Please Mind the Platform Gap is a fortnightly column aimed at preparing Year 4 RI and RGS students for the challenges of JC life. Written by Year 5s from Raffles Press who have “been there, done that”, each piece covers a different aspect of life “on the other side”. This week, we outline some dating models for you.
Disclaimer: The following is personal advice which should be internalised with discretion. The writer will not be held responsible for relationship crises or sudden inclinations to sing Gotye in the shower.
Relationships can sometimes be like drugs—our parents, teachers and seniors all tell us it’s a bad idea to get into them, but once we enter JC, suddenly everyone’s doing it…Just kidding!
While not everyone dates in JC, attraction is usually an inevitable biological tendency. It may be intimidating to navigate the messy, unfamiliar and ambiguous territory of opposite-gender relationships…especially when the spectre of a crush begins to loom over your every thought, rose-tinting your worldview with the intoxicating, heady scent of romance.
So, you like this girl/guy, and he/she likes you too. What are your options?
There are many ways to go on from here. We humbly present you a list of possible (but not exhaustive) alternative relationship models that can be adopted in negotiating the boundaries and eventual path of a relationship with that special someone, be it from your OG, class, CCA, etc. It is important to remember the key prerequisite assumed throughout this guide: the attraction must be mutual. This can be confirmed through a mutual friend, intuition/inference, or for the gutsy, a Confession.
Go with the Flow
This is the most natural method, less a model than an anti-model. You basically follow your gut and let your heart lead you in the progression from pal to paramour. While this seems more authentic and less calculating, it can sometimes result in irrational or myopic courses of action. For example, rushing into a purely chemical romance without getting to know the other person’s true colours. Thus you should only ‘go with the flow’ if you are confident that you both can keep impulses in check and priorities in order. However, you should eventually define the boundaries and expectations of the relationship or risk frustration and misunderstanding.
Though a close cousin of “Go with the Flow” in its ambiguity, the ‘Just Friends’ approach includes an indefinite period of careful (but flexible) distance between both parties. Do not underestimate this approach, however; it can be a refreshing and stress-free alternative of simply enjoying the companionship of someone you really like but don’t want to complicate matters with. (Believe us, the last thing you want is to put your Facebook relationship status as “It’s Complicated”.) Of course, you can’t stay ‘just friends’ forever if you both feel more than just friendship towards the other party; if things develop, it’s important to confront and express your feelings rather than ignore them.
Both parties mutually consent to a defined or undefined period of time in which the boundaries of an actual relationship are assumed. During this period both parties assess the other’s compatibility as a test run of sorts . Commonly referred to as “dating”.
However, this could lead to a dangerous relationship-hopping mindset, wherein immediate compatibility and short-term chemistry are prized over conflict management and commitment.
This is usually for those who want to prioritise studies (or other aspects of life, if they exist) and do not want the drama of an official relationship. It is a stricter form of “Just Friends” – both parties have a tacit agreement to avoid anything more intimate than just companionship.
This is the “Unspoken Treaty”, but with explicit acknowledgement from both parties. It usually occurs in cases where rumours and teasing from friends have gone overboard, and when both parties have clarified that their main focus is the A levels.
This is the “Spoken Treaty”, but with a plan: to consider the possibility of getting together only after the A Levels are over. This has the benefit of allowing you to focus on your studies. Precautions: High level of discipline required, and there is a risk of drifting apart in the interim, losing what ‘could have been’. However, this is not a problem if both parties are in constant contact with each other.
Leap of Faith
This is the ultimate abandonment of all restraint to the torrential stream of feeling. Both parties commit to a full-on relationship, knowing all the risks, complications, and compromise it will entail. We can recommend this only for the absolutely certain. Like they say: easy come, easy go…generally, the faster you rush into a relationship, the easier it is to fall apart.
Dating The Dean’s List
This is probably the approach to JC life your parents will like best – ignore your feelings and study hard! Adherents of this highly recommended approach focus on the consistency and quality of their academic performance, reflecting discipline and passion in the pursuit of their ultimate desire—the Dean’s List. An ardent Year 5 supporter enthused: ‘I only have eyes for the piece of paper outside the SAC.” More persistent suitors might say they have a perverse infatuation with its tendency to play ‘hard-to-get’. This is characterised by a disregard for most relationships as unnecessary, doomed to fail or too early—after all, No Game, No Pain.
Even with this plethora of choices available, one should remember that JC is not all about boys and/or girls. As Year 5 Jun Yan says: “I choose to abstain from relationships not just because of A Levels and studies. It’s also because JC is so much more than that—it’s about making new friends, picking up new hobbies, pondering the big questions in life. Your attention isn’t meant for one person—it’s meant to be shared amongst everyone and everything!”
While an intimate relationship can be an enriching and fulfilling experiential adventure, some of us are better off without the emotional intensity and drama of romance. If you really must, clearly defined priorities and boundaries will be important in the long run, as you juggle your other commitments in life that may suffer due to the consuming nature of young love.