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an idiot's guide to dating and relating
Handle With Care: an idiot’s guide to dating/relating

Since the dawn of humanity, men and women have struggled when it comes to relating

to one another intimately. Everyone has his or her own unique opinion as to what makes

a good partner, and these opinions vary as much as the stars in the universe. There is no

definite grouping of criteria that a good boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife would

embody, and it’s foolish to assume that any one knows that grouping of criteria. What not

to do in a relationship is, however, a much easier question to answer.

Most importantly, do not be honest. “Little white lies” can make or break you, and

they might just save your life. Everyone says that they want a partner who will be

completely and totally honest, but they in turn, are not being honest with themselves. For

example, when a girlfriend/wife asks “Is that girl prettier than me?” they don’t want to

know if she actually is, but rather if you’re stupid enough to say yes. The same goes with

such inane questions as “do these pants make me look fat?” or “I wasn’t wrong, was I?”.

Going along on this same topic, never date more than one person seriously at one time

UNLESS you have either a personal assistant or a detailed day planner that’s kept in a

safe (make sure that you’re the only one who knows the combination). If you do not keep

track of your multiple love interests, you run the risk of either a mix-up in conversation

or even worse, the dreaded run-into. Though no one in their right mind would go as far as

to endorse multiple partners ( not counting the Mormons, but God told them to sleep with

everyone, so I guess that doesn’t count, right?), if you’re going to do so, please do it


Another very important topic to discuss is the argument. It is advised that you not

engage in an argument unless you absolutely 100% know you can win, but even then it is

not a good idea. Why you ask? Because whether you win or lose, you ultimately lose.

Arguing has never gotten anything accomplished, it’s compromising that is the

foundation of progress. One side point that must be addressed: No matter whether you’re

winning the argument or not, do not- I mean absolutely not- get arrested. Do not punch

holes in the wall. Do not throw an encyclopedia through the window. Do not run around

the front yard naked and screaming because as soon as you do any of the above and the

police respond to the domestic dispute call, you forfeit the fight automatically. Plus, no

matter whose fault it is originally, you’ll look like the jerk. If it seems like things are

getting a little bit out of hand, work to diffuse the situation. Calming a potential nuclear

war of words is much easier than most realize. All it takes is four simple words : “You’re

right, I’m sorry”. Like a blanket of fresh snow over a forest fire, this simple phrase

extinguishes, covers and purifies. Your partner may not actually be right, nor may you

truly be sorry, but you WILL be sorry when things have gone beyond the point of repair

and you’re (best case scenario) cooking chicken and stars soup over an open waste bin

fire under a bridge with the homeless and rambling about how you would have rather

spent the night in a jail cell.

The last but not least important topic to cover is apologies. Don’t say “I’m sorry”

unless you actually mean it. As benign as this simple gesture may seem, overuse of such

can lead to a decline in it’s effectiveness. How does one know when to say “I’m sorry”?

It’s really quite simple. As stated before, the phrase “You’re right, I’m sorry” is a verbal

emergency parachute, and all of its components hold almost an equal amount of weight,

when used in moderation, and when you sincerely mean it. Don’t say “I’m sorry” when it

comes to petty things like consoling your spouse/partner. When they’ve had a bad day do

not say “I’m sorry” when you hug them, cause it’s not your fault…unless, of course, it is

your fault. Another good example is when you throw something across the room and it

accidentally strikes your significant other. No matter how hard you try, “I’m sorry” just

will not sound sincere when you are doubled over in laughter. When is it okay to

apologize or use “You’re right, I’m sorry” ? Save it for major accidents or “screwing

something up” beyond reasonable explanation. Driving his or her car into a pond, and

then diving in to save your CD book is a perfect time to say it. Getting drunk and

tattooing someone else’s name on you arm is also another good opportunity to say it. The

best advice that can be given about the usage of “I’m sorry” is to use your best judgment.

If you can get away with it without an apology, do so.

Communicating and relating to one another has been one of the most pivotal

struggles in the human endeavor, and it is something that may never be truly achieved.

The phrase “men are from mars, women are from venus” has become a pop culture

cliché, but it isn’t true, and only serves to divide us( plus, we’re humans, not martians and

ummm… venutians?) No one person is perfect for everyone and not everyone is perfect

for each other, but we can all get along if everyone would stop and use common sense.
© Copyright 2006 JWilloughby (jwilloughby at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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