Welcome to Reggie Responds, Roar’s advice column! Our columnists are here to provide you helpful, or maybe not so helpful, advice. Tune in on Fridays to see what they have to say about your problems.

Q: There’s this person in my seminar group, and I really can’t stand the way they look, talk or anything. I feel guilty for saying this because I’m trying to be nicer this year. Have you got any sage advice for me?

Nikita: Well, at least you’re self-aware enough to realise that this whole “being nicer” thing isn’t going as smoothly as you thought it would. But don’t worry, I know exactly what you mean sometimes, some people just rub you the wrong way. It might not necessarily be something they do, it might just be how we perceive it and if that’s the case, they’re really not at fault there, are they? I’m not trying to be condescending here, I swear, but in my personal opinion, every time I have disliked someone ‘for no apparent reason,’ spoiler alert: there’s always been a reason.

I’d say, try to understand what might have prompted this intense dislike for them. Was it something they said or did, or are you just looking for an easy outlet for your own negative emotions? (No judgement here, I promise.) Though I do feel the need to remind you, being “nicer” does not necessarily mean sucking up to people. Being civil to someone you’re not friends with counts as well. Just the fact that you’re actively policing your negative thoughts is a lot more than some people can say, so good on you for that! I would advise, however, that if some stranger is causing that much negativity in your life, it’s probably best to cut down your interactions with them.

As is the Marie Kondo way, if they don’t spark joy, they don’t need to be in your closet on your mind.

Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for about two years now, and the relationship feels so dull. We still love each other, but I’m just not feeling that spark anymore. I don’t want to break up because I can’t really see my life without him. He’s the perfect guy for me, but somehow I just feel bored.

Matthew: I don’t care whether you’ve been together for two years or twenty years, you’ve survived a pandemic together, and if that isn’t a sign of a strong relationship, I don’t know what is. You have to acknowledge the state of the world right now. Everyone is bored, and without the hospitality industry to provide you with some great nights out, your relationship is bound to feel a little monotonous. Whether you’re living together or not, I can’t stress enough how important it is to make plans, little and large, to breathe new life into each day. My partner and I are currently long distance, and of course lockdown has been hard, but we’ve made a huge effort to plan Zoom dates and make sure we have holidays and trips scheduled for when the world eventually does reopen.

Of course I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t get gruelling and boring at times, that’s just how things go if you’re a regular fixture in their life (virtual or not). I would definitely suggest finding some ‘me-time’ within your own routine, to go and be comfortable doing separate things. Space is extremely underrated, as when you reconvene you are bound to feel that ‘spark’ again. Just take my word for the fact that surviving lockdown as a couple is a testament to a very strong relationship. I wish you both lots of luck and happiness!

If you want to submit a question, you can do so here.

Matthew Seaman

Do you agree? Leave a comment