Okay, so quick disclaimer: maybe you shouldn’t take my advice. After all, I’m probably the single friend for a reason. However, there's a chance my advice is even more valid because being the single friend has given me ample time to hear all of my friends’ problems and learn from them. I like to believe I’ve gotten pretty good at being the unofficial therapist of the friend group.
I know most of you collegiettes reading this are dealing with dating issues. Those crushes sure like to cause problems, don’t they? So here’s what we’re gonna do. Go buy a carton of ice cream, grab two spoons and climb on up to my dorm room bunk bed. Let’s have a heart-to-heart. Here are some things my friends have taught me that I want to share with you.
1.It’s not your fault
A few months ago, my friend Emily* was dating a guy, and was really nervous to ask him “the question.” You know the question...the infamous “So are we a thing or are you just buying me dinner every other night for the heck of it?” She said that last time she asked that question to a boy, it scared him off. Why does it always make the good ones run?! My friends and I pumped Emily up, saying someone’s going to have to ask it at some point, so she might as well ask it now. Finally, after we all passed her phone around and edited the text, she hit send, and we waited nervously. The response came about an hour later, and it wasn’t good. He said that he “wasn’t planning on much,” and then never texted her again. Rude. Emily blamed herself for that for a long time. She would sit and wonder what might have happened if she’d never sent that text, or if she’d worded it differently, or if she would’ve waited for him to make it official.
About a month later, something similar happened to another friend, Rachel. She was told she was "too clingy" and should have "given him some space." She believed that if she hadn't wanted to hang out with him as much then they'd still be together. But, is this true? I don't know. Maybe. But aren't you supposed to want to see the person you're dating?
Here’s the thing: Emily is a smart girl, and she likes answers. If that boy was so intimidated by such a simple text, then he simply wasn’t the one for her. Same goes for Rachel. If that boy didn’t want the amount of Rachel that she wanted to give, he wasn’t right for her. It’s not her fault that he didn’t want to spend that much time with her. Someday, she’ll find a boy who sees her “clinginess” as her best quality because he’s so excited to be with her, and maybe he’ll find a girl who values personal space the way he does. See what I mean? These things weren’t Emily’s fault, nor were they Rachel’s fault. The relationships just weren’t meant to be. The same goes for you.
2. Listen to the vibes
One time my friend Kathryn* came over after hanging out with a boy she had been dating and started to give me the rundown on ~everything~ that had happened.. After, I asked her the most important question a friend could ask, “So...good vibes?” “Um. Yeah. I think,” she said. (Note to all of you: "I think" does not suffice. If the vibes are good, you will know.)
I asked her what she meant and she said, “I mean, I think I wanted to do everything we did [physically]. I didn't say no or anything.” I asked her a few more questions, and she tried to convince me she was truly into it. “No, it's fine. I think we're overthinking it. The vibes are probably actually fine.”
The rest of the day she texted me trying to justify this boy, saying things like, “Well, he probably just thought I wanted to do that stuff, right?” or “If I didn't want to do that stuff, I would’ve said said no, so I think I did want to.” She really liked him, and really wanted to be with him, but needless to say, things did not work out between those two. A couple months later, she started dating some other boy, and one day after they hung out, she texted me “OMG! SUCH good vibes! Like he cares so much about me being comfortable and doesn't do anything without specifically asking me and making sure I want to!”
Ladies, only date a boy if he gives you those vibes. Attraction masks a lot, and makes you forget that something a boy is doing is wrong, so as a rule of thumb, if you have to question them, they're bad vibes. Don’t settle.
3. Don’t date the boy who makes you forget you existed before him
I specifically remember sitting at my friend Lizzie’s kitchen counter the evening after her boyfriend broke up with her. She was past the initial shock, and it was time to start trying to get her to look to the future. You know, that phase where you’ve eaten all the ice cream and should probably start living again. And to my dismay, Lizzie couldn’t remember a single thing she wanted to do.
This broke my heart because I knew Lizzie; we’d been friends forever. She had so many goals for her life–she was passionate, a dreamer and one of the most fun-loving people I know. But in her time with Ryan, she’d managed to give up every single one of those goals. Now when she thought of the things she wanted to do with her life, all she could think was “I just want to be with him.” It makes you wonder, if Lizzie lost almost all of herself when she was dating Ryan, then was Ryan really in love with her? If he was, wouldn’t he love those goals and passions, and do everything he could to help her reach them?
This is a hard one because falling in love changes your whole perspective on the world. But you should date a boy who loves the person you already are, and because of that love you're able to grow into somebody better. My friend Ashley also went through a breakup recently, and although it's still tremendously difficult, she still has herself. She accomplished a lot during her time with him, and she knows she'll continue to do so. This didn’t just make the breakup easier–when they were together, it made the relationship better! Ashley was in love with all aspects of her life–her schoolwork, her hobbies, her friends and her boyfriend. Being with a SO who makes you forget who you are sounds romantic at first, but really it just strips you of your identity.
4. You are good enough
Always, always, always. I promise you that there is not a single person out there in this planet who is “too good for you.” You are unique, beautiful, radiant. Do you believe that? If your crush makes you feel like you’re not enough, or that you have to work to impress them, remember that they are the one who is not good enough for you. I know you’re not perfect, and I know there are things about yourself that you want to change. That’s true of everybody. But I have seen too many incredible people settle for boys who don’t appreciate them, simply because they don’t believe they’re worthy of his appreciation. Promise me that you won’t let that happen! Sometimes it takes every ounce of strength in your body to believe that you are a work of art. You have to wake up in the morning and repeat to yourself, “I am worthy of the best kind of love,” until you really, truly believe it. If you have to change to impress him, he does not deserve you. It’s as simple as that.
*Names have been changed