I met up with my best friend for lunch during the weekend and got the scoop about her latest date, where the guy opened the door for her and was a gentleman. Then I stumbled upon this article titled “22 things I wish I knew about dating when I was 22,” which had me thinking how horrible dating is for a 20-something.
Now, I’ve been off the market for about two and a half years (I, instead, get the “when will you get engaged?” bombardment.) but I was definitely intrigued. I met my current boyfriend when I was 22 and did it all “wrong:” Online dating, first meeting three months later, then more than a year of long-distance romance. But here I am, in cohabiting bliss.
I have to say that these are all the ideals I preach to my 21-year-old brother (happy birthday!) and 18-year-old sister, as well as my boyfriend’s 19-year-old sister. I cringe when I look back at all the relationship screw-ups I had in my teens and college years, and cringe even more when my sister or high school friends remind me of these times. Did I realize how dumb I was to go running back to a cheater? (Tip No. 21) How about the time when I kept trying to pursue a guy who suddenly stopped returning my messages? (Tip. No. 5 and 20)
And this article has a lot of self-love tips that I figured out, by myself, over time. Protect yourself and your heart. Having a man or woman will not solve your problems. There is always another guy or gal out there if things don’t work out.Timing is really everything, even though that sucks. (I know this more than most. My relationship would not have existed otherwise.)
And most importantly, No. 22, “No guy is worth losing good friends and family over. If everyone in your life hates him, there is probably a very good reason. Pay attention.”
But there are two tips on this article’s list that bothers me, No. 4 and 11.
No. 11 says in part, “Even if he was a total a**hole, he was probably doing the best he knew how to do. His best just wasn’t nearly good enough for you.” No. He or she wasn’t doing the best they could; They are just jerks. And karma has a way, so just get out of that situation as soon as possible and learn from it.
No. 4: There’s no such thing as soul mates. I wholeheartedly disagree. I am with my soul mate. He might not be perfect (leaving his socks, drawings, comic books everywhere), but he is the best fit. You can believe, and find, a guy or gal that is more than “well suited for you.” You can find someone that makes you a better person, something that completes you without stifling the person you are and the person you will become.
No matter how much I preach, I think 20-somethings just have to learn on their own about the dating scene, as I had with most of these tips. As the author of the article, Ami, writes, “I wanted to spare her all of the pain, all of the mistakes I made myself. But I suppose I can’t. Sigh. Such is life.”
Please add your dating tips to the comments below!
See a list of the Twenty & Change relationship posts here.