Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset: An Unfortunate Situation

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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 and we’ll give them our best shot. This column will be published at the end of every month.

By Nor Akmal (23S03A) and Sabrina Tong (23S03Q, Peer Helper)

Cover image by Johnathan Lim (23S03M)

“The boy I like is interested in my best friend. What should I do?”

Bewildered Bonnie

Dear Bewildered Bonnie, 

It’s quite an unfortunate situation you find yourself in. We understand that being faced with such a reality can be very difficult, so feel free to drop by the RGC or talk to a peer helper if you need a listening ear. 

Even though you may likely be processing a whirlpool of emotions, you should approach these delicate circumstances carefully. While that is easier said than done, we hope our advice will allow you to navigate this difficult situation. 

Though the situation may sting a little (why her and not me?), you can’t change what is going on. Take some time for yourself: to process your emotions and accept them. Though you may want to put aside your feelings as fast as you possibly can and be a supportive friend, don’t expect yourself to brush them off right away, especially if you’ve been interested for a while.

Prioritise your mental health and fuel your self-esteem by finding things that make you happy. The more you focus on yourself, the less time you will spend thinking about them and you will feel better for it. You may want to consider journaling your feelings, or drawing or painting to soothe yourself. Whatever the activity, try to take your mind off of the subject. After all, dwelling on your negative emotions can be very draining on your mental health. 

Once you’ve had sufficient time to reflect, or even while you’re doing so, don’t coop yourself up at home. Go for a walk in nature and bask in the sunshine. You can hang out with other friends and experience the beauty of platonic love (which can be rather underrated in today’s world). Ultimately, what’s important is that you take care of yourself.

You may choose to articulate your feelings to your friend, but if you don’t want to go down that path, you may want to let your friend and the boy you like know that you need to maintain some distance for a bit to process your emotions.  If you’d like to be less obvious about it, try to avoid going on outings if you know both of them will be there, as this may impede the healing process and reopen past wounds. If they insist on inviting you to go out with them, consider bringing another close friend to prevent you from feeling like a third wheel. No matter how you slice it, the dynamic of your friendship may have to change at least for the time being, whether your friend accepts his feelings or rejects them. 

Most importantly, you should always keep in mind that your self-worth is not determined by whether someone reciprocates your feelings. Feelings are complicated things, and a myriad of different factors are involved when someone catches feelings for another. And unfortunately, of all our human feelings, love is the most irrational. Truth be told, it is well beyond our power to force someone to love us back, even if we want them to. Don’t feel dejected or inferior because  he likes your friend instead of you: you are awesome the way you are, and no boy or girl should make you feel otherwise. 

Life can be very cruel. Sometimes, it just doesn’t go our way, and that’s okay. But we believe in you, Bewildered Bonnie. You will be able to overcome this challenge, even if it doesn’t seem that way right now. Hopefully, when everything’s been said and done, you’ll emerge a wiser and stronger person. 

On top of that, you might want to reflect on a few coping statements, which are meant to remind you that there are certain things you just can’t change. By accepting the reality of your situation, you can free yourself from the emotional tension and judging thoughts. Here are a few examples of coping statements. Consider which ones you like best and write them down so that you will have them ready to use.

  1. The present moment is the only one I have control over.
  2. Fighting my current emotions and thoughts only gives them more fuel to thrive.
  3. The present is a result of thousands of variables from the past.
  4. This moment is precisely as it should be even though I might not like it.
  5. I cannot change what has happened in the past.
  6. I accept this moment as it is.
  7. Although my emotions are uncomfortable, I will get through it.
  8. It’s not helpful for me to fight the past.

These statements are not meant to undermine the situation and turmoil you may be going through – they are simply a way for you to let go of your negative feelings and thoughts. If you can think of other coping statements, write them down too. 

Ultimately, try not to bottle up your emotions: let them out as you see fit and seek comfort from your friends and family. Even if life is cruel, we don’t have to face its cruelty alone. 

Take care, Bewildered Bonnie; we are rooting for you.


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, Thursday and Friday from 3.00 – 5.00 p.m and Wednesday, from 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. If you would like to meet a peer helper on a regular basis, do email us a request at or fill in our request form at our website! 

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