Since you're reading Cracked instead of YouTube comments, I'll assume you're literate with a sense of irony. That means you very likely are -- or have been -- a thoughtful person. If so, don't worry! You can still find love with this handy guide to deprogramming yourself. If not, I'm so sorry; you are either a creep or a pure soul about to die in a Nicholas Sparks novel. Salvation from all three fates awaits you at the end of this article!
But first, a quick overview of what's wrong with you.
There's always time to reinvent yourself and stake out some happiness. Why, our own John Cheese specializes in such a thing, and even proposed to the future Madame Cheese in this very gathering of electrons we call Cracked.com.
But where Cheese is here to tell you that no matter how bad things get, you can drag yourself out of hell, my purpose is to remind you that nothing gold can stay, 80 percent of everything is crap and everyone is a bastard.
I do it for the kids.
Here's a map of common mistakes to help navigate the oily waters of adulthood. Once you learn to recognize them, you can make all the errors of judgment in life that much sooner. The first trap you'll plant your foot in is usually:
Come on, you knew this one would take point.
Love! Glorious, aching love with someone who throws coal upon the hot engines of life! You want to trust someone at a time when no one -- not even you -- understands you. Every day of the teenage years feels like the apocalypse, so you'd better grab a hand to hold.
Or even just a handie in the stacks would be great, thank you.
Spoken well of.
As the best friend, you are privy to all their thoughts ... almost. Even the greenest freshman knows that crushing on others might cost them their "platonic" friend's company. While you're confident that "I wish the jerk I'm seeing was sweet like you" means your love is bearing fruit, they're practicing vulnerability to the opposite sex without fear of rejection. And because this is a comedy website, I'm leaving you space to write a punchline that isn't just mad cackling at the empty night sky: _______________________________
Don't worry, guy; she'll come back when she needs help raising his child.
So yeah, you're getting mildly used. But you're using them back, ya fink. If a deeper intimacy were what you really wanted, you'd gamble their companionship to win it. Instead you waste their time pretending you only want friendship, and when you finally come clean, it's a high-pressure cry of "LOVE MEEEEE!" That's like a poker player who sits out every hand before tossing all his chips on a pair of fours.
This is a problem of youth and inexperience. Neither of you kids knows what's up, and both of you are scared and stupid. Unless you're one of those people who's basically 30 by the time they're 15 and gets early admission to NYU because they smoke the same Turkish cigarettes as the dean. If you are, any advice would be useless.
No, you're an average kid, probably cutting your hair like Skrillex because now is the time to make your mistakes. Nobody expects you to have any idea what's going on when you're a teenager; we expect you to question everything you thought you already knew, like whether God exists and how He could allow the E! network to flourish.
It's OK to make mistakes; it's not OK not to learn from them, unless you're Charlie Sheen. Then you just gotta shoot the moon and hope your creep rocket doesn't run out of fuel before you get there.
(The fuel is cocaine, if you were wondering.)
Sooner or later, you'll get that date. But be careful what you wish for ...
She might be bored, he might be trying the Popcorn Trick, and nobody wins.
For example, your crush might ... say, agree to go to prom with you, then land a boyfriend before the event arrives ... and still go with you because he's not much for proms. That might happen to
me you twice.
Young man, if a dame doesn't trust the troglodyte who's sexing her to use a fork in public, it's not your problem to fix. Or at least, it's not your problem to spend a month's pay on. Sure, you'll have fun, but you're shortchanging yourself if you want more from someone. Be honest, and don't settle. Certainly not twice.
Conversely, ladies: If you're hanging on for a dummy who doesn't know that all women are beautiful, according to several beauty product ad campaigns, simply take off your glasses and shake your hair loose. If you don't wear glasses, beat up a girl who does for hers. If you don't have any hair, roll your wheelchair up to the quarterback and ask him if he'll give a girl one dance before your scalp transplant tomorrow. I guarantee you will be elected prom queen -- unless the school finds that girl you beat up for her wheelchair. But even if they do, you can always find his sensitive side by getting him drunk.
You can totally steal this; we won't sue
If you can't make them feel something new, get off the stage.
Sigmund Freud was famously in the dark about what women want, but that's because he wouldn't stop telling them what it was. A woman is a person, and most humans thrive on bad music, mind-bending substances and being a selfish lover. Although if they're men they might also want to hear a fart joke.
