Man and woman at a bar(Photo:Adam Hester Getty Images)

Time for me to get serious, sort of. Sometimes when you’re dating someone new–especially when you’ve been burned in the past–it’s hard to leave the six-piece Louis Vuitton set of emotional baggage behind. But really, you gotta.

OK. On the bright side, self-sabotaging is a “smart person” problem. You overthink everything, even your brunch order. That’s (mostly) a good personality trait. But when it comes to a burgeoning maybe-relationship, overthinking is kind of the kiss of death.

1. Don’t immediately lay all your emotional sh*t on him–the whole “I’ve been hurt before” shebang, I mean.

Even if he’s a good guy, any rational, healthy person would be overwhelmed by that right away. Instead, send each other stupid YouTube videos. (Really stupid, like “people falling down” stupid.) Keep it light.

2. Don’t panic. Don’t overtext–you’re worth the chase.

Also, you’re busy as balls, man! You have friends to hang out with, yoga to do and a career ladder to climb, otherwise known as “a life.” Don’t forget that.
3. Go somewhere cheap and low-key with him and just have fun.

Don’t drink too much. Don’t worry too much. Don’t try too hard. Let him make you laugh. Kiss him on the street if he deserves it. Kind of gauche, but everyone gets a PDA pass occasionally. Also, only go home with him when you’re dying to, not just when you sort of want to or feel like you have to, because you know that if you have a tiny little sliver of doubt it’ll grow into massive anxiety and you’ll end up being like, “Derp! I regret this!” and he’ll be like “Derp derp derp your feelings freak me out.” In retrospect, dealing with the a*sholes were easy because you always knew what to expect. But letting yourself really be comfortable with someone who you think might be worth it–that’s the hard part.

4. Stop talking about your ex, the one who broke your heart–stop dwelling on him in general.

Don’t read into this new guy’s every text message the way you did with your ex, either. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, because he’ll sense it. Take everything he says at face value–don’t obsessively ask him if he’s having a good time or how much he likes you, or whatever. It’s okay to be neurotic, but if he understands and appreciates your positive qualities first, he’ll be better-equipped (and should actually want) to deal with the negatives.

5. Don’t jump the gun or have high expectations.

He’s just a dude who is cool and smells nice and has good taste in stuff. It’s not a big deal. Like, really.

6. And guess what?

If you don’t take any of this advice, best case scenario, you’ll come off like one of those unstable “manic pixie dream girls” in movies, like Natalie Portman in Garden State–the annoying overly-quirky kind who cries about architecture and can’t take care of herself. We both know you’re not that girl. So should he.

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