical as lift 7).

Here is the accessibility map of the Royal Festival Hall: PDF map

I have shoulder length brown hair and glasses, and I will bring my plush Cthuhlu, which looks like this: 

The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets. Waterloo tube station has step free access on the Jubilee line but not on the Northern line.

The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/549571375087294/. There is also a thread in the new forums for saying hello.

My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com

(November meetup will be the 11th.)

Dear Captain Awkward,

When I was seventeen, in order to escape an emotionally and physically abusive mother, I joined the Air Force. However, about six months into a four year contract, I realized that my priorities (and my politics) had shifted, and that I could no longer justify to myself being in the military as a positive or moral choice. Unfortunately, short of getting pregnant or deliberately getting in trouble (neither of which I wanted to do), I had no way of getting out early.

Now, I’ve made it. I’m less than a month away from separating, and I’ve made plans to attend college and study biology. When I’m a civilian again, the people and organizations that I most want to interact with politically are very left-leaning, often with an emphasis on criticizing the military industrial complex. In a situation like that, I don’t know how to bring up the fact that I’m a veteran. I don’t want to lie to people, but I find it embarrassing, and I also worry that people might distrust me because of it.

I guess the core of my question is, how do I talk to people about something I did in my past that I no longer condone, and even actively oppose?

Sincerely,
A Regretful Veteran
(she/her pronouns)

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From your host Peregrinations:

When: Sunday, October 1 at 3 pm

Where: PIQ in Berkeley
91 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 (Google Maps link below)
1.5 blocks from Downtown Berkeley BART station (on Fremont-Richmond and Richmond-Daly City/Millbrae lines)

What: Bay Area Awkwardeer meetup! Feel free to bring knitting, crafts, books, etc, or just yourself

About PIQ: PIQ is a bakery, cafe and pizzeria with a wide range of meat-based, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. They have a big open floor plan with lots of seating and a reasonably quiet atmosphere (good for talking). We will be in a handicap accessible area on either the first or second floor (there’s an elevator). Bike parking available, street parking for cars.
PIQ’s website: http://www.piqbakery.com/berkeley
Menu: http://www.piqbakery.com/menu
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/piq-bakery-berkeley

How to find us:
I’ll grab a table(s) either outside, downstairs, or upstairs (depending on room/weather), and will have a floppy-legged buffalo plushie with me. I will make a foldover sign saying “CA Meetup” to put on the table.

For more info:
Feel free to pm me on the forums, or email me at peregrinations74@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!

Enjoy the meetup!

Edit: I meant 16th September, sorry folks

 

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 16th September, 12pm onwards.  Please note slight change of location, same as last month – Green Bar rather than Blue, e.g. same thing as the previous location but the opposite side.  Also please note we are starting an hour later than previously.

Crafting meetup – please bring any craft which won’t damage the venue, and bring stash for others if applicable.  I can teach knitting to intermediate, but other crafts are welcome.  Or just come and chat with us!

The venue sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most food requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.
Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Green Bar (go up in lift 1, sadly not as musical as lift 7).

Here is the accessibility map of the Royal Festival Hall: PDF map

I have shoulder length brown hair and glasses, and I will bring my plush Cthuhlu, which looks like this: 

The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets. Waterloo tube station has step free access on the Jubilee line but not on the Northern line.

The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/549571375087294/. There is also a thread in the new forums for saying hello.

My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com

(October meetup will be the 14th.)

Houston/Texas/Gulf Coast Readers, are you safe & dry? Are you unsafe and wet? Let us know what’s up with you.

For everyone else: Friend-of-Blog and Texan Andrea Grimes compiled a list of local organizations that could put donations to good work on the ground in Texas here, if you want to help but don’t know where to start.

I’m in the special heck that is building syllabi and course websites all week, as we’re back to school next week. Posting will be light but I’m reading/moderating. ❤

 

EDIT: On level five, come up in lifts 2 and 3

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX near Waterloo station, 17th August, 12pm onwards.  Please note slight change of location, same as last month – Green Bar rather than Blue, e.g. same thing as the previous location but the opposite side.  Also please note we are starting an hour later than normal.

Bad book swap!  Please bring any book you think is bad, for any reason (too purple, too few vampires, etc.) and swap it for someone else’s bad book.  Or just come and chat with us.  🙂

The venue sell food in a cafe (standard sandwiches etc.), but they also don’t mind people bringing food in from outside. There are several other local places where you can buy stuff as well. The excellent food market outside has loads of different food options, which can fit most food requirements, or you can also bring a packed lunch.
Meet on the fourth floor, outside the Green Bar (go up in lift 1, sadly not as musical as lift 7).

Here is the accessibility map of the Royal Festival Hall: PDF map

I have shoulder length brown hair and glasses, and I will bring my plush Cthuhlu, which looks like this: 

The venue is accessible via a lift, and has accessible toilets. Waterloo tube station has step free access on the Jubilee line but not on the Northern line.

The London Awkward group has a Facebook page, which is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/549571375087294/. There is also a thread in the new forums for saying hello.

My email is Kate DOT Towner AT Gmail DOT com

(September meetup will be the 16th.)