Written on August 22nd, 2011
On one of those long drive-my-15 year-old-daughter-to-basketball drives, watch her play and drive home again, we got talking about how you pick the right guy. I mean, you see women everywhere making really stupid mistakes, getting hurt to the core of their being, repeating the mistakes with another guy... you hear people talk about love like it's some mystical feeling that comes along all by itself. This is one of the few talks I ever made sure happened, because... I'm her dad, and i didn't want her hurt, wanted to give her more insight than most girls seem to have. I can't remember what i said word for word, but it was something like this:
A lot of girls end up picking the wrong guy. It must be pretty scary - like - how do you know who he really is? Because when a guy is wanting to impress you, he's on his best behaviour, right? So you're not going to know what he's really like until he doesn't think he needs to impress you any more. By then, it's a little too late. In-between, you've fallen in love, and love tends to not notice what's wrong, so even if there are warning signs, you'll probably ignore them. Seriously. You just... close your eyes and don't notice faults once you're in love. We all do. So you need to know what to look for early on, before you get too emotionally entangled.
So... how do you pick the right guy?
Well, there's one thing probably to look for more than anything else.... (drive a little bit in silence for emphasis). It's actually about ...character. I mean, there are lots of things that attract us to someone, like: looks, personality, charm, physique, (I think i said 'abs' because she was always talking about guys with 'abs'), intelligence, being funny.. and those things are great. I mean, you do have to have chemistry, right? But the chemistry, and none of these things are enough to make a relationship work in the long run. In the end, none of these things will be enough to hold your respect and love. In the end, it is the person's character you end up loving or despising. Personality isn't character - don't be fooled. A person can have a nice manner, but be selfish underneath. Personality is just the way you present yourself. Character is the kind of person you are under the surface. Honest or sneaky. Selfish or self-giving. Live by principles or take anything they can get. Self-centred or caring. Take responsibility or avoid it. Always do the right thing or always appears to do the right thing. You can't continue to love someone who is fundamentally selfish and treats you like shyte.
Ok, so how do you tell someone's character? Well, that's the tricky bit. Because when someone is trying to impress you, they are on their best behaviour, right? So they're gonna be completely charming, look like they're almost selfless, giving, kind, considerate, devoted only to you, because... they want to win you. They might even think they mean it. It's only once they have you and begin to take you for granted that their real character starts to be revealed: dishonest, unfaithful, selfish, emotionally immature, manipulative...
So if they're on their best behaviour, how can you tell their character?
You have to watch them when they aren't aware. So... watch the way they treat people who they think are unimportant. Ex-girlfriends. Watch the way they treat family members. Watch the way they treat their mother. Are they always respectful, generous, considerate, thoughtful? Are they always honest? Do they know how to admit they're wrong, even if they're only partly wrong? Then this is probably what you're going to get.
Do they can treat anyone in their life as dirt? Then they can do that to you one day. And probably will. If they lie when they think they won't get caught, then they aren't honest. They'll do it to you. You need to see past the charm, the best behaviour, those masculine good looks... because none of those things can keep your respect and love in the long run.