Valentine’s Day. It is either one of the best, or worst days of the year depending on the person. For those who have a valentine, it is a day to spend with someone you care a lot about. On the other hand, it can be a day to highlight the fact that you are a single Pringle, and may feel really down about it. But why should you? Just because you aren’t posting a V-Day picture on Instagram with excessive hearts in the caption, is no reason to feel lonely, or rush to get into a relationship just to hop on the mushy bandwagon. Heck, those who are in a relationship shouldn’t need one day of the year to recognize how much they like the other person, that should be everyday.
Recently, I overheard a conversation at Starbucks between two women about their marriage problems, and how they weren’t being treated well since they tied the knot. They mentioned that dating when they were younger was so much easier than dating as they got older. It led me to wondering why they settled for that in the first place, but also sparked my psych brain and made me think more about why they said it was harder as we get older, because I have felt the same thing. The conclusion that came to me, was that as we get older, there is pressure added to find someone out of college because of the expectation to graduate with a degree, and a dude. Ironically, I just read an article for class that said the exact same thing as the conclusion I came to. There’s a running joke that says some girls go to college to find a husband, and as Shmuel Schulman (what a name) and Jennifer Connolly wrote in their 2013 article, it’s actually not a joke. They explained that this leads back to the evolutionary theory, as women tend to like to couple up in order to feel safe and secure. Because of this expectation to find someone by a certain time, and how we are wired, it can lead to settling for less than what we deserve. This post is to proclaim to all my ladies reading this (and even the gentleman, it goes for both) that there is NO RUSH because that person you’re picturing in your mind is out there. For the record, these may seem so cliche and predictable, but when that pressure of finding someone is added, some will talk themselves into believing that some of these aren’t important when they are! Ladies, you deserve someone who….
1. Is attractive: Both ways
I’m just going to start with the most obvious one here. The first step in finding someone that you truly and genuinely want to be with, is finding someone you are attracted to! My mom has always told me how important it is to be physically attracted to someone first. Yes, society tells us to not judge a book by its cover because it is what is inside that matters most. While that is true, people aren’t books! There is no faking physical attraction to someone when you are not, no matter how hard you try. It’s similar to opening a gift you truly like versus opening a gift that is so ugly, but you have to fake that you like it in front of Grandma. When you like the gift, the feelings and excitement come naturally, but on the other hand when the gift is “eh”, everything feels forced. There is a lot of negative stigma around “swiping” apps such as Tinder and Bumble, but psychology says that your gut feeling is usually correct according to the Implicit Personality Theory. This states that a first impression can be made quickly, and ACCURATELY, from very little information. If you aren’t attracted to them right away, you swipe left. Common sense, right? Looks are important, so follow your gut and don’t settle if you don’t like what you see! It doesn’t just apply to Tinder, it applies in all situations where you meet someone new whether that be at Starbucks, the bar, the library, the grocery store etc. That being said, it is also important to get to know someone beyond their looks, and see if their heart and personality are as attractive as their face and good biceps. Some guys can get away with their good looks, and put girls in a “spell” of infatuation, but in the long run, their perfect smile won’t make you happy when they aren’t genuine, or just tell you what you want to hear.
2. Wants to see you
I bet you just read this and thought “well no duh, Lauren.” You’d be surprised at the number of times a guy has chosen sleeping, video games, the Casino, a night with the boys (it wasn’t even “Saturday for the boys”), and not wanting to drive because it wastes gas, over time with me. Ladies, getting a guy to spend time with you shouldn’t require begging, bribing, or feel harder than trying to catch your dog when they are running around with your socks. I’ve come to learn over the years just how frustrating, and unordinary, it is to continuously beg a guy to come watch me compete at my gymnastics meet, go out to dinner, walk Gracie with me, study together, or go do something fun! You deserve someone who will SHOW you, and not just tell you, that they want to see you. As I say, it is the little things, such as driving just to come sit with you in a coffee shop for an hour, make plans to see you for the week, agree to watch The Bachelor just because it is time with you, and take initiative to see you! It doesn’t take much, and it shouldn’t have to. Nothing should feel one sided when it comes to wanting to see each other. When you find that someone, they should want to be with you on the good and bad days, rain or shine, when you’re in sweats or looking your best, one mile or 1000000 miles away, and they won’t care what you do together as long as it means getting to be with you. Sound like #goals? That’s what reality should be.
