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Here’s Why You Need To Stop Obsessing Over ‘Bad Timing’

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader reflects on a friend that could have been a lover if he had just let him.

Our dear reader admits that this friend adored him more than anyone ever had before including boyfriends but he didn’t give it a chance then. And now wonders what could have been.

Nowhe can’t stop wondering: Is “bad timing” a real thing? And if so, how does one turn that bad into good now? Well, Papi has some thoughts.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

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Hola Papi,

I recently went through a bad break up that has me reeling and questioning the type of guys I am attracted to. It has me thinking back to a guy that I had friend zoned in the past.

We had a really great friendship, but he always wanted more. I never met someone who adored me like he did, not even my ex. I rejected him because I wanted passion and butterflies and undeniable chemistry. I am now thinking that was the wrong decision, and starting to believe that I was being shallow and blind to what I had right in front of me.

Thinking about what could have been is driving me crazy. I wish I could go back with the knowledge and experience that I have now, but it’s too late.

My question is… do you believe in bad timing?

Sincerely,
What If

Hello, What If!

You must be like me. No matter how busy I get, I always find time to ponder life’s most useless question: What if I had done something differently?

I’ve made some questionable decisions in the “choose your own adventure” book of life. It’s true. I have a few “What if?” guys myself. Let’s melt them down into one guy and name him Henry, because I can do that, and it’s up to me. I am the decider.

Henry, whenever and wherever he manifests, is always super great to me. When something goes wrong with some other guy I was pursuing, I think, “Ugh! Henry! Why didn’t I choose Henry? Henry would have provided for me in the harsh winter, warmed up my soup when I was sick, and defended my honor on various social media platforms.”

But the timing is never great for Henry and I to be. I’m always “in a weird place right now” and he’s “fictional.” Still, it’s very tempting, when I’m lonely, to build my imaginary almost-life with him, one where we summer with his family in Tuscany, and his father murders me in their quaint vineyard, and it becomes this whole international ordeal.

Scratch the murder. That was weird.

To your point, do I believe in bad timing? Of course I do. Just like I believe in good timing and everything in between. But there’s no real point in worrying over what could have been. Because it wasn’t, and it never will be.

Perhaps “it,” your relationship with this guy, lives on in some alternate universe where you chose differently. But until we get our hands on a portal gun and drum up the courage to murder our alternate selves, bury them in a shallow grave and assume control of their lives, we’ll just have to make do with the present.

I’m not saying that’s something I am fully prepared to do. I’m just saying that’s what it would take.

Anyway, painting an ideal relationship on the blank canvas of your Henry won’t do you any good, and it’s a waste of time. What we can do is be cognizant of where we are now and try to work through some of our present obstacles to happiness.

For example: Are you suffering from low self-esteem? Does it feel uncomfortable when people treat you well, because you secretly believe you don’t deserve to be treated well? Is your opinion of yourself so low that other people having a high opinion of you must mean there’s something wrong with them, and so you turn away good people?

Are you terrified of commitment, but don’t want to admit it, so you cherry-pick flaws in otherwise perfectly fine individuals and then use those flaws to justify distancing yourself from them? Or have you perhaps simply not found the right person yet, and you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to find a man and find him right now?

These are legitimate ways we sabotage our happiness, and they are questions we can ask ourselves and find solutions to, with a bit of help. The question of “what if,” however, is not among them. There is no solution. There is only reflection. Which is fine, but when we ruminate too long on it, it stops serving us very quickly.

In sum, you are projecting a perfect relationship onto your Henry because he can’t shatter the daydream with reality. It might have been a good relationship. It might not have been. It doesn’t matte now. Drop that thought and work on you instead!

Papi


JP Brammer

John Paul Brammer writes the Hola Papi! advice column at INTO. His work has appeared in NBC News, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and more. He is working on his first novel.

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