Dating, observing, and observing while dating has put me in front of several prospects and a number of good, bad, and ugly relationships. Simultaneously, putting myself out there has left me wide open to rejection, disappointment, and heartache. Things have always found a way to not work out, and while I used to face that frustration with added negativity, in the back half of my twenties, I’ve turned things around. Instead of adding more negativity to a failed relationship, I’ve made every effort to look at each situation with empathy.
Leading with empathy, I’ve learned most people are good, even if most people don’t act that way. This way of thinking doesn’t rationalize bad behavior but instead allows you to accept people for who they are instead of trying to change or fix them. The more relationships you have, the more you learn that human behavior is often motivated by past experiences. Our actions reflect how much we’ve dealt or not dealt with our past and how comfortable we are with being our true selves. That truth is not always so clear, especially since we’re traveling on separate paths at contrasting speeds. It’s no wonder that we miss so many people passing by. With normalized narcissism on social media and the pressure to overshare, our paths are scattered even more, leaving the dating world a chaotic shitstorm. Dramatic? Sure, but not far off.
We’re so focused on what happened in the past or what could happen in the future that we’re ignoring everything in between.
I head into my 29th year of life, still single like all other birthdays, but this year’s most significant difference is hope. I’m focused on not repeating the same mistakes and accepting people for who they are. I’m days away from my 29th birthday, and I’m feeling hopeful about finding the love I deserve. Wow, who would have thought? Certainly not me a year ago.
Speaking of that dating shitstorm I’ve been tripping through all these years, I’ve learned too much not to share. So, in celebration of my 29th birthday, here are 29 pieces of dating advice for anyone feeling a little hopeless right now. Not everything is black and white, but some behavior truly is, and that’s okay.
1. Make an effort to date and set an intention for love; the universe listens, even if it doesn’t always give you what you want.
2. If you’re not excited about the first date, there’s not going to be a second date.
3. When someone offers to pay for dinner or drinks, that does not mean you owe them anything. You don’t owe them sex, you don’t owe them a kiss, and you don’t owe them anything in between. If they think you do owe them, they’re a fucking creep.
4. That being said, if you do feel like doing something because you want to, do it! There are no rules to first dates. If it feels right, go for it.
5. Pay attention to how your date treats the waiter or bartender. It shows you everything you need to know about their character and how they treat people.
6. If someone has trouble communicating, it is not your responsibility to teach them a 101 course on communicating while dating.
7. If you think they might be too old for you, they’re too old for you. You’re thinking about it because it bothers you, and it’s always going to bother you, so accept it now and move on.
8. No texting after midnight; if someone initiates plans after 12, they’re not interested in dating you.
9. If they spend time talking about an ex, they’re not over their ex.
10. If you have to be drunk to call them, it’s time to delete their number.
11. If they’re a lousy kisser, they’re always going to be a lousy kisser. On the contrary, if sex isn’t great the first time, sex can get better the second time.
12. If they lie to you once, they will lie to you again—every damn time.
13. If they make you cry, even once, they’re not the person for you. When people show you who they are, watch and listen to them.
14. If they brag about their money, they don’t have much else to talk about or contribute to a conversation.
15. If they’re cocky, they’re incredibly insecure—every damn time.
16. Just because they act sweet to their mother or sister does not mean they respect women.
17. If their best friends make a move on you, it speaks to the type of people they choose to surround themselves with.
18. You can’t save anyone, so stop trying. We can only save ourselves. They can only save themselves!
19. Cheaters keep on cheating—every damn time.
20. Just because you get their dog to love you doesn’t mean they love you too.
21. If they don’t have many friends, that’s a red flag that shows they have trouble keeping people in their life. And if you think, well, I’ll be the one to help them, please refer to #18.
22. If they don’t want you to wear certain things, they want to control how the world sees you. Fuck that shit.
23. If your family doesn’t like them, it’s because they see something concerning that you’re ignoring.
24. If they can’t respect your family, they don’t respect you.
25. If your friends don’t like them, it’s only because your friends love you and want the best for you.
26. If they hurt you, do not go back for more. You have the power even when you feel powerless.
27. If they have a passion that they’re vocal about, they can be passionate about loving you.
28. Lust is not love. Lust is infatuation.
29. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You’ll never scare away people that belong in your life.