1. You ARE dateable. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I went through the majority of my high school years being self-conscious and thinking I wasn't really 'worthy' of a relationship. So because of that, I would never put myself out there." 2. Fall in love with yourself first. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "Don't worry about rushing to find a partner to 'complete' you. Discover how to make yourself feel whole intellectually, emotionally, and physically, first and foremost. Then, when you do meet someone, ask yourself, 'Can this person bring me the same level of happiness that I bring myself?'" 3. Don't pretend to like certain movies or music just because he does! David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I would buy songs from bands the guy I was dating liked, even though I didn't like them. I'd make myself listen to them so I'd have something to talk about with him. It was completely stupid, and didn't make me feel like me. Plus, I'd pretend to enjoy certain movies, simply because they were his favorites. I was afraid of judgment if I didn't share in his interests. Honestly, it should have been a red flag to me." 4. Only sleep with people you actually like. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "It's definitely awesome that you're meeting new people and figuring out what you like sexually, but just because your answer's not 'no,' you don't always have to say 'yes.' You don't have to wake up every Sunday in someone else's bed. Sleep with people because they're kind or cool or funny or sexy — not because they're right there. Sleep with people you actually like. You'll save loads of money on cab fare." 5. If someone tells you they're "no good" or "trouble" — BELIEVE THEM and run! David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I spent a lot of time in my early twenties falling for people who told me the were bad news, or 'a mess', and believing I'd be the one to pull them out of it. It seemed dramatic, romantic, but oh man it was never worth it. A lot of tears. The best thing I realized, for my own sanity, was the importance of taking people at their word — if someone tells you they're trouble, be grateful for their honesty and keep on moving. Fixing a tragic figure never works the way it does in the movies." 6. Serendipity isn't real. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I used to think being at the right place, at the right time was required for attraction — What's the phrase? 'Meant to be'? But actually, you choose to be there, and the other person shows up, because they want to be there too." 7. If a man 20+ years older than you says "only young women get me," RUN FAR AWAY. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "When I was in my early twenties I dated multiple men in their forties who exclusively dated much younger women and regularly complained about women their own age. Though I don't see anything inherently wrong with dating outside of your demographic, the venom with which they talked about older women was profoundly disturbing and I realize in hindsight that they didn't like to be around women who were assertive and had expectations about commitment and basic decency, so they went for younger women in the hopes that they'd be more pliable. I'm glad that I got out of it when I did but I wish I'd never even entertained their misguided notions about women, age, emotional labor, and sex appeal." 8. As a rule, don't get involved with anybody who is married. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "You're going to tell yourself that yours is a unique position. That this is different than other affairs. It isn't." 9. Hoe don't do it!!! —Your future self David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "Stop falling for the same guy — both literally and metaphorically. If you couldn't make it work the first time, there is a GOOD REASON for it. Also, as a side note, the only person who needs to be feeling your look is you; you do not need to spend any time worrying about the opinions of your soggy ass ex-boyfriends." 10. Don't spend your life looking for the "right" person. Make yourself the right person for you. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed OK, so I sort of stole this from Oprah, but the advice is still solid. Don't spend your life searching for the perfect person (if such a thing even exists). Work to make ~yourself~ the perfect person for you, and then 'the right person will then be drawn to you based upon the work that you put out.'" 11. You don't have to date a homophobe! David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I moved to Brazil to be with my ex, which I don't regret at all. But what I did then that I wouldn't do now is put up with the humongous chasm of ideological differences we had. From the beginning of our relationship, we argued about things like sexism and homophobia, and although there were lots of good things about it, in retrospect I can't believe I put up with some of the garbage he used to say. Everybody is learning and growing all the time and that's something that's part of the journey, but you don't have to date somebody whose core beliefs are offensive to your entire being. That's bullshit and should not be tolerated." 12. If you have to constantly make excuses for his behavior, it's probably not worth it. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "When I was younger I dated a couple of guys that I knew weren't good for me, but I wanted to 'fix them'. Instead of accepting that maybe we weren't compatible, I found myself always making excuses for the way they behaved, even when I knew they were wrong." 13. Have sex with EVERYONE! David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "Whether from fear, pride, insecurity, or debilitating laziness, I passed up on too many opportunities to connect with someone (wink, wink). At best, those experiences could have led to love; at worst they would have at least helped me meet the '10,000-Hour Rule.'" 14. Be honest with yourself about what you're feeling, and then be honest with everyone else. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "It's really important to learn how to acknowledge your feelings and be honest about what it is you really want. Once you figure that out, you also need to be honest with the person you're dating or who you want to date. Prolonging this will only end up hurting everyone involved, including yourself." 15. Don't do the long-distance college thing. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I was in a long-distance relationship for my first three years of college. At the time, I was in love, but looking back on it, I realize how many different experiences I missed out on. Everyone tells you that, but you always believe your relationship is different. Plus, it's just not fun to be in a relationship with someone when you never see them." 16. Don't fall into guilt traps and stop trying to heal everyone. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "Opening up about difficult things and helping each other through them is a normal and necessary part of a healthy relationship. However, if someone immediately unloads all their baggage or tries to use their issues as a reason for you to stay with them, you will just end up in a loveless, suffocating relationship. Those types of people will seldom be there for when you need them and will probably blame you for everything in the end anyway." 17. Love is real (holy shit). David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I think for a long time I had ideas about what love is supposed to be like: a chain of events, a special moment, that anxiety that you hate but you also kind of like. What I didn't realize is that 'LOVE' is actually a really real thing. Maybe I suppressed it somewhere, or just forgot, but there is a special feeling that doesn't make sense, and you will find it and feel it with special people who will come into your life at certain times. Hopefully you're both ready when it does!" 18. It's different 4 everyone. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I couldn't think of any specific advice that would have truly helped younger David nor could I think of any advice that would have changed his thinking or behavior. That's because everyone's experience (or lack thereof) in dating provides them with their own particular perspective on the topic. I think that telling younger me that 'it's different 4 everyone' is the healthiest way to remind myself that even bad experiences have valuable lessons, while also letting younger David know that older David will probably still be an idiot." 19. Listen to your mom. David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed "I think moms just have a sixth sense about this kind of stuff."