Quite Frankly

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Hey Frankie,
There’s this girl, right. She’s intimidating. She’s so [heckin’] cool, and smart, and funny and talented and I can’t help but be a little scared of her. But! She’s inviting and fun. She gets me excited. She’s super supportive. And I would definitely skip class to see her if she wanted me to.

Yes; I have feelings for her. But who wouldn’t?

Also, when you say you have feelings for someone, that carries a certain like, connotation that it’s purely romantic in nature.

I’m not gonna deny that I have any sort of romantic feelings for her, but it’s deeper than that.

It’s like. This is someone I just enjoy. Someone I just want to be around and be there for and make happy.

She’s really cool. I don’t know. [Heck].
Sincerely,
Awed Admirer

 

Dear Admirer,

Quite frankly, humans don’t emphasize the value of platonic relationships enough. When someone makes you happy and you want to make them happy, we tend to think that’s romantic, but that’s reductive. Additionally, both romantic and platonic relationships can be equally deep (or equally shallow). Personally, I struggle to understand whether I’m drawn to someone romantically, or just aggressively want to befriend them. You seem to be experiencing that struggle.

Emotions resist categorization. You might end up being dishonest with yourself about how you feel because you want to fit into a set framework. Take honest stock of what you’re feeling. Writing down your thoughts as they occur helps preserve this honesty.

Now, about being a little bit scared of her: Ask yourself what brand of fear this is. If it’s self-consciousness, that’s an expected, natural reaction. When you care about someone, of course you want to show them the best you. Constantly projecting that self can be exhausting. If this is how you feel, let down your guard, especially because you say she’s supportive. Remember: If she reacts negatively to your genuine self, she won’t be a good companion, romantic or not.

Also, it’s good to notice someone’s impressive characteristics, but sometimes we reduce a person to our positive conception of them, especially if we find them intimidating. In good relationships of all sorts, no one feels inferior. Resist the urge to turn her from a person into a marble bust on a pedestal in the museum of your emotions. That’s how you end up infatuated with an idea.

If you decide your feelings are romantic, talk to her. It’ll save you a massive headache. In this conversation, have three missions: Be open with her; listen to her, whether she reciprocates or not; and begin a longer dialogue. Let her know you don’t want to spring this on her, but to work through it together. I know putting yourself out there emotionally can be a paralyzing idea, but it will be worth it (even if her feelings aren’t romantic) to know where you stand.

Best wishes,
Frankie
P.S. Please go to class; they usually happen for a reason.

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