If someone were to give me my 20s back, I’d live it out in the exact same way. Not because they were perfect, but because life is a journey and that was the journey I took to learn the lessons I did. With time on your side, your 20s are for taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them. I have no regrets, I just took the long, scenic route to find the best relationship of my life. If you want the shortcut to a great relationship, you might want to ditch these dating habits first.
Many of us go through the motions of the 9-5 grind. We’re not exactly happy about it yet we accept it because it’s easy and within our comfort zone. Same goes for relationships. I’ve seen so many friends stay in 4-5 year relationships just out of comfort. They date a guy/girl from their early 20s to late 20s and then when everyone else is getting married and it’s their turn, they panic, breakup and find themselves single again. Your 20s are for dating to see who is right for you. If you happen to find the love of your life then, good on you. If not, keep looking. You have so much time in your 20s. Don’t spend it on anything that’s just mediocre.
I have this gorgeous friend Maggie. She’s attractive, intelligent, bubbly, a guy’s girl and a girl’s girl. She’s fun, kind and down to earth – what many men would call girlfriend material. Maggie has been single for 8 years. I used to wonder why such a great catch had been single for so long…until I spent 3 months living with her. Maggie accepted bad behaviour from men who took advantage of her easy going nature. She dated men who’d sleep with her but never call, she’d answer late night booty calls, she accepted bad behaviour. How you treat yourself sets a benchmark for how you want to be treated. You decide how people treat you. Know your worth.
As you get older, you’ll know that good friends are hard to find. I’m talking about those who will love you unconditionally, the ones who will drop everything they are doing to help you through a rough time – without judgement. Some friendships last a lifetime. Don’t bail on a friend for a date who will last a night. Stick to your plans and make time to nurture those friendships.
Looks matter. They are the first thing you notice when you spot someone across the room or in an online profile. But attraction goes deeper than just looks. If you can, get to know someone before you dismiss them as a potential date. I used to date purely based on looks. The guys I dated all had a certain ‘look’ – 6 foot tall, brown sandy eye, charming smile. They were handsome in the conventional sense, but none of them eventuated into the relationship I wanted. It took me awhile to grow out of it, to realise I was looking for someone I was attracted to and someone who shared the same values.
Falling in love is easy. Falling out of it, is messy. You’re likely to go through a few breakups in your 20s, learn to deal them with grace. That means keeping away from late night phone calls to your ex, drunken texts, emails of rage and convincing all your friends and his friends to take your side in the breakup.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to make your own mistakes but if you can avoid a few along the way, you might enjoy dating even more.