This weekend, I was chatting to a girlfriend about “the guy situation” in each of our lives, and I found out something very peculiar: what I thought was a unique problem I had was in fact shared. Here’s the problem: when faced with a situation where I am uncomfortable and unsure of how to proceed, I run away.

Exhibit A: Attractive man talking to me.

My reaction: stringofincoherentwords tapering off in the middle of a sentence ending in my brain yelling RETREAT RETREAT RETREAT. And then a swift departure. Sometimes to another country.

This happens more often than I care to admit.

However, it would seem that I’m not the only female who has this reaction (who would have thought?). But how to fix it? Practice? Accepting spinsterhood and moving on with my life? Ehhhhh. I wish I could say I have the answer, but I don’t (clearly). I do think practicing speaking up without overanalyzing what you’re saying certainly helps, but to what extent do you have to change yourself? Is it right to fight your personal norms?

Exhibit B: Well-meaning friend getting under my skin.

My reaction: Retreat into brain and try to determine why she’s getting under my skin. Keep her at arm’s length, don’t talk to her, retreat retreat retreat.

Again with the bad habit of keeping my emotions concealed! But this norm is more damaging to a relationship or a friendship than sharing any issues with the person who is bothering you would be. Certainly, those friends with whom you have a lot of history will be much easier to tell to “shut the hell up with the humming already”, but I personally believe that deep relationships are formed through conflict and your ability to resolve that conflict. Because sooner or later you’re going to get out of the honeymoon phase and realize your friend or significant other is just a person and not a superhero and that maybe that humming is really annoying and WOULD THEY JUST SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY.

Any thoughts on this issue? Maybe you have the answer that will save us all? Care to share in the comments below?