The Juice

I had a completely different post (or 4) ready to be published, but it will sit in my drafts until a little later… I thought it might be good to lighten the mood a little.

Have you ever had a friend that has everything going for them and isn’t entertaining/talking to/dating 20 people at once? Or, have you known someone who is super popular in real life, but it doesn’t go to their head and you never would have known via their social media presence? It’s seems super rare and incredibly refreshing, right? If you answered yes, then you might share in the sentiment that the concept of juice is something you aren’t really a fan of.

For my older (and of course wiser) readers, “the juice” I’m referring to here isn’t O.J. Simpson… but O.J. in his prime definitely had it. When I say juice I mean being popular with the ladies/fellas. To further clarify, if you wanted to use it in a sentence you could say, “WOW, you dated him? He’s fine! O, you got the juice,” or “You didn’t know? G is a Juice Gawd!”

(Yes, O & G are people, and gawd is pronounced god. Just text me if you have any more questions.)

Let’s start this post off by clarifying a couple of things. First, is that I have no juice. If I did I’m positive more people would read my blog out of some unsatisfiable curiosity and I wouldn’t be extremely single. Need further proof? Then let’s head over to social media – where juice seems to manifest itself – and pull out our calculators. I average 144 likes on Instagram and have 1558 followers (there’s an app for that), which means on average 90.8% of my followers ignore my posts. The last time I received a text from someone who isn’t one of my best friends was 6pm yesterday. And, on top of that, my Dad gets more responses to his posts on Facebook than I ever have in life. Maybe since I haven’t enjoyed the wondrous splendors of being incredibly “popular”, I can’t possibly understand it. Secondly, I have no problem with people finding others attractive or being a ladies’ man/gentlemen’s woman (why is there no female equivalent to ladies’ man? Sounds like a double standard to me…), I just don’t like the importance I feel that we place on being well liked.

So, why don’t you like juice? I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you.

It’s an Assumption – Unless they are the type of person who tells everyone everything about their personal life, saying someone has the juice is largely an assumption. The way someone looks and the things you have heard about them probably gave you that idea. I touched on this some in Computer Love, but the perfect profiles on social media aren’t really us. It’s not always a sunny day in perfect makeup and a cute dress. This isn’t true all of the time. So, what if it’s not an assumption, what if it is true? I would say that the confirmation that someone has the juice doesn’t stop our assumptions at all. Now that we know they are “popular”, we (myself included) tend to have this idea in our heads of what someone who gets this type of attention is like. That’s unfair. Just because someone is a large cup of guava-berry, doesn’t mean that they are the type of person you might categorize them as. They might not be promiscuous or even care about the attention they are given at all… Let’s be honest, they might not even be that interesting either.

It’s a Deterrent – At first glance this seems a bit backwards, but if I had a dollar for every guy who told me he was hesitant to reach out to a girl because she was “popular”, I would be writing this from a yacht… Ok, I would be writing this from a decently sized boat. They must be dating/talking to/situation-shipping with someone. It’s an unfortunate mindset really. I’m sure there have been plenty of missed opportunities because of this fear of failure/rejection. I can’t tell you when it’s the right time to “shoot your shot”, but in the words of Hitch (yes, from the movie… this is my blog, I make the rules): “Any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.” And if that didn’t help then, I can more factually state that 9 times out of 10, those heart eyes under her pictures are from someone she doesn’t even know that well.

It’s Not Important – I think this is a hardest part for people to believe when I say it, but I actually don’t care about the juice at all.  Sure, it’s great feeling to have people compliment you and I’m sure it is an even better feel to nab the guy that all the girls want, but at the end of the day does it really matter? If you had whatever it was that made (insert your most attractive/favorite person here) so attractive, what would that change about your life? If I had bigger boobs, I might have more followers on Instagram, but that’s really it. Who knows, maybe with a little juice you could finally get the attention of the guy you really like, but do you want someone who is caught up in the hype around you or who likes you for you?

