Team John Ambrose by Molly W.

Everyone dreams of the love story that they’re going to tell someone one day – Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s love story from the movie, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – P.S. I Still Love You is a great example of what most romantic comedy like to call, a “meet-cute.” 

Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey were the couple that everyone wanted to be. They started fake dating for their benefits but ended up falling for each other. After starting a happy relationship for a few weeks, a new problem arose – John Ambrose.

John Ambrose and Lara Jean were friends who liked each other back in sixth grade, but unfortunately, their relationship ended when John Ambrose moved to a different school. After their reunion, Lara Jean had to face the dilemma of determining whether or not she still had feelings for him. Ultimately, she sticks with Peter and views John as just a friend. By examining several important criteria of what makes a successful relationship, the importance of compatibility over chemistry was recognized. After observing the interactions between Lara Jean and John Ambrose, it was evident that, instead of Peter Kavinsky, he would be a better partner for Lara Jean because of his personality, their history, and compatibility. 

A good boyfriend should make a girlfriend feel secure and loved. However, whenever Lara Jean was around Peter, she struggled with feeling confident and constantly felt inferior to other girls. On Valentine’s Day, instead of celebrating the day of love, Peter was too busy hanging out with his friends and receiving cards from other girls. Peter brings out the worst insecurity from Lara Jean and it makes it difficult for her to be herself around him. 

On the other hand, “overthinking doesn’t happen when [Lara Jean is] around John Ambrose.” Instead of making Lara Jean compare herself to other girls, John Ambrose makes her feel special and he gives her the ability to express her emotions without feeling judged. When she was troubled, John Ambrose always knew how to cheer her up in the way she needed and understood. 

In a relationship, both partners must be in sync in how they communicate and express their affection without feeling insecurity. John Ambrose was able to make Lara Jean feel safe. Even when she had to finally tell him about having a boyfriend, John Ambrose was mature enough to accept it. They can be with each other without fighting and assumptions, and that is what makes a healthy relationship. 

A “meet-cute” (romantic first encounter) is a great story starter for a couple’s relationship. Although this wasn’t their first time meeting, Lara Jean and John Ambrose had a lovely encounter when they finally reunited. Because of their deeper connection from their history, they didn’t have to discuss with each other beforehand to have accidentally become the only students that volunteered at Belleview, a senior residence, for their extracurricular activity together. Lara Jean had thought she was the only person volunteering at Belleview. Not even Peter had wanted to take the opportunity of this alone time to spend it with Lara Jean. Instead, he chose to volunteer somewhere else with his friends. 

As it turned out, on the first day of their volunteering, they had met while being introduced to the area. Lara Jean had been in shock from hearing that she would be volunteering with John Ambrose that she had knocked over a bowl of candy and fell backward. John Ambrose, being the gentleman that he is, rushed to help her. When reconnection occurs with someone, the unspoken bond speaks louder than just a meet-cute. Partners are not mind-readers, but a deep connection can often trespass the physical attachment and form a stronger bond. By honoring this vital attribute, couples can create a more satisfying relationship with each other for the long-term.

While some say that opposites attract, it isn’t necessarily true if there is no compatibility involved. Peter and Lara Jean were a cute couple, but they didn’t have significant interests in common. Peter was more into sports and Lara Jean was more into books. Without doubt, they loved hanging out together, but they only enjoyed going to arcades or movies – activities that can be hard to extend to long-term relationship connections. There wasn’t anything particularly special about their interests and relationship. During the party in which both Lara Jean and Peter both attended, they didn’t even hang out because Peter was playing flip cup, a game that Lara Jean hated. Having non-similar interests often lead to resentment due to the lack of understanding of each other’s likings. 

Meanwhile, John Ambrose and Lara Jean not only understood each other’s dorkiness, but they had numerous shared passions and understood each other better than most people did. During the pumpkin party in sixth grade, Lara Jean had a revelation about John Ambrose’s personality. While “no one dresses up for Halloween anymore,” John Ambrose “walked in as a deviled egg,” allowing Lara Jean to conclude that even if they were both dorky, they were both “dorky in a cool way.” 

Moreover, they both enjoyed MUN and reading books, which allow them to talk to each other with ease. According to the Gottsman Institution on relationship studies, Dr. Gottsman noted the common interests in a relationship are essential to the success of how couples interact with each other, especially during life challenges and interpersonal conflict. Having common interests opened up a whole new world of activities for partners to enjoy with each other. Because of this, Lara Jean and John Ambrose had a shared vision and completed a beautiful project together at the senior home. When couples can achieve harmony with each other, they can create a more peaceful and balanced relationship together. 

Shared experience, a clear understanding of each other’s personalities, a strong connection, and a similar temperament are crucial for a healthy relationship. While most people focus on the meet-cute and their love story, the content of the relationship between the two people is way more significant. Deeper respect and a strong understanding of each other is what makes a relationship more valid than one with just a great beginning. Whether one loves Harry Potter novels or is passionate about art, compatibility is more important than chemistry, which is why John Ambrose is a better choice than Peter Kavinsky. 

By focusing on creating the bond and connection, this is how a truly successful and lasting relationship is created.