Three Rules

My birthday is coming up and this last year has taught me a great deal about relationships of all kinds-from work to love to friendship. I've had to give up some illusions, which has been hard to do of course, but these rules have made it easier to do.

1) It is always better to see things clearly and realistically, even it it isn't as much fun.

2) People tell you exactly who they are within the first few conversations.

3) Actions always speak louder than words.

Rule number two is important because if you meet someone and over the course of getting to know them at work or play, they say something like...."I'm too ambitious for family." Or "Man, I usually hate work drama but listen to this....." Or "Love is just chemicals." They mean it. You may think they are "asking for you to prove them wrong" but they aren't. They are simply telling you who they are. Listen to what you yourself say at the beginning of any new connection. You give yourself away more than you think.

Rule number three is important, perhaps even more so than two, because if you find yourself doing all the work in a relationship, whether at work or home or with friends...if you are always the one inviting to lunch, or following up on reports, or reminding about things in an office, or "doing the work" of the relationship, no matter how sweetly they speak to you or about you, they are just not that into you. If they don't reciprocate? They probably don't want to, but don't want to tell you that they don't like you much.

(there are of course circumstances wherein they might just be passive enough that they enjoy you doing the initiating or they might assume you are so busy/cool/awesome that they'll just follow your lead and wait for you to ask, but frankly after a time they should get over that and play back).

Ultimately the first rule is the most important one to accept and use with because if you can't see things realistically, than the other two rules are useless. Ifyou don't grapple with seeing things as they are instead of how you'd like them to be, you'll always wind up with your relationships not truly giving you (or you them) what you need.

This may mean that you have less relationships for a time, and that's scary. But wouldn't you rather have a few good ones, than a lot of bad ones?

I would.