With juice I feel there is really only one option: if it must exist then we all need to create our own. Does it really matter who/how many people like you or know of you? Do you even like you? So, every morning after you are done mixing up your bowl of happiness, grab a big glass and get to squeezing. This way you’ll be entering into the world with a nice full glass, and it won’t matter if someone is trying to pour you a little more or if you feel as though you’ve gone unnoticed for the day, because you’re already full. I think I have a cool glass of cran-apple going on today. What about you?

– Loni

 

The Talk

In an attempt to continue to grow my relationship with God, and as a result of situations I have previously found myself in with people who aided in my confusion between lust and love, I made the choice to be abstinent. This decision was a good choice for me personally, but since I am dating and getting to know new people, it has started to become a decision I have to more openly share with others.

More often than not, I find myself needing to have “The Talk” right away on first dates (it’s crazy how fast sex comes up when you meet someone nowadays, which is a frustration  of mine that happened to escape Computer Love). I don’t want to say that every guy has responded negatively to these talks, because they haven’t. And, I definitely don’t want to say that every guy who has disagreed was completely false in his opinion, because that is not the case either. But, what I can say is that “The Talk” is known to produce responses that have left me perplexed to say the least (especially if I don’t know the person well), so I thought I would share a couple of those with you.


What good is a girlfriend if I can’t have sex with her?

This view on relationships is interesting to me. I thought at this point in our lives, most of us are dating with the purpose of discovering more about ourselves and what we need from a partner, and for some even finding that person to spend your life with along the way. However, it looks like some of us are still in it for the guarantee of a hookup and matching Jordans. But in all seriousness, after probing further (because anyone who knows me understands just how unacceptable this answer was for me… I am a work in progress, pray for me) he rephrased to say, “What good is a girlfriend if I cannot be intimate with her?” In response to this I asked him to explain why sex was the only intimate act he could think of, and although we had a good conversation… we did not agree at the end.

That part of the Bible is no longer relevant.

Hands down the most annoying response I’ve received (three times!), especially when it comes from Christian men. I often find myself wondering how exactly they go about determining what parts of the Bible are no longer relevant, and I’ve never received a solid answer. We want the healing, the saving, the blessings, and the guarantee of heaven to somehow still make sense and exist, but not the uncomfortable and often challenging parts that we are taught to do to display our faith. I bet the wives submitting to husbands part is still relevant… they probably have Colossians 3:18 underlined and highlighted for easy reference.

 What did your Ex do to make you not want to have sex? I can change your mind.  

Nope. Stop. Do not pass “GO”. Do not collect $200. I have nothing further to say to you. In fact, you are probably an expert at creating the exact situations I want to avoid.

If I can’t get it from you, I’m going to get it somewhere else. This is basically an excuse to cheat…

So you mean to tell me, in your late twenties/early thirties you have so little control over your body that if you cannot have sex with your significant other, you go out into the streets and find anyone to have sex with? What happens when she’s traveling on business, or on vacation, or on her period? So, you automatically cheat at least once a month. You are something else…

I respect what you are doing, but it is not for me.

I honestly wanted to throw this man a parade despite the fact that he left me deep within the friend zone. He get’s it. That’s really the point of this post. There is no “winning” on either side. If you decide to freely engage in sex you’re often labeled a hoe. If you decide to wait for a relationship or marriage you’re often looked at as a prude. Just instance #3,862,399 where women are held to an impossible double standard. However, these opinions from others should never cause you to live your life for other people.

You need to be solid in your belief of what is best for your life, yes, but that’s not enough. We also need to stop forcing our opinions onto the lives of others, and start responding to things similarly to the gentleman who is responsible for the last quote. Let’s do a little more listening, and gain a little more understanding even if we don’t agree… Maybe those who were responsible for some of the other responses (besides not ending up on my blog) would have seen my abstinence as less of an attack on them/men or a ploy for attention or to be difficult, and more of a refocusing of my life and the strengthening of a relationship I let go for a couple of years. Because that is exactly what it is. 

-Loni

 

It’s Not Much

I wonder where everyone is going. Who they’re traveling to go see. What their lives are like. What they’re going through. Maybe we’re not that different. Maybe we are as different as we think. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own world and forget everyone around us is a person too. They have good days and bad days. They have strengths and weaknesses. They have feelings.

