Don’t sit on the fence

Don’t sit on the fence

Ask your Counsellor

Sometimes it is hard to take decisions because we believe it is a very important decision and the cost of taking the wrong decision is irreversible, or even fatal. It is good for us to realise that no wrong decision is fatal, unless we allow it to be.

Dear Madam,

I am a final year degree student and I am unable to decide whether to pursue higher studies or try to find a job. I am being indecisive at this crucial phase of my life. Please advise on how I can start taking decisions for myself.


Dear Aditya,

Sometimes it is hard to take decisions because we believe it is a very important decision and the cost of taking the wrong decision is irreversible, or even fatal. It is good for us to realise that no wrong decision is fatal, unless we allow it to be. It is okay to take a wrong decision because we can often recover from them at a small cost. If you find a job, you can work for a while and still go back to pursuing higher studies. If you pursue higher studies, you can always find a job after. So, this decision may not be the life-defining decision you may be imagining it to be.

If you bear in mind the fact that your decision does not have to be the perfect decision, it just needs to be a good enough decision. It is not a decision between right and wrong. It is a choice between two equally good options, and if the option you chose does nor work out, you can go back to the other option. So go ahead, don’t sit on the fence, and take a decision. Often a good place to start when you are struggling with taking a decision is to ask yourself what is the worst that can happen if you take a wrong decision. You will generally find that the answer to that question, for most decisions in your life, is not fatal.

Dear Madam,

My teenage son who used to study well and score good marks, is unable to focus on his studies now. He is often distracted and is addicted to his phone. He gets irritated when I ask him to study or to stop using his phone. I am unable to stop his phone addiction. Kindly advise. 

A worried mother

Dear Parent,

Often the phone is a means of escape, quite like other addictions are a means of escape. Try understanding why your son is not being able to study and focus. What is troubling him and what is he trying to escape from. Please don’t focus only on the behaviours. Understand his emotional state that is leading him to behave in this way. What are his fears, and anxieties? Talk to him about him and his life, not only about his poor marks and lack of focus.

Get onto the same side of the table as him. Focus on his strengths and not on his weaknesses or what he does not do. For parents to be able to have a meaningful relationship with their adolescents there is no getting away from introspecting on ones parenting style first. Everything else can follow later. And if you need help in this process consult a counsellor.

Dear Madam,

I am a college student and I have a crush on my best friend’s brother. I have confided the same in her. She is now not on talking terms with me. We have been friends since childhood, and I want to patch up with her. How can I convince her that I won’t do anything that is against her interests and that I will give up on my crush?


Dear Riya,

Having a crush on your friend’s brother is not the crime that you are making it out to be. It is a very normal and natural thing to happen and is something that happens very often. I am not sure I understand why your friend would be angry about it, and why she would think that is against her interest or will harm her.

It is probably best for you to talk to your friend to understand what her worries and concerns are and why she is not comfortable with you having a crush on her brother, but during this conversation you don’t have to operate from a position of having committed a grave mistake or a sin. For all you know the discomfort may have to do with her own relationship with her brother, rather than anything to do with you.

Dear Madam,

I have great ambitions, but I am not working towards achieving my goals. I tend to join multiple hobby classes but quit mid-way. I have difficulty in focusing on one thing. How should I streamline my interests? Kindly advise.

A student

Dear Student,

It is hard for me to advise you about this without understanding what is motivating you, and what is holding you back. It is best to get the help of a counsellor.

You may have one in your school, or you can even reach out to counsellors on some of the free counselling helplines that are available. But you should speak to one to help you understand how you can attain your potential and be the best version of yourself that you can be. After all, later in life you don’t want to live with the regret that you didn’t try your best and that you could have done more.

Dear Madam,

Me and one of my friends usually top our class. We have been friends since a long time but of late what started as a friendly rivalry is affecting our friendship. I can sense that we both are jealous of each other. How can I handle it with maturity and ensure that our academic performance does not harm our friendship? 


Dear Dhiraj,

It is good that you have been able to recognise this pattern and its futility. It is important to understand that there is room in the world for more than one successful person, and people can be successful in different ways. If one person does better at one test, it does not logically follow that that person will do better in life. We tend to feel jealous when we think there is a scarcity of something and if one person gets it, the other person will not. But success is not one such commodity. There are infinite definitions of success, and also infinite ways of getting there. One person’s success does not close the path for another person to be successful.

Besides, success in life is not dependent on test marks. And test marks are not a measure of one’s worth. If one person gets more marks than the other, it does not mean that that person is better than the other. It just means he or she got more marks. That is all. Do not attach any weighty meaning to the marks. They are not worth the attention they get. Way more important is the learning and the understanding of the subject and the situation. And friendships are definitely not worth trading for marks.