Ask Kira: I don’t want to see all my friends post-iso

Kira is your new modern-day agony aunt.

Australian pop sensation Kira Puru is one of our favourite homegrown musicians. Known for her charismatic on-stage presence and no-holds-barred approach to life, she’s the type of person you just know is bursting with excellent life advice. With that in mind, we thought who better to be FJ’s modern-day agony aunt than Kira herself? So without further ado, welcome to our new column, Ask Kira, where she answers FJ reader’s difficult/messy/embarrassing life questions.

Am I a bad person for not wanting to see all my friends?

“Hi Kira! Long time follower, first-time questioner. I’m writing to you today with a problem that I feel like is probably common, but no one is really talking about? While all my friends are bursting with excitement at the prospect of being able to see each other again, I can’t help but feel a little bit of dread. I feel really bad for saying this, but I don’t really want to revert back to ‘Social Me’. I’m an introvert by nature and honestly, most social events exhaust me. While I really do want to see my friends and family, I don’t want my calendar to be full with a new catch up every day. Equally, I haven’t seen my loved ones in forever, so it feels rude to say no. I’m usually pretty good at politely declining invitations, but it feels wrong to do so after months of isolation. Any advice?”

Wow, deep relate. I have a very social job, so when I’m not working, I socialise very occasionally and only in small groups of two to three. It took a while for some of my friends to understand my preferences, but my inner circle now accepts that it could be a long time between drinks. It’s a shared priority to catch up in conditions that suit all parties. Your needs are just as important as anyone else’s, so don’t feel bad for having or prioritising them. It’ll help your friends and family to understand them more if they know how you feel though, so find a gentle way to inform them of your preferences/capacity to see them, and hopefully, they’ll understand.

It’s unusual for everyone to want the same thing at the same time, so compromise is always going to play a part in relationships worth their salt. Don’t forget there are many ways to make people feel special without seeing them face to face; handwritten letters or cards, short video messages and voicemails all feel more intimate than a text. It might be easier for your circle to be patient if they are seeing other small gestures of love and affirmation from you.

Is it mean to dump someone immediately after lockdown?

“Dear Kira, so tough one. I feel so guilty for airing this on a public platform, but the whole time we’ve been in lockdown, I’ve been wanting to break up with my partner. I haven’t been able to for obvious reasons. Now as restrictions are starting to lift, I’m trying to plan my timing. Too soon seems harsh, but I feel like it’s also cruel to drag it out. I feel so guilty and stuck and mean and conniving and would love any help you can offer. Regards, Desperate.”

Thanks for writing. Certainly sounds like you’re in a pickle. Firstly, it’s never ‘mean’ to break-up with someone. If your heart’s not in it, then there isn’t a reason to waste any more of their time. If you’re unhappy, chances are that your partner knows this and potentially shares some similar feelings. I’d start with considering logistics. They’re probably going to need space, so secure yourself a place to go and be prepared to leave after you have the talk. Pick as optimal a time as possible(not right before work or bed), and give them an indication that you intend to open a conversation, e.g. “I’d like to have a chat about our relationship”.

Be honest – don’t sugar-coat your reasons or disguise your true feelings by saying things like “We can stay friends” or “You’re awesome, it’s just me” if it isn’t true. Be kind and conscious of how hard it’s going to be for them to process, and don’t go into minute details about their flaws if it isn’t necessary. Most importantly, be clear and firm in your position, don’t leave room for them to misinterpret you or believe there is a chance for reconciliation. And don’t let yourself be convinced to stay. Break-ups are not easy or pain-free for anyone, no matter the context, so I think you just need to bite the bullet and exit the relationship swiftly, in the most honest and respectful way possible.

How do I tell people I’m not ready for public places?

“Hi Kira, even though restrictions are loosening around what we can and can’t do, I feel unsafe reverting back to [my] normal routine. I don’t want to sit in a cafe, which my friends can’t really understand. I’m also really nervous about visiting family – a lot of my and my partner’s family members fall into ‘at risk’ categories. Help??”

Hi, thanks for writing. For what it’s worth, I share your trepidation and plan to take my time settling back into traditional face-to-face socialising myself. There aren’t really any negative consequences to being extra cautious, and it’s arguably necessary for you to do so if you have people in your life who are more at risk than most.

Spend some time thinking about what you are comfortable with and respectfully communicate this to your friends. Get creative and think of ways in which you can socialise with your friends that allow you to continue physical distancing if that works for you. Real buddies will accept your boundaries, no matter how big, small or ridiculous, and anyone who doesn’t isn’t worth your time.

Kira’s new single ‘Idiot’ is out now and you can listen to it here. You can catch her performing as a special guest for Thelma Plum this November and December, tickets available here. Read the second instalment of Ask Kira here and the third instalment here

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