Girish Joshi

How to Not Die Alone

7 min read

This book has a funny name for obvious reasons. Do you know which other book has a funny name? The classic: How to Win Friends and Influence People. The moment you tell your friends that I’m reading a book with the name How to . . ., their judgement begins, they pity you—oh, poor soul, may God be kind to you. It’s not what you think NAINA. Will you cut me some slack? And you know what’s worse? Gifting such books to your friends—it’s a sure-shot way of running your friendships. No, no, no, I’m not saying Puneet that you are bad at making friends, I’m just saying, you know, with the right ideas, you can be better. Please, Aditi, listen to me, I’m not saying that you will die alone, but maybe once you read this—you might just die with someone better. Okay, I lied, we all are going to die alone, but for once let me use my poetic licence, will you?

Anyways, two friendships and a lover later, here I am, reviewing this funny book with a funny title. In my defence, I really did care about my friends. Love is a delicate subject. Some of us spend our whole lives trying to understand what love really is, and still never quite reach there. And some of us get a vague idea and ideals for love from popular art, culture, and nurture and try to spend our whole lives trying to replicate what our minds understand as love. The word itself feels so effortless, unlike calculus, which demands that you read it out of a book, practice, and yet fail in it. The word love sounds like something as we all are equally capable of giving and receiving. And while that may be true for most of us, maybe for most of us love does come easy, but then some of us do struggle in finding who to love. That’s what this book is about. How to have long-term happy relationships, how to choose a good lover and a life partner. How to not end up dying alone.

This book may not give you all the answers you are looking for on a silver platter. You make still die alone even after you will finish this book. But this book will surely give you a process to go through. And where there is a process, there is peace.

Key Takeaways:

1. Dating is harder than ever before for a number of reasons. If you are interested in reasons and you don’t believe what I have to say: read the book. Yes, I’m talking to you Future Girish, I knew you’ll come back. Yours: Lazy Present Girish.

2. People either have unrealistic expectations of relationships (Romanticizer), or have unrealistic expectations of their partner (Maximizer), or else they have unrealistic expectations of themselves (Hesitaters). Find out who you are, and then learn not to be yourself.

3. Have a work-it-out mindset instead of having a soul-mate mindset. While love may be effortless (yeah, why not?), relationships take effort and building a successful one is a process. No one is perfect, even Prince Charming has a morning breath.

4. There are two types of people: Maximizers and Satisfiers. It’s a spectrum, not a box. But try to be on the satisfier side of the spectrum. There are online quizzes to find out who you are, or you can just close your eyes, and for once in your life try to be honest with yourself. In case you want to know who Maximizers or Satisfiers are: read the book or google search.

5. Actually, there is another type: Hesitaters. They feel they are not ready yet. By waiting, they miss out on the chance to develop their dating skills and figure out what type of person they want to be with. Just a suggestion: STOP TALKING TO YOUR EX!

6. I’m not going to talk about attachment styles here: I’ve already written an article about it on my blog. You can refer it by clicking here. Spoiler alert: Try to be securely attached. Again, there are online quizzes, or you can just close your eyes. In case you are anxious or avoidantly attached: try to self-regulate yourself.

7. Seek Life Partners: people who are trustworthy and reliable and who will stay with you for the long haul. Avoid Prom Dates: fun in short term, but will ultimately let you down. Things that matter are: loyalty, kindness, emotional stability, growth mindset, ability to make hard decisions, and the ability to fight constructively. Things that matter less: looks, money, shared hobbies, similar personalities. Focus on the side of you this person brings out because that’s who you’ll be whenever you’re with them.

8. We think we know what we want but we don’t. Because apps only measure superficial traits, they suck, they exacerbate our shallowness. No, Rach, no, proper height doesn’t equate long-term happy relationship. You are not relationshopping—your dates are not potential purchases. Expand your settings to see more people, be less judgmental when you swipe, date fewer people at a time, and transition to the date faster.

9. To meet people in real life: go to events, ask your friends or family to set you up on dates, connect with people you already know, and introduce yourself to people when you’re out and above.

10. Dates are not job interviews. Be experimental. You’re mindset about your date matters.

11. F**k the spark! Chemistry can build over time. The spark is not always a good thing. That may actually be anxiety because the person doesn’t make it clear how they feel about you. Sometimes the presence of a spark is more an indication of how charming someone is—or how narcissistic—and less a sign of shared connection. Pro tip: Be afraid of charming people. Fuck the Spark and go after the Slow Burn. As Aditi says, in between Passion (Junun) and Peace (Sukun), choose Peace.

12. Don’t have a negative bias. Do not judge others the way you would not want to be judged. Be warry of fundamental-attribution-error—our tendency to believe someone’s actions reflect who they are rather than their circumstances. Try to come up with more compassionate reasons for their behaviour. Go on second dates, even if your first date sucked. Distinguish your Permissible Pet Peeves from dealbreakers, don’t write off people for silly reasons. And don’t ghost.

13. When a decision has to be made in a relationship, you will have two choices: deciding or sliding. Couples who decide tend to enjoy healthier relationships. STOP SLIDING. GIVE THOUGHTS. When you are seeing someone, don’t make assumptions about whether you’re in a relationship. You need to DTR (define the relationship) to ensure you are on the same page. It’s a deadly mistake to not ask WUWU.

14. When a relationship is not working, you have two options: end it (ditchers) or mend it (hitchers). Like ditchers, don’t confuse falling in love with being in love. Like hitchers, don’t let the sunk-cost fallacy cognitive bias have the better of you. The best way to be profitable in a loss-making trade is to get out of it as soon as possible with as little loss as possible. For ditchers, opportunity cost is learning how to make relationships work. For hitchers, the opportunity cost is to find a more satisfying partnership. Ask yourself the Wardrobe Test Question: If my partner were a piece of clothing in my closet, what would they be? (doesn’t make sense? Read the book.)

15. When you have decided that you want to break up with someone, make a plan and stick to it. Be kind and firm. Don’t break up with them just before they are about to fly, or just before a big day. Don’t be a Nice Breakup Person. Keep your distance from them until both of you have moved on.

16. Your breakup was not a loss but an opportunity for growth and learning. Journaling helps. Write about positive aspects of the breakup and negative aspects of the relationship. Participate in “rediscover yourself” activities.

17. You and your partner don’t think alike. Before you tie the knot, have a series of self-reflection activities. Have conversations about the past, the present, and the future. And it’s crucial to discuss topics like money, sex, religion, and children.

18. Seek relationships where you can learn and grow together with your partner. Have a weekly check-in ritual. Great relationships are created, not discovered.

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