Hi there! How are you? I’m Ryan. I think it’s so cool you want to be in a relationship with me, kind stranger/friend who clicked on this link from my Facebook/ex-girlfriend who still reads my stuff/next girlfriend/Mom.
But before we jump into anything, let me just lay down some ground rules. I don’t consider myself high maintenance, but there are a few things I’m going to need from you.
You’ll notice that none of these are tangible — in other words, there is no concrete gift or token of your affection you can give me that would make me overlook the four things on this list. Presents are nice for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries — and I do enjoy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (hint) — but the success of our relationship will be based on the way we treat each other. Nothing more, nothing less.
1. Be true to me.
Honesty is the best policy. There’s no need to lie to me or yourself about the way you’re feeling. Ever.
If something is bothering you, let me know so we can work together to fix it. And if you don’t want my help fixing whatever problem is on your mind, let me know that, too. I will gladly step aside if you need your space.
If I’m doing something that upsets or annoys you, ask me to stop. I sometimes struggle with criticism, but I’d rather you tell me the truth than fill up to the brim with emotions and eventually explode when I say I don’t want to see that Zac Efron “Baywatch” movie with you. (I will totally go see that, though, because The Rock is in it, and he’s dope.)
I won’t hide anything from you, so you shouldn’t feel like you need to hide anything from me. And if you do feel like you need to hide things, there better be some sort of scavenger hunt going on. Otherwise, you’ll be on a search of your own: for a new boyfriend.
2. Be true to yourself.
Don’t be insecure. You have no reason to be.
Don’t worry about me judging you based on your words and actions because – chances are – I already have judged you. And if I continue to talk to you, I probably like you. I’m not going to pick apart every little thing you say and do, so please just be yourself.
That being said, don’t talk or act like an idiot. I already know you’re not an idiot because we’re in a relationship. Obviously, I can’t control how you act, but if I like who you are, then be that person. There’s no need for you to try to act “cool” in front of friends or strangers, and there will never be a reason for you to pretend.
I will never worry about you “embarrassing” me in public or in front of my family and friends — because if that was something I had to worry about, I wouldn’t be in a relationship with you in the first place. And if I understand and like who you really are, the only reason I would have to worry about that sort of thing is if you were trying to be somebody else. That’s what would truly be embarrassing.
I might even tell you I think you’re perfect, but don’t be panicked by that statement. If I say it, I mean it. And what I mean is that your “imperfections” are what make you unique, and they are exactly why I like you. Embrace those characteristics because they construct the proverbial you.
3. Let me be myself.
I’m a complicated person: difficult, stubborn, intense. I’m going to say and do things that make you uncomfortable. I do things that make myself uncomfortable. All I ask is that you allow me to say and do these things, for the sake of my progress as a person. Let me make mistakes, but also give me some time to learn from them and right my wrongs.
Support what I do, the things I’m passionate about. You might not agree with everything I believe, but at least encourage me to stand behind those beliefs and stay true to myself. Push me to get better by talking things out with me and brainstorming ideas worth writing about, singing about, dancing about.
Don’t suggest I change who I am because of my fear of failure. Urge me to keep going, to stay persistent when I’m trying to solve a problem. Tell me I can do it, whatever it may be, but be there to comfort me if I realize I can’t.
Help me answer all of the questions I have about the way the world works, but remind me there are some answers I will never find. Listen when I need to talk.
4. Save me from myself.
Talk when I need to listen. Shut me up when I’m not making sense. Tell me when I’m wrong, and call me out when I’m being a hypocrite. I mentioned above that I don’t want you to suggest that I change as a person, but also, don’t let me fear the concept of change altogether. Encourage me to experience new things and force me to go on adventures – to journey out of my comfort zone.
Remind me that nobody’s perfect. Making mistakes is OK, but don’t allow me to keep making the same ones. Give me room to grow, but if I’m being stubborn, make me grow.
Convince me to let go, to put the “D” in “DGAF.” I tend to overanalyze situations, which people often mistake for pessimism. When I call this feeling “realism,” push me to be optimistic. Push me to get caught up in my dreams. And when I stray too far from the ground, pull me back down to Earth, and remind me I’m only human.
And there you have it.
A thousand words later, and you know what I’m about.
Plenty of people have a laundry list of what they want — or what they think they want — in a relationship. Since I can’t say for sure what I want in a potential partner, I like to keep a tight, thorough list of things I know I need.
These aspects of our relationship are non-negotiable, and though it might take some time to develop or identify all four behaviors, I can assure you this is what I’ll be looking for. No bullsh*t.