3. Is easy to be with
Sure, first dates are always a little bit awkward, we try to impress the other person. That is a given. But if the next couple dates continue to be awkward where conversation doesn’t flow, you’re still ordering something “easy” to eat and not messy just to look better, and you’re still talking about how nice/not nice the weather is? That’s a red flag. You deserve to be with someone where you don’t feel like you are forcing yourself to laugh at what they say, smile, daintily eat a french fry, or do normal person things that really should come naturally. It can be hard to explain what “easy to be with” feels like, but if it doesn’t start to feel like you are hanging out with a close friend where you can talk for hours about literally anything, that’s not good! Easy to be with, for me, means I can’t stop smiling, laughing, can roast them and they will dish it right back, and I feel like I’ve known the person for years rather than almost an hour. If you are low key dreading doing something with them again because it’s difficult to have a conversation or act natural around them (I’ve felt this), don’t follow through with it (I did, bad move). Yeah, they may be a cute and kind person, but why settle for someone that you aren’t having fun with? My mom has told me to imagine what they would be like in the future. So in this case, imagine yourself sitting in a house with someone someday, maybe married for ten years; still talking about the weather, forcing laughs, and not eating pasta because it’s embarrassing to slurp a noodle. You then look out the window and see the couple next door is outside having a snowball fight and making fun of each other like best friends. I’d rather take 50 snowballs to the face from someone I love being with than feel like I’m walking around on pins and needles all the time.
4. Allows you to be yourself
What is the point of being with someone if you can’t be who you truly are? The relationships that thrive are the ones that are honest, and hiding who you are because you are afraid they won’t like the real you is a form of dishonesty. I will admit, I hold back a bit on the first date. I’m shy, girly, polite, all that good stuff…but that isn’t the real me as bad as that sounds. Often times, it turns out the guy likes it even more when I act more myself which is witty, smiley, sarcastic, randomly does handstands, makes bad puns, and is a little less girly (I’m still nice, no worries). Find someone that allows you to make a fool of yourself, accepts you on your bad days, and they can’t get enough of it. You should be able to show them all your personalities! We all act different depending on who we are with as much as we hate to admit it. I have a different personality for when I’m with my family, my best friend, my team, etc. But with that person, you should be able to show them all sides, including crabby. (Yes guys, it is a sign of progress when you see our crabby side). Find someone that lets you use your real laugh (ladies, you know what I am talking about). Be with someone that doesn’t care if you didn’t do your makeup, send an ugly snapchat, are wearing sweats, or send sweaty snapchats from the gym to them. If at any point they make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your fear of fish, study habits, your values, your health, family traditions, weird quirks, goals, or anything else important to you, that is a HUGE red flag! The person that you are meant to be with, actually pulls the real you out of yourself, and it is a great feeling!
5. Puts you on a pedestal
I’m the type of person who doesn’t ask for this, or expect anything over the top, but they should want to make you feel beautiful, and show their appreciation for you without you asking for it. A relationship without any compliments on how you look, or excitement over an accomplishment, ultimately leads to no motivation to continue it, and makes you feel stuck. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and honestly, if they don’t look at you the way they look at their Chipotle, they ain’t worth your time. When you find someone that shows you their appreciation, it means two things. The first, is that they pay attention to you. If they compliment you on your new haircut, your outfit, your green eyes, your sparkly eyeshadow, etc, it means they notice what you do, what you say, and remember the little things about you. Second, it truly means they are infatuated with you, and are genuinely interested! Their eyes should light up when you get out of your car, tell you that you’re gorgeous no matter what you are wearing, not be embarrassed to tell their parents about you, send you texts just to let you know how lucky they are to have you, and lastly, look at you first, and then proceed to eye the bag of Chipotle in hand! Those who don’t do this are either not as into you as you thought, or not respectful/mature enough to realize that this is a must. It’s not hard to do, and is one of those simple things that leads to so much growth. We all know our parents are great at putting us on a pedestal, but that is because they have to. Your person should want to.
6. Has goals
This one may not be on everyone’s list, but someone with ambition tells you several things about them. Just like someone’s Spotify playlists may not seem important, it can tell you a lot about someone! The first thing it tells you, is that they know how to care for something, and know what passion feels like. If someone doesn’t have any goals, it tends to mean that there is little to no caring about what happens, or they have no passion (but not always), which can easily transition over to a relationship. Second, goals mean that they have some type of game plan. Being someone who likes to plan, finding someone who also likes to have a plan of how to get from point A to point B is very attractive. One cannot make goals without at least thinking about how they will get there, otherwise they are just dreams. Third, goals mean that they have a purpose for what they do. Find someone who does things with intent, has a reason for what they do, and thinks about how their actions will help them in the long run, which in turn will help them get closer to their goals. Fourth, goals mean stability (depending on the goal). It shows that they will work for what they want, and us gals like to feel stable as I mentioned earlier. Lastly, if they have goals, and are truly interested in you, chances are, you are probably a part of their goals, and will care, make a plan, have purpose with you, and work to be with you. Goals aren’t just an end point. It is the process of getting there, and the skills needed, that are beneficial and can spill over into relationships. Find someone who has goals and a plan for their life, because chances are, they also have the rest of these elements.
