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Hi @Silver_Manatee , welcome to the community and well done opening up about this!

It sounds like you're feeling pretty hesitant and conflicted about emotional vulnerability, which is totally understandable. Sometimes it can feel easier to just have surface-level relationships with people, because you don't have to worry about them uncovering the 'bad' parts of you that you've hidden out of plain sight. It's scary to think that you could really like someone and invest a lot in a relationship, only for them to change their mind about liking you after they've gotten to know you properly. Is this kind of how you feel?

I've struggled a lot with feelings like this too, so you're definitely not alone. It's helpful to remember that the people who really love you will stick around, and in order to find these people who brighten up your life, you have to be ready to risk your feelings a little and put yourself out there. It's scary, but so rewarding when you find the right people eventually. How is your relationship with your friends? Do you feel like they've seen the messier or more vulnerable side of you?

Also, as someone very similar in age to you, don't stress! We're so very young, we have so much time to grow into ourselves, become more comfortable in our own skin, and learn how to navigate love. Through your reflection on all of this, I can see that you're really self-aware, and that's a very admirable and important skill. It might not feel like it right now, but this is all work you're doing to move towards the person you want to be! 

That being said, these feelings can definitely be overwhelming and make you feel bad about yourself. How have you been coping in that respect- is there anything you like to do that helps you feel better about these things?

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