The other day I gave my boyfriend a compliment. “Boo, you are so awesome — you’re like a human salve,” I told him. I said that after we’d gone tubing with 15 of my friends, and he had been kind enough to drive one car of us there, and made an effort to talk to a couple of my friends that he’d never met before. Calling someone a “human salve” sounds really gross, I know, but I meant it in the best of ways. After years of dating difficult, complicated, kind of crappy dudes, I told him, I was super happy to be dating someone who was just so easy.
So, what do I mean by “human salve”?
It sounds so serial killer-ish (the term, not the concept), I know, but human salves are people that make life easier. They get along with others and generally make it their business to smooth over social situations and find solutions to life’s stupid little problems. That doesn’t mean they have no opinions, or are total pushovers — it merely means that they are self-possessed and self-assured enough to feel comfortable in unfamiliar and different situations.
Evan — that’s my boyfriend — stands in stark contrast to so many guys I’ve dated in the past. I had one boyfriend who hid in my room when friends came over. I had another that would get drunk and become confrontational with whomever he was talking. I always made excuses for their bad behavior — they had artistic temperments, they were socially awkward, you just didn’t know them like I did –but I got sick of doing that. I wanted a boyfriend, not a tempermental child I had to babysit. I resolved never to date another guy who made life harder instead of better.
So, are you dating a human salve? Ask yourself if your partner does the following:
1. He makes an effort to get to know the important people in your life–and attempts to find common ground with them.
2. You feel proud and confident to introduce him to the people in your life that matter.
And most importantly:
3. Your life is markedly better and less complicated now that this person is in it.
After all, why be in a relationship if it makes your life worse?