7. Is honest
When I say honest, I mean in every way possible. There are so many forms of deception that can hurt relationships such as straight up lying, not revealing all of the story, lying to protect someone, little white lies, pointless lies, being fake etc. It is such a good habit to not lie about unnecessary things. I know I have done this before; I said I took one road to get somewhere when I actually took another. Why? I don’t know! Did it matter what road I took? Absolutely not. But we are so good at doing this, and do it a lot. I know I can generalize this phenomenon to the whole population. It may be harmless, but it can snowball into a habit of dishonesty that will bite you in the butt. I personally don’t like things sugar coated, so if I ask the guy I am with if I look bad, I want them to tell me I look bad if I actually do! Tell me my butt looks big in those jeans, tell me that I have spinach in my teeth, tell me if I have something on my face, and all the other embarrassing stuff. Lying to protect someone, is not protecting them at all. I don’t want the person I am with to lie about what they are doing just because it may not be something I am interested in, or they think I won’t like it. You deserve someone that is straightforward and tells you how they feel, because guessing or trying to read into one word texts can lead to more trouble. Find someone that isn’t afraid to own up to their past and the mistakes they have made. Seriously, if someone is afraid to tell you something, that is a huge red flag. It may sound bad now, but you deserve someone that tells you that your breath stinks.
8. Has the same interests as you
This one is also pretty straight forward, but so many people overlook this one and say it isn’t THAT important. Yes it is! Someone may be attractive, honest, treat you like a queen, have goals, and all the other criteria on here; but if their ideal day is to sit on the couch and do nothing, that is a huge red flag! Don’t ever settle for that unless that is also your ideal day, then you two are perfect for each other. A relationship can be so much fun, and have so much more passion, when the two of you do things you both enjoy. For me, finding out that they like sports, are into fitness like I am, will go skating or out to eat, but can also be down to have a relaxing movie night makes them so much more attractive to me. It can be so hard to be with someone who doesn’t understand why you do what you do, and doesn’t get excited over things like you do. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be with someone that doesn’t have the same interests as you, but in that case, they should give it a try, and try to appreciate it with you. A good example of this is my own parents. My dad is a big hockey guy, and with my mom being from Kentucky, she didn’t know much about it. Once she moved here she gave it a shot, and started to appreciate it because my dad loved it. Don’t settle for someone who refuses to go to a gymnastics meet, listen to country music, eat at your favorite restaurant, or forget your family member’s names. What is important to you, should be important to them, too.
9. Cheers you on
Someone that cheers you on, indicates that they know your goals, and have an interest in what you are doing. I know that when I have gotten an A on something, got a 9.3 on bars, landed my vault that I usually break my ankles on, or made it through a Terrible Tuesday, I can’t wait to tell someone that will actually be proud of me! Your special someone should be that person. You deserve someone who hypes you up, rather than is jealous of your success, or simply replies “cool.” There have been times where I have been with someone, and am so excited to tell them about an accomplishment, and they didn’t seem to care at all, which in turn totally sucked out all of my excitement. When you are with the right person, your goals will be just as important as theirs, and they will support you through it all. Don’t settle for someone who makes you feel like your goals are nothing, your successes aren’t worth anything, or you aren’t getting any support at all in tough times. Find someone who celebrates the little victories such as finally microwaving popcorn without burning it, but also the big victories like landing an internship for the summer. Everyone needs a cheerleader, and while you’ve always got your mom or your grandma on Facebook (nothing cheers you up like reading comments on a picture of you that your mom posted), it means so much more coming from that special someone.
10. Makes you excited for each day
Have you ever heard the saying “I don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than my dreams?” As cheesy as that sounds, it is true. There is no better feeling than waking up in the morning knowing that your day is going to be great, just because you get to spend time with someone. I’ve had many days where I have woken up with little motivation because there is nothing to be excited about that day (I know it sounds sad, for the record, it’s usually Tuesdays). It is just average. When you find the person that you truly deserve, you will feel excited to take on the day because you know you get to be with someone who is attractive both inside and out, wants to see you just as bad as you want to see them, is easy to be with, can tell them about wiping out in the caf and not be judged, makes you feel great about yourself, has goals to share with you, will always hear the truth, can do your favorite things together, and will support you. Your happiness will be as immense as the run on sentence I just wrote! Don’t settle until your life becomes that run on sentence.
We all deserve to find someone that checks off all the criteria on our list, and while that may require some patience, it is far better than settling for something that doesn’t make you feel like you are that “middle school crush” kind of giddy. Every single element on your list is important, and while it may seem selfish or impossible to have certain expectations, it is not! I truly believe God allows good things happen to those who wait, and all good things may come with patience. Once you let go of the notion that you must have that someone by a certain life milestone, everything becomes so much more clear.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope it is spent in a way that makes you as happy as when your jeans fit from last year, Deb in the caf doesn’t over charge you for your dinner (you know Gusties), you get the last table at Starbucks, the end spot on the street is open so you don’t have to parallel park, the Vikings finally win, or a home run in the bottom of the 9th with bases loaded!