Catching 'The Feels' in 2018 has serious symptoms and consequences. It's bloody complicated. Here's how to tell if you really have caught 'The Feels' - and what to do about it.

It starts a lot like catching the common cold. First signs are that everyone around you seems to be going down with something. Maybe you feel a little tickle in the throat, or you're slightly hotter than normal. (And that's just what happened last Saturday night.)

There are those around you with deeply serious Feels conditions, who are well and truly knocked out of the game. And then there are others who exhibit symptoms in sympathy. Or out of self loathing.

Either way, what you may have is a potentially troublesome illness and we need to know what the diagnosis is. It's winter. It's cold in bed. A snuggle buddy certainly helps keep the frostiness at bay. But what's your long-term prognosis?

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"Doctor" Avondale is here with a hard dose of question time for those who find themselves at this chilly juncture on the cusp of falling into feelings-ville. You need to ask yourself …

1.Do you really have The Feels?

There are two answers: To paraphrase the poorly educated but wildly popular internet self-help guru Mark Manson, if it's not a f**k yes - it's a f**k no. If you can answer with a resounding f**k yes - well, that's just awesome.

Let him or her know about your feelings and stop being weird about it. You've hit the jackpot!! Cosy up, get fat, have some babies, and go on wit' yo bad self. Click out of this article right now to read up on fertility tips or wedding inspo.

However, if you even flinched before saying yes, then be 100 per cent brutally honest with yourself. Maybe you need to just call it a day. Your gut reaction is the best indication of whether you have a genuine case of The Feels.

The cure:

1 x 25 minute disco nap before heading out to your nearest wine bar and ordering a Marlborough pinot gris or three. Potentially add a dose of dancing on the table at Chapel Bar for extra potency.

2. Do you just want to have The Feels for the sake of The Feels?

I relate to this, deeply. You wish you did have any kind of feeling. Anything at all. You really want someone, anyone, you could stay up all night sexting. Or even better, in-real-life sexing. Or someone you're just really in love with, if we're being honest. But don't try and shoe-horn a person into your perfect dream of being in love just because you need the emotional attention. You are short-changing yourself and them.

The cure:

Get a dog. Or a cat. Or a Flemish rabbit with the super soft, lovely ears. Or a Lelo. Actually, the Lelo is guaranteed to make you feel better and doesn't need to be walked or fed. So just go with a Lelo. You'll thank me for that later. And by rabbit, I genuinely meant the animal, not the machine, okay? Perverts.

3. You do seriously have The Feels, but it's unrequited.

Oh sh**. The awkies no-man's-land between admitting you have The Feels and wanting to be seen as though you couldn't really care less. Almost as difficult as admitting you may have herpes - in fact, maybe slight worse in terms of reputational damage.

This is the hard bit where you have to really tune in to the other half's emotional output, and figure out whether you're picking up what they're putting down. This is as much their responsibility as it is yours but, at this point, you need to remember you are your own best friend and you need to look after yourself first and foremost. If you have doubts that they feel the same way, they are probably well founded doubts. If they don't radiate the same "Feelings" feeling back to you - it's not there, and you need to let it go, now. Walk away with your pride intact.

The cure:

• 2x stiff Gin & Tonic
• Binge-watch every Leonardo Di Caprio movie ever made. Starting with Wolf of Wall Street.

4. Persistent Feels for others, despite already having The Feels for someone in particular

In this day and age of endless opportunity and accessibility, we can have feelings for someone but also for other people at the same time. I get that this won't resonate with everyone, especially those with deeply ingrained social expectations that they'll marry their one true love and blah blah blah ...

Increasingly, people may experience symptoms of The Feels despite the fact they're supposedly immune, through being in a relationship. This is also very normal and it would be stupid to say it didn't happen.

But like the common cold and flu, those Feels infections will pass. Sometimes you don't need to see a doctor, you just know that the symptoms will wash over you and be gone soon enough.

The cure:

Delete all unnecessary sneaky messaging apps off your phone, followed by imposing a social media ban of at least two weeks.

Daily walks unaccompanied by your phone until you're over it - which will happen as soon as you imagine them taking a dump and leaving the skid marks in the toilet bowl.

Ultimately, the number one goal is your own health and safety. When it comes to The Feels, whatever your prognosis, don't string anyone along, least of all yourself. If you do have a suspected case and you want to reach out to your friendly local doctor, you can get in touch:

The caseload of suspected Feels victims is huge, so bear with me darlings. I can't promise a timely response, but I will respond eventually.