1. Mind games, while occasionally stimulating, are meant for the insecure. When your relationship devolves into a constant power struggle, you just need to step away and find something or someone who is much more worthy of your time.
2. Give everyone a chance — it could result in a few refreshing and much-needed surprises. Using superficial standards to select your romantic partners may be thrilling in the short run, but it will leave you feeling unfulfilled in the long run. Maybe he has a six-pack, but if you find yourself questioning his basic literacy, it might be time to go.
3. Fighting with friends over romantic interests is one of the more pointless activities in which humans engage. Remember who matters more to you — chances are, it’s the girl who let you sleep in her bed after your dog died rather than the #schwaldy boy who sent you and her both the same 11pm “yo, whazzup???” text.*
4. If they make an effort to get to know you — a genuine effort to connect with you on an intellectual or emotional level beyond the physical — you have found someone potentially worthwhile. These folks can be rare — especially during college and your early 20s — so know how to spot and keep the good ones.
5. Do not become the person who enables someone else to cheat on their significant other. Yes, it’s sometimes tempting to consider morally ambiguous courses of action upon finding out that someone you’re interested in is in a relationship (we have all thought about it, don’t lie — if Hoodie Allen, who is decidedly #girlfriended, ever propositioned me, I’d have a hard time declining). But, realize that you could cause a lot of pain on all ends. And karma is terrifying.
6. When you start to become emotionally attached in what started out as a casual relationship, end it — unless you can tell that they are on the same wavelength as you. This sounds like a harsh suggestion, but it will ultimately save you a lot of hassle.
7. When you start to lose interest, also end it. Stringing someone along when you already know that your head is no longer in the game is an excellent way to make them despise you. Even years later, they might say something like, “You know, when we broke up, part of me hoped that you wouldn’t get into college” after you run into each other at a bar. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
8. If they tell you they’re not worth it, listen. Cut your losses and allow them to learn how to unpack their own baggage. That kind of remark speaks a lot to their self-worth, and if they don’t care about themselves, how can you possibly expect them to care about you?
9. If your friends don’t like him/her, figure out what it is that they see that you don’t. Perhaps you are wearing such rose-tinted relationship goggles that you don’t realize that the person you’re dating is less wonderful than you’d thought.
10. Don’t continue a relationship out of a sense of obligation or a fear of loneliness. The idea of being alone can be scary — especially when you’ve already spent so much time and energy investing yourself in another person. And cuddling! Who are you supposed to cuddle with on a consistent basis if you’re single?? But, if you recognize that the relationship is no longer working for you, cut the tie before it gets too tight. As Diane Coffee sings, “An empty bed leaves room to grow.”
*Apparently, some people still say “whazzup.” Isn’t that terrible? Petition to ban this linguistic travesty from the English language.