Cheese would know what to do here. He'd say something wise, like "Don't put the weight on their shoulders. You want magic? Make some. The next time they ask you to fill in for their significant other, surprise them with one hell of a kiss. What's the worst that happens? You get rejected and can finally move on?"
Unfortunately, you can't teach hot-blooded apathy, so my advice to you is to deal drugs.
If you can provide something no one else can -- particularly something that makes Kings of Leon bearable -- you just differentiated yourself from the pack and flashed a dangerous edge. Nothing hits that tight overlap of "passion" and "stupor" like the chemical cycle of a prohibited substance. Plus, you get them wholesale, so they're cheaper than an evening on the town. Here are some fun ways you can use drugs to show you don't make friends -- you make business associates ... and it's business time.
** Offer them opiates. If they refuse, they might be a narc! Check their underwear for a wire. Now you're in like sin.
** Marijuana reefers, aka tea sticks, aka Scooby-Doos, are a powerful, addictive hallucinogen known to cause psychotic murder sprees. Even a single lick of a marijuana leaf makes nice girls loose, according to the 1936 film Reefer Madness.
** Cocaine is an expensive substance that shows you're willing to spend on them.
** Have you tried KFC's chickenlike food nuggets? They're addictive!
** Shy about sharing a first kiss? Sell them some bath salts and they'll be chewing on your face in no time!
** Nuke is an intense stimulant, very common in RoboCop's Detroit. However, due to its fictitious nature, it can be difficult to obtain.
** Cooking meth together is a fun bonding activity, as seen in -- dude, why aren't you watching Breaking Bad?
** Supermodel Kate Upton is intoxicating. Warning: There is strong evidence she causes brain damage in men.
If for some odd reason you don't want to traffic in illegal narcotics, you can still offer them sex. Ladies, you have it easy here; according to 60 years of sitcoms, no man has ever refused sex.
Certainly not after seeing Kate Upton smile.
Guys, she will likely refuse. Never fear! Do you own a Sybian? Look in your mother's closet. Leave it on the coffee table when your crush comes over, then pretend you have to take a phone call. She'll get the hint.
Ah, NOW it's a party! This is the love you'll remember the way jazz musicians recall their first spike of heroin. Years from now, every memory of this time will look like an Instagram photo, and every Instagram photo will get its own Vaccines song.
But oh man -- guy, you are going to screw this up so badly it'll make the Hindenburg look like a frat hazing. In your first relationship, you are going to get so many basic things wrong. Those bad girl/boyfriends you scoffed at when you were armchair quarterbacking your competition? At least they didn't think of themselves as considerate.
At any moment in a relationship, you should be ready for a sandwich.
Also, at this stage you kiss like an angry vacuum cleaner.
You're about to synthesize all your dreams of romance to the realities of a relationship. So on the one hand, enjoy the high. On the other hand, prepare to get yelled at for everything you're doing wrong. Little annoyances that wouldn't bug you if a friend did them resound loudly in the echo chamber of a relationship. Dammit, like it or not, you're going to have to learn and grow as a person, even though there's good TV on.
Still, you're in love! When their pain hurts you more than your own, you're living outside your own interests for the first time. No way is that a healthy impulse. So enjoy it! Because it's going away when you realize that the person you want to make love to forever is also the person you'd have to do chores with forever.
The good news is that years later when you see her walking down the aisle in white (or red, if you fell in love with a Chinese girl. High five!) she'll look exactly like you always dreamed she would. Granted, your POV will be a little lower and much farther away than the groom's, but hey -- while they're stuck in a thriving marriage, you'll be having crazy hot sex with a different website every night.
You can totally steal this; we won't sue
Even though sales techniques work great in dating, celibacy is preferable to having anything in common with pick-up artists. So whereas that no-good Cheese would tell you to be yourself, I'm going watch out for your interests and suggest being someone else.
Women already know what's up. They have a dating advice book called The Rules that famously curses them to be "A creature like none other," which is another way of saying "Have no personality and drift whichever way a man's will takes you." I think that's sexy, but then again, I date jellyfish and spring breezes, and have no interest in human females.
Grand Central Publishing. Ugh.
Burning books is like the death penalty; everyone's against it until they meet a perfect abomination.
