1. “You just have to put yourself out there.”
People in relationships LOVE to tell single people this. And you know what? It really needs to stop. Chances are single people are putting themselves “out there” and they’re getting nothing in return. I mean, is there a magical land where people walk out and their romantic effort and affection is returned, rather than having their dating lives be the sum total of bad dates, rejected tears, and unrequited love? If such a place exists, please definitely let everyone know!
2. “It’ll happen when you least expect it.”
This is my most favorite crappy piece of advice of all time probably because it’s the one I hear the most. The funny thing is if you talk to many single people in their twenties and thirties especially those who’ve been single forever, there’s pretty much no expectation, ever. So what then? What if you never expect it and it never comes? Clearly that didn’t work out.
3. “Play hard to get.”
Yeah, no. Don’t do this unless you are still in the second grade where people you like are supposed to be grossed out by your liking them. I don’t know about anyone else but I am extremely exhausted with “playing it cool” and all that nonsense. It doesn’t go anywhere. Maybe you don’t have to confess your undying love for someone after the first five minutes of meeting them. But being upfront about wanting to see them again, helps. Pretending like you don’t care, doesn’t help anyone.
4. “Look for the person who completes you.”
Hate to break it to you, but nobody on earth is going to “complete” you. There is no such thing. You are a complete person already and if you don’t think you are, you have personal issues you need to figure out. Expecting another imperfect human being to be your “everything” is ridiculous and sets up you (and them) for disaster. People are people and they will disappoint you sooner or later, even people who you care for deeply; and who care for you deeply. Maybe look for the person who complements you. Yes, complement, is a much better goal.
5. “You’ll always just know.”
Incorrect, you won’t. Although it’s a nice idea to believe that two people just magically look at each other once and know that they’re meant to be, that doesn’t really happen all too often, in my humble opinion. Sometimes you do know after five minutes of meeting a person, and sometimes it takes five dates or five years. Love isn’t a one-size-fits-all fixture. And when you think of all the people you know that are in love at this very moment, consider for a moment just how different their love stories are. You don’t always know and you know what? I’d say that’s a good thing; surprises can be good.
6. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
HAHAHAHAHA. Who even came up with this? As a child of parents who’ve been married for almost thirty-four years, let me give you a piece of advice both my parents have given me: love means having to say you’re sorry even when you’re not in the wrong. See, love is a sacrifice, not a cheesy romcom on a Sunday evening where the story ends with two lovers riding into the sunset. Nope, in real life, I’m pretty sure that’s when the hard work begins.
7. “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
Now I’m going to limit this solely to dating because committed relationships (i.e. marriage) are a different ball game. This is one of my least favorite pieces of advice because it often involves directly ignoring what we already know the first time we get to know someone. When people show me who they are, I generally tend to believe them the first time. I am not closed-minded enough to believe first impressions can’t be wrong. But still, nobody deserves much of anything when it comes to your precious time and affection. There are plenty of people who would love to be given a first chance with you while you’re out there contemplating given someone else a second chance. Either way, the choice is yours.
8. “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”
The flip side to thinking that people “deserve a second chance” is thinking that people cannot change. Sorry, people can change. It’s hard, it’s rough, and sometimes people just do stupid things that they deserve to be called out for. But rendering somebody a sum total of their past mistakes is unfair and most of the time, inaccurate. Most of us would not like to be judged by our worst selves, especially our worst past selves. Again, even if you don’t have to give people a second chance, it might be worth it to give them a first one.
9. “How they treat their mother/father/sister/brother is how they’ll treat you.”
I love family. I love my family and I tend to be pretty great with other people’s families. But I also know some people do not get lucky in this area. Moreover, the types of relationships we have often determine how we interact in them. As someone who has very strong family ties, I would be lying if I said that family doesn’t matter – because it does. But it’s worth it to know the context of people’s situations before making assumptions. You know what they say about assumptions. Moreover, again, one thing you do know for sure is how a person is treating you and whether you like it or not.
10. “If someone likes you, you’ll know. If they don’t, you’ll wonder.”
I used to swear by this advice. And you know what? It got me nowhere. Unfortunately, a lot of people are cowards, especially in a generation where people are arguably more afraid than ever to just be open and honest. The thing is when you like someone it’s very much about how you feel, as much as it is how they feel about you. But we tend to focus far too much on the latter. For your own sake, just tell them. I promise you it’s the only way you’ll ever really know for sure how they feel about you. And you can go from there. If they like you back, yay! If they don’t, you will feel rejected and might cry yourself to sleep once or twice. But you will still know for sure. And that is a million times better than not knowing.