The best advice I was ever given…

Even the most seasoned daters need a bit of guidance sometimes. Let these real-life relationship advice gems help you out…
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Be busy
‘My friend once told me that if you want to make someone you fancy notice you, ‘The best thing is not to be there’. It confused me at first – how can you wow someone with your sparkling wit and wisdom if you’re not even in the same room. But what she actually meant was that if you play it cool, have your own life and don’t bow to someone’s every whim, they will respect your independence and begin to miss you when you’re off being busy and having fun without them.’
Laura, 32

Be calm
‘I always used to get really frantic whenever my boyfriend and I had any kind of disagreement or fight – even if it was over something as silly as what to have for dinner. I’d assume any discord of opinion meant we were doomed to break up. But one day, I was fretting again to my mum and she simply said: ‘There are ups and downs in relationships, but the down patches don’t mean the end’. Of course, if you’re fighting constantly, then something isn’t right, but it did make me realise that the occasional spat is nothing to worry about; it’s just human nature.’
Soph, 26

Be nice
‘Strangely, the best relationship advice I ever heard was while listening in to a conversation on the bus. A girl was saying how she was running late to meet her boyfriend, but she didn’t care because he was used to it and she couldn’t be bothered to get there and hear him moaning about his day anyway. Her friend didn’t tell her off for being mean, she just said: ‘Remember he’s not just your boyfriend, he’s your friend, and I hope you wouldn’t treat me like that’. It made me think how easy it is to take someone for granted when you need to value them as much as you value anyone you care about.’
Frankie, 23

Be your own person
‘The media often pedals the idea that you have to ‘become one’ with your partner, and that you’re only truly in love if you agree on everything, have all the same interests and finish each others’ sentences. For years, I believed this until finally, my aunt – who’s been happily married for 40 years – said: ‘What nonsense. It’s not about becoming one with anyone, it’s about finding someone who is happy to be a two’. Basically, it’s about finding someone who complements your quirks, not who replicates them.’
Ellie, 30

Be good at timing
‘In our increasingly busy and time-pressed lives, it can sometimes feel there’s no time to really talk to your partner. There’s social media and email for superficial stuff, but to really ‘talk’ can seem evasive. For this reason, it’s easy to jump on any time you’re together as a chance to discuss things. Trouble is, this time is often when you’re both finally home from work, done with emails and getting ready for bed – basically when you’re also exhausted, irritable and not in the right frame of mind to make any good decisions. And that’s why my good friend once said to me: ‘Never discuss anything important just before you go to bed’. Simple, but very true.’
Rosie, 28

Be real
‘Early on in a relationship, it’s very easy to be so keen to impress someone that you hide or amend bits of your character. Sure, there’s little things that you should give way on: don’t lick your knife in a restaurant, don’t refuse to talk on a date because you’re feeling pre-menstrual. But sometimes, you can find yourself pretending to like bands you’ve never heard of, or not admitting your love of 1950s-style crime dramas. This is OK at first, but keep the pretence up too long and you’ll go mad. I was chatting about this with a friend recently and she summed it up perfectly: ‘Don’t ever start being fake because you’ll never be able to finish  – only the relationship will.’
Jessica, 25

Be ready to move on
‘It’s natural that your past affects your behaviour in some ways – that’s the whole point of life; to live and learn. I used to take this a bit too far though when it came to dating, and would always compare the new person I was seeing to my ex, they were always either better or worse. Until one day, my dad – who normally never talks about emotions – piped up with: ‘Remember your new girlfriend is a person, not a replacement.’ Thanks to his timely advice, I’m now married to the girl I was seeing at the time.
Dan, 34

Be mindful of a bargain
‘My nan never had much money growing up and would scrimp and save wherever she could. I remember, as a teenager, going shopping with her to the supermarket. She spent hours scoping out the cheapest brands, while I stood behind her getting bored and rolling my eyes. Suddenly though, she turned to me and said: ‘Always settle for bargain groceries, but never, ever settle for a bargain man’. She didn’t follow it up with anything else, and just turned back to the baked beans, but her advice has stayed with me to this day; never, ever settle.’
Amy, 35
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