This is the time that every Tom, Dick and Harry compiles an end of the year list, so I thought I'd write one. I've learned a lot doing this column over the past year, and I try and pass those lessons on to you every week. If this reads like a collection of personal memos, that's because it is. I hope you find this list as useful as I have.
Have a safe and happy New Year.
10 Don't lie: Sounds easy enough, but it's even easier to just say something your potential partner wants to hear. A relationship built on lies is bound to fail. Stop trying to be impressive or accommodating. People value honesty, and any lie you tell is bound to come back to haunt you.
9 Care about how you look: You never know when or where you might meet that special someone. A quick run to the grocery store could lead to a walk down the aisle. Don't wear polyester shorts and your Team Building Exercise 1997 T-shirt when you go out in public.
8 Get to know yourself better: An important part of forming a lasting relationship is being emotionally mature. That can't happen until you really sit down and evaluate who you are and what makes you happy.
7 Exorcise your personal demons: If you're battling depression, if you're out of shape, or whatever, you need to address those issues -- and fast. Be accountable for your own emotional well-being.
6 Stop being selfish: It's not all about you. Sometimes in a relationship, especially new ones, we have to do things we hate. Don't pout about it or refuse to take part. Just relish the chance to make someone else happy.
5 Don't waste time: I don't know about you, but I know in matter of a few weeks whether or not a relationship is going to work. Don't drag it out if it's not right. You can't change a person. The best thing to do if a relationship is headed nowhere is to part ways, even if that means you're not going to have sex for a while.
4 Learn to listen: Nothing turns a person off more than someone who is too busy trying to come up with the next thing they are going to say, rather than being an engaged listener. Don't try and be clever or profound. Just listen and respond honestly.
3 Stay positive: Whether you're looking for a relationship or in one, try and look on the bright side. Positive thinking, as lame as it might sound, can change the way people react to you.
2 Do things out of your comfort zone: Take a risk. Hit the dance floor, do some karaoke, take a cooking class. I'm not just talking about being creative and spontaneous on a date, but in life in general. History favors the bold. Do something unexpected. It could change your life.
1 Make a move: You are responsible for your own happiness. You could belly-ache about how no one ever hits on you, or you could just stop making excuses and do something about it. A move could be as simple as messaging someone online, or walking up to someone and starting a conversation. You have to show some courage and resiliency, or you're dooming yourself to a lifetime of missed opportunities.
If I've missed anything, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on the website.