I, a girl with guy problems, desperately need your help (a really rare occurrence, yes I know). I’ll get right into it.
I recently graduated high school, and for the past few months I’ve been talking to a guy who was in some of my classes—let’s call him Oswaldo. Oswaldo and I began a Snapchat streak a while back; it’s basically when you and another person send each other a picture or video every 24 hours. While Oswaldo and I were initially just acquaintances in class, we began bonding over our common Mexican heritage (there aren’t too many Mexicans where we live) and our love of fútbol. We began texting more frequently and having long phone calls. Things were going well; we knew we really liked each other and our conversations were very flirty and fun, but also very deep at times. However, Oswaldo and I are both going to schools on opposite ends of the country, and we agreed that whatever was going on would just be a summertime thing.
Despite vaguely making plans to meet up, neither of us have taken the initiative to set those plans in place, and recently, we haven’t been talking as much since we’ve both been extremely busy. The Snapchat streak that brought us together is beginning to seem more like a chore, and with summer almost over and both of us heading off to college soon, I think that it’s time I move on.
I just wonder how I should proceed. The streak has lasted a loooong time, and to just end it abruptly would feel wrong. I want to remain friends with Oswaldo, like how we were before all the flirting came into play. How should I end the streak and this “fling?”
Let’s start by stating the obvious (said Auntie SparkNotes, gesturing awkwardly in the direction of autumn): seeing as we’re a good couple weeks into the school year, I’m guessing you had to work this one out on your own.
The good news is, I’m sure you did just fine! Because the takeaway from your letter—and what I would have told you if I’d received it in time to give a timely response —is that relationships like this one have a built-in lifespan that includes a quiet death from natural causes at the end of it, and that your only responsibility when that time comes is to let the thing die with dignity (or in some cases, fade out into something more casual.)
So in your case, all your instincts were more or less spot on. You knew from the start that this was nothing serious, you adjusted your expectations accordingly when it became clear that your fling didn’t have the legs to make the leap from Snapchat streaks and flirty phone calls into a real-life meetup, and you took it in stride when things got busy and you guys started talking less… all of which makes me willing to bet that you didn’t ultimately need any help knowing when to say when on ending the Snapchat streak, and doing it in a way that felt organic and expected and not abrupt at all. And for the record, there’s nothing like a giant life transition to shake up your existing routine, and as lapses in communication go, heading off to college makes for a pretty ironclad excuse. In your case, you could have let yourself off the hook with a snap that conveyed the chaos, e.g. a picture of your bedroom at the height of its mid-packing disarray and a joke about being lost inside a pile of dirty laundry (implicit subtext: things are getting crazy and he shouldn’t be shocked if he doesn’t hear from you).
Meanwhile, the only part of your letter that does warrant a reality check is the bit where you say you want to go back to a friendship like the one you had pre-fling—and that’s not because you can’t go from friend to fling to friend again, but rather that the “fling” part of your relationship still happened. It’s part of your history now, and it’ll inform your dynamic from here on out—whether it’s a shared experience that makes you closer, or a missed opportunity that makes you wistful for what could have been, or a useful lesson in the limits of your relationship that makes you less interested in keeping in touch down the road. The point is, there’s no undoing what’s already done, and while your relationship may evolve in any number of ways, the only direction it’ll ever move is forward.
…But let me guess: You already figured that out, too, didn’t you. What am I even here for? Pfffft. Whatever. I’m getting cheese fries.
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