Sometimes I forget I am a normal person too. When I’m in an airport I have on my consultant mask… which is basically (and unfortunately) a self absorbed robot. Always somewhat in a hurry.  Too “important” to wait in lines with those who don’t have status. Gaining more hotel points and airline miles by the minute than are ever necessary in life, yet slightly annoyed by even the slightest hiccup in my travel day… like a delayed flight, or the man who doesn’t know he can keep his shoes on in the Pre-Check line, or the woman who stands in the middle of the terminal hallway obviously very lost.

I think that’s why we spend so much time judging, hating, and fearing people we don’t know. We forget they are people with feelings just like ours. They can be happy, or sad, or anxious, or annoyed like we do… But most importantly we forget that we aren’t perfect and we’re not more important than anyone else. All we really know is our life. Who knows what kind of person we would be with the opportunities they had, their skin color, or their experiences. Do we really have a reason to be anything other than kind?

A lady reminded me of this the last time I was on a flight leaving out of this gate (which was also very delayed like today). She tapped me on the arm while I was waiting in line at a coffee shop and told me my order was paid for. I quickly regurgitated my go-to order to the barista and followed after her to say thank you. Her response was simple, “You’re welcome, it’s not much.” And, as soon as her coffee was ready, she not only walked away, but back out of my life forever. So, why did she do it? Maybe I looked upset, or maybe I just was another woman alone in an airport later in the evening. I’m not sure. But, does it really matter? Did she need a reason to show love for someone she didn’t even know?

She was right though, it wasn’t much, but it went a long way. And now someone who typically wouldn’t care, thinks more about the thousands of people she sees in the busy terminals she frequents… giving a smile, or a compliment, or a helping hand. It’s not much, but no matter where everyone is going, who they’re traveling to go see, what their lives are like, what they’re going through, how different or similar we may be, I do know that kindness feels the same for everybody and we can always use a little bit of it.  

– Loni

Selective Silence

March 20 2003

Well we went to war with Iraq yesterday night. And I fell like daddy is going to war with me. When i went to  my class today everything was fine and when we get home he bands me from the dining room! Then I was talking to mommy and I asked if daddy was in the kitchen and he thought I was going to say something about him and hes like if your going to lie about something don’t say anything. So I going on selective silence agaist him if he’s around I wont talk. I’ll even swear it!

I Elon Nadeen Smith will chose to be silent around  Felton Lewis Smith. This is due to unfair treatment. If I shall break it, renew it. 

Signed, Silent


For the first time in my life my Dad will be living in a different state than me. As he was unpacking boxes, he found one of my journals, and read the excerpt above to me over the phone. It is funny reading my thoughts, my Dad also had to try to force back a giggle or two to save me some embarrassment, but if I remember anything about my 11-year-old self (and no, I don’t mean the obviously gifted writer hidden behind some questionable grammar), it was that those feelings weren’t very funny at all, I thought my dad was my enemy. 

I was an intelligent kid, but no matter how smart I thought was, Dad was always at least three steps ahead of me. As an adult I’ve come to better accept (emphasis on better… not completely accept) being strategically outmaneuvered, but as a kid everything was a competition that I needed to win. Who would win the board games on game nights, who would solve the riddle, who would figure out the end of the movie and ruin it for the rest of our family first (sorry guys)… I lost roughly 98% of the time. And, as if the constant humiliation of defeat wasn’t enough, there was another big reason I found myself “at war” with my Dad. 

He was the only person who challenged me. I thought of myself as (and was often treated like) the golden child that would be the most successful person in the family. But, on top of being intelligent, I was a dramatic, mean, emotional, introverted, and insecure little girl. Because of this, my Dad and I didn’t have the traditional cozy, cute father-daughter relationship like the one I felt that he had with my sister or like those that you see on TV. Being coddled was the opposite of what I needed. Looking back on it now, it was as if everyone could see my potential and thought I would “get there” regardless, but my Dad was the only one to  realize that I had no chance of “getting there” at my current state and it was his task to get me where I needed to be… So he did.

