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The Curse of the Perpetually Single Relationship Counsellor

Explaining what it’s like to be the agony aunt in your friend circle.

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I’ve lived most of my life not being that much of a romantic. Romance as a genre didn’t appeal to me and while the thought of having a partner was nice, a relationship wasn’t something I was desperately searching for.

So I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when last year – in the midst of the chaos that was the HSC – I was suddenly approached by my friends for relationship advice of all things. Somehow, without my noticing, almost everyone in my friend circle had found themselves cute partners to canoodle with.

My own romantic history was seemingly bare. It was a short timeline filled with quick two-week crushes on the new guy at work or the girl in the cafe with the brightly coloured hair, but nothing too serious. I’d never even been on a date. With Year 12 ending and uni fast approaching, my time at an all-girls’ Catholic high school had done me no good. Panic set in and I began to fully prepare myself for the life of a spinstress, or the role of Katherine Heigl at the beginning of 27 Dresses.

Admittedly, at first I felt quite honoured that my friends felt comfortable enough to come to me with their problems, and while I did make a few “Just break up!” jokes here and there, I also did offer some genuine advice that miraculously worked.

Got a boyfriend hanging out with people you don’t like? Talk to them about it, calmly explain why it is you don’t like those people, but don’t flat out tell them to stop being friends with people — anybody would get defensive in such a situation.

Got a girlfriend who been distant lately? Literally just talk to them about it, gently asking them if something is wrong, but don’t try to force it; make yourself somebody they can be open and honest with.

To me, it all seemed so simple, how could they not get it? The honour I felt soon turned to annoyance, and the annoyance to envy. How could I still be single while they were not? How could I somehow give out such sage-like relationship advice, yet never find a relationship of my own? It wasn’t fair, there had to be some god upstairs laughing at me. Danielle Cabubas, The Perpetually Single Relationship Counsellor.

But a few months ago, as I was scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard, I came across a phrase that opened my eyes and changed my perspective completely. Three simple words:

Coaches don’t play.

I was the coach and my friends, the players. It was like having my own team of children to train and guide to victory. I had to be patient with them, comfort them when they got hurt, and cheer them on from the sidelines. It was my damned duty. In fact, it was my being single that made me the only person who could do it. I saw the whole picture, through the eyes of someone on the outside. That’s what made me so special, that’s what allowed me to dish out such good advice, and honestly? That was definitely something I could be proud of.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my time playing agony aunt it’s that the best way to take things, was slow. I realised it does you no good to force something into happening. In the end, the best course of action was to sit back, relax, and see what fate brings me.

There is of course still some of that lingering fear that I’ll end up alone until the day I die. But I can safely say with the utmost confidence that right now, I’m 18-years-old, single as fuck, and living my best life. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.