iStock; photo illustration by Chelsea Beck

New year, new me. People make fun of that saying, but if you think about it, it is a mood, a message and a lifestyle. Each year on Dec. 31, we shed at least some part of our old selves and take on new habits, ideas or mantras. For me, Dec. 31, 2017, was no exception.

As I sought to adopt a few new habits for 2018, I looked to 2017 to see what things I could leave behind, especially as it pertains to my love life. At the top of my list were the following five things that I will now share with you:

1. Playing on My Phone 

I actually really did have a dude saved in my contacts as “Playing on my phone.” I stopped answering his calls, and on Dec. 31 I actually deleted him from my contacts. He earned that name because he was constantly doing two things that irk me. He would either text me constantly asking, “When can I see you?” or send a text asking if he could come over, and when I said yes, he would say he was on his way, and then I wouldn’t hear from him. This happened once every three encounters, and after a while, I just got sick of that shit.

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It’s totally my fault for letting him get away with it for as long as I did, but in my defense …

Anyway, in 2018, that shit is dead and canceled. No more playing on my phone for anyone—no matter how good the zick is. Go play with somebody else.

2. “Potential”

I’m done fucking with potential. Let me qualify that by saying there is nothing wrong with being a work in progress. We all are, if you think about it. Sometimes, though, the work that needs to be done is too detailed and too time-consuming, and it needs to be done on their time and not yours. There is also the problem of men wanting you to help them do the work on their potential, like it’s a gotdamn Build-a-Bear Workshop. Fuck that.

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I no longer have the time or the patience.

And I’m sure there is someone out there looking at me who will say, “She has potential, but nah,” and by all means, I encourage you to skip over me if potential is not your ministry, either. We too grown for this shit now.

3. Explanations

I’m tired of explaining shit to dudes that they have probably already heard before and should already understand. Ain’t no mo’ explaining. If I am “the second person to tell” you that, then you have heard it before and should have already been doing your homework. You are too old for me to be explaining to you why it’s not OK for you to just pop up over my house. I don’t care if you are calling from around the corner—if we did not prearrange for you to come over and visit, the answer is “No.”

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With every “no” I give, there undoubtedly comes a “Why?” I’m done with “why” and done with explaining.

“No” is a complete fucking answer. Period. It requires no further explanation.

4. “Friends” With No “Benefits” 

I was kinda already on this in 2017, but I am making a stronger commitment to it in 2018. Dudes are always surprised when they ask me if we can be friends with benefits, and I ask them what the benefit is. Just so we are clear: Dick is not the benefit. It never has been and it never will be.

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Penises are like buses. Another one will be here in 10 minutes or less. So what else you got? Are you handy around the house? Are you good with cars? Can you hook my friend up with illegal cable? Can you put in on some of these bills? Like, what do you have to offer besides what’s between your legs? I need answers. And real fucking benefits.

5. Insecure Dudes

This last one is a biggie. I’ve encountered it enough times to be sick of it. Usually I try to encourage dudes or make them feel better, but now I’m like, fuck that.

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I am a Leo, and a gregarious, outgoing person by nature. I have a large following on Twitter, and now that I write for The Root, I have a large platform that brings me a lot of attention. I flirt. A lot. Flirting is harmless. It doesn’t mean I want to date the object of the flirting or have sex with them or anything like that. Sometimes flirting is just flirting. In fact, a lot of times flirting is just flirting.

I have had dudes who approached me because they like my outgoing, flirtatious personality suddenly feel some type of way when they get closer to me. They want me to turn down my personality and dim my light so that they feel more comfortable.

Their level of insecurity is not really my concern or my business; that’s something for them to work out on their own time.

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Where I used to try to be understanding and would often tone some things down to make them more comfortable, I realized that is changing who I am for another person, and again, FUCK THAT.

So insecure dudes have to go, too.

In summation, I had a glorious 2017, and I expect that 2018 is going to be even better. It is with that in mind that I make these changes, knowing that they will facilitate my happy new year.

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I hope you had a chance to think of some changes to make for yourself, too.

Happy New Year!