One of the most distinct memories I have was from middle school while trying to do some advanced math homework that I just did not understand. After multiple failed attempts, I asked my Dad for help (one of many perks that comes with having a Chemist for a father). He had me re-read the problem that I had read 100 times looking for some hidden secret message, and then he explained how he would solve it. But, unfortunately for me, he did not give me the answer. I sat at the dining room table and I cried for what felt like hours before I finally got frustrated and focused enough to solve the problem. At that point he came back and said, “No one is ever going to give you the answer. I might not even have the answers to give to you. But, I can teach you how to think.” 

The only thing 11-year-old me could see at the time I wrote in my journal that day was that my Dad hated everything about me, but in reality we all know he never hated me at all. He loved me enough to teach me lesson after lesson, because he understood that later down the road I would need to be a different kind of person than the one I may have been becoming. 

He taught me how to be confident enough to get where I had the potential to be in life. He taught me how to solve problems I had never faced before. He taught me to handle criticism and how to never let anyone control my emotions. But, most importantly, he taught me how to be kind and loving in order to maintain one of the most important things in life, my relationships with others. I didn’t have any of those things before, but no period of selective silence would stop my Dad from instilling those things in me. 

As I read my other journal entries, I realize how much I’ve grown since then in more ways than my height and age. I hope he knows his hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Also, I hope he knows he taught me one of the biggest lessons of them all: 

If I am ever blessed with a family, all of my children will be different. They will have various gifts and personalities, but I will never compare them to each other nor make one feel more special than the other. But, I will need to have a unique relationship with them all to address their varying needs. Some lessons will be tough to teach (especially when we face tough times in life), and if my children are anything like me, they might fight back and/or not really understand them at all at the moment, but I won’t give up… and one day I’ll look back and remember why. 

– Loni

Random Thought #1



This week Loveli Loni had its highest views since my launch week. When I see others reposting my link and sending me positive texts and comments, I reflect back to a week or two before I launched when only a couple of people knew it was happening. My first post was already written but I nervously changed it a millions times a day. A few days after Christmas I received a package that contained a black shirt with my logo printed on the front from my best friend (who I had been going back and forth with for years about how I desperately wanted to write). When I called to say thanks he reminded me that I was a good writer, yes, but more importantly I always put my voice, my most honest self, into everything I wrote, and because of that the readers would come.

I’m glad he was right.

-Loni

Loveli Valentine

Everyone wants to enjoy Valentine’s Day, but it’s fair to say that for a decent portion of the population, this day sucks. Unless you’re in a relationship, the holiday isn’t always full of romance and bliss. Instead, it feels more like a day to reflect on everything that you are missing. I can’t speak for the single men who are (more than likely) joyously enjoying their lack of V-Day responsibilities, but often single women spend the day avoiding cute posts on social media, watching The Notebook and/or eating their weight in chocolate. On a day where couples are tasked with creatively condensing all their love into 24 hours of pure magic, it seems like there’s no love left for you.

For me, Valentine’s Day was the most fun in elementary school. Why? Because no one was left out. It didn’t matter if you were a nerd or ugly or super shy, everyone got a Valentine. In middle school things started to get a little too competitive. At my school there was a tradition to send mini boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to all of your Valentines and they would be delivered in their home room on the 14th. Needless to say, if you didn’t get any doughnuts, you felt some major V-Day shame. High school was rather uneventful for me during this time of year, but someone did attempt to be my Valentine once. My Dad called me to the door because “some boy” had candy for me… And, if you know my Dad you can be sure that this exchange of candy at my front door was the extent of that attempt. 

Since then, I’ve never had a Valentine (with the exception of my Dad, Brother, or Grandparents of course), and every year I would get myself down in the dumps about it. I was either very single or in that awkward middle ground of “talking” that our generation loved so much in college which meant I would spend the holiday alone. One particular year I thought I would have my first real Valentine (despite the fact that we weren’t official) and boy did that backfire. Thinking that I would have grand V-Day plans only to discover nothing would actually happen was about a thousand times worse than just sitting on the sidelines the years prior… Somewhere between that experience and now is when I decided to try to put some of my own love into Valentine’s Day.

