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dear fifi

Workplace WhatsApp groups, dating ruts, dodgy flatmates and a fear of commitment - this week's Dear Fifi advice column

Dear Foofers.


There’s a nice piece by Kingsley Amis on hangovers, which I find myself thinking about quite often. Here is an excerpt:

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It’ll be okay. Somehow. It always has been before. Talk to me


I changed workplace about six months ago and I thought I was beginning to fit in fairly well but have only just found out there’s an active and not-a-secret casual WhatsApp group that all the staff are members of, except me. I won’t want to come across too strong and ask someone to add me to it, but am I right to feel a little bit hurt that nobody has ever mentioned it to me or invited me to join it? Or am I just being paranoid that maybe I’m not fitting in the way I thought I was?

WhatsApp groups are a pox on humanity and you should thank your lucky stars you’ve been spared from this extra daily suffering.

But to be serious, I’m sure it’s just a classic case of everyone assuming you’re already in it or that someone else has added you. If you want in, just mention you’re not in it the next time it’s brought up. The fact they’re not hiding it from you means there’s no problem. Maybe even tell someone you’re friendliest with at work you’re not in it. It won’t be a big deal at all. Don’t overthink this! You’re grand.

Hi! I’m a 29 year old man and in a bit of a rut dating wise. I’ve always had self-esteem issues and I find the likes of Tinder really hard. Do you have any advice for widening my social circle and meeting/approaching women and flirting? I spend most nights out with friends worried that I would just be bothering people rather than enjoying new interactions!

Nights out aren’t always the best place to meet new people, especially if you’re struggling with confidence issues. I’d recommend the classics – join a club or take up a hobby that has an active social element to it, like tag rugby or Toastmasters. Try dating apps that aren’t as intense as Tinder, like OKCupid. I’ve written about this in some detail right here, which I think you can apply to your situation. Good luck. Knock ‘em dead.

I recently made a drastic leap from home and emigrated to pursue my career. I had a plan for months to move in with someone I had known a few years and after a few days of having moved in, it all turned sour very quickly (which was a shock to me tbh) due to a third party that likes to stir things. It’s created a lot of tension and as a result, I feel utterly uneasy in the situation I’m in. 

It sounds like a biased thing to say but it wasn’t my fault and while yes, I tried to stand up for myself by engaging in a conversation about our disagreement, I feel I am being overpowered and being intimidated out of my home now ever since. 

Move. Life is too short to feel overpowered and intimidated in your own home. However, try to repair the friendship if you can – or at least learn from how things went south. You say you’re not being biased when you say it wasn’t your fault, but really reflect on where things went awry and aim to not repeat this experience in the future. Look at it from their point of view and try to see where they’re coming from. But in the meantime, just move.

It sounds like the living situation is untenable. A toxic living situation can bleed into other elements of your life. Emigration is a tough enough time without this added stress. Give yourself a fighting chance with this new location. When the dust settles, make sure you get some insights into how to move forward and ensure you don’t repeat what went wrong in this shitty situation at least.

I’m a couple of months into a new relationship after a two long-term ones that were quite traumatic. I’m absolutely terrified of hurting this new person, but I’m honestly not sure if I’m ready for this again. I don’t know if I should just back away now or stick with it and risk causing more pain if it doesn’t work out. 

Get your head straight. If you’re planning on letting this person go to be by yourself, be honest and fair to them. Be kind, always. Don’t lead them on and leave them in the dark about why the relationship was cut short if you do decide you can’t cope with a commitment right now. But if you decide to stay in it, you have to really be all in. It’s the only fair thing to do.

Imagine your life without them – and without the possibility of them. How does that feel?

Start talking. Figure it out. Do right by them, whatever that means. Remember that you are not your past and your relationships do not define your future. Maybe think about getting some counselling if you are finding these traumatic relationships still having an effect on your life and pursuit of happiness. You can be free of all that.

How to get involved in the Irish weird Twitter community? I’ve recently moved away for work and Irish weird Twitter makes me feel less homesick. The problem is that Twitter doesn’t lend itself well to friend making and I’m terrified of becoming one of those reply guys.

I’ve made a good few friends through Twitter. Be interested in people, be sound and be kind, but be judicious with replies. Get the vibe right. If you’re always replying to someone and they don’t follow you back or ever reply to you, you might be tackling this wrong. To move the friendship into real life, DM slide when appropriate. Weigh up how a compliment is going to come off from a stranger.

It goes without saying, don’t be creepy!

(If my DM inbox is anything to go by, this doesn’t go without saying, but how and ever.)

I’m a late-30s man, single for a couple of years now, with a good social circle. I don’t have kids and after plenty of reflection I don’t want to be a parent, but I fear no one will want a long-term relationship with me if I don’t want to have children. (I’ve even had friends say this to me.)

I’m not going to raise this on a first date or anything, but neither do I want to ‘trap’ someone in a relationship if they want children but I don’t. At this point in my life I’m seriously thinking that I’m going to miss out on having a lifelong relationship because I don’t want to have children, and this really makes me sad.

Don’t be sad. There are plenty of women out there who feel the same way that you do – and one of them is the one for you. I admire your commitment to transparency and this is something you should hang on to, but don’t worry that this makes you unloveable in some profound way, because it does not. There are all sorts of way to live life.

There are plenty of people in the world looking for companionship without starting a family and I have faith that you will find the person for you. After all, they wouldn’t be the right person if they didn’t agree with your stance on this.

Maybe try dating sites where you can disclose this is a less pressurised manner, rather than having it playing on your mind in the early stages of a relationship.

You’re not defined by your desire not to have children. This is just one part of you. You have lots to offer a person in a relationship. Focus on that stuff.


Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

Check out previous advice>

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