I’m a college freshman who has never been in a relationship. I went to an all-girls high school so I don’t understand guys. Last week, a guy friend told me he liked me. I didn’t give him a clear response, but he didn’t make a big deal of it, so it didn’t feel like a big deal when I didn’t respond. I changed the subject and he hasn’t brought it up since. I don’t have feelings for him and now it’s awkward between us. Lately, he’s been acting flirty with another girl. I don’t like it, and I don’t know why. Advice?
You’ve been living in the sweet spot so the threat of losing your friend’s undivided attention is sending your ego into tantrums. It’s far more common in dating relationships than you might expect. The ego worries that if this guy pursues another girl and is successful, his attention, and possibly his friendship, will disappear. Jealousy arises as a defense against the imagined loss. That’s why you don’t like his flirtation with another girl. Clinging to him, even though you don’t want him, is easier than facing whether you will find someone else.
Heal by turning your attention to the core problem: control. You want to control this guy—how he spends his time and with whom. That doesn’t make you a bad person, just one with emotional work to do. When a thought about this guy floats through your mind, say to yourself: “I’m not attracted to him. I’m glad he’s found someone. I’m open to meeting a guy I like who also likes me.” When your words and emotions joyfully align, you are free.
One last thing: attending a co-ed high school is no guarantee of understanding guys, but it does provide benefits essential to the 21st century. At a co-ed high school most girls learn to speak to guys as if they are people and not coveted prizes promising entry to what some girls believe is the most coveted prize: marriage. So the next time a guy expresses his affection for you, be honest. Tell him how you feel in a way that reveals compassion for both of you. Don’t worry about losing him. People come and go in our lives. That’s the natural rhythm of life and love.
I am a voice major at college but also passionate about global service and the environment. I also love coffee and coffee shops and dream of opening one. How do I combine all of my loves?
Decide what you want after graduation: a job or a career. A career is an occupation that progresses toward a particular title, income bracket or status. A job is employment that provides a paycheck to cover personal expenses so you have time to do what you love. As a vocalist, you can use your brand and platform to inspire people into global service. As a café owner, you can sing to your patrons. Or you can become a vocalist who leads international service trips to coffee plantations. Your dream of combining your passions is possible once you invest focus, energy, creativity, patience and determination.