For those who don’t have anyone to celebrate with, yes, this holiday can be absolutely terrible, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s plenty of love in your life to celebrate even if it isn’t manifested in a breathtaking date with Mr. Right. Celebrate your love for your family, your friends, your pet fish, but most importantly yourself. 

It’s not easy. From one serial single Valentiner to another, I know. But, my Loveli Valentines, our time will come. Until then, embrace the holiday. Show love for all of the things that you love in your life, make someone smile, and think positive thoughts. But, if you’re not ready to embrace the 14th… Pretend it’s a normal Tuesday and resist the urge to text your Ex. 

…But actually, you will regret it later, so just put your phone down now.

– Loni

Sister-Cousin

She was perfect and I absolutely hated the way I looked…. We were both skinny, spoiled brats, but when it came time to “grow up” her legs got longer and her chest got bigger and I didn’t change at all. High school junior… still without a period, 98lbs, flat chested, with an overbite my braces did not cure. And, it was all I thought about. Constantly, I had to ensure my legs and arms were covered (I reluctantly gave in to my Dad buying a uniform skirt my senior year of high school, I preferred to hide behind the other school uniform options of khaki or black pants), I always crossed my legs when standing to try to hide their size, and most importantly I always needed a new way to make my chest appear larger. I was so unhappy. 

Luckily, she was my best friend. 

It was a weird dichotomy of feelings to have. She was asked to school dances, I wasn’t. She needed to go shopping for bras and tampons, I didn’t. Her self-esteem was always through the roof, mine wasn’t. She still had her mom… I didn’t… I wanted to hate her for being given the life she had, but I just loved her so much. 

Now, since we’ve graduated high school and college, she constantly reminds me how proud she is of me and how much she has always looked up to me. It was something at the time I never would have understood. She had everything I wanted and all the while she saw things in me that she wanted as well. I always thank her and tell her that she doesn’t need to look up to me and that she’s doing just fine, but I’ve always been too ashamed to tell her that she was someone I wanted to be just like all my life. After all, I was the older cousin, I was supposed to be helping her through life. But, it just didn’t go that way in my mind.

Talking to you yesterday briefly on snapchat brought me here. 

In your early teenage years you became beautiful, yes, but you were confident even before that. Confident during the braces and the baggy jeans that you always had to take in at the waist. I looked up to you for that.

You were an extrovert with ease. You did solos at dance recitals, talked to anyone without being awkward seconds after meeting them, and never had to force a smile. I looked up to you for that.

Boys were crazy for you! But… you paid them no attention if they didn’t know your worth. If you only knew how much I looked up to you for that. 

You weren’t afraid of anything. You lived life to the fullest everyday, you accepted things that happened to us with grace, and you could see the beauty in all situations… I needed to look up to you for that. 

Truth is, Monie… you had your life together hours and days and weeks and months and years before I could even stand to look in the mirror and like anything that I saw. You’re not just my sister-cousin and PIC, but my confidence and a shoulder to cry on when I didn’t have any “good things” inside to have for my own… The role model I always needed. 

So, thank you

Love, 

Loni.

Beyond Life Friends

My friend and I went to North Carolina to visit one of our close friends this weekend. It was a gloomy drive, but we had an awesome weekend once we arrived. Driving back to Atlanta yesterday it was raining quite hard and my copilot fell asleep, so it was the perfect atmosphere to be alone with my thoughts. I couldn’t believe we spent roughly 12 hours in a car, the latter five and a half practically swimming down 85 South, just to be around a friend. We didn’t do anything particularly special, the weather wasn’t even that great, but it was totally worth it… And, I couldn’t help smiling a very familiar smile to myself. 

My Mom and Dad had really good friends that my siblings and I grew up to know quite well ourselves. They would come around for holidays and birthday parties and have us over to their houses to just relax or have dinner. Although I appreciated them, I didn’t really give much thought to their friendship until my Mom passed. My Dad’s friends became like second, third, and fourth sets of parents without being asked, but even more shocking to me was the continued presence of my Mom’s friends in our lives even when she was no longer physically present. There is never a birthday that passes without a card or gift, my graduations were just as important as those of their own children, and to this day there isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t receive a call, text, or Facebook message full of well wishes on everything going on in my life. They don’t have to do any of this, they just do… And they do so ten years later, still bearing that same smile. 

