Okay, so I would never claim to have it all figured out, but I can say that I’m pretty good at solving other people’s problems. That’s always the way, isn’t it? My friends come to me for love and support and advice, and I can usually give them a little nugget or two of truth, kindness, realness to help them determine what to do.
I’ve compiled a small list of things to remember, when it comes to relationships and dating. Please enjoy after the jump! And share your own wisdom bites in the comments.
1. ON BREAKUPS: Sometimes people just have pre-existing conditions. It’s not you, it’s their pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition is everything somebody comes into a relationship with. It’s their pile of crap, their baggage, their hang-ups, their past relationships, but also, whatever their current life situation is that makes them unable to commit to a relationship. It might be that they’re in between jobs and living at home. It might be that they’re not over their ex or that they still have to finish college. A pre-existing condition is all the things that are blocking them from being focused on being in a relationship with you. And no part of their pre-existing condition has anything to do with you.
2. ON DATING: Instead of worrying about whether a person likes you, ask yourself if you really like him or her. This one I’ve learned from personal experience. How many tears have I cried over a guy who, in the end, I didn’t even really like? So, take a second and ask yourself if you actually enjoy this person’s company, or if you’re simply trying to convince yourself you do. Think of dating as a job interview — what does this guy/girl/relationship really have to offer me?
3. STOLEN DIRECTLY FROM MAYA ANGELOU: When people show you who they are, believe them. Maya Angelou said this to Oprah. People are showing you who they are all the time, but we tend to make excuses for them, or look past the behavior we might otherwise find unacceptable. Don’t make excuses! When a friend or partner or family member repeatedly treats you badly, they are telling you something about themselves. Believe them. LISTEN TO THEM.
4. ON FIGHTING: You can’t control anyone else’s behavior, so take power over what you can control — your feelings. Nobody can take your feelings away from you. They can disagree with how you perceive an event, or argue over their intentions, but if you say, “I’m hurt,” there is absolutely no way to logically deny that what you say is true. Those are your feelings! If you’re upset about something, remember this sentence construction: “When ____ happens, I feel _____”. Thinking in terms of feelings allows you to really get to the root of a problem — i.e. I am hurting, upset or angry — and allows you to focus on resolving them so they don’t pop back up and bite you in the butt later, in the form of resentment or contempt.
5. ON NOT GETTING A SECOND DATE: He doesn’t even know you well enough not to like you. You went out a couple of times, you thought everything was going okay, but he’s not interested in seeing you again. Okay, well, he’s probably got a pre-existing condition that makes it difficult for him to connect. It certainly isn’t about you — he doesn’t even know all the actually-annoying things you do (and admit it, you can be really annoying sometimes)! If you’re rejected after one or two dates, take solace in the fact that this guy doesn’t even really know you. So he is passing up on something really terrific. That;’s ok. The next one might be a better match.
6. ON RELATIONSHIPS: You don’t deserve anything better than what you give. You don’t deserve anything in life. This is hard to hear, I know, but life sadly, doesn’t work that way. And you especially don’t deserve to be with someone who is incredible, and amazing, and on the top of their game, if you aren’t as well. Here’s a difficult exercise: think about your ideal mate. And then ask yourself if you possess the qualities that your ideal mate possesses. I’m not saying you have to be the person you want to date, but I’m saying you should always be working to be the best version of yourself possible. And if you’re not, then how can you possibly expect to find your ideal? If you want someone amazing, you need to be amazing, too. It’s that simple and that hard.