by Risha Sinha, Opinions Editor
graphic by Lynn Kim
It has been exactly one year since my last Valentine’s Day article, and I am peeved to announce that I am still single. Last year, I declared to the world that I was single and ready to mingle, alone and ready to bone. 365 long, lonely days later, I am older, wiser and I can finally get my learner’s permit.
I might now be officially too old to date Congressman Matt Gaetz, but I still have nine years before I’m out of Leonardo DiCaprio’s range. There’s always a silver lining.
While my relationship status has not changed in the past year, I have. I am delighted to announce that I am now totally in love with being alone. As an added bonus, I have the distance needed to objectively solve all relationship problems as an unbiased third party. As the saying goes, coaches don’t play. Call me Tinder, because I will help you find your perfect match.
First, let’s begin with the issue of finding a significant other. Whether it’s a hallway crush or your new chemistry lab partner, look around for a potential target. Maybe you have someone already in mind, or maybe you find choosing a worthy crush to be as difficult as finding a working water fountain at school.
Assess a probable mark’s hobbies and clubs. If you’re looking for a conversationalist, try a member of the speech-and-debate cult. For camaraderie and competition, an athlete will be your perfect match. But if you’re searching for someone who’s super hot, totally hilarious and hella interesting, look no further than the staff of your beloved student newspaper (or the byline of this article *wink*).
Next time you see them, try to talk to them. Ask them questions about themself to figure out if they’re worth any significant time investment. What are their hobbies? Do they prefer cats or dogs? Is the dress white and gold or blue and black? (It’s blue and black).
You can gain more intel by stalking their social media. Classify their social media presence: how creepy are they on a scale of Tom Hanks to Jared Leto? Anything above a Jack Harlow level of ick is a red flag.
Once you’ve adequately vetted the subject, ask them out! Rejection sucks, but as philosopher Michael Scott said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” On a date, getting coffee is a safe bet, but I recommend going to a haunted house to prepare them for the terror of someday meeting your parents.
Once you are an official item, the real work begins. High-school relationships are notoriously short and fickle. For longevity, try to build trust. Conversations, trust falls and shared experiences will make you feel confident in your connection as a couple. If all else fails, tracking your significant other’s every move will definitely make you feel better. Try the Life360º app or plan a date to the vet to get them chipped. Kidding. Kinda.
Keeping things new and exciting can also be a challenge. Avoid clichéd gifts: instead of flowers, try a cactus; instead of chocolate, try brussel sprouts; and instead of writing poetry, try a freestyle rap battle.
Similarly, you’ll want to plan new and inventive dates. I recommend bowling for its fun, competitive nature. Go to an arcade, museum or movie theater. For a power move, take a walk around your local cemetery and point out the headstone of the last person who broke up with you. If your s/o thinks pineapple belongs on pizza, visit the zoo. They’ll feel right at home with all the other animals.
Even if you take all of my advice, sometimes a relationship just doesn’t work out. In that case, knowing how to break up with someone is paramount. If it’s your fault the relationship fell apart, your best bet is to push through the awkward break-up phone call and then make yourself scarce for the next couple of weeks. If it’s your soon-to-be-ex’s fault, begin by assessing the level of damage — this will help you determine the necessary next steps.
For mostly mutual break-ups, keep your response tempered. You don’t want to seem outright hostile, but you’ve got to get your point across. A short, to-the-point conversation followed by a strongly-worded email or text will suffice. Cheaters must be dealt with differently. Choose a form of retribution that speaks to you.
I recommend listening to the song “no body, no crime” by Taylor Swift for inspiration. Alternatively, you could also wait for karma to come back to bite them — revenge is a dish best served cold.
Perhaps the most difficult part of a relationship is getting over your ex (or a crush). Equip yourself with tissues and prepare to ride it out. You’ll go through the five stages of relationship grief — 1) Denial: you’ll convince yourself you’re better off alone, but no amount of ice cream will fill the gaping hole in your heart.
2) Anger: the best music comes out of this stage. It’s why we have “Lemonade,” “Before He Cheats” and Olivia Rodrigo’s entire discography.
3) Bargaining: this stage is a test of strength. Although they promise they’re different, getting back together with your ex is almost never a good idea.
4) Depression: this one sucks. Not only are you upset about losing your ex, but you’ve also got to come to terms with the fact that you’re no longer any better than the rest of us single folk.
5) Acceptance: welcome to the single club. It’s actually pretty rad.