1. Be honest about your intentions. Don’t pretend you are okay with casual relationships when you are secretly hoping for something serious. If you want a commitment, be upfront from the start. If they are only interested in a fling, then it’s better you know as soon as possible anyway.
2. Admit when you are upset. Instead of holding your feelings inside to avoid coming across as crazy, delete fine from your vocabulary. Talk to your person when you are upset with their behavior. The way they react will tell you whether they are worth your time. If they care about your feelings, they care about you. If they act like you are being overemotional and couldn’t care less about making you feel better, then you should run.
3. Never try to come across as perfect. Don’t put on an act around them in order to impress them. Don’t aim to come across as cool. Aim to come across as you.
4. Choose the truth. Even though it would be easier to lie about your last relationship or how your guilty pleasure is reality television, you should tell the truth. Don’t start a relationship off with lies. Don’t be embarrassed about your personality or your past.
5. Embrace your awkwardness. Instead of acting like you have it all together, admit when you are wrong. Admit when you don’t know something. Admit when you feel like an idiot. It’s always refreshing to see someone who is comfortable with who they are instead of fighting to look like somebody else.
6. Stop apologizing. You don’t have to say sorry for talking too much or texting back too quickly or loving too loud. Embrace your emotions. They aren’t something you should be ashamed about.
7. Show your soft side. Let your walls down. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Offer pieces of yourself to the other person and see whether they are understanding and worthy of learning more or whether they are judgmental and should be left behind.
8. Avoid little white lies. You don’t have to fib about being into a certain band or sports team in order to create a connection. It might actually be beneficial to tell them you have never heard of their favorite song before. Then they can get excited about showing it to you.
9. Observe. Really listen to the other person and pay close attention to their actions. Instead of overlooking red flags because you have strong feelings for someone, ask yourself whether they are the right fit for you or whether you only want to think they are.
10. Take responsibility for your actions. If you have a history of dating toxic people, admit that to yourself. Acknowledge that there is a pattern to your behavior and you can change that pattern. Remember that you are in control of your own destiny.
11. Stop worrying about pleasing others. Refocus on pleasing yourself, on getting into a relationship that makes you happy.
12. Accept yourself. If you learn to love yourself, then you won’t feel the need to play pretend or cover up your insecurities. You will feel more comfortable being your authentic self — and if someone doesn’t like it, then you know you are better off without them in your universe.