(this is probably a terrible Idea, but fuck it let's roll.)
Over the last month or so there have been a slew of relationship threads and topics and conversations on Hubski. So here is an idea. Let's consolidate and crowdsource the collective wisdom of the hive mind here.
I'll start with my relationship advice below. Feel free to add and/or mock.
1. Go into the bathroom, find your mirror and take a look. That jerk looking back at you? If you want to have a good relationship, hell a good anything really, you need to be at peace with the face staring back at you. Being at peace with yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever, EVER do in your life, yet everything else comes from that foundation. If you have an easy way to make this happen, let us all know.
2. Once you have yourself centered, don't fall into what I call a 'Rescue' trap. Don't allow yourself to be a "Captain save-a-ho" and don't be a "Sally tame-a-stud" as I have heard it called. See rule #1. If you are centered and at peace with yourself, seek out others in the same boat. If you find someone on the same path as you are, and is working on making themselves better in a way that compliments your personal growth? I'll allow an exemption to this rule. I've seen too many people get their shit together, be a better person, then throw all that energy into people best described as vampires. A partner should help you be better and lift you up, not drag you down into a river of filth. Have self worth; demand the same.
3. Never date drug addicts. Don't. Just, don't. I'll explain what I mean by drug addicts here as there is a small bit of nuance in this statement. A guy who drinks alcohol is not an alcoholic. A woman who has a glass or two of wine after work is not an alcoholic. A person who makes drinking a major part of their personality? Posters, shirts, talks about nothing but bars and alcohol? Missing work due to hangovers? Take a moment and think about this person. A gal who smokes the weed is probably ok; if they are wearing shirts and have other weed paraphernalia, and do nothing but talk about how awesome weed is, be wary. Anyone who has ever done heroin, crack, meth, or other hard drugs is someone you should be extremely cautious about dating and getting involved with. Personally, I'd not even allow such a person into my house much less exchange bodily fluids with them. See rules #1, #2. We all know these people, where addiction takes over their personality to the point where they love drugs first, the people that supply the drugs second, the means of obtaining drugs third, then maybe there is room for people and themselves. Having addictions suck. Watching friends go through addictions is worse. Being married to an addict is hell. Keep that in mind.
4. Do not, under any circumstance tolerate violence against yourself, your friends, pets, loved ones etc. See rule #1. Ladies, if he hits you? GET THE FUCK OUT. See rule #2. You won't change him, at least from my experience. Guys, learn now that when women get angry and violent, it is not always physical. Men throw punches, women scream and throw insults. Both are abusive; both end terribly.
Rule #4a If and I mean seriously think about this, IF you find someone amazing and the one flaw they have is that they never learned how to have a healthy emotional reaction to negative stimuli and go into a rage, but don't direct that at you specifically, and you want to ignore Rule #2 because otherwise, soulmates, you are in for a ride but I've seen both men and women be the emotional center that have helped their partners. Punch a wall? That may be workable. Puch you? GET OUT. Scream at the lady in the fast food window? Abuse, but workable. Scream at you and blame you for everything? Abuse and GET OUT. Fixing people is a fucking hell ton of work. And not always successful.
Rule #4b. I'm adding crime under this heading. If they steal from you? Bail. If they vandalize your property? Bail. Kill a pet? Bail and call the cops; report their ass. The movies think it is cute when the crazy ex keys your car, or slashes all your furniture, or throws away your collectables or thrashes your video game console. The movies are fucking stupid. See Rule #1. If your college roommate pulled these stunts, how would you react? Cops? Fistfight? Small Claims Court? Be enough of a self realized human being to not take this sort of shit. It is not cute, it is not endearing, it is not healthy.
