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Dear Captain,

Over the last year, a once close friend of mine and I have been experiencing the African Violet of broken friendship. We had been through a very intense multi-year creative work project together, and after the project finished and she moved onto another job, we kind of drifted apart. For my part, I felt that sometimes she could say very unkind or cruel things. I noticed about two years ago that I was working very hard to win her approval, and felt very anxious if I didn’t get it and recognized that this friendship had become a bit unhealthy. I still valued many things about my friend, and thought that by setting some boundaries I could change the dynamic. After any incident where she said something unkind (for example, that half of the work on my part of the project was not my own work, which really hurt my feelings) or been judgmental (for example, negatively commenting on the dynamics of my relationship with my partner or how much I was eating and snacking during the intense project), I would take some space. Over the last couple of years my confidence has grown, not just in this area but in many other areas of my life, and I have been able to deal with some anxiety issues I had and learn how to set boundaries.

She started mainly hanging out with some different friends, and although we were still in touch, our conversation was becoming more and more surface-level. Anytime I suggested meeting up she would be really vague or say no. I was quite hurt at the time that she didn’t seem to want to hang out with me anymore, but I knew that we had just been through a really intense period in our lives and maybe she needed her space. There was always room for our friendship to get renewed further down the line. Before yesterday, we hadn’t been in contact for about four months. There wasn’t anything particularly negative about our last contact, it just tailed off.

I recently got a new job that I am very excited about and yesterday, in a whatsapp group she is also part of, someone congratulated me on my new job. About an hour later I got an feelingsemail from my friend. It’s not a nice email. It’s basically a bitter rant about how I have changed as a person. She said she didn’t recognize me anymore and how she had become fed up of what she perceives as my faults, and me being distant, over the last two years. She said that she didn’t deserve this kind of behavior from me and that she had never thought I would cut her off like this, although she had seen me do it to others (I don’t know where this comes from, I haven’t cut any one off apart from one girl back in high school which was 15 years ago!). In her mind, I am the bad guy, and it doesn’t sound like she is open to listening to anything else. She did say congratulations about the new job at the end.

I want to reply in a kind and compassionate way, because there were many things I valued about our friendship. We were so close, and I miss her. However, I don’t know what to say or how to respond to this email. I understand she sent it in a fit of overwhelming feelings, and underneath the accusations and manipulative statements, really she’s just sad about the loss of our friendship. I am open to being friends again, and rebuilding our relationship but it can’t be like this. I want to acknowledge the email, but I don’t want to get caught up in back and forth about who did what, or act in a way that says I think this email is acceptable, or apologize for things I haven’t done. How should I respond to this feelingsbomb? Should I even respond? How can people respond kindly and compassionately to feelingsmail in general?

Best wishes,
I’ve got feelingsmail

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Miracle Max from The Princess Bride

"It would take a miracle for this guy take you out for an M.L.T."

Hello, Awkwardeers, I’ve had the good problems of paid freelance work, social fun times with friends, and trying to get a movie project off the ground, so posting has been and will continue to be spotty.

First, I’d like to signal-boost this post which perfectly sums up everything I hate about the idea of the Friend Zone. We all get crushes, right? And sometimes those crushes are on our friends, or we get crushes that turn into friendships. If your friends are awesome, and you’re with me on the “don’t date people who aren’t as cool as your friends” train, it’s bound to happen to you sooner or later. Describing that as “The Friend Zone” implies that you feel a sense of entitlement towards that person and think they owed you something different. If it’s not a friendship that sustains itself once the possibility of getting laid/loved is off the table? Simple. Don’t be friends with people you don’t value for their own sake.

Second, this question came in as a comment on the “A Shy Guy Caught My Eye” post, but I think it deserves its own answer.

Hi Jennifer

I read all of this and thought you gave great advice. So i wanted to ask for your advice. I really like this super awkward shy guy. I’ve liked him off and on for 4yrs. I’ve tryed to talk to him threw text and facebook, for about a year. but he only gives me a few word answers and doesn’t convo back to much. Also last summer we hungout one night and drank a few beers and ended up making out. Well we sat there for alittle bit talking and he was so nerves he keep ripping up the grass we were sitting on. And he told me he liked me for the last 6 months. Well i made the mistake of saying i had liked him for the last 3 years. But i ment to say i liked him off and on for 3 years lol. He was like “Really that’s along time” then i ended up writing him the next day and pouring out my heart (like you said not to do above) (I pretty much did everything above lol). Well he never wrote me back. So I can’t tell if he likes me.

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