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Here's what bittersweet means and how to use it (dictionary.com):

both pleasant and painful or regretful: a bittersweet memory.

pleasure mingled with pain or regret: the bittersweet of parting.

I'm looking for an adjective to describe how you feel when something is bittersweet. For example, suppose you are happy to be graduating but sad about moving and closing an intense chapter of your life. You feel sad and happy at the same time.

Sample sentence:

It was such an intense afternoon. I was feeling so ________ . I don't think I can handle another good-bye right now.

  • Your example sentence is wrong. (Or at least confusingly at odds with what you say you're looking for.) It should be: It was such an intense afternoon, I felt so ___. [I didn't think I could handle another good-bye right then.] – Jason Bassford Jun 30 at 16:49
  • feeling so adrift, which does not mean bittersweet – Lambie Jun 30 at 17:51
  • @JasonBassford - thanks, I fixed it. – aparente001 Jun 30 at 19:29
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How about "conflicted"?

Merriam-Webster says:

: experiencing or marked by ambivalence or a conflict especially of emotions

and includes examples that match your question, like:

I'm conflicted about the prospect of our only child going away to college.

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I don't think "feeling" can introduce an adjective to refer to the personal feelings of "I" in that sentence, because the subject is impersonal "it" and "feeling" seems to be dangling there (that is, unless it refers to how that afternoon felt).

I can't think of an adjective, but "having mixed feelings" would be a good choice. That sentence could be recast, for example, as follows:

  • It was such an intense afternoon, one of mixed feelings. I don't think I can handle another good-bye right now.
  • It’s not ideally punctuated, but if you replace the comma with a semicolon, you can easily understand “I” as the subject instead of the afternoon: “It was such an intense afternoon; feeling so ____ right now” is perfectly fine. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 30 at 16:51
  • @JanusBahsJacquet With a comma, "feeling so..." is dangling; with a semicolon, the second coordinate clause lacks a subject and a main verb and is therefore incorrect in my opinion. – Gustavson Jun 30 at 17:58
  • Nothing incorrect about suppressing subject and verb if they are both easily understandable from context. Colloquial in style, perhaps, but not incorrect. (Note how I just did it in both those sentences.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 30 at 18:00
  • @JanusBahsJacquet It was such an intense afternoon is a complete sentence. I agree that feeling so ___ right now is correct if the period is replaced with a comma: "feeling so ___, I don't think I can handle another good-bye right now." – Gustavson Jun 30 at 18:10
  • That makes it a participial clause. Sentences do not need to be complete to be correct; that is a commonly held misconception often taught in schools, but it has no basis in reality. “How are you?” — “Feeling a bit down today.” That’s perfectly natural, commonplace and correct English. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 30 at 18:12

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