Take It From Us: A Guide to Relationships By Your Peers

As a somewhat naive middle schooler, I, like most of my friends at the time, grew up reading the popular American Girl Doll books for pre-teens and teenagers alike. Although the books and their authors had the best of intentions I’m sure, there are only so many things in life that you can learn from a book, the others you have to learn through experience. Sometimes those experiences can be difficult or even wildly uncomfortable, but I think it helps to look for the silver linings and ask how I can take what I learned into the future.

 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish that there was a simple “how-to” book for navigating college, relationships, friendships, breakups and even a global pandemic. So I sat down and thought “what better way to get advice about navigating your teenage years and twenties than asking my peers who are going through similar things?” After all, they say that we give the advice we wish we had received, so why not ask people who have real-life experience and advice to give from that?

 

There we have the start of my project, which involved a survey where people could answer anonymously with their advice and opinions on a variety of topics. The answers that I received ranged from very serious to sarcastic, and everything in between. So, let’s get into it!

 

To start off, I wanted to ask the respondents what general relationship advice they had. We had several people share a common response to this question, emphasizing that communication is key to any relationship, with one person even saying “Whenever a friend comes to me for advice, I always end up saying some form of the same thing: ‘talk to them.’”

 

The second most common response that we received was on the topic of honesty, with people often saying that communication and honesty go together. Others emphasized the need to focus on yourself and find who you are before you commit to a relationship, and someone added that you should “make sure you know how you deserve to be treated.”

 

Two other responses included one person saying that it’s important to them that their significant other can make them laugh, and another wrote saying that “Actions speak louder than words. Someone could tell you a million times that they love you, but if they don't show that through their actions and how they respect you then it's not worth it.” I think that that also connects back to another individual’s emphasis on self-love in a relationship as well.

 

Relationships take a lot of work, but when you add in a global pandemic it can sometimes cause you to second guess if now is the right time to get into a relationship. However, serendipitous meetings do happen even in a pandemic, and we received some advice for people in new relationships during this time. Although most of our respondents focused on the need to be safe in a new relationship during COVID-19, just about everyone emphasized the importance of patience, with one individual even saying “Enjoy the process of getting to know someone new.”

 

Another one of the questions that was included in the survey was on the topic of advice for couples in long-distance relationships. Every single respondent who answered this question either emphasized the importance of consistently communicating or being open with each other, with multiple people specifically saying that you need to “make each other a priority.” Long-distance relationships are difficult of course, but not impossible so long as you both put in the effort.

 

Lastly, I wanted to include the responses that we received from the survey regarding breakup advice. We received over a dozen responses for this question, and because everyone handles breakups differently, I thought that it would be best to include all of the responses below.

 

  1. “get over it relationships should not determine your life your relationship w yourself is more important”

  2. “You’ll get over it I promise.”

  3. “Listen to Taylor Swift. Every single song. You will find one song that will just make you feel like she knows what you’re going through. As dumb and time consuming that is, it helps. Also surround yourself with friends who will help you reflect on the relationship and help remind you why you broke up. Take time, you’ll get there. Never rush yourself.

  4. “It’s tempting to stay friends, but at the beginning it can cause you so much more pain than good. Take a breather from each other for at least a month, maybe two. If the desire for friendship is still there, you can try to figure out how to make it work without doing another romantic relationship rehash.”

  5. “Focus on yourself and go no contact with your ex for as long as you need to heal. It will hurt, but as cliche as it sounds, you will just be one broken heart closer to finding the right person for you. Work on finding yourself, loving yourself, and discover what you really want in a relationship.”

  6. “Don't move on too fast, because they will be a rebound which will end up hurting everyone that was involved”

  7. “It is how it is. You have to move on at some point and if they are meant to be in the past they will be”

  8. “Just because the relationship failed... you did not fail. You are not broken. And you are not unlovable.”

  9. “Surround yourself with good friends and spend more time with them.”

  10. “Use it as a growing experience. You will come out stronger.”

  11. “Everything will be okay and 0 is always better than -1.”

  12. “Surround yourself with friends you can depend on”

  13. “Focus on yourself”

 

A special thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey that was used for this editorial piece and for sharing their thoughts and wisdom!