One of my dad’s favorite expressions is “you can’t polish a turd.” It’s crude, but it’s true. Especially with guys. Ladies, I’m sorry to report that you cannot take a loser and make him into your Prince Charming. He may be hot, he may be funny, he may play the guitar (sexy, I know), but if he’s a cheater or self-absorbed, you cannot change him. I spent the first two years of college wondering why I would spend weeks or even months hooking up with a guy only to watch it fall to pieces months later. I thought I had mastered the art of being available but not clingy, and all of those other things that keep you from freaking out your love interest. Apparently not. And while I may have wasted weeks or months on a guy, I had friends who wasted years on one guy! What were we doing wrong!? I was not able to answer this question until I met Chris. And you’re lucky I did, because now I am able to reflect, understand, and tell you what I was doing wrong, so maybe you can stop making the same mistakes. With other guys, I would have to put in lots of work for little results. I would text them and in return I would get a hookup on the weekends. Maybe, if I was lucky, I would get a lunch date. With Chris, right away, I started to get girlfriend treatment. It wasn’t even the fact that he would take me to dinner, or actually initiate a text message conversation. It was the fact that he took interest in my life, remembered what we discussed in previous conversations, and wanted to hang out “outside of class” aka not in the bar at 2am. Sadly, this kind of man-behavior was fairly new to me. It was nice knowing where Chris was on the weekends, even if we weren’t together. It was also nice knowing that he probably wasn’t (as Kim Kardashian famously said to now-ex Reggie Bush) “texting other whores.” We didn’t even have to have a conversation about this matter; it was just assumed. Things sort of fell into place. I can’t remember us ever sitting down and saying, “You no sexy with her. Me no sexy with him.” We were highly-evolved people who understood that our relationship had gotten to the point where we were exclusive. Yeah, we did have the “we’re official” talk, but the early stages of our relationship weren’t plagued with millions of discussions about what we were doing, and what we meant to each other. We just did what felt right. That’s how it should be, and that’s what doesn’t happen often enough. Based on my previous poor choices, and my current excellent choice, here are some thoughts about whether your “thing” has relationship potential: 1.) If you have to have dozens of conversations about “what the rules of your relationship are” or “what your title is” then you will never be official and/or you are probably not going to be a long-term relationship. A serious, strong relationship should be organic. If you always have to ask the question, or lay the ground rules, or spell it out for the other person (and yourself) that is not natural. That is forcing it. I’m not saying it won’t work for a little while, but that means it doesn’t feel natural and good for one or both of you. Yes, sometimes you do need to have a conversation in the beginning to make sure you are on the same page. Fine. You do not need to have a conversation every week to reaffirm last week’s conversation. If you have to do this, then either you are feeling insecure, or something is wrong. Also, too many conversations make you seem needy. This is not attractive, and you may end up scaring off a guy who was interested in the sane, confident version of you. 2.) How he initially treats you will probably be how he always treats you. Let me say that there is always an exception to the rule. Bad boys can reform themselves. With that said, how a guy treats you in the early stages of dating/a relationship will probably be how he always treats you. This means that if he always asks you about your day, does nice things to show he cares, and shows you off to his friends, then that probably won’t change much. Even when you’re old and have a saggy ass or gain a few pounds. But on the flip side, if he never wants you to meet his friends, or he always stays out late at undisclosed locations, then that probably won’t change much. Remember what my dad said: “You can’t polish a turd.” And why would you want to? You are smart and beautiful and funny and talented. You need someone who can match that with his own repertoire of great traits. 3.) Listen to your friends. Sometimes we may be off-base and over-protective, but sometimes we have good instincts. If we think the guy you are dating is great, he probably is. If we think the guy you are dating is a complete tool, he may just be a complete tool. Obviously you need to be able to think for yourself, but we are able to see the situation without the clouded judgment of love/lust. Respect us, listen to us. Set us up with his cute friends. 4.) If you are complete opposites, you will probably not work out. I like intelligent conversation and not sitting on the couch all day. I like animals. I want to have kids at some point in the (distant) future. I once tried to make it work with a guy who basically felt the opposite about all of these things. I don’t know why, but I was sure that at some point we would both mature and see eye-to-eye. Then we would live happily ever after and enjoy an active, intelligent lifestyle with our many children and pets. No, Lauren. Just no. If you care about something and your potential man feels the opposite about the issue, this will become a problem over and over again. I’m not saying there is no way it can work, but you need to be aware of it. That said, you don’t need to ask every guy you meet at the bar how he feels about God, children, etc. but you do need to be conscious about who you’re trying to get with. You don’t want to spend all your precious time and energy on someone who doesn’t share any part of your value system. So what say you, my sweets? I hope I didn’t just crush your dreams about that dude you’ve been hoping to run into on a good hair day. The way I see it, the sooner you are able to weed out the very bad from the decent or even (hopefully) the very good, the better . And until the day when the “very good” comes along, I’ll be here to offer some advice about how to work through the very bad. Because trust me… been there. Done that.