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viewpoint

Love and the coat closet

| Thursday, November 17, 2016

Working as a hostess at Rohr’s and Sorin’s at the Morris Inn, I meet people ranging from the biggest donors of the University to adorable grandparents who try to talk up their grandsons to, of course, to the student body.

This weekend, rather than greeting people at the door like I usually do, I got stuck taking people’s coats and bags — an extremely underappreciated job, might I add — when I met two Notre Dame graduate students who handed me both their coats and their concerns about their love lives. For the sake of making this story less confusing, and for the sake of the graduate students, let’s call them Student 1 and Student 2.

Student 1 asked if I could give Student 2 some encouragement in the love department. You could feel the desperation in the air as Student 2 looked wide-eyed at Student 1. This was the most excitement I had had all night in that coat closet, so I gladly put in my two cents.

Thinking Student 2 just needed some encouragement with finding the right girl for him. I told him the classic, “Don’t worry about it, you’ll find somebody. Don’t be shy, just go for it.” That was that, they went on to their event and I continued taking coats.

However, towards the end of the night, Student 1 came back to the coat closet asking if I could once again give his friend some encouragement. Student 2 came stumbling behind, slammed one hand on the counter, looked desperately at me and said, “I need a girl.”

Now, maybe I’m just trying to twist some simple story to have some existential meaning, but when Student 2 looked at me with such desperation, I felt really sorry for him. Not because he couldn’t find a girl for him, but because he let his friend lead him to believe that he needs a girl.

Now listen carefully, not just Student 2, but everybody who graciously read this column. If you find yourself feeling like you need a romantic partner, you should not have a romantic partner.

A romantic partner should not be someone who you depend on in order to live — they should be someone who complements who you are and who brings you indescribable joy as a result of that. If you find yourself feeling you need a romantic partner, think about why, and look back at yourself. Whatever you think you need from that other person — love, happiness, appreciation — give that to yourself first. I hope this doesn’t sound horribly cliché, but you can’t fully love someone else if you don’t truly love yourself first.

So, Student 2, please know that you don’t need a girl. Any girl would be lucky to have you — but the only way they’re going to know that is if you know that yourself first.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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