1. Your tastes in entertainment.
While there is nothing wrong with adding some things here and there that you enjoy from being introduced to them along the way, don’t let anyone shame you out of loving what you love. If your rocks get off on Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande, don’t you let a single human soul tell you that you shouldn’t because it’s “cheesy” or “too poppy.” Your tastes — high, low, and mid-brow — are entirely yours, and should be able to live in harmony with anyone worth their salt. Take it from someone who lost a full year pretending to like jam bands (I know, kill me) to impress a boyfriend, it’s never worth it.
2. The way you feel about your body.
Someone either loves your body the way it is when they get with you, or they shouldn’t be with you. You don’t get into a relationship with a little emotional ice pick in one hand, ready to chip away at your partner until they resemble something that you’d actually be interested in sleeping with. No one should exchange their love and approval for you feeling terrible about the way you look.
3. Your group of friends.
We’ve all seen that couple where one partner is slowly but surely whittled out of their friend group because the other one is sporting that incredibly creepy “U Will Luv Me & Only Me 4Ever” look. If you are getting poisoned in one ear about how terrible all of your friends are, and you still know at the back of your mind that they’re great people and it’s just your paranoid significant other who can’t handle you having an independent social life, then we all know who it is in the equation that needs to go.
4. The style that makes you happy.
You’re a goth, you get with a prep, and you feel like it’s the end of your 14-year-old life. But fear not! Because whether you’re wearing a black Hello Kitty hoodie covered in safety pins, or two layered polo shirts with both collars flipped defiantly up, clothing means nothing in the face of true love. If you have to change the look you like to get someone to approve of you, you don’t need their approval.
5. Your convictions about justice.
I once knew this guy who was so good looking, so charming, so perfect in every way, except so incredibly conservative. You stared too long into those deep turquoise eyes and you were this close to just being like, “You’re right, reproductive choice is entirely overrated. I’m really more interested in putting out kids like a slot machine that just hit the jackpot and cooking barefoot for the rest of my life anyway. Why do I even have the vote?” But I didn’t let him change me, and I didn’t get to cuddle with Rush Limbaugh in the body of Ryan Gosling. And I am better for it.
6. Your goals.
You wanted to be a fairy princess unicorn veterinarian when you were seven, and no one who truly cares about you would ever make you give that up for them.
7. What you want out of a relationship.
Yes, these things can change. Yes, you might want a whole host of new and amazing adventures that you had never dreamed of before you fell in love. But that is not something that someone should be actively, consciously trying to change in you. If you don’t want kids, forcing you to have them or to promise to have them is only going to result in incredibly unhappy kids who can just feel it radiating out of every pore that they were not wanted. If you don’t want to get married, why should someone booby trap you into walking down an aisle and getting a whole party of 200 catered on their dollar? These decisions are important, and can have reasoning that we could never fully understand even after years of knowing someone, and making someone change when they were up-front with what they wanted from the get-go is just the ultimate way to be uncool in a relationship. Find someone who wants that 2.5 kid family and the non-threatening golden retriever named Sandy, if that’s what you want, and leave the rest alone.