Somehow my sarcastic ways have drawn me into giving relationship advice lately on my own blog. While I don’t know that you should ever fully trust someone shelling out advice concerning the most complicated component of human existence, I think you can take my word on a few of these.
Here are five things I’ve learned about relationships that I’d love to share with you. All of these relate to you directly; forget other people for a minute. If you want to have healthy relationships, you’re going to have to try and be healthy on your own first.
1) Know Yourself – Confidence is the sexiest outfit you can wear, and that comes from knowing who you are before you step out the door. This could very well be a life-long process, I’m aware, but knowing who you are (and accepting yourself as such) has to come first, or you’ll find it difficult to believe the acceptance of others. Confidence is not cockiness, or projecting an image of who you want people to think you are – confidence is moving through life as you are and owning that.
2) Take it Easy – I have a tendency to want to move things along with people at my pace, instead of letting them come along for the ride at their own. No one wants to be strong armed into friendship or love. Be available and express your interest, but don’t force it. If that’s an urge for you, fight it. My rule with girls in particular is that if it’s feeling painfully slow for me she’s probably comfortable. So I stick it out from there until she makes it known that I’m moving too slowly.
3) Be Honest – I’m not saying you have to agree that those pants make her look fat. That’s a whole different discussion. What I am saying is that you should be honest with who you are. If you put on a face, your best show, and try to entice this person with who you think they want you to be, they’re going to be seriously disappointed when they find out who you really are. It’s best to weed out the people who won’t like you early on than to spend your time building things on mirages. And you never know when someone would have loved you for who you were, and you short changed them for someone you’re not. It’s a cliché only because it’s true: Be yourself, damnit.
4) Give Yourself Away – No one likes that kid at the lunch table with more cookies than he needs yet never shares. Everyone loves the kid who gives those cookies away. Your material goods, your time, your talents, all of these are things you have to give away and enrich the lives of others. Americans, and maybe especially we West Coast Kids, are particularly self-sufficient and don’t really like to have to give or receive. Work on this. Be generous with who you are and give yourself away, and then be able and willing to receive in turn and allow others to bless you in the ways you need.
5) Believe the Best – When you have an argument, when you get an ambiguous text, or when they pop up on Facebook with some handsome devil you’ve never seen before: Believe the best. Granted people cheat, granted people lie, but giving in to suspicion and fear is both no way to live, and no good for relationships. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be wise or wary, but you should always do your best to ask directly before you jump to conclusions. It’s not fair to hold your secret suspicions against your partner and never give them a chance. And this will cut through a lot of bull when it comes to misunderstandings.
This is the philosophy that I try to live by: I can’t control the person I wind up with, and I can’t ensure that they’re as awesome as I want them to be, but I can control how awesome and healthy I am. If you want to end up with someone great, then put the effort into being great yourself.
By Jay Swanson
- “12 Dating Deal Breakers in 2013” by Kathleen Toohill
- “10 Tips to Get You From ‘Just Dating’ to a Relationship” by Lori Gottlieb
- “Guy Walks Into a Bar: One Man’s Take on Meeting Girls” by Curtis Spiliotis