“Wait, don’t you have a boyfriend?”
I spit my water out. “WHAT? NO, I DON’T!”
“Why don’t you have a boyfriend? That’s kinda weird.”
“Weird?! You’re 12 YEARS OLD! YOU’RE the weird one with the girlfriend.”
“EVERYONE has a boyfriend or girlfriend.”
“Seriously? Fine, if you really want to know, it’s because I have STANDARDS.”
Growing up, I wasn’t a complete newbie to “love.” Like any other 5-year-old girl, I enjoyed watching Disney Princesses end up with their Princes and, of course, the sweet, innocent, and kind of cheesy story of Troy and Gabriella in High School Musical (my favorite movie at the time). The love I experienced in my life was really from my family and close friends, like when I would cuddle in between my mom and dad as they told me a story before I went to bed.
As I grew older (and enrolled in school), I got exposed to crushes, girlfriends, boyfriends, MUs (Mutual Understanding), and all sorts of labels people give each other when they are attracted to somebody, as well as all the “signs” that showed that someone had a crush on someone else. Then there were all the reasons why they liked their respective crushes: “She’s so pretty!” “He’s so good at drawing!” “He’s the fastest runner in school!” “She’s so smart!” Then there were all the reasons why they didn’t like them anymore: “She’s so maarte.” “He’s too sensitive.” “He has a bad temper.” “She’s too shy.”
I passed my first ‘romantic milestone’ as a teenager: my first crush (the same guy for two whole years); the awkward body language of guys I knew (totally gross); and the sudden interest my friends and I had for cute celebrities (Tom Holland and Zac Efron are our top choices). Gossip from my girl friends about dumb boys is fun, as well as freaking out together when someone we like texts back.
But despite all the exposure to the world of romance, I’ve stayed away from getting too involved in boy trouble. The lessons in my life, from both the media and the people who influence me, have all taught me the same things, leading up to my standards.
For one thing, getting into a relationship as a young teenager is NOT a good idea. I’m supposed to be spending my years going on adventures, having new experiences, broadening my horizons, and learning new things about the world and myself. How can I do that when I’m too busy wondering why my boyfriend doesn’t answer my calls or seen-zones my messages? Or what about when I see him on social media with other girls? How will I live my life then?
Second, why should I start my relationships through convenience? My choices for boyfriends are limited to those who live near me, or who go to the same activities. There are billions of people in the world, so why should I choose between the people who just happened to be in my area? What if the person I truly belong to is on the other side of the world?
But what if my soulmate is really close? That’s why I don’t want to commit to anyone so early in my life. I want the time to find the person I’m meant to be with, not someone who just so happens to be there.
I don’t want to choose someone based on shallow personality traits either, like in grade school. So what if he’s smart if he’s rude to those around him? So what if he’s gorgeous, but can’t even have an intelligent discussion? Sure, he’s funny, but what if he doesn’t care about his future? I want to really get to know someone before I even consider getting into a relationship with him.
My ultimate plan? Be a friend. It’s sweet and simple. By being a friend, I don’t have to worry about romance or commitment. By being a friend, I’ll get to see what kind of person someone is without having to be his girlfriend. I can have friends anywhere in the world, meet new people from the distant parts of the world, no matter how far away. I can find people with the same interests as I have by doing what I love and exploring all the possible pathways for my future. I can focus more on my happiness and well-being, and learn more about myself. There is no hurry for me to find love. As long as I stay true to myself and what I believe in, love will find me.