Being teased at every opportunity about crushing on people of the opposite gender I was close to, was something occurring frequently growing up in high school. It was tiring. Not forgetting uncles and aunts who would enthusiastically ask me or my parents if I was attached to anyone.
As a boy growing up somehow led to believing that you need a partner, a companion, a girlfriend (not a “girl-dash-friend”), it seemed that apart from studies, getting a girlfriend was next on the must-do list.
And so there I was, living my teen-years occasionally spending money buying chocolates, gifts, and other kinds of things that you give a girl you’re particularly fond about during Valentine’s day, their birthdays, and whatever occasion seen to be fit.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t desperate for a girlfriend. I suppose you could say it was ‘the in thing to have’ and as it turns out, following trend was a rather silly thing to do as it didn’t get me anywhere. It seems that although girls may on the occasion like boys gifting them things, it doesn’t exactly “get you the girl”.
But now, thinking back, a relationship back then would not have been a good one because whatever I would have had back then, would be pretence.
“A relationship should not be out of desperation”
Some Maturity and Acceptance.
After some time, it dawned on me that all the chasing, all the money spent, was neither to my benefit or anyone else’s. I slowly grew out of spending simply on Valentine’s gestures, birthday gifts, and the like. I say some maturity, because a portion of growing out of chasing girls was because of studies and being involved in various other things.
The actuality of maturity and acceptance that I understood came from having people around me who were equally single, but simply happy with their life. That being unattached had no bind on how they had the same amount, if not more fun than those attached. It was though it rendered them a superpower to live life boldly and unbound. Not that I lived a very bold and unbound life.
In contrast, peers who were attached seemed to always be in and out of relationships, and some were never really happy
Acceptance came from the same friends who did all the teasing. Acceptance because I have more than just one companion to share growing up with. Acceptance because at that point in time, having friends were more important than a half-baked relationship.
“Accept who you are and embrace your potential!”
Eventually I gave up chasing all together because “life happened”. Distracted by tertiary studies, various part-time jobs, overenthusiasm over a hobby turned into side business, I enjoyed what life had become and found myself learning various skills and gained experiences. Skills and experiences that I would now not trade for anything.
Once the period of time where my hands, and feet were in various activities had passed, I started working. And life became more focused, which allowed time for people. This also meant I had time to invest into peoples’ lives in one way or another. So that was what I did. I spent time conversing with people, mentoring a few in the process.
Serendipity and a Chance.
In the process of all the talking, working and living, I rediscovered someone, a childhood friend. And nothing happened until months later, by chance, or maybe by some higher being’s doing.
It’s a long story for another time, but today, three years in, I have a partner who has a label of girlfriend, and a relationship. We are blessed with great days and some that are so far away from being desirable; but experiencing life alone, and with a partner isn’t something you learn in school, so learning together is a thing for us now.
It is now, that I have a relationship worth calling a relationship, instead of one that is for show or because its ‘in trend’.
If I were to be the same boy back in high school today, chances are I’d either be single, available but undesirable, still looking, desperate, or prematurely in a relationship. Reflecting on how I got here – patience, timing, certain amount of personal character development and readiness – they make all the difference.
Now, the question that gets thrown around at gatherings with peers, uncles and aunts, is “when are you getting married?”. But I guess it’s a never ending circle, because someday, it’ll be “when are you getting children?” and that, will be another story altogether.
About the Author: Randall Tan is a millennial with a penchant for observing human behaviour and is curious about the mechanics of social media . He writes to share that relationships are not to be rushed into, and that sometimes, patience and character development are crucial in making them happen.
Randall graduated with an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is now pursuing a Masters in Data Sciences and Business Analytics.