Salam Auntie,
I am a 20-year-old university student facing quite a few problems in my life. A few days ago, I confronted my crush about my feelings for him. For some time everything was okay and going smoothly. But then, all of a sudden, he stopped talking to me and started to hang out more with one of his old girlfriends (not sure about that). This sometimes hurts me a lot. 

The other problem is that I think I am losing a couple of my friends at this stage of my life. The friends that I made at the start of my university life have now started to ignore me, as if we were never friends. This hurts me more than my crush problem. 
Broken Inside

Dear Pick-Yourself-Up
Since your crush suddenly stopped talking to you, you might want to try and contact him to find out what happened. Telling someone you like them is huge. It changes how you see the person and can bring up all sorts of feelings in both the crush and the crushee. It can make both of them awkward. You never said whether the boy liked you back or not. It is difficult to figure out what you mean by ‘going smoothly’. Did you guys start going out? 

‘My crush and friends are ignoring me’

Whatever it was, you need to realise that your crush is acting strangely most likely because now he knows that you like him and something is going on in his head. Knowing that someone likes you is a game changer. It changes your relationship with that person forever. That is why people often keep such feelings under wraps for months if not years. Try and extend a hand of friendship towards him. However, if he rejects it, move on. Rejection sucks and you might feel terrible initially. However, as time passes you will get over it. 

As for your friends, what is happening is usually completely normal, unless you have done something to actively repel your friends. Think back and try to figure out if you did something to annoy your friends. You might want to reach out to them to find out if you did something that made them angry. If that is not the case, then it is time to learn a great life lesson, i.e. as you grow older, friends will enter and leave your life all the time. People change — they outgrow each other and move away as part of the natural cycle of life. And there isn’t much anyone can do about it. The only thing you can control in life is your own behaviour. 

It is time to expand your circle and start making new friends. There must be a lot of people in your university that you have something in common with. You are all attending the same institution for starters. Maybe you and a potential friend are in the same class, or perhaps you live close to each other. If you meet them frequently, you can usually make friends with them. The key is to be genuinely interested in others. Listen to people, be genuinely concerned about them and help them out when you can. These little gestures can really help you make and keep friends. Also don’t waste too much energy on people who are not willing to give you the time of day. Don’t take it personally. Just know that something else is taking precedence in their life and so you should focus on investing time in a person who is also interested in cultivating your friendship. A general rule is to be positive around people. This will make them more likely to want you in their lives. The truth is that very few people want to be around glum moaners who talk about how everything is going wrong in their lives (hint: do not dwell on how you have lost friends in university while making new ones). Everyone has problems and many are looking to lift the vibe by making happy friends. So crack jokes, be happy to see people and give them genuine compliments. Things like this should really perk up your social life in no time. Over time, you can forge deeper relationships with people and can have one or two friends who are also confidants — people you can confide in and tell your sorrows to. But that takes time and effort.  

Finally, also make an effort to learn to love yourself and your own company. Work on being comfortable by yourself because, at the end of the day, you are the only person you should be able to rely on all the time.

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Published in Dawn, EOS, May 19th, 2019