But if they can reformat their personality drive, so can us fellers! If the problem is you, simply create an alter ego and delete your old personality. You just have to become the kind of unstoppable force of will that complements an empty Rules vessel. This was the premise of the romantic comedy Fight Club.
20th Century Fox
No personality, no goals, no feelings: On paper, Marla's the perfect Rules girl.
Some famous champions you may want to emulate:
** Clark Kent created an invincible persona, and Lois Lane literally began hurling herself out of buildings to get his attention.
** Soren Bowie is Soren Bowie.
** Any guy with a lot of money.
** Napoleon Bonaparte grew two feet through sheer hate, and got to sleep with an Empress!
** For some reason, women literally cannot say no to Wilmer Valderrama.
** Chaz Lamborghini, a sexy, gum-gnawing guido worn as a fiction-suit by thousands of young men with spiked hair.
What do all these gentlemen have in common? Trauma. It is trauma that makes a man, sir. Do not hesitate to smash your skull with a variety of objects until you find a personality that works. Eventually you will discover the "real" you. But -- *gasp* -- what if the real you is a different ethnicity?
For the females among you, I have no advice except start punching things and don't stop until you've introduced yourself to the authoresses of The Rules.
Put your big boy boots on. The first time you find yourself in a relationship that isn't working, you have two options: lie to yourself, or admit that even the best solution is going to suck -- hurting somebody you care about in order to do right by them. A third option is to pay a gigolo to seduce her away to a private island for a whirlwind romance that convinces her to take a chance on life ... but you probably couldn't afford my rates once you'd paid for the island.
This is an everybody quandary, but at least some folks are mean enough to know the damage they're capable of doing. The first time anyone who can't turn off the empathy lights does this, you learn something ugly about yourself -- and I don't mean ugly like the time you discovered a mole on your taint that looks like Henry Kissinger.
We all paid for this
But really, don't they all?
It sucks more to be the person getting cut loose from their happy fix, obviously. But knowing that you're causing that misery makes it a guiltier pain for the dumper. And don't expect any sympathy; you're doing the hurting here. Also: JOKES!
You can't will yourself to feel a certain way about someone. The worst trap is not when the relationship is volatile, but when it's great nine hours out of 10. Then it's easy to deceive yourself about the missing scrap. Relationships are like the employment level: They're healthiest somewhere between 95 to 98 percent functionality.
Man, wouldn't it be great if you could just ride onto the sunset, bleeding out, like the end of Shane? But the best you can hope for is a clean, honest, friendly break where both parties admit it's not working and part ways. You know -- like the Winchester brothers 15 minutes into every episode of Supernatural. Unfortunately, you'll just end up getting back together, like the Winchester brothers 20 minutes into every episode of Supernatural.
These dudes account for, like ... literally 13 percent of Tumblr.
It's not a good day when you realize you're not the good person you thought you were. You learn your own power, and a frightening lesson about how terrible it can be. Hurting someone you care about is only fun if there's a safety word. Make sure it's something non-erotic, like "trust" or the name of your ex.
You can totally steal this; we won't sue
Cheese would say, "If you take anything from this, learn to be more honest with yourself from the start so you don't have to be brutally honest down the road."
Don't listen to Fiction-Cheese! You don't have to settle! The best solutions simplify complicated problems:
** Us vs. them
** Buy now, pay later
** Love it or leave it
** Only a Sith thinks in absolutes
** It's not a crime if the president does it
** Always bet on black
** Kill 'em all
Love will find a way Disproven
That's why it's time for Operation: Giving Tree.
What you do is get everything you can out of them. First you keep them waiting for you while you pursue your dreams. I recommend a minimum of 2.5 years. If they lose interest, problem solved. But they might be deeper invested. Now you've got to raise the stakes, scare them off. Bring up marriage often.
Are they still there? Ask them to sacrifice their home, job, savings, and securities to be with you. Leave them nothing of their own to hold, which is another way of saying: nothing left to give.
Harper & Row want to see your tears
The hardest part about The Giving Tree is if it's ever rewarded for its love the book's message is invalidated.
Now you have an excuse to leave! No one can blame you for not wanting to stay with a loser, even if it's one you created. But don't rush to do this: You may still want to sit on the stump of their heart and realize to your shock that love gives endlessly. Congratulations -- in your old age you've learned an important lesson about how to be a better person! You're a hero!
By now you should be pretty good at reading people. You've loved, you've lost, you've learned. You can make a wise decision before you invest emotionally.
