Asking for a Friend: Navigating shifting relationships & being overcommitted

The Journal's advice-giver guides three students who are struggling with honesty


I’m Audrey Helpburn, The Journal’s resident advice-giver. I answer questions about love, friendship, school, and more to help Queen’s students put their best foot forward on and around campus.

Although I’m not a professional, I aim to give the best advice I can to students who need a bit of guidance. This time around, I’m advising three students who are struggling with honesty: two who are reluctant to be completely truthful in their relationships, and one who needs to be frank about being overburdened in their co-curriculars.    


I have only ever dated girls before but I’m thinking of exploring my sexuality. I just started seeing a girl who I really like but it feels as though I am being unfair to her since I know I eventually want to experiment. How do I navigate this?


If I’m Being Honest


Dear If I’m Being Honest,

You’re very brave and considerate for having the foresight to think about your future before committing yourself to another person.

If you’re going to start a relationship with this girl with reluctance and doubt, it’s clearly not the right thing to do. Tell the girl how you truly feel about her but that you’re just not prepared for a serious relationship at this time. If dating casually—i.e. with no expectations or commitment—is something you’re interested in, see if it’s something she’s willing to pursue.

If you know where you stand in regards to getting serious with her, it’ll be beneficial if you have the conversation sooner rather than later. Best of luck, and don’t feel guilty for being honest—it will be better for her in the long run.

All the best,

Audrey Helpburn


I went out with this guy a few weeks ago and didn’t feel a spark. I told him I wasn’t feeling it but apparently not in the clearest terms, because he’s been asking my friends if he should wait for me. I thought we both felt the lack of a connection, but I guess not.

I’m not really sure what to do without outing my friends for having told me, or embarrassing the guy by telling him I’m just not interested. What do I do?


She’s Just Not That into You


Dear She’s Just Not That into You,

Don’t worry about embarrassing the guy—he will be more embarrassed if he waits around for something that’s never going to happen. You also don’t have to worry about outing your friends, because it would be expected that if he asks them about you, they’d consult you before answering.

Without outing them, however, you can tell the guy that you realized you may not have been clear in what you said, and upon further reflection, you don’t think it’s right for you to continue to string him along. If he’s mature, he’ll appreciate your honesty and straightforwardness.

All the best,

Audrey Helpburn


Last spring, I signed up to do two fairly time-consuming volunteer positions. Now I’m feeling like they are too much to handle in addition to my full course load. While I love and am passionate about one of my positions and intend to see it through, the other is starting to feel like a burden.

How do I go about stepping down from this position? How do I avoid feeling so guilty about letting my team down?


Dog Days Are Over


Dear Dog Days Are Over,

You shouldn’t spend your university years burdened by work that is unfulfilling to you. Unfortunately, the guilt may be somewhat unavoidable as you are letting people down, but sometimes we have to put our own wellbeing first, and that’s okay.

Realistically, the job will be better filled by someone who is more passionate about it and can commit more of their time. Be honest with your organization, and they should understand.

It’s okay to feel a little guilty, but don’t let it eat at you. These things happen, and while some people will be inconvenienced, it doesn’t sound like anyone will be truly hurt.

All the best,

Audrey Helpburn

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