Asking for a Friend: St. Patrick’s Day, puppies, & parents

The Journal's advice-giver guides two students with relationship roadblocks

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I’m Audrey Helpburn, The Journal’s resident advice-giver. I answer questions about love, friendship, school, and more to help Queen’s students put their best foot forward on and around campus.
 
Although I’m not a professional, I aim to give the best advice I can to students who need a bit of guidance. This time around, I’m advising two students who have relationships they feel are getting in the way of something: one who’s nervous their out-of-town friends will damper their St. Patrick’s Day fun, and the other whose parents are getting in the way of their adulthood.  
 
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This Saturday is St. Patrick's Day and I'm super excited because it's my last one ever (I'm in fourth year). The thing is, I have two friends coming from out of town for the day to celebrate. Though I'm pumped they're coming, I'm nervous they won't feel like they fit in. I don't want to spend the whole day worrying about them when I'm trying to enjoy the day with everyone here at Queen's as well. I want them to have a good time, but I want to have a good time, too. 
 
How do I accommodate my out-of-town friends this weekend?
 
Signed,
Help Me I’m Irish
 
 
Dear Help Me I’m Irish,
 
Having friends come visit on St. Patrick’s Day can be stressful, but you don’t have to choose between “us” and “them.” They say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Let’s adapt this old, seemingly ill-suited cliché to your situation. 
 
You can give your two out-of-town friends a couple minutes of attention at a time by having them follow you around everywhere while you socialize, party hop, and—let’s be real—follow your own Queen’s friends around. Or you can feed your friends for a whole great day by giving them the same tools you’ll use in order to make your day what it is. Take them to pre-game and spend time introducing them in depth to each of your friends so that they feel comfortable. Don’t leave them completely on their own, but don’t attach yourself hip-to-hip with them from the start, making them like your puppies for the weekend. 
 
Show them the ropes and then mingle, coming back to check in on them intermittently. If you see they’re having trouble, call them over to your conversation. If you see they’re hitting it off with someone, take the opportunity to go to the bathroom or catch up with someone else. Keep in touch with them throughout the day and make it clear you intend for them to have a good time. They’ll thank you in the long run: no one likes to be dragged around like a baby in a stroller anyway. 
 
All the best,
Audrey Helpburn  
 
 

Upon moving away for school across the country in first year and becoming immersed in an incredible community within my faculty, Ive found amazing life-long friends and connected on such a deep level with people I've met in university.Overtime, though,Ive realized that Ive begun to drift apart from my parents.

Is it normal to feel that many times I relate more to people my age compared to them now? Like when I came home over winter break, it was nice to relax, but it definitely felt really different. I just get so confused about this because I never know if I'm ever truly an "adult" around them or if age truly is just a number and I’m always going to be a child through my parents eyes. 

Signed,

Parent Problems

 

Dear Parent Problems, 

During adolescence, it is completely normal—I’m no doctor, but I’d venture to say it’s even healthy—to relate more to people your own age than to your parents, and I think many students would say they feel the same way. While family will always have a special place in our hearts, day-to-day conversation will naturally come easier with people at the same stages of life as us because they’re going through the same things we are.

As you mature and grow into your own individualistic lifestyle, your parents should see you more and more as an adult capable of making your own decisions. That being said, while you won’t always be achild, you will always be their child. Their need to guide, motivate, and protect you may never fully go away. Don’t try to shake it too much—their love and protection is something you’ll be thanking your lucky stars for 10 years from now. 

All the best,

Audrey Helpburn

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