Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
A friend and I had a falling out just as the holidays were approaching. By the time this letter gets to you, Christmas day may well have come and gone, and chances are, we aren’t speaking yet.
Where do I start? I guess you could say my friend and I just weren’t on the same level. While we’ve known each other for ages, we’ve only become close recently, and it surprised me how much and how often we liked to talk. And maybe it’s because we’re older and give less of a fuck, but he recently admitted to having had feelings for me all this time. For 10 years now, to be exact. I took it graciously (and awkwardly), but stayed evasive on how I felt on my part because I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.
I really enjoyed talking to him, though. But I also felt a certain kind of pressure from him; He would constantly, nonchalantly drop sweet nothings into our conversations like they weren’t a big deal, and I’d feel awkward with just saying “thank you.” He clarified that he never expected anything from me, but I feel like I’m being worn down with constant adoration.
Are you rolling your eyes at me yet? Poor me, having to take these compliments from a perfectly affable, intelligent, and reasonably attractive male interest.
But I don’t want a relationship because I just got out of one, and I know my patterns too well: I jump from one guy to another to distract myself from the fact that I am single. So I broke it off (not that we were ever together; I don’t know what we were, exactly). He remained understanding, but I felt how hurt he was, especially after maintaining that he really had no expectations on his part, but could you fault me for finding that hard to believe?
I’ll admit as much: I miss talking to him, but I fear reaching out will just send mixed signals and complicate things further. But when I waver between striking up another conversation and just letting the status quo be, I remember a quote uttered by Amy Adams’ character in Her: “I can overthink everything and find a million ways to doubt myself, but I’ve come to realize that we’re only here briefly and while I’m here I wanna allow myself…joy.”
But in this case, would allowing myself joy also mean being selfish about my own needs? By reconnecting, I’d basically just be stringing him along, right? Really counting on you, Pops…
I think Christmas is bullshit. Not being a Grinch or anything, but it’s such a dreadful thing that happens every year. I mean, it’s not even Jesus Christ’s birthday! I get how it can be such a precious thing for everyone out there but I do know that I am not alone in this. We should form a lynch mob, guys. Don’t feel any pressure to not give a shit just because it’s Christmas. People may not know this but Love, Actually is actually a terrible film. It’s the kind of film that programs you to worry about being alone this season—to hell with being nice, what you need to be is YOURSELF.
How did you spend the holidays, Sam? I hope you didn’t think about that boy because what a waste of your precious time. Poppy spent Christmas in bed, sufficiently proud of myself for winning a rice cooker and a gift basket with Tostitos and Salsa con Queso dip. Christmas for me is screener season: That time of the year when Oscar contenders start popping up online. SO MANY MOVIES, SAMANTHA! Although I haven’t seen them all, I did see Carol, Todd Haynes’ lesbian bonanza of beauty. It. Is. The. Best.
Don’t worry, this won’t lead me to advising you to sleep with women (although you can try it—it’s fun). There’s this great scene in the film where Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) start arguing about the repercussions of their love for each other. “I don’t know what I want!” Therese says. “How could I if I just say yes to everything?”
You are such a beautiful creature for knowing exactly what you want. I know you want this: to be single. This joy that you’re looking for is so easy to find because it’s practically everywhere. There’s joy in being single, believe me. It’s liberating. You can vacay your vajayjay or you may opt to keep it in an absolute no vacancy status. Allow yourself a breather and try to shake off that pattern that you’ve come to know so well.
These patterns are vicious, but it can lead you to become a better person if you learn how to control it. You know, like the Force? Samantha, you’d have to be discerning, don’t say yes to everything. Think of it as a food tasting event: Take a nibble and move on to the next booth. I mean, sure, this guy’s pretty cute, he’s decent, but he’s not what you need right now. You’ve known each other for a decade and now he’s making a move because you’re single. Aw… That’s cute. But also kind of creepy, if you think about it.
Instead of worrying about his feelings, worry about your mental well-being. YOU KNOW deep down inside of you that you NEED to be single. To this, I say: Take him to the friend zone.
The friend zone is really not so bad. I think the media makes the friend zone look bad. Like, it’s an instant source of hugot. “Bro, na-friend zone ka? Huhu for you, bro.” Guys, stop. I want guys to know that you are lucky we’re even taking you to this zone. This is a zone where we can talk and maintain a good relationship without all those unnecessary e-mo-tions. What most guys don’t realize though is that it can serve as a launch pad for better things. Like, if I had a guy cast off into the murky waters of the friend zone and he rises above the muck of all the schmucks, then buddy, you’re going to be careening towards the zone that you deserve. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Samantha, only you can tell if the time is right to reconnect. Of course this distance is definitely causing him a lot of pain. It sucks being turned down. I like how you pointed out Amy Adams’ line from Her. She’s great in that movie, but really, Joaquin Phoenix is ace. In its essence, Her basically paints you a pretty picture of how pain and loneliness can have a profound effect on men. It’s shitty, but it happens. Men will play their video games; they will listen to sad music; they will cry; they will hate you. Women also do that. If your empathy tells you that your friend is going to be hurt, then it’s a rousing yes.
You shattered this poor creature and left him bleeding all over the floor. Don’t worry about him, he’s either going to find someone to take your place inside of his heart or fight for you. Should he decide to get up and do whatever it takes to be with you, then you’ve got yourself a winner (possibly, also a stalker).
Girl, this is why I want you to focus on yourself first. What you need will be revealed to yourself by yourself.
Everything comes full circle.
May The Corrs be with you,
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.
Art by Dorothy Guya