Dear Readers – If you’re not a Pokémon Go fan, it’s apparently easy to get punked by one.
It happened to me and it happened to another advice columnist through the same “question.”
Here’s how it was done: On September 24th, I published a woman’s letter about her annoyance with her boyfriend's Pokémon Go addiction.
It turns out that she had incorporated references to individual Pokémon characters throughout her story.
These included "coughing, wheezing, hypnotize, crabby” (known to ardent players as Koffing, Weezing, Hypno, Krabby, etc.)
Those in the know later wrote me that “someone's having a joke!”
Fair enough. It’s a pop phenomenon among those who have the time, interest, and enjoyment from playing Pokémon games.
Meanwhile, a vast majority of other people seeking advice are sincerely curious or deeply troubled by relationship events in their lives.
Unlike the punker, these people are hoping for helpful answers, not a laugh grab.
I’m 14, and recently started dating this boy in my grade. Last year, I turned him down because I didn’t know him as a person. But we’ve been talking, I really like him, and he makes me feel special
Some things make me worry slightly. Both of my parents are ordained pastors and I’ve lived a more structured life than the average person.
This boy told me that he used to smoke weed, and that he’d done some edgy stuff.
He's never had sex before, but he's gone skinny dipping with friends.
All of my friends and my dad met and like him. But I really just like him as a friend.
I know that most people don't take these freshman high-school relationships seriously, but in these moments our relationships seem very real to us.
Recently, at a school dance, we slow-danced and were closer than I would’ve morally liked.
Now there's this other boy. We dated once for a week in seventh grade, but I broke it off.
We’ve become best friends. He likes me, and knows that I like him.
I told my boyfriend about this, but I said I liked him better.
He was happy to hear it from me and not anybody else. But now I want to go out with this other boy.
I plan on giving my relationship one more week to sort things out a bit more, but I need a little more guidance on the way!
You’re wise beyond your years when you say, “these relationships seem very real to us.” Unfortunately, lots of older people forget this fact from their youth.
You know what else is real - that it’s too easy to hurt other people. They deserve to know if your feelings don’t match theirs.
And you look closely at someone’s behaviour because you were raised with firm standards.
You dated at age 12, but broke it off, likely not ready for it. You now like that guy as a potential boyfriend.
What matters is what you expect of a relationship at this age and stage in your life. How comfortable are you if things get “edgy,” if sex becomes likely to happen?
The guidance you need is available within yourself, if you think through what you can and cannot accept before you’re caught in an awkward or upsetting situation.
You also need to know that you have the right to insist on being respected for your own standards.
Remember that your parents are close at hand if you become uncertain about how a relationship is going.
My co-worker doesn’t listen. She starts speaking before I’m finished talking, and starts her own story without acknowledging what I’ve said.
Often she changes the topic entirely to her and her family. She does this with other co-workers too.
I often try to avoid her as I get really upset.
What can I say to make our conversations more of a two-way street?
Some people are too wrapped up in their own stories, or have little empathy for others (except in dire situations).
She may have no idea that she talks over you and takes over.
Avoiding her is a semi-solution, not always possible.
Try interrupting by saying, “you already told me that.” Or, “I’d like to hear your thoughts on what I said before I listen to you.”
She may be too self-absorbed to be insulted. OR, she’ll be very insulted and the chill will end this situation.
Tip of the day:
Take young dating relationships seriously enough to know your own boundaries and be clear about them.