Life

Relationship Advice We All Receive And Why It’s Total BS

“Don’t text back right away!”

Let’s be honest – when you’re in your 20s, everyone makes a big deal about your love life. If it’s not your mates asking about your current fling, it’s some long lost aunt plying you with questionable advice over her third glass of rosé.

We’ve all been the recipient of some truly dodgy guidance over the years. Here are some of the classics. 

“Lower Your Expectations.” 

At some point in your #singlelife, people will start acting like your lack of a partner is a judgment on them. Let’s get one thing straight, people: you are entitled to hold out until you find the right one. Saying yes more is good general advice, but remember that you’re not a reward for someone showing the bare minimum of human decency.

It’s also pretty reductive – there are plenty of reasons (and benefits) for single folks to stay that way, so this piece of advice makes a lot of assumptions that just aren’t helpful.

“Don’t Text Back Right Away!”

Or leave them hanging for a few days after a date. Please, we live in a social media fuelled, 24-hour news cycle age. Hours are the new days. Days are the new weeks. If you’re not important enough to stay in touch with, there’s literally billions more fish in the sea.

If your date is still into playing childish games like this, you’re probably better off spending your precious time and energy on someone more mature.

“It Will Happen When You’re Not Trying.”

Tell it to Elon Musk or Ariana Huffington. As if any significant achievement in the history of humanity has been achieved through not trying! Even ‘happy accidents’ in the scientific community were discovered while actually trying for something, even if it wasn’t what they hoped for.

I suspect that well-meaning people who say this don’t actually mean it literally, but perhaps more as a reminder of all the other good things you have going on. Really though, what a terrible attitude for literally any other area of your life!

“You’ve Got Plenty Of Time.”

This one is actually true. Until it isn’t. We’ve all heard the story of the single aunt/uncle who thought they had time. I’m not suggesting you should jump into any old relationship, but maybe we don’t have as much time as we think we do. The days are long but the years are short.

We know that our perception of time is subjective, and that if we add in more complicated issues like whether we want to have children, there are other time factors at play. Being flexible is great, but boiling it down to an asinine platitude isn’t. It’s a way of dismissing your concerns – and actually kind of ageist.

“Mr Or Mrs Right Will Come Along.”

OK, OK, some people might find it cynical to not believe in a soul mate. But those people might also have said it was cynical to not believe in Hephaestus, god of volcanos (at one point in history, at least).

As modern, university-going, critical thinking people, we know that out of 7.6 billion people in the world right now, the chances of finding a supposed perfect match are pretty ridiculously small. Surely by now we’ve made peace with the idea that our love lives are not pre-destined? But that doesn’t mean they aren’t meaningful. It also allows us the possibility of meshing well with multiple people over our lifetimes, which is actually a pretty hopeful message.

Casey Barber is a freelance writer based in Brisbane. She’s trying to make sense of what it means to be a millennial in Australia. You can follow her on Twitter at @CaseyBarberAU.

(Lead image: Clueless/Paramount)