Something is in the air these days, and it might be love, depending on perspective. As North American society continues to move away from the conservative and effete values that many of our grandparents grew up with, a new culture of dating and courting partners has blossomed into being. Far from the very rigid way in which couples used to meet and forge relationships together, today’s cultural paradigm with regard to relationships is far more fluid, as people are dating more, sleeping with more people, marrying later in life, and divorcing much more frequently . Pointing to the new paradigm of courtship, or lack thereof, amongst youth, some commentators have called it a “hook-up” culture. Indeed, people boast about their sexual conquests more than ever, rather than gush about their very special relationship with their very special someone.
At the same time, the rise of the internet and all its ramifications have fundamentally changed the way people interact on a day-to-day basis, and this holds true in a courtship scenario. Social media has made it easier to find prospective partners, and thanks to sites and apps like Skype, long distance relationships can actually work. For those who believe in the theory that certain people are meant for each other by destiny, this expansion of our networking capacity seems to, in theory, enable them to find their soul mate.
In reality, however, today’s increasingly liberal values, coupled with the social-media-enabled titanic mass of potential partners, have left a great deal of people floundering. Whether maladjusted to romantic relationships—a potentially harmful corollary of the aforementioned “hook-up” culture—or continuing to bounce from partner to partner in hopes of finding their soul mate, people are dating more than ever, trying to find someone whom they love and with whom they can grow. Paradoxically, this change in the way people court each other has left people grasping blindly in the dark more than it has increased their chances of finding the perfect match. But everyone deserves their someone, whether it’s that person who completely understands your musical tastes—you know, the person who gets why you’re still listening to Cole Porter in the twenty-first century—or who balances your idiosyncrasies with their own bizarre yet lovable ones, or who shares your unique sense of humour.
The following list will hopefully help out forlorn and despairing individuals looking unsuccessfully for love. It lists 8 types of potential partners you should stay away from. Have any to add? Let us know in the comment section. Be safe and, as always, respectful.
8 The Gossiper
It is an eternal truth that human beings are prone to gossip. It can be a tough thing to control at times, since people in the same social circle will undoubtedly have things to say about their acquaintances. Gossip can also breathe life into a stale conversation, giving interlocutors something spicy and appetizing to discuss. However, lines have to be drawn, and too much gossip is harmful and socially corrosive.
The gossiper is someone who gossips excessively, always finding ways to bring conversations back to the other people’s lives and the scandalous stuff going on in said lives. For several reasons, this is a type of person that should be avoided. First, it is not a good sign for the longevity of a potential relationship when the partner in question excessively gossips. Partners in a relationship should help each other grow and expand their respective horizons, not narrow themselves down to their social circle’s version of Dr. Phil. Second, and this point attaches closely to the first, excessive gossiping is a sign of someone’s vapidity. Yes, gossip is inevitable, but can this person in question not discuss other interests like books and films, or other issues like local and world politics? Someone courting a gossiper must ask themselves a couple of questions: “Are our conversations always going to be like this?” “Will this person every care about anything outside their narrow life?” If the answers are troubling, the gossiper must be jilted before it’s too late.
7 The Comparer
Some people like to be told that they are better than the last; it can really boost one’s ego. However, when someone has a penchant for making comparisons between their current love interest and their past partners, it is a sign that said someone lives in the past and probably has turbulent or unrequited feelings towards a past lover. A new relationship should be a clean slate for both parties, and no one wants to feel like they are occupying a portion of their partner’s mind, while a past love is occupying another.
6 The “Over-Complimentor”
Everyone likes to be complimented, especially by their prospective partner in a relationship. However, “Over-Complimentors” are those who pay their love interests an excessive amount of compliments. After a ceaseless onslaught, the compliments become vacuous, as no one is perfect or so good at everything. To work, relationships need to be about give and take, push and pull. If someone can only compliment their prospective partner, what will happen when real contention arises during the relationship? Indeed, the Over-Complimentor shows unwillingness to see or acknowledge who their counterpart really is, and this is no way to start a solid relationship.
