Find somebody to love. No, not that guy. No, not that fool either. Look, it can’t be just anybody. This person needs to be someone who makes you want to puke and smile at the same time. They need to be able to show you something you’ve never seen before, uncover some secret about human beings and how they relate to each other that will make you feel like you’re a part of an exclusive club.
Find one yet?
I’m still waiting.
Can you hurry up?
Fantastic! You found one. Let me examine them for a second.
Okay, perfect. You’re good to go. You could definitely love this person. Now let’s move on to the next step.
In preparation for falling in love, you should watch mainstream romantic comedies, read self-help books about people who love too much and magazine interviews with Jennifer Aniston, listen to love songs on a record player, and ask your friends what it feels like and how they did it. Nod your head slightly when a point they make seems to resonate and bleed into your skull. Have them give you a reassuring pat on the back and tell you that you’re going to be just fine.
Did you get all that? Okay, now I want you to forget everything you just learned. Forget Reese Witherspoon movies and Jennifer Aniston’s words of wisdom. Forget Bethenny Frankel’s book about making vegan cookies and falling in love with a stockbroker. Forget your Mariah Carey power ballads, and forget your friends’ advice because no one falls in love the same way. Everyone is at different points in their lives and accepts different kinds of love. The friend you just talked to about love may’ve had more self-worth than you do and is experiencing a kind of relationship that you aren’t ready for. Or maybe it’s on the contrary. Maybe their relationship kind of sucks and your friend is giving you bad advice because their definition of love is a cold shoulder. Whatever it is, just wipe the slate clean. Forget what pop culture and your friends have taught you, and go into it with an open mind. Pretend you’re an alien who’s been sent to earth to experience love for the very first time. That’s you! You’re an alien! Yay!
When you first start falling in love with someone, you should definitely ignore your friends. Everyone does it in the beginning and it’s actually A-OK. Go have fun living in your own little dreamworld for a bit. Screw the days away, get food delivered, turn off the computer, ignore text messages. Honeymoon stages can make you feel like you’re living in the 1800s. Modern conveniences start to not matter at all. The only thing you need to get through the day is this person’s love and affection. Twitter? What’s that? I’M IN LOVE, BITCH!
Watch the days pass by through looking out your window. Feel like you’re high. Your body and mind are buzzing, and it’s perfectly legal for once! Get lost in this new person. Get lost and don’t find your way back until it’s time. You’ll know when this will be and if you don’t, you have your friends and your job to tell you when to snap back to reality.
Over time, the honeymoon fades away like a postcard with tears on the edges, and you’re going to encounter the issue of compromise. In a relationship, when do you know if you’re compromising too much or too little? Are you being too selfish or too selfless? Look, I’m not the Goldilocks of love. Knowing when you have it juuuuuuuust right depends on the individual relationship, but there are some universe telltale signs that you might be headed in the wrong direction.
If you’re someone who’s stubborn, inflexible and a control freak, loving somebody is going to teach you to put someone else’s needs before yours. Do you want to have your usual coffee at the same place with your newspaper, or do you want somebody to love you? Okay, that might be a tad dramatic but the message is applicable. Your struggle is going to be about letting someone screw up your routine and not resenting them for it. This person should be worth being uncomfortable for. This person is worth letting go of some things that ultimately don’t matter.
If you’re someone who throws themselves into relationships and perhaps gives too much, you need to establish boundaries early on so you don’t become the selfless one. Ideally, this person you love wouldn’t put you in this position but again, the emphasis is on the word ideally. People aren’t perfect. We reinforce vicious cycles without even realizing it sometimes.
Loving someone is a balancing act. There’s you. There’s them. Mix and stir and pray the recipe doesn’t turn out crappy. If the person you’re with is really worth loving, you’re going to realize that they don’t want you to change. They just want you to be best version of yourself. That’s what it’s all about: finding someone who wants to super size you.
Do you have that? Is this the person for you? I think it is.
What you’re also going to realize is that the most special moments of loving someone often occur in the quietest moments. In the movies, it’s always the grandest declarations of love in a train station or an airport but, hello, that’s why I told you to forget that movie crap. The most amazing moments are the ones you wouldn’t even think to film. It can be just the way someone looks at you or wipes away the cum from your stomach or holds your hand when their body tenses up. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah. So sentimental and schmaltzy, but whatever. I dare you not to crumble into a happy puddle when this kind of stuff happens to you.
I don’t know what it’s like to love someone past today, so if you want advice on marriage and kids, ask Meryl Streep because she seems to have it together. This is just what love has been like for me. And maybe for you. And maybe that guy over there. It’s important to remember this always, even when you’re single or just about to enter a new relationship. I can tell you how to love somebody, I can tell you how to love yourself, but in the end it may not even matter at all. Love comes easier to us than we even realize. It’s what we’re built to do. It’s the best job we’ll ever have.