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Questioning help + advice for advice-givers?


Coyote
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Hey folks, maybe y'all can help me out with something. You may have notice that there seem to be a steady stream of questioning threads in this board (no doubt because the board description presents that as one of the main things the board is about -- which is why I think it might be good to split off a separate Personal Questioning board from more of an Issue Discussion board, but I digress). Since people come here for help, I think it would be helpful to have a set of "things to help if you're questioning" resources ready at hand. But also, I think it would be good to standardize some advice for the advice-givers, if that makes sense. So:

 

1) Do y'all have links to specific things that you think would be helpful to questioning people?

2) What do you think are necessary parts of helping questioning people? What's helpful to say, what's not helpful to say, and what are the ethical stakes and standards?

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These two links helped me a bunch, but it’s been a while since I looked through them so they might be predominantly focused on aroaces. 

This could be of use to aros who are scared of being aro

I haven’t looked through AUREA recently, but there might be useful resources there. 

(Ignore my formatting, I’m in a rush on mobile)

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23 minutes ago, Coyote said:

2) What do you think are necessary parts of helping questioning people? What's helpful to say, what's not helpful to say, and what are the ethical stakes and standards?

 

I don't know if this is revelant, but there is a big difference between "you are/ are not [x]" and "here is a list of words that may interrest you".

 

We can't impose or deny a term to someone. (well, this is true most of the time. Some terms must not be appropriated by some peoples from what i heard )

 

Also, we must let the choice to label themself (or not) to them. Too many peoples have said to me "oh but why are you even bothering with labels ? " when i was asking for help. That was not helpfull at all.

 

I hope it help… ?

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15 minutes ago, Cristal Gris said:

I don't know if this is revelant, but there is a big difference between "you are/ are not [x]" and "here is a list of words that may interrest you".

 

I agree. I think any time these questions come up, we should avoid things like "That makes you X" or "You're probably X." Ideologically, it's important to me that people always affirm identity labeling is always in each person's own hands to decide for themselves, barring other concerns (like if there's a problem with a term itself).

 

FTR, I was thinking it would be convenient if there were an aro or even just romantic-orientation-questioning-in-general version of Queenie's linkspam for people giving advice, particularly Sci's "Am I asexual?" "Who can say?" and @sennkestra's reblog-thread exchange with a prescriptivist, or even Hezekiah's identity prescriptivism linkspam. But I don't know of any equivalents.

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Great thread!

I second anagnori's questioning list, and all the resources @raavenb2619 suggested - I used those when I was questioning as well.

AUREA has a general FAQ that includes resources for questioning as well HERE. They're more a starting point.

 

As for specific identities and suggesting words, it's not foolproof, but I try to gauge what the poster/asker seems to want on a case by case basis.
Sometimes if it seems like they're looking for a word (e.g., are talking around it) I'll try to point them to ones that I can think of off the top of my head. I know that having a word was very important to me personally. And like @Cristal Gris said, approaching people with a list or making sure to say that terms suggested are just guides and not 100% certain is a good way of going about it.
If the poster/asker seems to be more worried about aromanticism generally (i.e., questioning aro but not looking to label beyond that; rather, asking whether their experiences are shared by the general community), then I usually approach them by giving examples of aro experiences I've heard that might resonate with theirs (e.g., "Yes, I know aros who feel like you do too, so if this community seems to fit for you, you're welcome to identify with it").

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5 hours ago, running.tally said:

Sometimes if it seems like they're looking for a word (e.g., are talking around it) I'll try to point them to ones that I can think of off the top of my head

I do this as well, often saying something along the lines of “you might you look into terms like X, Y, or Z. But if you don’t like any of those, or you don’t want a more specific label, that’s okay too.” 

I guess my guiding philosophy is to guess what information might be most helpful/relevant and suggest that (as opposed to every single identity and nuanced experience), while being positive, accepting/affirming, and emphasizing personal agency for choosing labels so that the questioning person feels free to learn, explore, and try out some labels if they want to, all without worrying about gatekeeping and gatekeepers. 

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