I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am an extremely judgmental person. And honestly, I don’t see that changing anytime soon — my habits have deeply rooted themselves. They’re sticking with me harder than Swedish Fish to an upper-right molar. But I have noticed that because of my judgmental nature, I’ve talked myself out of going on many a first date, went on an equal number of first dates with a shitty attitude, and held something against a complete stranger who likely didn’t deserve my verbal manifestation of side-eye. 

My therapist, who has heard plenty about these patterns, says it’s a waste of time to be judge-y, and because 1. I pay for that advice and 2. this seems to not just be a “me” problem, I decided to take it to heart and come up with a list of things that we all really need to get over. 

1. How quickly or slowly they respond to texts. Texting time windows are a conspiracy theory concocted to distract us from figuring out where the aliens really are.

2. How “good” or “bad” they are at texting. I’ve had witty text exchanges with people who turned out to have the personality of shredded wheat. Conversely, I’ve texted with people from the latter category who ended up having the personality of a rainbow bagel with funfetti cream cheese. You never know.

3. Any pictures that they didn’t offer up on Tinder or over text. Yes, I know you’re a CIA-level sleuth who can uncover a duck-faced selfie from a tucked-away Facebook album of yore, but a pic of them sporting two layered Lacoste polos says nothing other than that this person participated in trends of the time. [Ed note: if you find offensive pictures, like ones of them dressed in blackface, then yes, please judge away and feel free to cancel.]

4. Their name. Yes, it may be stupid or spelled strangely, but that’s the parents’ fault, not theirs.

5. Their job. Stop being elitist.

6. Their college (or lack thereof). Stop being elitist.

7. That they don’t laugh at all of your jokes. This is hard, because obviously you have a natural gift, but maybe they don’t know how to read your sense of humor yet. Give it a breath, like you would a punchline.

8. Their choice of date spot. Getting the correct mix of chill but cool but fun and not scene-y is an exact science that almost no one can master. Besides, if you care so much, why didn’t you pick the place? Huh?

9. Any bad thing someone else tells you about your date. Unless it’s something super suspicious or dangerous, don’t listen to those fools. There’s a special place in hell for people who try to talk you out of a date because “they double texted me one time, what a creep.” That was in 2016, Rachel. Get over yourself.