When I was younger I didn’t really understand why they did the things they did. Majority of my friendships at this point (teenage years) were surface level and heavily determined by the homeroom we were assigned, who was of similar popularity, and/or the brand of clothes I wore. After some time you naturally come to the realization that your relationships are becoming more mature the older you get. But, I will argue that despite this, your true friendships really start to blossom when you’re an adult. When you’re done with school and other kinds of forced social interactions, it’s easier to see who is still around for you and who you are willing to go out of your way to spend time with.

Whether I understood the friendships of my parent’s or not, I knew that I always wanted that for my life. And, I know it sounds silly, but each time I get that smile, accompanied by that deep, happy, warm feeling, I’m reminded that I now have it. The people who have helped me through insecurities. The people who have given me second, third, and fourth sets of parents. The people that will drive across Atlanta in rush hour traffic or even across state lines to spend time with me. The people I do life with. But most importantly, the people who give me my parent’s smile. My beyond life friends.

– Loni

Content

Lately I’ve been feeling very single. It’s similar to the feeling that you get when you go to a restaurant by yourself, except you experience it everywhere. Instead of hanging out with bae or going on dates, I have all this free time to, you know, live life… but when I leave my house all I see are couples and engagement rings. And, to make things worse, I can’t even get in any retail therapy because all the stores already have their Valentine’s Day gifts and candy out on display. Woe is me. However, I’m trying to remember that it doesn’t matter how badly I may want my life to mimic how I feel when I listen to Sure Thing, it’s just not for me right now. 

It’s hard to say something you want isn’t right for you at the moment. Being content with my current season of life is one of my biggest struggles. I’m a planner. Whether it’s relationships, work or school, I like to know how things will go. I enjoy having a checklist, and I especially enjoy checking things off of it. When I look at my life plan, it simply didn’t include long seasons of singleness in my mid-twenties. This alone can make it easy for anxiety to creep it. Trying to determine how your future will go when you saw your present going differently is a breeding ground for worry.

Well, I’m happy to inform you, that unlike a blueprint for a building, if your measurements are a little off your life will not come crashing down. Instead, be thankful for the ability to gain insight and to make adjustments! This could be time for you to enjoy or even avoid something that is being completely overlooked because you’re too busy thinking two or three seasons ahead about things you can’t even control. It could be that my next relationship will be my last, and I have some major growing to do before that can successfully happen. Maybe this season of unemployment is to direct you to your true purpose in life. Or it could be that you need to learn better budgeting skills before you are blessed with that new car (and the car payments that come with it).

I personally need to spend less time planning and more time praying. Putting things in God’s hands is so much better than worrying. With all the other things going on in the world, why carry that extra weight? He has something way better in mind than I could ever plan or even imagine, and that’s definitely worth the wait to me.

That may not change the fact that I don’t want to be single or that I have no idea how long this season will be, but I’m learning to be content and to do all of the “living” I need to do while I’m in it… But, just in case, I’ll avoid listening to Miguel and running into any department store holiday displays.

– Loni

Computer Love

As a single young adult, it is expected at some point during any holiday you spend with your family to be asked (or if your family is anything like mine softly interrogated) about the status your love life. You would think that the lack of a Christmas plus-one or even the hint of a cute text would tell them everything they may ever need to know, but of course it doesn’t. So the questioning begins. “You’re a beautiful young woman with a nice job, I’m sure  you have suitors. Why aren’t you seeing anyone?” Rather than trying to explain that I don’t think anyone uses the word suitor anymore and that I’m seeing people but haven’t really been on an official date in months (thanks to this amazing phenomenon of “talking”), I go for the easier option of, “Things are just different now.”

To us the world can feel so small. All you need is a phone and you can be halfway across the planet by simply watching a Snapchat or live stream. We have access to anyone that we can google search, and because of this, some of us know the lives of others just as well as our own. It sounds creepy, but it’s almost normal to “know” a person without ever having to know them personally, let alone ever see them in person. I have hundreds of followers I’ve never met, but could say that we’re almost friends through the years of exchanged likes and comments.

