Today’s Friday challenge is How to Fix Your Picker. If you’re a recovering chump like me, you need this skillset. And maybe a lifetime of refresher courses… (no, I really cannot host book club again… okay, okay, just this sixth time, but this is IT. Doesn’t anyone else have a sofa and cookies?)
Here are my Improved Picker tips:
Do NOT rescue anyone. Healthy people don’t need rescuing. They pay their bills. They function like adults. They manage their crises. Sure, everyone has some bad luck sometimes. We can all use a helping hand on rare occasion. Bu how people meet the challenges in their life says a LOT about them. Good people do not presume. If they lounge around on fainting sofas waiting to have their brow mopped while you bring them a hot toddy and your check book — fuck ’em. Steer clear.
Do NOT settle for lopsided arrangements. You need a partner, a friend, not a project. Healthy relationships are based on reciprocity. Don’t do for someone who wouldn’t do for you. And don’t presume reciprocity (oh, of course they would) — watch what they do. Do they pick up the check? Do they hurry to do for you like you do for them? Do they get pleasure from giving to you? Or it is all about them?
I see a lot of straight men fall for this. They want to be a caretaker, feel needed and powerful, and are flattered by apparent “helplessness”. Choose a competent person with a job and their own money. Find an equal. Women fall for the caretaker role too — they jump in as “mommy” and polish the jerk up, find them employment, manage their life. DON’T DO THIS. Healthy people aren’t looking for parents and life coaches. That’s not your job, okay? Your job is girlfriend/boyfriend. That’s IT.
Do NOT run yourself down. Oh, no one would want me because I’m a single parent/a special needs kid parent/I’m fat/I’m old… whatever. If you’re a good person and you’re responsible and loving? You’re a stock that trades high. Never forget it. Bonus points if you have all your hair and teeth.
Beware of people who lead with self pity. Is it always someone else’s fault? Do they see themselves as a poor sausage, and worse, do they want you to see yourself that way too? Do they flatter you by running other people down around you? Oh, your parents don’t understand you. They suck. She’s out to get you. He wants your job. Wingnuts isolate their victims. Only you understand me. Wingnuts idolize and devalue you. Why? It’s easier to manipulate you that way. The self pity is real. You, however, are just of use.
Beware the love bombers. If it seems too good to be true? It probably is. Take it slow. Crazy will reveal itself. Anyone who moves too fast or “loves” you before they have a good long time to get to know you? That’s a red flag. Pay attention to how much they really know about you. Are they truly paying attention to your quirks and interests or are they feigning it with vague, over the top praise? Do you feel like your best self with them, like you do a friend who loves you warts and all? Or do you feel like you’re living a fantasy? Keep it real, chumps and don’t be in a rush. Let enough time elapse to let their character show.
Last but not least — DO NOT BE AFRAID to dump someone. If someone is pressuring you for a permanent commitment too soon (marriage, moving in with you), or on the other side, is vague and non-commital about exclusivity (after many months or years together) — DUMP. If you have deal breakers, abide by them. Don’t be afraid to “next” someone, because I promise you there is always a next. There are many, many people out there. You can afford to be choosey. Don’t panic if you meet a lot of sucky people, or decent not-quite-a-good-fit folks. You’ll learn from them, and may just enjoy something light and casual. Not everyone is life partner material, (assuming you even want that).
Be careful out there, chumps. A good heart is a terrible thing to waste on a fuckwit.
What have you learned about fixing your picker and un-chumping? Tell CN!