By Nor Akmal (23S03A) and Sabrina Tong (23S03Q, Peer Helper)
Cover Image by Johnathan Lim (23S03M)
Your resident Aunties and Uncles are back with our Ask Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset column, this time as a collaboration between Raffles Press and Peer Helpers’ Programme (PHP)! Ever wanted to rant about that someone you just can’t stand? Overwhelmed with too many feelings? Submit your confessions to https://tinyurl.com/riadvice and we’ll give them our best shot. This column will be published at the end of every month.
i kind of want a boyfriend; why so hard to find bf 😩Lonely Lass
Dear Lonely Lass,
At our age, it’s easy to get swept up in the flurry of young love, especially when your best friend shares pictures of their lovey-dovey dates on their Instagram story. Media’s influence is undeniable, so it’s important to assess the value of a relationship before getting into one.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t get into a relationship, just that you might want to reconsider why you want one. Is there someone you have your heart set on already, or do you merely like the idea of being in a relationship?
Let’s lay out the pros and cons in black and white so that you can make a more informed decision on whether you truly want that significant other to hold your hand and take you on fancy dates…
Not Just Your Best Friend (but more?)
The start of a budding romance can be a whirlwind of emotions, but as the dust settles, couples either unravel or settle into a more stable, long-lasting partnership that can last months or even years.
Your boyfriend (or girlfriend) might just become one of your closest friends, your cheerleader, and your confidante. It’s reassuring to know that you can rely on this special person to get you through your darkest times and to enrich your life just by being present.
We won’t go into details, because relationships are unique and distinct just like people are. Nevertheless, even a best friend can play a similar role to a significant other! It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of a relationship and overlook the friends we already have, so it’s good to think twice before pursuing a significant other.
Hold Pen (and hand!)
Good news for your grades: your partner can also make a really good study buddy! Studying is indisputably painful, but after all, love conquers all. When trawling through piles of tutorial questions, looking up and seeing your partner hard at work as well is both comforting and heartening.
Sometimes you might feel a little guilty for bothering a classmate with a long list of Chemical Bonding questions at 3am, so that’s where your partner can help. (P.S. This is not a suggestion to stay up late doing work. Your health comes first!) Teaching someone else reinforces your own knowledge and improves comprehension of the subject, so this is the ideal way to study together, as a couple.
Ultimately, there are many other benefits to a relationship, but unfortunately, we do not have space to write a dissertation on why you should get a boyfriend. If you really need someone to talk to about this, feel free to head down to the MRS and talk to one of our peer helpers, or perhaps even approach a trusted adult (like a teacher!)
That being said, there are also drawbacks to being in a relationship.
To commit, or not to commit
Undoubtedly, a relationship is quite a huge commitment. Coupled with the commitments that we already have saddled on our backs, it may get too heavy to handle. A good and healthy relationship requires constant maintenance and proper communication. A partner will always expect a certain level of commitment from their other half (like texting every night) and it is your duty to fulfil that responsibility.
Of course, this “responsibility” will be subject to change as both the circumstances and the nature of the relationship evolve, but there will always be implicit expectations both partners have for each other.
The truth is, most of us are in Raffles Institution to study and hopefully do well for our A-Levels. Our parents also expect that from us, so it’s best not to get too carried away with young love and dismiss the importance of studying (hooray A-Levels, are we right?).
We’re sure most of us have social lives, inside and outside of school. The friendships we’ve cultivated since young are relationships that we’ve been accustomed to and cherish very dearly.
The addition of an arguably larger commitment in the form of a romantic relationship may seriously shake up the dynamic that you have with your friend groups. You may no longer be available for those nightly gaming sessions or go on outings with friends so often.
No relationship is perfect, and there are bound to be hiccups along the way. If the relationship is going south, you won’t be able to fall back on your SO. That’s where your friends come in. They’ll be your listening ear for the time being.
However, you can’t go back to them only when the relationship is going bad. They deserve much more than to be reduced to the role of a therapist. Doing so may destroy the friendship that you’ve painstakingly cultivated. Simply put, it’s foolish to forsake pre-existing relationships in the pursuit of a romantic relationship.
But I still want a significant other!
Having said that, if you are adamant on getting a significant other, the Aunts and Uncles here have a tip that may help you.
(Disclaimer: We have not been in relationships before, but as they say, coaches don’t play.)
So, how do you get the person of your dreams? This might sound cliche, but our advice is to be yourself. Now, before you click away, sighing to yourself about how you’ve just wasted the past 5 minutes of your life, hear us out.
What we really mean is to be the best version of yourself. You’ll learn to be more comfortable with your own personality and values, which is great in building confidence! You might want to start taking actions that are out of your comfort zone—such as participating in an event that you wouldn’t normally go to—to become more congruent with who you want to be. We’re not telling you to be inauthentic, just to be open to trying new things, and be honest with yourself and others around you!
A confident person is sure to attract the attention of many people, and everyone loves someone who is genuine to themself. The person that you have a liking towards may start to take notice of you, if you’re willing to put yourself out there. Nevertheless, relationships are intricate, and how people find their significant other will never be the same—so do take our “tip” with some discretion.
Ultimately, the Aunts and Uncles here would like to say that our advice is non-comprehensive; and it’s really up to you to determine the course of action you choose to take. Your life is your own, so it’s up for you to decide!
Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset
If you need anyone to talk to about any issues you might be facing, do drop by My Rest Space, near Marymount gate and talk to one of our peer helpers! We’re open on Tuesday from 2.30 – 4.30 p.m, Wednesday 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., Thursday 2.30 – 4.30 p.m. and Friday 1.30 – 4.30 p.m. If you would like to meet a peer helper on a regular basis, do email us a request at email@example.com or fill in our request form at our website https://rafflespeerhelpers.wordpress.com!