Being a fangirl, how do you deal with fanboys who follow you around a convention or event? Sometimes guys act like they have never seen a female fan before, and they can be creepy. Especially if you or a friend is pretty, they take you being nice and polite as a sign that you like them. At times it can be hard to get away from them. How do you deal with that? You can’t say “you are creepy, leave me alone.” You don’t want to be mean, they haven’t done anything; it is just annoying. I know that this is a problem for several of my friends and other fangirls, but it is hard to speak up about. It is also a big concern on facebook and twitter too. Any advice?
-Fangirl at Convention
Dear Fangirl at Convention,
You bring up a problem that many women and girls face, even beyond the fangirl community. They want to be polite and friendly, but they don’t want to give the wrong idea to a guy who is pursuing them. At conventions, it may seem like a bigger problem, because the guys there already know that they have something in common with you (they already have an in), so that makes you more appealing to them. If you enjoy the same things as them, it’s very understandable that a guy would want to get to know you. However, that doesn’t give someone permission to follow you around when it’s not wanted or to make you feel uncomfortable.
Many nice women face the problem of not wanting to be rude. They smile and talk to guys because they are just being polite and friendly. However, when someone (of either sex) is interested in you, that person will look for any sign that you are interested back. This may mean that a smile or laugh, or any kind of conversation, will encourage them. Perhaps you have found this to be true when you liked someone and wanted to figure out if they liked you. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t have to hold back from being your friendly, joyful self just because you don’t want to give someone the wrong idea.
Here’s what I have found to work. Many men (or women, if they are the pursuers) respond well to gentle honesty. If you came to a convention with the intention of enjoying the time with your friend, it may help to simply say, “I’m here with my friend, and we just want to spend time with each other today. We’re going to move on now.” If the pursuers won’t stop following or pursuing, you can be firmer: “It makes us uncomfortable when you keep following us like that. We really want to enjoy the convention just the two of us.” Sometimes this has to be repeated a few times for someone to get the idea. As in any situation, however, if you feel unsafe, tell security.
If someone asks for your number, and you’re not interested, you have every right to say, “Thank you for asking, but I’m not interested.” Personally, I have had to say things like this before, and it felt a bit uncomfortable at first, because I worried about hurting someone’s feelings. But I have found that honesty has always worked best in the long run. I think that in general, if you are confident and firm in your boundaries, people typically respect them. It may feel like you are being unkind, but gentle honesty is always kindest in the long run. Once a guy knows that you are firmly not interested, it frees him up to move on. And when he moves on, you’re free to enjoy the convention in peace.
All my best,
Recently, I have been remembering upsetting events from my past, and these memories are causing me emotional distress. I don’t want to explain the upsetting events here, but is there a reason why I suddenly remember troubles from my past?
-Geeky Girl with Emotions
Dear Geeky Girl with Emotions,
We can remember upsetting events from our past for all sorts of reasons. Typically, something in our current life reminds us of the past event, and that current event will trigger our memory. Perhaps you saw something on TV that reminded you of it. Perhaps something in your current life brought up a similar feeling or emotion to the one you experienced back when the upsetting event occurred. If you think about what happened right before you suddenly had these memories, you might be able to figure out what triggered them. Often, remembering a past upsetting event will bring up the same uncomfortable feelings that you had when the event took place, so it can be helpful to talk through these feelings with someone you trust.
If your memories are upsetting and distressing, if they’re making you uncomfortable, or giving you nightmares, then I strongly recommend talking to a therapist or counselor in person about them. A lot of times, people in our society think that a therapist or counselor is only for “crazy” people, but that’s really not the case. Therapists help you talk through your feelings and figure out ways to feel better about what is troubling you. Most schools have a school counselor, and many communities have options for low-cost counseling. If you are a minor, you can ask your parents to set up an appointment for you. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to parents about these things, but if you feel that you can talk to them, I would definitely recommend it. In some states, children over the age of 12 are able to talk to a counselor without involving their parents. Your school counselor would know what your options are, so that would be a good place to start.
If these aren’t options for you, even talking to a friend about the events may help you feel less alone. There are also 24-hour hotlines you can call to talk to someone right away if you are feeling a lot of emotional distress. If you type “crisis hotline” into a search engine, you will be able to find your local hotline number. Reaching out for support is so important when anyone is working through painful memories or emotions. I’m glad that you chose to reach out here, and I encourage you to continue reaching out to those in your community.
All my best,
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