Relationships in IB: A Firsthand Perspective


Advice on relationships….probably one of the most contentious, most disputed and yet most important issues you will encounter in your IB life. You can approach ten different seniors, and all ten could easily give you disparate, and very contrasting, perspectives. So I certainly don’t think mine is any better than any other view you may have received, but do allow me to offer my two-cents worth on this.

Just two simple pointers.

First of all, I know this is extremely cliché, but honestly, follow your heart. You would probably have heard from parents, friends and seniors that relationships are a messy business, that they are distracting, and, in the case of breakups, extremely hurtful. You would probably have heard of the famous warning that a relationship could “ruin” your IB life, that it could torpedo your grades, wreck your social life, destroy your future etc, etc, etc…

And while it is good to be mindful of such concerns, and be prepared if things go south, at the same time…what good thing in life is not at least a little risky? I mean, just look around you, around your classes and orientation groups. The person to your left could be your future sweetheart, and the student to your right could be your next heartbreak. You’ll honestly never know. However, think about it this way – if you feel it is right, and it doesn’t work out, who could blame you for trying? If we shied away from everything that could hurt us, think of all that would be missed! All I’m saying is, be careful, but in relationships, don’t be too afraid to get hurt.

Second, don’t forget to be yourself. It’s another cliché, but sadly one that is not followed enough. Maybe its the social pressure, maybe its the hype, but there will always be a portion of students who feel an urgent need to put up false faces and veneers, believing it presents a more “attractive front”. And most of the time, this isn’t even done consciously, just out of a desire to be wanted. However much it makes sense though, I honestly think it’s a bad idea. I mean, for one, people notice. No matter how subtle or “good at hiding” you may think you are, people really do notice, believe it or not. People may not tell you, but trust me, they know.

And more importantly, do you really want to be with someone who is attracted to your false front, and not to you? It’ll be rocky, messy and a very tiring ordeal, plus your incompatible differences will come to clash eventually. So save yourself the trouble, and go out with someone who is interested in the real you.

I won’t lie, relationships are tough, time-consuming and often dramatic. The journey, and the rewards, can be quite worth-it though. IB is a time to explore your identity, so don’t be afraid to take a few leaps of faith. Just make sure you maintain a tight network of supportive family and friends! 🙂

Oh yeah, and for the guys, follow the bro code. Seriously.

The author is currently in Year 6 (2015) and in a relationship at the time of writing.

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