Seeing as we don’t even know a large percentage of the people we come into contact with daily, we often have our first impression of someone via social media hours, days, or even months before we meet them (if we ever do)… Already forming our opinions of them before they get the chance to plead their case. To say that you’ve decided whether or not to pursue someone based on what you’ve seen or heard is hardly untrue nowadays, and especially so with the popularity of online dating. These decisions are often made within seconds and solidified by a simple swipe of the finger. This may be counterintuitive, seeing as one would think having the entire pool of eligible bachelors at your finger tips would make things easier, I feel it only makes dating more competitive than ever. There’s always someone better looking, more wealthy, and more intelligent a few clicks away.

So, on the other side of the screen, we are busy making the best version of ourselves visible to the public eye. Who knows who will stumble upon your page today! Posting only your best selfies, ensuring to capture our latest successes, and heaven forbid we go somewhere cool and forget to get a photo-op. And, for those people who are Instagram famous, I’m sure it’s a full-time job to stay relevant. We do all of this only to get discouraged over the assumptions people make about us and the type of attention we attract, all the while refusing to do much reflection on the type of person we are presenting to the world.

Now, when we do enter into relationships we are bringing all of this junk into them with us. Right from the start there can be great disappointment because we aren’t getting all the things we perceived via text or social media from our partner (in person). Some things you can only learn from interaction, like the fact that your new beau may be quick-tempered. From there, Snapchat goes from only being good for the cute dog filter to a GPS/tracking device for your significant other. Casually viewing snaps can turn into obsessively searching for the slightest hint of the presence of an attractive female in the background. Instagram is less fun now too, because you can’t explain it, but you feel like his love for you is somehow depleted with each like he gives to another girl.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but when you factor in all of this, piled on top of everyone else’s opinions (because, yes, just like everything else you put all over social media, they have access to every single detail of your relationship…), piled further on top of all the normal relationship stuff we haven’t even touched here, it’s easy to feel like there’s more going wrong than going right from the start. You’ve managed to successfully sabotage our relationship before it ever really began. From then on, you’re never as happy as the other couples you reluctantly like pictures of, who in turn may not even be that happy themselves.

Yet, we continue the cycle, and later wonder why our relationships fail more often than not. Dating with all the added distraction, jealousy and insecurity can make you want to have options waiting on the side, and it can definitely make you want to keep the new people you meet at arm’s length until you’re sure you can trust them. Doing something over and over again is draining in itself. Now, doing something over and over again with the same negative result… well that can make you extremely pessimistic. Despite all of this, I’m going to ask you to try one more time.

However, not using the same methods as before. Instead, let’s for the first time in a long time, do something the way our parents did. Old school. And no, I don’t mean change the font on your phone to EXTRA LARGE and announce to everyone in the room every time you’ve “twittered”. I mean trade in “talking” for courting, opt for an actual date before you Netflix and Chill, and maybe hold off on your judgement of someone against your long list of standards for long enough to view their potential. Let’s make first impressions back into an in person experience! Mostly, I hope as we get older we realize all of this social media stuff is very similar to your favorite celebrities butt; it looks great but it’s probably overstated and not real.

I’m not telling you to take everyone that slides in your DMs on a date (it’s human to not be attracted to everyone), rather try making one of the checks on your list into a question mark and give someone you may normally overlook a shot. Ladies he may not have the six-figure  salary and the car that comes with it yet. Fellas, she might not be an amazing cook but is willing to learn. Maybe she’s not a social butterfly. Maybe he’s not your ideal race. This could just be the hopeless romantic in me, but there could be something there that you’re dismissing simply because of how things appear to be.

We want everything to be instant like our Amazon Prime deliveries, mac and cheese, and video streaming, but that’s not how dating works. It never has (maybe it feels like our parents did less aimless wandering because they weren’t so distracted by every gorgeous face on Instagram). Not every relationship will work out, and although it sucks a lot, that’s life. But, some of my best “gifts” came without the influence of social media via the most unexpected packages… and I plan to keep it that way.

-Loni