Life Advice



Erika Ettin: Dating advice from my dad

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

The first time my dad gave me dating advice was my freshman year of college. After a very short-lived relationship — or whatever you call a two-week PG-13 love connection when you're 18 — I called my mom to sob to her when my crush broke up with me. Mom wasn’t home, so I got Dad.

Dad, in all his wisdom, said, “Boys are stupid.” Honestly, it wasn’t the worst advice he could have given me!

Over the years, my dad’s love advice hasn’t come regularly, but when it does come, I listen. I want to share a few lessons in love I received from my dad that seem oddly relevant to anyone in today’s dating scene.

1. It’s all about receptivity.

This is a piece of wisdom my dad happens to say on many occasions. Just as important as you liking someone else, you have to know whether they are receptive to what you have to offer (or, your "essence"), too.

It happens all the time: You like someone, so everything they do is cute. In other words, you’re receptive. (“He texted me at 8 a.m.! He really likes me!”)


You don’t like someone, so everything they do is annoying … even if they’re doing the same exact thing. (“He texted me at 8 a.m.! Um … give me some space, dude. Needy much?”) You’re not receptive.

In order for a relationship to work, there has to be mutual receptivity. Of course you’ll never love everything about the other person — nor should you — but the relationships that thrive are the ones where each partner is receptive (and appreciative) of what the other has to offer.

2. Be open-minded about who you date.

Whenever my dad calls me, I answer, “Is everything OK?” My mom is usually the one who calls, so I always worry a bit when he does. I once wasn’t able to answer and got a voicemail. When I listened to it later, I had to laugh.


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