We asked Bethel students to submit questions this month about relationships. Maddie DeBilzan, our editor-in-chief, and Maddie Christy, our managing editor, have answered them with class, wisdom and a little bit of sass. Neither of them have degrees or experience in psychology, but they like to pretend.
How many close friends is too many close friends?
Maddie C: I have always heard you can only really have deep relationships with five to seven people. It’s not realistic to be deep friends with 25 people! But my friends and I often talk about how hard this is, especially in a community like Bethel. We all know so many people, and say “Hi” to 12 people when we walk down the hall. Is it possible to stop and ask all those people how they are really doing? No!
We need to learn it’s OK to have concentric circles of friends. We can have our few really close friends, a middle circle that might make up our larger friend group, and an outer circle of acquaintances. And that’s OK! It doesn’t mean we are being inauthentic with that outer circle – we just only have the capacity to have a couple best friends.
Maddie D: Who’s on your home team? Those are the people whose cabins you’ve stayed at, who know your parents’ names, and who would answer their phones if you called them at 3 a.m. The people on my home team are the kind of friends who rub my neck when I have headaches, pray for me before a big test, and babysit my siblings when my family is in a pinch. Who are those people for you?
I recently read a book called “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud, who wrote about saying “No” to good people. Saying “No” to certain friendships doesn’t make you a bad person; it allows you to get really close to a few people, which is far better than knowing hundreds of people on a surface level. If you’re struggling in this area, I’d encourage you to make a list of a couple people you want on your “home team” and make those relationships your priority. That might mean you’ll have to say no to your weekly coffee dates with your kinda-close-but-not-really friend group from freshman-year ILA class.
My roommate really likes to snooze the alarm clock in the morning and it keeps waking me up. What should I do?
Maddie D.: The first thing I would do is bring up your concern when just the two of you are in the room. I’m sure your roommate has no idea that her alarm is annoying the crap out of you, so tell her. If that doesn’t fix things, ask her to place the phone or alarm clock on the other side of the room so she has to get out of bed to shut it off. And if that doesn’t fix things, pour ice-cold water on their head when their alarm goes off. That’ll wake ‘em up.
Just kidding. Don’t do that.
Maddie C.: Buy them a vibrating bed-shaker alarm. Yes, that’s a thing (Google it). It will be less noise for you, and hopefully more effective at waking up your roommate. It’s a win-win.
If the bed-shaker doesn’t work within your budget, save up until you can buy one. And in the meantime, use ear plugs. Let’s face it, someday, you’ll probably have a husband or wife whose snoring keeps you up all night and you’ll have to start using earplugs — may as well get used to it now. And hey, they’re not all that bad, as long as you clean them.
If you don’t have the money to buy a $1 pack of bright-orange earplugs because you’re trying to save up for a bed-shaker, then head to Eagle Brook Church on any given weekend and tell an usher that the music is too loud. They will give you a free pair! Google it!
What should I do if I’m dating someone but I’m not sure if they have a relationship with the Lord?
Maddie C.: Often, actions speak louder than words. How do you know if your boyfriend or girlfriend has a relationship with the Lord? Well, do they act like it?
Observe your significant other’s habits and actions. Does your boyfriend talk about his faith and what it means to him? Does your girlfriend make time for spiritual disciplines like prayer, reading the Bible, or serving others? Is your boyfriend interested in faith-centered events like chapel, church, Vespers, or bible study? Does your significant other act in such a way that suggests he or she is following Jesus, or love others the way a Christian claims to?
And, of course, ask them about it! Chances are, if a relationship with the Lord matters to your significant other, they’ll want to talk about it.
What should I do if I don’t like my significant other’s nose?
Maddie D.: This question had me stumped, so I did what I always do when I’m at a crossroads: I asked my six-year-old brother, Ivan.
His answer was simple: “You just pinch it!”
Although I’ve never had to deal with disliking my significant other’s nose, Ivan seems to know what he’s talking about. He’s had the same girlfriend since preschool.
What if my girlfriend smells bad?
Maddie D.: I also deferred this question to Ivan, who is wise and experienced in the art of romance. Ivan advised this student to “give her a bath.” Although I don’t recommend this solution myself (I’m an RA… please don’t do this)… it seems logical, doesn’t it?
Maybe we should ask six-year-olds for advice more often.
Maddie and Maddie
For a chance to have your questions answered in the next edition of the Advice from the Maddie’s column, slide a note under our door or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. And if you liked this column, stay tuned for the launch of our Clarion podcast on bethelclarion.com!