Dear Tori,

 

For as long as I knew what it meant to like a guy as more than a friend, I said I’d never like someone younger than myself. I thought it was creepy, just like crushing on your younger brother. Then, I noticed other couples with that kind of relationship and how happy they seemed to be together; no one else thought that it was creepy or weird. This helped me accept the fact that I like my friend who’s a year younger than I am. I, however, don’t want to tell him because I’m afraid of what he might think about me. I’m worried that our friendship might end if he knew. I tried to get over it, but it has been almost a year and my feelings haven’t changed. Any suggestions on what I should do?

 

Being Open-minded

 

Dear Being Open-minded,

 

Well you’ve already covered the first step of liking someone – admitting it to yourself.

Now ask yourself if it’s more important to keep your friendship the way it is or to take a risk for something more.

Just as you’ve come to accept liking a guy younger than you, maybe your friend is okay with liking someone who’s older than him.

A year isn’t a big difference, and most people wouldn’t let that interfere with how they feel about someone. A year is also a long time to like someone, so your feelings are strong. You should think about this time frame when you consider telling him your feelings.

If you’ve been friends for a year and you’ve grown close enough for you to like him, then maybe he feels similarly.

If being unsure about his feelings unsettles you, then I recommend talking to at least one trustworthy mutual friend about how he may feel.

When I don’t know what to do about something or someone, I find it helpful to gather different opinions and perspectives, especially if they’re specific to the issue or person.

If you have friends who have been in your situation, or friends that have been liked by people older than themselves, talk to them. This way you get an idea of both sides of the situation before taking any action.

I do think eventually you should tell your friend how you feel because one day, you might regret not telling him. Maybe not today, tomorrow, or even when you graduate, but one day you’ll wonder “what if.” Those two words can really mess with your head and by then, it might be too late to do anything. Do something now while you still can, and try not to worry about the rest.

As Margaret Shepard once said, “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

 

To acting on feelings and remembering to smile,

Tori

 

 

Dear Tori,

I have a longstanding bad habit of always assuming the worst in practically any situation. If I have a presentation, I think about how many times I’ll screw up. If my friends tell me about an upcoming event, I speculate aloud about everything that could go wrong. I just like being mentally prepared for everything but now I’m beginning to think that it’s having an effect on the outcome itself. My friends have even stopped talking to me about their problems or to what they’re looking forward. How can I stop assuming the worst when I’ve been doing it for so long?

Murphy’s Law

 

Dear Murphy’s Law,

            This habit of yours is like any habit and can be broken with some effort, time, and help.

If you haven’t already, you should identify the times when you’re saying something negative. This way you will eventually start to realize that you’re thinking negatively before you say something aloud. You should live and breathe the saying, “Think before you act.”

Once you’ve done that, you should think of positive points to counter each of your negative points.

Let your friends and family know you’re trying to break out of this habit so they can help you.

Ask them to tell you when you’re assuming the worst. This will help you think before you speak.

You can even ask them to counter the negative points with positive ideas that you might not see yourself.

There’s usually a bright side to even the worst of situations so try to find it, however small it might be.

If you can’t find it, then think of what you’ll learn from the situation even if the outcome is bad. Learning something, especially something new, is as good as a bright side.

It’s not bad to prepare for the not-so-happily-ever-afters; in fact, sometimes it’s a good thing.

Sometimes, the most likely event to occur is a bad scenario. That doesn’t mean it’s always the case.  The overall outcome may be the positive side of things.

Once you’ve learned when it’s okay to assume negative or positive results, you’ll have learned the bright side to your bad habit and broken it simultaneously.

 

To being realistically positive and remembering to smile,

Tori