Ask Auntie Dillon, part 1

This is the first installation of the Talisman’s advice column in which writer Dillon McCormick (otherwise known as Auntie Dillon) answers questions submitted by WKU students. If you’d like to submit a question for Auntie Dillon, you can submit it here. You can also read more about Dillon and the column here.

Hey Auntie Dillon,

So this is a ~sticky~ situation with pretty clear answers but ones that I may need rehearing from someone who isn’t myself. I went on a hiking trip before the school year started through a program that paired us with total strangers. Or at least, we were supposed to be total strangers. I had a great time on the trip albeit a challenging and smelly couple of days. I really clicked with the people in my group and have continued to hang out with them throughout the first semester. Because I am an amorphous blob of undisciplined lust, I also began to harbor feelings for one of my group members. Let’s call this person Robin.

This is a bad idea for a couple of reasons: a) Pursuing Robin could put the group dynamic at risk and I value everyone’s friendship deeply and b) After the trip I came to find out that Robin and one of my other friends in the group had not only dated previous to the trip, but were dating DURING the trip and broke up right after.

They did a really good job of not letting anyone know that they were dating while on the trip. I knew they had been friends previous to the trip but I never suspected anything more until afterward when the cat was let out of the bag. I’ve talked to Robin about the situation once and they made it clear that they weren’t over their ex (understandably, it’s only been a couple of weeks and they broke up pretty amiably). I logically know it’s not in my best interest to pursue Robin, but I also don’t want to shame myself for the feelings I’m having. What should I do/think? Help, Auntie Dillon!!!

xoxo, Campy Cutie

An important thing to remember is that not every crush needs to be acted upon. Your feelings are absolutely natural, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about developing romantic feelings for Robin regardless of the circumstances in which you met. Nonetheless, you said you value the harmony of your friend group and also the feelings of Robin and their ex. Right now, emotions are pretty volatile, so you’re right to not act on your feelings. There’s no shame in harboring a little crush toward someone in your friend group, and there’s also no shame in avoiding situations that would cause you emotional stress. Eventually, you’ll move on or the circumstances will change enough so that you can reevaluate whether or not to make your feelings known. (Write to me first, though!)

In the meantime, enjoy the company of these friends whom you value so much.

The other day, my friend made a meme, not explicitly calling me out, but we knew it was about me, and I felt attacked. What should I do about it?

Be careful when assuming someone’s intentions. More often than not, people have reasons for doing things that you couldn’t possibly know about, or they do things for no reason at all. You should tell them that this meme, whether it was intended to be about you or not, made you feel hurt, and let that transition into a broader conversation about boundaries and what is and is not appropriate communication between the two of you.

Dear Dillon,

I don’t sleep much. Not for the same reasons as others. They say it’s stress from school, and it’s normal for a college student to experience this, but they don’t know that I worry every day of my life if my parents, and sister will still be here when I wake up. You see Dillon my parents are on Temporary Protection Status, and my sister is undocumented. I wish they had a way to become citizens like I am. I wish they were respected, and treated as people. Not criminals. They have never committed any crime other than fleeing their country from violence, and war. I wish these problems could be solved soon, but it does not seem likely. The hate will continue, and many will never change their minds about my family. I won’t give up, I’ll continue to fight, and try to get some sleep. I pray that my family is still here when I awake. My question for you Dillon is how do I make people understand the things I am dealing with and that there are people who can go to bed one night and the next morning wake up to find out that their legal status has changed.

Your question seems to be twofold. First, you are absolutely valid in fearing for well-being in these trying political times. I’m an advice columnist, not a politician, but I advise you to make your voice heard through whatever channels are available to you so that the law allows your family more stability.

Second, it’s important to remember that you cannot give all of yourself away. It is very admirable that you are fighting for your family and families like yours, but no one will benefit if you grind yourself into oblivion. If anxiety is severely impacting your life, I recommend you seek professional help via on-campus counselors at the Counseling and Testing Center or outside therapists. I wish you all the luck in the world. Keep up the good fight.