We are less than a day away from 2016. Wow. The year really flew by.

But honestly, I’m ready for next year. 2015 was an extension of 2014: a year of lessons and growth. I really learned a lot in every aspect of my life.

Especially when it comes to relationships.

I am a firm believer that each relationship or opportunity is the prerequisite to the next relationship or opportunity. I also believe that running into the same scenarios or people over and over can mean that the lesson wasn’t learned the first time.

After my breakup, I joined Tinder. Though I had been out of the dating game for two years, I realized that the tricks hadn’t changed. New platform, old bull. I think I navigated it pretty well because I recognized certain traits early on.

That can be easier said than done.

To truly leave the dating failures from 2015 and previous years behind as we approach 2016, one has to be steadfast, headstrong, and focused.

It’s sooooo easy to slip back into old behaviors so you have to be dedicated to a better dating life. The mistakes you’ve made before can no longer be acceptable.

To create a better dating environment, you need to be cognizant of your preferences and experiences. Start by getting a pen and notebook. You will need to visualize this, sis.

Jot down your preferred traits you want in a significant other.

Should he have a great sense of humor? Have a good relationship with his family? Love to cook? Own a car? Work a full-time job? Consider these things and more. Try to focus more on the non-physical traits, too.

Write down your absolute no’s.

You need to know what you will not tolerate by any means. Get as detailed as possible. Think about if he has everything else together BUT this one thing. Is it a deal breaker? If so, write it down. Don’t be afraid.

List the guys you’ve dated/talked to recently and why it didn’t work out.


  • James – was too busy
  • Kelvin – didn’t want to commit
  • Marcus – got his ex pregnant

When you’re done with the list, examine why it ended. If James was too busy, what does busy entail? Is he working and in school? Was he hanging out with his friends more than you? How deep did the relationship get with Kelvin before he said he didn’t want to be exclusive? How did Marcus stumble back into his ex’s path? Were you aware of this? How did you find out that she was expecting?

Think back to when y’all first met and when y’all started talking. How did he approach you? Who requested the first date? Where did y’all go? When did things start getting sour? What was the first thing you noticed? Who ended the relationship? How long did you stay after things started going badly?

Write all of this down. Take notes. When we were in school, we took notes whenever the teacher taught us something new. This is no different. The “class” we are focused on now is The Criticism of [Your Name]’s Relationships and we’re trying to pass to the next grade.

Study your notes.

In your reflection, you should be able to recognize a few red flags. Most relationship failures and break-ups can be predicted early on. Look over your notes several times and add more whenever you remember something new. Go back and add to your preferred traits and absolute no’s. It’s your dating history — you know yourself best.

And go forward into 2016 smarter and wiser.

Listen. Dating is a trial-and-error activity. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. Just try to make better dating decisions by eliminating f-boys earlier in the game. I believe that right guy will come along at the right time — you both are just preparing yourselves for each other now. Because when he does come, you’ll be able to appreciate him so much more then.

But in the meantime, good luck, sis.

Published by Ashleigh

Ashleigh is a recent M.S. graduate from Northeastern University. She works as an interactive designer in Atlanta and loves dogs, Netflix, and great food. Oh, also the creator and designer of this here shindig you are reading right now. View my impersonal personal blog @ socialeigh.com.

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