5 The Social Media Junkie
As mentioned, social media has become scarily ubiquitous today, changing the ways in which and the speed at which we interact with each other. A potential partner’s connection to social media is inevitable and impossible to prevent. If, however, said potential partner is one of those junkies who constantly checks their Facebook, is keen on documenting their lives through Instagram, and audaciously updates their twitter during what was supposed to be a romantic dinner, they are probably not relationship material. The social media junkie somewhat aligns with the gossiper, since the two cannot seem to direct their attention away from the narrowness of their lives. Social media can beget myopia, and myopia is a sign of someone who has little depth. Avoid!
4 The Critic
Romantic relationships are nice in that they allow both parties to grow positively through constructive criticism. A relationship without criticism is probably not real or not going to last long, as someone is clearly holding a good deal back; the pressure of holding things back will inevitably become too great of a burden and lead to a horrible fight.
However, if a prospective partner is too critical and shows no interest in letting their counterpart be their natural self, then this person should be romantically avoided. Much has been said in this article so far about people growing and progressing through relationships, but that cannot be overstated. Partners in romantic relationships should and will change each other, but each should help their counterpart be the best they can be. Rampant criticism does not achieve that.
3 The Romantic
Every relationship needs a good deal of romance, without which the relationship would probably not succeed. Couples have their own standards for romance, so the whole topic of romance is inherently and immutably subjective. However, during a courtship, in which the solid relationship has not yet come into fruition, a potential partner’s penchant for exceeding amounts of romance should raise warning flags.
What this list calls “The Romantic” is someone who is overly romantic, puts situations and people on dangerous pedestals, and lives in a fantasy world of ideals and perfect this and perfect that. Although probably passionate and likeable, this type of person is not the best relationship material. The worst thing one can do is put their love interest on a pedestal or, for their counterpart’s benefit, paint idyllic future scenarios full of whimsy, serenity, and torrid lovemaking. Real relationships don’t operate in pastoral fantasy lands. Indeed, the only way to go from these mammoth heights is down. And after the horrible downward nosedive, what is there left to salvage? The illusion is broken and the fantasy is dead. Thus, these hyper romantics should be avoided.
2 The “Do-Gooder”
At first glance, this pick might be surprising, and the label might be an imperfect one. The “Do-Gooder” is not someone who does nice things for people and makes the world a better place, as those can only be endearing and lovable aspects of person’s character. Rather, the “Do-Gooder” is someone who either talks exceedingly or boasts about the nice things they do for people, and likes to tell their counterpart that acts of generosity are naturally part of their character. If a potential partner talks like this, run for the hills and don’t look back.
This type of person should be avoided because their need make other people aware of their goodness or graciousness points to an underlying narcissism that motivates their actions. With regard to someone who does a great deal of nice, generous things, it is of course tough distinguishing narcissism from selflessness. But when this person talks ceaselessly of their desire to do benevolent things for people, their love of giving some of themselves to other people, their unabashed enjoyment of putting smiles on other people’s faces, the narcissism becomes easier to winnow out. Indeed, an act of generosity should be an end in and of itself; it should be natural or at least an honest effort. The Do-Gooder, however, adduces a persona of selflessness—a construct, if you will. Paradoxically, this attempt by the Do-Gooder to come off as overly nice is anything but selfless.
1 The Picky Eater
Most people have their own unique set of food aversions, especially in North America, where, for instance, people abide to rigid rules of what parts of the animal are edible and what are not. Trying to cure someone of their food aversions is not an easy task and probably won’t endear you to that person. Showing little respect for someone’s diet, especially if it’s the result of a religious or personal injunction, is probably one of the most insensitive and crass things you could do. There is of course a big difference between food prohibitions for a noble reason and food aversions for inexplicable and craven reasons. Indeed, like the gossiper, a line must be drawn.
If a potential partner constantly limits dining options because of their silly food aversions or refusals to try new food, warning flags should rise. This type of potential partner should be avoided because their picky eating suggests an overall resistance to stepping outside their comfort zone, something that is almost always required in relationships, which force people to compromise, change, and grow. Much like the gossiper, picky eaters are probably incapable of seriously expanding their horizons, and this should scare off anyone looking for a dynamic relationship. Great romantic relationships are beautiful because they’re uncertain and scary, yet heady and invigorating, but how can one step into those unchartered waters of romance with someone who refuses to try a piece of squid just because? Of course, some couples share each other’s food aversions—in that case, carry on!