If my life is a romantic comedy, the people I encounter are often times romantic hecklers.
"Don't Do What I Did." These well meaning folks are usually parents, but sometimes friends who are bitter after relationships or in long-term miserable ones. The overall messages begin with things like; "you don't want to--" "you'll probably regret--" "I wish I had never--" and include such words as "always," as in "men always--" and "never" as in "I would never let a man--" If this adviser got in a relationship at a young age, they will tell you all the regrets of things they missed out on. If they lived with someone without marriage, they will tell you how they will never get a ring. Whatever mistake they made, you will have to be the apt pupil who does not make them so they can live vicariously through you.
"There's Always a Deal-Breaker." This is the friend who has been burned and never ever forgot it. Most likely, this is the one that, no matter who she hooks up with and how different each man is in the beginning, ultimately they become the same man in the end. She's likely to say things like "well, if he's been married twice, he can't seem to stay committed. He likes to serially fall in love and go down on his knee and then the actual marriage bores him." "He has little relationship with his children? Oh, that's a deal-breaker. It means he can ignore his own flesh and blood. Imagine what he'd do to you?" "You don't want a man who is older. You're way too energetic and healthy to put up with a cranky old man." Pretty soon, this friend has whittled away every candidate.
"Negative Nancy." This friend is a downer. She wants to rain on your parade. "Oh, enjoy it now, it won't last long" or "I remember that phase of my relationships. Too bad it can't last." There are no happy endings for her or for you apparently, if you listen to her depressing statistics.
Ultimately, it's up to me to eventually hit the dating world and decide what I think of dating adult males. My last dating foray, I was 16 years old. It won't help having romantic hecklers in the wings, but I also know that what I seek and what they seek are the same things - a connection that is intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical. I, however, have something they don't. There is no romantic heckler inside me yet. That is created from years of bad encounters.
My journey is an inner one guided by my own voice, experience and intuition. I'm sure over time, I will manage to create my own inner romantic heckler following all the BS, game playing, and encounters with walking-wounded middle-aged men. I just hope some day I don't project that onto my friends when they are dating.
Knowing how unusual my life is, it might go something like this; "don't ever date a man because he looks like Tesla," or "don't trust a Bigfoot hunter, their egos are bigger than the beast."