Yes, it’s almost 2017 and yes, I’m still listening to ‘90s throwback songs. Don’t judge me, okay? The ‘90s were full of boy bands, huge hair and acid wash jeans—what’s not to love? I have a full playlist of all my old favorites that I listen to when I’m getting ready for work or cleaning or really just looking for any excuse to dance around with my toothbrush as a microphone, pretending I’m a Spice Girl (Don’t act so innocent. I know you’ve done it too.)
There’s something about a good ‘90s pop song that fills me with so much motivation, like I can take on anything, almost like if there was a problem, yo, I’d solve it. Their words of wisdom are applicable to so many issues you may face in life, but I find them especially useful in the relationship department.
Here’s a list of advice from the best songs of the decade on how you should approach your love life.
“I don’t want no scrubs. A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me.”
It’s only right that I start this list off with such a classic empowerment anthem.
Everyone has found themselves in this scenario: You’re minding your own business, probably on your way to go do something badass, when you hear shouting from behind you. It’s that guy you met at your friend’s party who won’t stop messaging you—he’s living couch-to-couch and thinks “sup beautiful” is a romantic way to initiate conversation—and now he’s cat-calling you from a car window. Perfect.
Before you start thinking that it couldn’t hurt to go out on just one date with him, let the wisdom of TLC remind you of your worth.
The Advice: Do. Not. Settle. You hear me, ladies? No scrubs for any of us. Find yourself a partner who has goals, who knows what he wants from life, or at the very least has a job. You deserve much more than a guy hanging out the passenger’s side, trying to holla at you. You deserve a guy who’s going to call you when he says he will, who picks you up for a date he planned, who wants to get to know you. So don’t give that scrub any of your time.
Any Man of Mine—Shania Twain
“Any man of mine better be proud of me.”
Let’s just be honest for a second. All of “Any Man of Mine,” and really any Shania Twain song, is all of the relationship advice you will ever need.
I’ve been in this situation before: Something fantastic happens to me. I’m absolutely ecstatic and I can’t wait to tell my significant other. I quickly dial their phone number and gush out all of the good news and I’m not met with the reaction I was hoping for. They give a disinterested grunt, or worse, they get aggravated at my success. This is Code Red—abort the mission, get out while you still can.
Before you start conjuring up apologies for reasons you can’t explain, channel your inner Shania.
The Advice: The person whom you are in a relationship with should be proud of your accomplishments. Do not ever feel like you need to change yourself or trivialize your successes for the sake of someone’s self-esteem. I’ve had guys sulk and attempt to make me feel bad for being smart and for working so hard and it was a long time before I realized I didn’t have to make excuses. You are allowed to be smart and successful and it might intimidate some people, but those aren’t the people you need in your life. The right guy is always going to be proud of you, remember that.
“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.”
Tell me if this situation sounds familiar: After listening to your friends drone on and on about how they just need to meet the person you’ve been spending so much time with, you finally agree. You arrange dinner plans and get everyone together, super nervous about these two parts of your life finally merging. You introduce the new beau and everything seems fine at first, but it all quickly goes south. Your boyfriend hates your friends and the feeling certainly seems to be mutual.
Your first instinct might be defensive. “They’re just jealous,” you might think, “They never like anyone I date.” Before you stage a coup on your friends, give this song some thought.
The Advice: It’s integral that your friends and your partner get along. They are both some of the most important people in your life and, if the relationship is serious, they’re going to be spending a lot of time together. While it’s true that not all personalities were made to mesh, your partner should put in the effort to have a good relationship with them. If he cares about you, he’ll care about your friends.
Side note: If your friends think something’s off with your boyfriend, or they seem to have a problem with him, it’s worth looking at your relationship objectively. Your friends care about you, and they can tell when something isn’t right a lot quicker than you and your rose-colored glasses possibly could. Listen to them.
You learn—Alanis Morissette
“You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You lose, you learn. You bleed, you learn. You scream, you learn.”
What list of ‘90s songs would be complete without a little Alanis Morissette, right?
As we all already know, sometimes relationships, for one reason or another, just don’t work out. There is no sugarcoating the situation: You get in a fight with your boyfriend and after several rounds of screaming fits, one or both of you decides that it’s best if you go your separate ways. So you do—you go your separate way right over to your bed where you feel like you’re going to stay for the next few months, surviving only on wine and the salt from your own tears. You’re done with dating, right?
Before you throw in that proverbial towel, let Alanis guide you to sanity.
The Advice: These things happen, but—excuse my cheesiness—these things happen for a reason. Yeah, it didn’t work out with that guy, but now you know what kind of guy you don’t want to date. You love and then you learn and you bounce back better than ever, one step closer to finding the guy you do want to date.
“I’m wishin’ you the best. Pray that you are blessed, bring much success, no stress, and lots of happiness. I’m not gon’ blast you on the radio. I’m not gon’ lie on you and your family. I’m not gon’ hate on you in the magazines. I’m not gon’ compromise my Christianity. You know I’m not gon’ diss you on the internet cause my mama taught me better than that.”
The prophets of independent womanhood, Destiny’s Child, will never fail you in your quest for advice.
In the same vein as the last situation, you find yourself in a breakup, but this time, things have taken a nasty turn. You find out that he wasn’t the person you had always thought he was. Maybe he yelled something really hurtful and hate-filled during the final argument, maybe he was bad-mouthing you to his friends, or maybe, god forbid, you found out about another woman. Whatever it was, you now find yourself filled with rage at the thought of how much time you wasted on him.
You have two options in this situation. I know that you want to let your anger navigate you, but before you do something you’ll regret, picture yourself as Beyoncé.
The Advice: I know that you’re angry, and channeling that anger as revenge seems like the best course of action, but you are better than that. If a guy is going to treat you that way, he’s not worth the actions that you’re about to take. Don’t do something that you will immediately regret because you’re heartbroken. It’ll take some time, but throw away all of those grudges and look toward the future. Wish him the best, and move on knowing that there are much, much better things ahead of you. Your mama taught you better than that.
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