Lancs uni’s agony aunt is here to solve all your problems

Grab your popcorn huns because this gets INTERESTING x

It’s been said so often that it’s beginning to feel like a stuck record, but we’re in uncertain times right now. The change in routine that university provides might have been refreshing for many students – but somehow I find this hard to believe.

Adaptation to this new way of life means that the average fresher has more problems than weekly contact hours. While I can’t improve everyone’s time table; I’m more than happy to resolve relationship issues, flat disputes and identity crises. Maybe it won’t always be especially helpful, but at the very least one person’s trouble is another person’s comedic relief. (Or whatever that saying is?)

So without further ado, gather round my little chickens, and let your new mother hen help you get your life back on track.

‘Is it wrong for me to go for both?’

“I have a crush on this guy (A), but we speak very sparsely. So I decided I’d stop doting on it and move on. On the other hand, there’s another guy (B) who asked me out and I like him, he’s so charming and we always have such good conversations. We were talking about Halloween and he instantly booked us tickets to an event I wanted to go to.”

Our first predicament is a tale as old as time. The talking phase is often unclear to navigate and the assignment of letters to each boy to keep track of them is testament to that. As much as I’d like to pretend that holding a half-way decent conversation is not necessarily something that should be applauded in a potential partner, but just simply expected, I’ve made myself responsible for keeping a conversation afloat more times than I’d like to admit.

“So basically, I’ve got a date with B on Halloween and very recently, A asked if we can go for dinner on the day before Halloween. Is it wrong for me to go for both? I can’t help wanting to see A, I had a crush on him for so long. But it’s like I cannot fully invest in B if I still have a crush on A.”

As long as you’re clear with both parties about what your exclusivity status is, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to properly explore your options. Committing to a relationship long-term should be a well-informed decision; nobody would expect you to order a meal if you didn’t know what was in it, get on a flight if you didn’t know where it was landing, or apply to a university without attending the open day.

Go on the dates and scope out the scene. If it all goes well, you’ll be wifed up by Christmas, and the worst-case scenario is better than having a pot noodle and watching “The Chase” for the third night running.

‘I am falling in love with one of my flatmates’

I’d get the tea and biscuits out guys, it’s looking like we might be here a while…

“I think (hope) it might be mutual. Would it be a bad idea to go for it?”

To tell the truth, I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the flatmate-romance debate, I’ve seen it to go either way. My first instinct would be to use your “Ask the Audience” and ask your other flatmates what they think.

Are they giving off flirty vibes that are just too subtle for you to notice, or have you just been inventing mating signals in your head? If a problem shared is a problem halved then surely the problem will be divided into minuscule pieces by the time your emotional turmoil is passed around a flat of eight.

I’m certain that they will have something to say about it. How could this not change the dynamic of the group? Will they start holding hands when they go to take the bins out? Buying each other Greggs sausage rolls? Feeding the campus duck together? The thought is both overwhelming and nauseating.

‘I’ve got a nine am lecture, but they say ‘it’s uni’ and ‘don’t ruin the fun”

It’s hard to know whether to be jealous that you have the privilege of live lectures or sympathetic that you have to wake up before some of your flatmates will go to sleep. Have you thought about watching your lecture from your bed?

“All of my flatmates always ignore me and don’t stop drinking and partying (LOUDLY) until three am. I’ve tried to ask them politely to tone it down when it’s two am and I’ve got a nine am lecture, but they say “it’s uni” and “don’t ruin the fun.””

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this is not the only thing that annoys you about your flatmates. This event is one of a long chain of inconveniences that you’ve been forced to deal with.

There’s only one way to get this to stop – you have to go completely cold turkey. To be clear, you have to stop doing any and all household chores until they come crawling back to you for help.  I’m assuming that you’ve fallen into a motherly role within the household and they are taking your sensible nature for granted. Sing the mantra of Cardi B’s WAP: “I don’t cook, I don’t clean” until the evenings are so quiet you wonder whether or not everyone in the flat went home due to Tier Three restrictions.

Don’t worry about this being an unrealistic long-term commitment. After all, how long can a group of clueless 18-year-olds survive without their toilet paper stockpile being regularly replenished?

‘I’ve never been in a relationship before…’

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t think you’re as alone in this as you might think you are. To put it simply, a teenager’s sex-life can often look a lot similar to when they’re trying to reach the world count on an essay: It’s a lot of exaggeration, misuse of complex words, and repetition, all in an attempt to make it seem like they know what they’re talking about.

“… So I don’t really know how to approach things with a girl I like.”

I think you could be focusing on the wrong part here. It’s not so much “how” the approaching is done and more that you need to make a conscious effort to make your feelings known. If you’re attempting at least partial emotional-vulnerability with another living being post-lockdown you’re already doing miles better than the rest of us.

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