by: Nico Lang
You should be with someone who values your time, who calls when they say they are going to and who shows up on time to a date or texts you if they are going to be late. Spend your time with people who aren’t too important to look up from their phone and stop texting when you are speaking or who know not to answer unimportant calls when you are together. Someone who politely apologizes for taking that important call and knows who to pick up for. Someone who also knows that their parents and their grandparents are important in their life, too, and has a good enough relationship with their family to pick up when they call. Someone who still tells their mother or father “I love you,” even when they are in public, and who can’t wait to tell you, when the time is ready.
Date a person who is chivalrous, not as in “into patriarchy, paternalism and/or oppressing you” but as in someone who isn’t afraid to show they care about you. No matter your gender, be with someone who wants to open the door for you, just to smile as they watch you walk through it, and someone who lets you do the same for them. Someone who will pull out a chair for you or stand up when you leave the table, not because it’s expected of them socially but they want to show you how much your company means to them. Someone who wants to walk you home, not only to make sure you are safe but also because they want to spend more time with you and smile at you as your smile disappears behind the door. Someone who will wait up to hear you got home safe if they can’t walk you home and will ask you to walk them home, because they want to feel protected by you, too.
Seek out a mate who isn’t afraid to hold your hand or put their coat around you when you look cold, who knows that Public Displays of Affection aren’t as important as knowing you are cared for, even in small ways. Put your energy into a person who puts their energy and effort into you, someone who will buy you flowers if you like flowers or knows exactly what book you would want on your birthday. Someone who has listened to your opinions, your hopes and your desires enough to know the things you like and the things you don’t like, the correct ways to show you they care. Someone who knows to ask when you want to be held and caressed and when you want your space, when you want to have sex and what consent is. Someone who knows how important the word “no” is.
Date a person who tells you nice things about yourself and builds up your confidence but challenges you when you need to be challenged. You deserve to be with those who know when to argue and to call you on your bullshit, but also know when signals from you tell them to leave you alone and let it be. Someone who won’t let you go to bed angry and is willing to talk about what’s bothering you, if even what’s bothering you doesn’t quite make sense or seem that important to them. Someone who knows that personal relationships aren’t as simple as who is right and who is wrong, that your opinion and perspective are valid, even when the two of you totally disagree. Someone who knows you aren’t always right and they aren’t always right but are willing to affirm the person your belief system, because your opinions are a part of the person they adore.
Spend time with people who don’t make you choose between being friends and being lovers, who you feel like you can genuinely have fun and be comfortable with. You need to be able to be casual, hang out in your pajama pants and be like buddies sometimes, while also valuing the romantic side of your connection. Someone who (when you get that far) understands what balance is in a relationship, that sometimes you need to go out and do your own thing. Someone who trusts you to make your own choices and to come home and be with them at the end of the night without the need to interrogate you, or if you are in an open relationship, someone who always trusts that your connection is stronger. Someone who gets that being together and waking up together every day is a choice, one you have to continue to make and continue to commit to.
Date someone who wants what you want, who is open to the idea of the relationship you desire with another human being. You need to be with people who are open to what you have to give to them and are willing to match it. Someone who has communicated enough on the subject to know what you are looking for with someone, whether that be a fling, friends with benefits or a person to bring home to your parents or chosen family. Someone who isn’t afraid to give you what you want in life but also respects themselves enough to have standards and value what they need and deserve in this relationship (or even friendship!) Someone who isn’t afraid to let you know how they feel: about you, about life, about what’s important to them, about the future or about whatever is on their mind.
Life is short, so you shouldn’t waste it on someone who doesn’t understand you, refuses to try and get you, won’t put in the time for you, who is rude to you, your friends or to other people and doesn’t even call you. Don’t worry about if they read, if they don’t read, if they watch movies or if they’re into the wrong kind of music; worry about whether they care what you like and you do. Details are important, but if the world ends this year, it’ll be more important to say you wasted the time you have left with someone who cares.
Nico Lang is the Co-Creator and Co-Editor of In Our Words and a graduate student in DePaul University’s Media & Cinema Studies program. Lang is a Change Coordinator for LGBT Change, the Co-Founder of Chicago’s Queer Intercollegiate Alliance and a film critic for HEAVEMedia, where he talks about nerd stuff on a weekly podcast called Pod People. Nico is also a contributor at Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post and has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, the New Gay and on his mother’s refrigerator. Nico is poly, pansexual and genderqueer but really just identifies as whatever David Bowie is. Follow Nico on Twitter @GidgetLang or on the Facebook.