- Do you have difficult, embarrassing or awkward questions to ask? Submit them anonymously and ‘Friend of a Friend’ will do their best to help you out
- This week we discuss future ambitions, dealing with parents and what to do when you have a crush on your buddy
I don’t know why, but my mum and I always have different opinions. One of my dreams is to study a new language. However, my mum would like me to finish my university degree before I do so. I’m afraid that I won’t have enough time to learn a new language once I graduate and get a job.
My dad is stuck in the middle between us, so I’d like a third-party opinion: what should I do?
Mind Over Mum
Your mum wants you to succeed in your degree, which is why she would prefer you to focus solely on your studies. She might think that your learning a new language will distract you from your current responsibilities.
Now that you’re at university, you’re on the cusp of becoming an adult. Your mum’s insistence on making decisions for you is possibly a coping mechanism because she knows that, soon, you won’t ask for her opinion.
But it’s important to consider her perspective: do you actually have the time and motivation to commit to both your studies and learning this language? If you believe you can, then it’s really your decision!
Other things to think: Have you picked a language? Would you self-study or take lessons? What level of proficiency are you aiming to get to – conversational or able to communicate with professionals?
The best way to convince your mum is to show her you’re serious about it. Demonstrate how learning a language would fit into your schedule, to reassure her that it won’t interfere with your studies. Bonus points if this language could benefit you in the long run and help with job applications! It’s always good to build your skills, as long as you don’t neglect other tasks.
While it’s been proven that it’s easier to learn a language when you’re young, it’s possible at any age. And it can be done when you’re working.You may have to sacrifice some free time to attend classes, but if it’s something you’re passionate about, it won’t be in vain.
Test the waters by downloading a language app and starting slowly. Do a little bit every day – even just five minutes – as a way to kick-start your learning without making major changes to your schedule, and see if you really want to pursue it seriously. There are so many free resources online, you might as well try!
Best of luck,
Friend of a Friend
Hi Friend of a Friend,
I expect everyone is going to heap scorn on me for this, but here goes. I’m in secondary school, and everyone is talking about planning their careers. I do okay at school, but I am definitely not in the “doctor, lawyer, banker” range.
I’ve never really thought about a career, because really, what I want deep down, is to be a housewife. I want to be married with children, and I want to devote all my time to my family.
I know this is not usual these days, as women are meant to be independent and able to do everything. But nothing else interests me at all.
How can I tell my parents, my friends and my teachers that this is what I want without being ridiculed by everyone?
There’s nothing unusual about wanting to be a wife and mother, and you are free to choose your path regardless of other people’s opinions. But remember, first you need a partner who supports those choices. Many couples today anticipate that both parties will contribute financially to the household, and as life gets increasingly more expensive, with children and a home, it’s not as easy to find someone willing and able to be the sole provider.
And what about your plans between finishing school and finding a husband? Will your parents be happy to support you during that time? If not, you’ll have to earn money for your expenses. Relationships take time, and it may be a few years before you settle down.
You may think there are no “career” options that would interest you. But not all jobs require academic excellence, and university is not the only option after school. In fact, it would be great if fewer people felt the pressure to get a degree just because of society’s expectations.
But you should never stop learning and developing skills. It’s important to know you could find work if you needed, so you could get a job, even if it were part-time. Imagine you find a husband and have children, but then he loses his job, or dies, or you get divorced. What then? You’ll have to work.
If you don’t have any skills or experience, you’ll be in trouble. It’s crucial to have some kind of independence, especially financial, for your and your children’s sake.
There are so many other jobs besides being a doctor, lawyer or banker. Think about what you enjoy out of school. For example, if you love children, could you train as a nanny, or a nurse, or a teacher? Do you have a hobby that could be profitable? Or practical skills you could hone to use in the service industry?
Most people don’t know what they want to do as teens, and even more people don’t end up doing jobs related to subjects they study, so don’t give up on the idea just because you’re not sure what you could be!
Since you think you’d like to have children one day, why not try to get a part-time job or work experience at a kindergarten or a day care centre? Then you can experience what it’s actually like taking care of young children, and develop the necessary skills you’d need as a mother – and maybe as a professional.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with your dream – and it is your dream – but it’s important to motivate yourself to come up with a backup plan, just in case things don’t go to plan.
I hope that helps you,
Friend of a Friend
My best friend of five years came out as gay three years ago. We’re really close; and yes, I developed feelings over the years. But I don’t think it’s worth telling him. How should I let go?
It’s very mature of you to acknowledge that this crush isn’t going anywhere. It’s easy to develop crushes, and you can’t switch off your emotions, but it’s not impossible to get over him!
When we get close to someone, we begin to admire their personality and physical traits, and that can translate into romantic feelings. Unfortunately, the most effective way to get over a crush is to spend less time with them, so you don’t feel those feelings so often.
I can understand that this might be difficult if you are best friends. But if you spend a lot of time together one-on-one, you’re not giving yourself time to get over him. It would be better to hang out in a bigger group, so your meet-ups are less intimate.
It’s also a good idea to distract yourself with other things. Get busy! Immerse yourself in school work, hobbies, extracurriculars and other friendships so you have other things to think about. What’s more, starting a new activity may mean meeting new people to spend time with, so you’ll naturally have less time to spend with your BFF.
Of course, if you had a new crush, you’d also focus less on the one that can’t go anywhere. Obviously you can’t just “pick” someone to fancy, but by meeting and spending time with other people, you’ll learn that other people have great qualities, too, and that this boy isn’t the only one worthy of your affection.
You can love someone without being IN love with them. Treat your friend as just that – a friend – and those romantic feelings will fade. And while you might not want to tell your friend how you feel, if he really is a good friend, he’ll want the best for you, whatever that takes.
Best of luck,
Friend of a Friend
If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please send an email to [email protected] with “Asking for a Friend” in the subject line. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!