My boyfriend has been friends with this girl for a while and they’ve always been flirty with each other. We have been in a relationship for a couple years and are very happy, but he and his friend continue to say that they love each other. I confronted him about it, and he told me that I don’t understand the type of friendship they have, and he didn’t believe he was crossing any lines. How do I make him understand my viewpoint without ruining our relationship or their friendship?
— Simply frustrated
Dear Simply frustrated,
You see this friendship as inappropriate, while he sees your reaction as unnecessary. The obvious next step would be to analyze the situation, find out who is right or wrong, and put the matter to rest, right? Not exactly. The more important issue here is realizing that someone in the relationship is getting hurt and doing something to change that. Even the happiest couples out there have underlying issues that remain unresolved because they focus on superficial disputes like the one you are having, instead of getting down to the core problem. Maybe he really is just friends with her and maybe you are being a little paranoid, but solving that mystery comes second to the way you both feel.
I think the two of you should set aside a time to talk about what the both of you want. Tell him it would have been nice if instead of him saying, “you don’t understand our relationship, and I don’t think I’m crossing any lines”, he had said, “I didn’t think I was crossing any lines, but I care about you and don’t want you to feel this way, so let’s talk about it.” You are his girlfriend and she is his friend. There is a priority difference there, and if not then you’ve got bigger problems. If he knows that he is hurting you then he should want to make changes and that might change his friendship with her. Even if your boyfriend comes to you with a concern that you think is absolutely ridiculous, remember that he doesn’t see it that way, so talk about it.
If there was a final exam we all had to pass before we go to heaven or reincarnate as a redwood or what have you, I think the bonus question on the last page would ask something like, “What does every type of relationship need?” And the answer would most likely be “communication,” because with it everyone is happier and with out it no one knows.
What’s the best way to stay focused but keep from stressing out during finals?
— Already stressing
Dear Already stressing,
For many classes, the final exam can either make or break your grade and with that comes a ton of pressure. Finals week is going to be a stressful time no matter what, making it hard to completely eliminate stress. But rest assured, there are definitely ways to reduce that stress.
Waiting until the last minute to make flash cards and finish study guides isn’t the smartest thing to do. Start preparing for the big day right now. If you work well with others and get that extra boost of motivation from study groups, then plan one. I sometimes find that people in a study group feed off each other’s adrenaline when the pressure is on. For other people, after about two hours, the study group turns into a kickback minus the alcohol (or not), and you can imagine the results of that study method.
Solitary studying is one of the most effective study techniques for me, although it can get hard to focus when I’m tired and stressed. Try studying at the library for a while and then go home and relax for a while. Take breaks and watch an episode of “Modern Family” or read a couple of chapters from the novel you abandoned when classes started in September.
A great way to relieve stress is to give your brain a break and clear your mind at the gym. The UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center has study rooms on the first floor making it easy to grab a latte at Starbucks, study for a couple of hours and reboot with a 30 minute jog. Speaking of rebooting, it’s imperative that you sleep often. And by that I don’t mean study all night and hit the hay when the sun rises, but try and stick to a set schedule so that you get eight hours of sleep every night. Do everything you’ve heard since junior high about staying healthy: eat a hearty breakfast, stay active, stay focused, take breaks and nap. If you’re healthy, you will mostly likely be less stressed than you would be if you were studying with the flu.
Don’t hesitate to e-mail professors about past material, meet with teaching assistants and ask a tutor for help in South Hall before you start stressing. It’s always better to over study than not study enough. Make those study plans now and next week you’ll be happy that you did. Good luck!
Gabby gives way better advice than your mom. Don’t believe me? Test her skills at ucdeargabby.gmail.com.