And it won't help a bit, because plans are what happens while you're making other lives.
Alright, no more rookie mistakes. Now you know every combo on the controller, so let the map of love spawn what it may. Even if you lose, at least you were able to give it your best effort.
Surprise! This is a multiplayer match!
It doesn't matter that after a few relationships you've armored up and perfected your aim. As you're playing by the rules, the bullet that kills your love-avatar will be fired by a devious child who teabags your corpse and shrieks racial slurs.
Don't hate the player, hate the game ... right? Sure, that's great balm for your ego if LeBron James dunks in your face, but not the lousy players who make the game itself miserable. They're the rats who win not by prowess but sly tactics anyone could do ... but if everyone did, the game wouldn't be sustainable. In those cases, by all means, hate the man who defiles your joy.
... wait, are we talking about basketball, video games, or love? Answer: All three, because each requires you to trust your teammates 100 percent ... right up till they abandon you for Miami.
I don't know if you've met any people, but most of them will do whatever it takes to win, and the remaining seven are too nice to bother. Sure, some people have the courage to leave when the relationship gets bad, but the majority line up their next good thing first. Nobody gets out without an exit strategy -- usually one that drives a sports car. Again: Miami.
One more faulty cliche: All's fair in love and war. Those two aren't really equivalent, because one is a brutal contest to wipe your opponent from the earth, and the other is war. Love is predicated entirely on chemical and biological weapons. Do you understand that you're in a contest with fewer rules than war? And the stakes are higher.
You can totally steal this; we won't sue
You're hurtin' there, kid. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but this one stole your bait. You can look at it as just rewards for the one you hurt. Or you can sue for breach of promise, but then the court legally changes your citizenship to a 19th century lady's and you can't vote anymore.
Cheese would probably tell you you're better off, because just as you were responsible for your own mistakes earlier, you can't excuse the one you love from faithlessness. Besides, they might be right to leave you, if the feeling's gone. Maybe you're The One They Hurt.
It's going to take time. The difference between love and heroin is that heroin doesn't make it personal. But good news! When your drug has only one dealer, you get clean whether you want to or not. Or you go on a crime spree, but I don't recommend this, as your head's not in the game, and our team of gentlemen thieves needs everyone's best if we're going to rob the International Space Station of its precious Martian gold.
The good news is that adversity tests your character: You can become bitter or better. Personally, I elect to become butter. Nothing's better than butter! In fact, there's an Irish saying: What butter and whiskey cannot cure, there is no cure for. Oncologists disagree, but let's see what cardiologists say:
You jerks ruined red meat, and now you're coming after butter.
So there you go! There's no cure for a broken heart. You'll have to ignore Fiction-Cheese's sensible, healthy advice and do what I do: Drink butter and chew whiskey all the live-long-day-O. It's a race between emotions and plaque to pop your clogs, and the track is your major arteries.
But what if the unthinkable happens, and you don't die? Look out, then, because hurting is bad, but healing is offensive. The day you get over it is the day you betray your own love. Your pain is as honest and true as your joy was, but soon it will be gone, and you will realize you're alright without them.
Can you imagine how much that will suck?
How can you trust yourself if your love is so fickle? Sustain commitment as long as you can by making a religion of your hate. Swear, upon the cold lights of extinct stars gleaming forever out of reach, to love hate so long as hate never leaves thee. Silence! It approaches now to speak your broken name in the keening tongue of the dead. This is baptism by drowning.
NOW YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
Open your red eyes, Hate-Child, to gaze anew upon this burning world. Let rage spread to consume you whole, that it never focuses into a laser toward the one who hurt you.
You could have done the easy thing and held a grudge. Instead, you sacrificed your sanity to think well upon The One Who Escaped. That's almost like forgiveness. In society's eyes, you are indistinguishable from a normal person. You are free to date again.
Most guys pressure a girl for sex at the end of a first date, but I'm satisfied if they just give me an old-fashioned, horrified "Who broke you?"
What's that smell? Oh, it's the guilt and regret of a person with a couple of bad breakups behind them. People whose nervous breakdowns don't outnumber their meals can tell something's wrong with you and will vanish after a date or two. Perhaps it's your emotional distance. Perhaps it's your emotional proximity before appetizers arrive. But most likely, it's the low murmur of hornets whenever you talk.
