Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the person you’re dating before offering them a permanent position. Three strikes is forgivable (otherwise neither of us would pass our own test), four is a bit sketchy, and as for five or more…don’t make us say “we told you so.”
1. Are you the center of their universe? It might feel nice to be worshipped for a while, especially if you’ve been dumped recently, but that’ll get old fast—particularly when they call four times in the middle of your favorite TV show/sports game. Basically, a partner with their own life is more likely to respect yours.
2. How do they treat waitstaff? More importantly, how do they treat the bussers? Are they polite and patient, even if a brand new employee accidentally nudges their elbow when clearing? Do they say please and thank you? Would they be horrified if you referred to the staff as “the help”? If the answers to all the above are “yes,” then they’re a keeper, for if they’re kind to strangers, especially ones most people barely notice, just imagine how nice they’ll be to you.
3. Do they call their mom more than they call you? There’s nothing wrong with familial love; in fact, a close relationship with the ‘rents is a sign of stability (look ma, no baggage!). However, unless their mom is in the hospital or recently widowed, a grown woman or man shouldn’t need to check in every day with “Mommy.” If those apron strings aren’t cut, you’re bound to get tangled in them.
4. Do they constantly bitch about their co-workers? If so, all that criticizing might just be a cover for being hopeless at their job, as well as an excuse for not getting off their ass and improving their situation. The person you’re dating doesn’t have to be in their dream job, but they should at least have a plan for getting there.
5. Do they turn their cell phone off during a date? This is the modern equivalent of him opening her car door and her unlocking the driver’s side door from the inside after he’s opened the passenger side for her. If they answer their phone at the movie theater, they obviously don’t care about the comfort of others around them, including yours. And if they answer their phone while you’re actually sitting at the dinner table? That’s grounds for walking right out. (Texting counts too.)
6. Do they agree with everything you say? Yawn. You want someone with an opinion. Not someone who plays devil’s advocate around the clock, but someone who will hear out your position and defend theirs when they feel strongly about it. Studies have found that couples who have heated spats but are able to make up have a better future in the sack than best-friend couples who never fight. So let the sparks fly!
7. Can they go with the flow? So let’s say you’ve got an opinionated partner with great date ideas who’s planned the perfect evening out, with fun-filled activities scheduled every fifteen minutes. But then it rains right when you’re supposed to picnic on the upper deck of a sunset harbor cruise. Is the black cloud above mirrored in your partner’s expression? Freaking out when the date they planned doesn’t go exactly to schedule does not bode well for how they’ll deal with real crises.
8. Are your zodiac signs compatible? That’s a trick question. Who cares whether your signs are compatible? All that matters is whether you two make a great pair, star signs be damned. If they put any serious stock in heavenly bodies, chances are they’re a terrible decision maker who can’t take responsibility for their own actions.
9. Do you have a sneaking suspicion that your partner may be brighter than you? That’s a good thing. The best relationships exist between two partners who each think the other is a bit smarter.
10. Are they too good to be true? Then they probably are. Anybody can read a self-help book on how to snag a partner — and if you’ve looked at bestseller lists over the past few years, you know plenty of them have. Everyone has a few flaws, and a sincere, honest person will show you theirs when they feel comfortable with you. A faker will seem flawless. Beware the perfect partner, because nobody’s perfect.