‘I’m really broke’: Lancs Uni’s agony aunt returns to fix your lives

We’re back and better than ever x

Since last week it looks like our problems have not just doubled but actually quadrupled in size. If we felt confused and irritated last week, we are now dumbfounded and enraged by comparison. Obviously, there the big problems that even the Government don’t seem to know how to tackle (so I don’t know how you might have thought a second-year philosophy student could help there?) but, we all still have plenty of self-indulgent questions in our personal lives that I would be more than happy to assist with.

Just because life has become difficult, this doesn’t mean that we can’t laugh at each other’s dilemmas.

‘It’s almost impossible to meet anyone’

“Dear Agony Aunt,

So, with Miss Rona about it’s pretty hard to meet anyone. As freshers, how are we meant to attempt dating when it’s almost impossible to meet anyone?”

I’m going to start by letting this fresher in on a little well-kept secret: Most people found it impossible to attempt dating even before the pandemic. Dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble are impossible to navigate at the best of times and it’s difficult not to end up in a situation where two people want different things from the exchange.

Obviously, this is amplified massively when social distancing prevents potential daters from meeting in person and forces them to become confined to a world of entirely virtual sex and love lives. Unfortunately, as a dating app virgin, the only advice I can give you is second-hand, but I would argue that this could be better. I’ve witnessed all the mistakes and successes of the online-dating realm without having to go through the anguish myself.

First things first, you’re going to have to be on all of them. I know what you’re thinking, “I can barely manage to maintain four modules a term for my degree, what makes you think I would be able to use multiple dating apps at once when I have the attention span of an elderly goldfish?”

The key is to use the apps in cycles rather than all at one time. Each app attracts a particular type of person and serves a particular purpose. Bumble is home to the skinny-jean clad liberal arts student who has to tell you at every possible moment that yes, he does listen to The Smiths and no, he definitely doesn’t only know the words to ‘This Charming Man’. Tinder is swarming with “serial swipers” who feel the need to point out that they are definitely looking for something serious (whatever that means in the middle of a pandemic). They are only talking to you even though they have also matched with three other girls from your seminar group and have asked one of your flatmates if they want to be friends with benefits.

There is almost not much point mentioning Hinge as it feels like the app where you spend hours looking for a needle in a haystack. By this, I mean that it’s the one that you’ve only heard about through those celebrities that seem to use it, go on one date, and magically get married. So you download it in the hopes that this will happen to you when in reality it’s filled with people that think they’re too good for Tinder, but evidently, they’re not too good to stop tagging all there mates in uni meme pages although they graduated three years ago.

‘I genuinely like him, however not in a sexual way’

“There’s this boy who is cute & weird (the best mix, isn’t it?). My problem is that I genuinely like him, however not in a sexual way (I just don’t feel attracted to him). How to make him see me on the same terms as I see him? I just don’t want to hurt his feelings and would hate to end our friendship.

“Thanks for the advice in advance
~ Someone from Furness”

Firstly, you didn’t need to sign off your message in that way, as a fellow Furnessian it is painfully obvious that you’re from Furness because so many Furnessians seem to lack the ability to distinguish between platonic, romantic and sexual attraction. Luckily, however, you’ve got further than most in that you’ve decided that you don’t feel sexual attraction towards him (I’m beaming with pride so far) now you just need to know how to deal with that.

Make sure you don’t jump to any conclusions too quickly – how do you know that he doesn’t just see you as a friend as well? If it turns out that there is no sexual attraction from either side then you might be getting yourself worked up over nothing.

However, if we assume that there is unreciprocated sexual attraction from his end then the only way to get around it is by being blunt. But this doesn’t have to mean being cold-hearted and rude. In fact, being blunt doesn’t even have to mean having a conversation about it if you’re uncomfortable with it (but if you are, full power to you girl) it can mean a series of subtle actions that get the point across equally well.

This means avoid touching them even in a jokey way, avoid situations that could be misconstrued as a date, avoid discussing dating with them in general (including the dates they’ve been on and the people they’ve been sleeping with) and try to hang out with them more in group situations if possible.

“I’m really broke”

“I’m really broke with money and I don’t know how to survive as I’ve got really less at the moment.”
Finishing on a more solemn note, I wanted to try and give more genuine advice as I’m sure this is an issue at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds at the moment.
The more obvious thing is to avoid the more expensive supermarkets and devote yourself completely to Aldi and Lidl. Even if you have to get the bus there you will still save money in the long-run. Try group meals if possible, get all the flatmates involved, don’t be shy. If a problem shared is a problem halved then a meal shared is an overdraft halved. Finally, if you’re not freezing, you’re doing it wrong, much like Lancs in the winter, you learn to get used to the constant freezing and defrosting process.

Articles recommended by this writer:

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

Sultans give out free masks to thank students for their support

VOTE: Which is truly the ugliest Lancaster University building?