5. Perfect is the enemy of the good. If you look for the perfect match to yourself, you will never find it. Every person brings to the table a set of flaws, quirks, follies, hobbies, habits and annoyances. The key is to find people with the positive traits that dominate over the minor things. The next part is to not be a dick and allow your own insecurities to let the minor stuff become major. See rule #1. I have friends that constantly squabble; they sometimes act as gladiators entering a ring of verbal judo. These two are stupidly in love with each other and are going to celebrate 35 years married next year. Funny now that I think about it, the most miserable marriage I ever knew in my life was a couple that lived next to my grandparents. They were almost like mirror copies of each other and never looked happy, content. Every time he was around without her, he had a tale of how unhappy he was with his life. N=1 anecdotes are not data. There is a wide gulf between breaking rule #4 and having arguments over why Babylon 5 is better than Star Trek. You will have disagreements. You will have arguments. Don't throw away a working friendship or relationship over the small stuff. Republican vs Democrat? eh.... maybe. Evangelical and Atheist? That is a huge difference that is going to be a major factor if you get really serious as someone is going to convert. Methodist and Unitarian? Probably not a deal breaker. Funny to think about, but the healthiest relationships and marriages I know of are introverts and extroverts living together and complimenting each other's flaws.
6. Do not, EVER, NEVER NEVER EVER, date anyone that has done sex work. There may be a hooker with a heart of gold out there working to pay off student loans who just fell on bad times. Then again, the trope about sex workers being broken drug addicts is a trope for a reason. See again Rule #2, Rule #3, and don't forget rule #1. I've had limited exposure to sex workers in my life, and few of my friends have gone that route. Not seen a relationship work. Some guys out there have this fantasy of rescuing a stripper; some guys are idiots who think with their dicks. Maybe you are so secure in yourself and an extremely sex-positive person and can make this work. then again, this is so rare they make movies about the people who pull it off. A huge problem in the sex industry is the rampant drug abuse, Rule #3 requires your attention. Also, unless we are talking about cam shows and the like, sex workers will have STDs, at the very least herpes.
7. There is a difference between the people you date and the people you fuck. I've been on record here and elsewhere that I am against my friends dating people from apps and websites like Tinder, Bumble, etc. Hook up with them? Sure. Use protection, get STD checks. Date them? (Here is where I piss everyone off) I've not yet seen a relationship work between a promiscuous person and, for lack of a better term, "relationship" person. Us guys, we all know that one dude. The guy who all he talks about is "Man, I went to the club and got LAID!!! This weekend!" "DUDE! This chick? I FUCKED HER!" WE all know that guy. We also know that this guy never settles down. (and the two guys like this I interact with regularly are alcoholic sad sacks that failed rule #1, using PUA bullshit to overcompensate for being an empty shell with pecs and abs.) These guys have on dimension to their personality: shallow. The gulf in personality between the hook-up people and the relationship people is huge. It may work, it probably won't, and at the very best you are going to need a ton of work emotionally to not have things implode.
7a. I'm not a prude, seriously. If you want to go fuck around, go for it. Get laid as much as you can. Hell, do all the drugs. Go to the parties, have the wild wacky good times. Just understand that the relationship-minded people are going to take that into account and judge you. You are free to do what you will as long as it does not harm another; you are not free from the consequences of your life choices and actions.
Finally, A ray of cheer. There are millions of good, decent, warm, caring people out in the world. Someone out there is going to work, then home, then to a hobby or a store etc wondering how they are going to find a boyfriend or girlfriend or a relationship. They do exist, they are out there. The usual platitudes of go out and get involved in your church, your hobby and so forth will be thrown out on how to find these mysterious creatures down in the thread I an certain. But look at rule #1 again. Get your own shit together. People will want to be around you if you are interesting, have that air around you, that "I am going somewhere" aura I guess you call it.
The thing I want you to take away from my rambling is that you are in the driver seat. And the younger you are, the more open that road is ahead of you. It is very hard to build a personality. But the most attractive people are the ones that have a passion, a skill, a talent. They DO things. Sitting at home on Netflix is not DOING it is consuming. Musicians get swooning fans, in my opinion, because they put in the time to get good at creating something. Travel to explore the world makes you interesting. Teaching makes you interesting. Artistic talent makes you interesting. Every one of you reading this has something that makes you different. A skill, a job, a way of explaining the world. SOMEONE out there wants to be a part of that. And SOMEONE out there wants to be a part of your success in fulfilling your purpose. Find that person, and hold onto them.