How do we learn what it means to really fall in love? More simply put, who teaches us how to actually date?
That's the question I often find myself asking after I've brought up my stance on Obamacare or spilled an entire glass of water all over myself on a first, maybe even a second, date.
Sure, there are thousands of advice books out there. But if you take the time and flip through the pages or highlight the parts that make your heart flutter, you'll soon realize the only things these books actually do is get you all riled up.
And they do that so well, that you eventually become too scared to take any chances on dates, or with love, and act more like a robot than an actual human.
Do me a giant favor: Forget these books.
Take them off your shelves and put them to use as paperweights.
Perhaps try stacking them together as a mini coffee table or use them to swat away that annoying fly that keeps invading your personal space.
I suppose everything useful I've learned about dating, I've learned through my very own mistakes. (I've made quite a few!)
I've also learned by watching an elderly couple hold hands and giggle back and forth at the dinner table as if their 786th date was their first.
I've learned from sharing stories with friends over a cup of coffee the size of my face, covering years of heartbreaks and their heart beats. Trailing behind them as they locked eyes with their future husbands or decided to say goodbye to a guy who wasn't meant to be their future anything.
But I've found whenever we're looking -- really looking -- for the best advice, often, we find it directly from our parents.
Some will sit us down and spill the advice that their growing hearts have learned over the years. Some will be there to lift us up as we're starting to crawl underneath our covers to hide from a broken, tired heart.
And some will just casually remind us as we're on the way to work on a Friday morning that it's important to find someone who makes you happy. That's all that matters (Thanks, Mom!).
My female friends and I are often curious about what's rolling around inside a guy's head, so I decided to sneak in for just a moment and ask 10 of them to tell me the #1 piece of advice they learned from their moms when it comes to dating, love or how to have a successful relationship.
Here's what I learned:
1. "My mom gave me advice when I had my first heartbreak at 20. She said: What you put up with in a relationship is all you'll ever get out if it. It's so true in so many ways." -Alex
2. "It's simple. My mom once told me: Look at her mother and you'll see her future." -Bryan
3. "'Don't rush It,' my mom told me. 'If you think she's the one for you -- or see a future with her and she makes you happy -- then pursue it. Don't ever let her pressure you into something you don't want to have. Also, be honest with your feelings.'" -Dan
4. "If it's not working now, it's not going to. (Amen, Mom.)" -Johnny
5. "See how they treat the waiter at the restaurant. It'll tell everything." -Cliff
6. "My mom was big on if you're in a relationship; you're part of a team. So you need to learn to compromise and understand that it's not just about you, anymore. And with that comes a lot of responsibility. If you want to be a good boyfriend or husband, you need to put their needs ahead of yours. Because at the end of the day, you're a team. Her happiness is your happiness." -T.J.
7. "The best advice my mom ever gave me about relationships is that life is about compromise. Once you understand that one thing might not turn out as you dreamed, life will surprise you." -Ido
8. "Don't rush into a relationship you're not sure about. Be patient until you find the right person." -Barry
9. "Trust your instincts. They'll tell you everything you need to know. (I always have.)" -George
10. "Don't you dare settle." -Shayne
10. "Choose the girl you hope to be your wife, but who is first your best friend. Love and friendship are so closely related. You can have one or both. Long after the wiles of love are put aside, it will be your friendship that endures. The person you love is someone who will share your interests, understand your limits and revel in your expectations and in turn, you will receive the same. Real love is just that, real. Not something contrived or sold over the counter. If you're lucky enough to have both then that type of friendship is the love that will last forever." -Nick
Amen, to that.
*All names have been changed