“I’m not gonna text them,” I say, clutching my phone.
My phone says nothing back, but I persist in talking to it.
“It’s too soon. I just texted an hour ago,” I continue.
But I’m staring at something funny online, something they’ll love. Tied into a thousand private jokes.
“I’ll just send this later. Once they’ve texted back. That way I’ll know I’m not spamming them. Bothering them,” I say to my cat, who has decided I’m talking to him. And is snaking between my ankles.
My cat looks up at me. His face looks incredulous. As though even he knows I’m full of shit.
I breathe out slowly. “Well, what could it hurt?” I say, finally. And in two smooth motions, I’ve clicked “share” and “send.”
I feel an immediate wave of regret. Set down my phone and slide it away like it’s done something to me.
Not Relying on Their “Down, Boy!”
I spend an embarrassing amount of time running social interactions through that filter: Am I being too clingy? Am I smothering them? With friends. And especially when it comes to love.
I don’t want to be that person. You know the person I’m talking about. The one who jumps all over you like a dog whose owner has just gotten home from work. And is oblivious to all the subtle cues that maybe they should take a step back and chill.
And it’s easy to say, “Well, if that’s the case, the other person should just set a boundary. Let them know that what they’re doing is too much.”
I mean, sure, that’s right. But people don’t always do this. It can be hard to set boundaries. And if I rely on other people to call me out directly, I run the risk of steamrolling them for quite some time.
Catsuits Are Clingy, So Why Not Me?
What has worked: Giving people an out. When I start dating people, I actually warn them that I can be a little clingy, and that I want to know if they feel overwhelmed. In the kindest, gentlest terms possible. But definitely not to suffer in silence until they explode.
After all, clingy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Look at catsuits. Everyone loves those. Catsuits are clingy, so why not me?
My book is out!