If it's the last one, congratulations! You are about to meet a tall, dark and crazy stranger. In fact, you're about to be approached by a lot of very interesting people, many of them traveling in a single body.
But even if they're distinct individuals, you'll find they share a lot in common. Crazy is like Necco wafers -- it comes in a whole lot of flavors, but has only one awful taste.
The thin mint patties are very nice, however.
There's no getting around it: Some people's mental architecture looks like the kind of apocalypse a dying clown masturbates to. You are going to meet those people, and wish you'd never told them where you live. You have entered Crazy Days, a magical period in a young person's life when your self-loathing is a pie on the windowsill to semi-functional lunatics.
The wonderful thing about crazy people is they're almost always polite enough to let you know it in the first 10 minutes, even though they don't know it about themselves.
Unfortunately, you don't take the warning and scramble, because you're one of them.
The awful thing about crazy people is you never, ever get the kind of crazy you were sold. And it's always -- Oh! So much more than you think you're getting.
Getty notices there are a LOT of tears in this article
"Don't give up on me!" says woman crying inexplicably for third time on second date.
You can totally steal this; we won't sue
Learn to walk away.
There's a point in every date with crazy -- always too late -- when you not only pin down what's wrong with someone but which relative is responsible for it. Maybe mom squashed any self-esteem. Maybe dad could never be wrong. Maybe Aunt Jane was a lousy kisser. Regardless -- don't blame the victim.
You're only temporarily crazy, so the responsibility is on you to pull the ripcord with dignity and kindness. You've gotta be bigger than your wounds, and understand that your madness is mere wallowing, while theirs is legitimate up-fuckery. Besides: You ain't gonna win this staring contest; crazy doesn't blink.
... that's what Cheese might say. And I get that, I do. I can say, yeah: Have empathy but don't make yourself vulnerable. Treat them the way you would a drowning swimmer -- help them out but control the scene so they don't drag you down. And then -- just like you would a drowning swimmer -- abandon them on shore for someone else to save. You did your part. Now it's time to burst into the bar and tell everyone you're a hero who should drink for free.
But if you want my practical advice, I say cut off your genitals.
The only thing crazy respects is more crazy. In fact, if you ever try to speak rationally with a nut, they get offended; I think it's because they feel you're not listening to their argument. It's much more soothing for them if you reply in kind.
Them: "YOU ARE NOT POLLY-WOLLY APPLEBAUM! THE ALUMINUM OF MY SHOES IS WEEPING FAT! THANK YOU FOR CONTROLLING THE WEATHER!"
You: "Are you OK? I think we should get you home."
Them: "This is why I feel we can't communicate anymore."
Them: "Space monkeys lit my crotch on fire?!"
You: "Oh yeah? Well ... well ... do not touch the turtles, I am a master cellist! STAY BACK OR I WILL CASTRATE MYSELF WITH MY TEETH!"
Them: "Whoa! Let's not say anything we can't take back."
Everyone has their limits. If you're willing to dial Crazy up to 11, you can eject from a relationship quickly and with a minimum number of restraining orders. The chances they will call your bluff are like ... 8 percent, tops. Sure, you could try kindness, empathy, dignity and hope for a response. But if you've ever put faith in people, you know it's preferable to lop off your penis.
Whew! That was exhausting. All that crazy burned the hate right out of you. Masochism's a lot less fun after you see folks who don't get a choice about it. You should probably reflect on that and return to healthy normalcy.
Congratulations! At last you've reached the height of your powers as a wooer. Now it's time to meet the one who amazes you, makes you laugh, cry, think and feel deeper than you ever have before. The one who braids all these lessons into an unbreakable rope and lassos your dumbfounded, scar-crossed heart.
Presumably Miss Emma Stone.
The accrued lessons of the previous five. Learn to love, learn to give and take, learn to fight for what you need. Take a chance! No matter how many times you've been burned, take a chance! You're not a loser until you quit trying! If you stop gambling, you stop living. Grab for something good in this roughshod world.
Have maturity. Have confidence and wisdom to recognize all you can be in glorifying that person who is so much better than you: wiser, stronger, purer, and yet still cares about YOU. Embrace the future. Learn to see the beauty and wisdom within, even if it's not the form you expected.
You can totally steal this; we won't sue
What I'm trying to say is ... John Cheese, will you marry me?