Jessica Yin explains her experiences with St. Andrews’ web of connections and the lessons she has learned. 


 

I slept with my best friend’s crush.

Before you crucify me on the cross of girl code, know that it occurred in first year during fresher’s week- long before my friend had met him. Though we never seriously considered a relationship together, the attraction persisted and manifested into a comfortable, flirtatious friendship that toed the line between platonic and sexual. When my friend fell for him, I was faced with a dilemma. I was happy to allow her a chance at his guarded heart, but I didn’t know how to do so without losing him and our 3am conversations. Spending time with one felt like betraying the other – I could not have both.

My experience is not unique in a town like St Andrews, where it is impossible to walk down the street without seeing at least two friends, one academic sibling and potentially a tutor. As a third year, I can always find a connection with the people I meet, whether it was doing the same sport, module, or person. Sometimes they already have ghosts of drunken Sinners floating around when you meet them. Other times, these stories of common history are formed while your friendship is still developing.

Either way, it’s tricky to navigate these tangled relations. It’s hard to determine what the proper etiquette is: Once you find out about your shared person, do you talk about it? If one of you keeps sleeping with the boy, but the other doesn’t, can you ever bring him up? How much do you share with the other person about what you’ve experienced? Can you keep up the relationship with both?

As someone who has found herself meeting the other women (yes, not woman, women), my conclusion is: Don’t be antagonistic. First and foremost, do not call the other person names. Do not judge them and resist the urge to ask, why them and not me? You aren’t a movie character that has been recast. The two of you and the two of them are different and incomparable.

Moreover, as the legendary Tina Fey says in Mean Girls:

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It is natural to get out the claws and acidic smiles. And it’s easier to tear her down than admit that maybe you got this one wrong. I truly believe that if girls were to support each other more, we could demand a lot more respect from guys. The most judgmental statements I’ve heard uttered against me have been comments from other girls. Such cruelty is not constructive for anyone and specters from the past are not worth ruining the future for. It’s not always easy and sometimes it takes a few conversations with all parties involved to smooth over the awkwardness and get on with life. It might mean establishing some boundaries, laying out what is too much information and too painful to even mention.

In my situation, I decided to limit the flirtatious comments and late-night chats, because a life-long friendship is worth more than a few nights of fun. Discovering the right balance does not always happen straight away, but eventually, you learn to find your place in the web of St Andrews connections.

 

Jessica Yin