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7 Dating Lessons We Learned From Netflix’s “You”

Netflix’s new series “You” brought Dan Humphrey back to our screens… sort of. In the psychological thriller/drama, Penn Badgley plays Joe Goldberg, a charming, but highly manipulative bookstore owner who falls in love with, and becomes dangerously obsessed with, struggling writer Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). In a way, Joe is Dan Humphrey, but about a hundred times scarier. 

Warning: Major spoilers ahead

Joe and Beck’s relationship quickly turns toxic as he stops at nothing to have her all to himself. He stalks her, breaks into her apartment and even murders her ex-boyfriend and best friend –– all under the guise of “true love”. The season ends with Joe killing Beck because he realizes “she couldn’t love him back.”

Uh. Terrifying, much?

Although pretty much all of the characters are deeply flawed (some obviously more than others—Joe), they can teach us some pretty valuable lessons about modern dating. Here are some key takeaways:

1. Trust your gut

If you’ve ever gotten the feeling that something just isn’t quite right… trust that feeling. Whether it’s a first date giving you weird vibes, a stranger following you a little too closely, or a weird Tinder message, don’t ignore that intuition. Odds are, you’re not just being paranoid.  

2. Consider your friends’ advice 

Peach may not have had good intentions (okay, she definitely didn’t), but she was the only one who immediately saw Joe for the creep he was. Your friends don’t have to love your significant other, but if they have concerns about the relationship, it’s worth a listen. 

3. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is 

Not to be a total downer, but the perfect significant other doesn’t exist. If someone wants to commit right away and goes overboard with grand gestures and declarations of love after you’ve only been dating for like, a month, it’s probably a red flag.

4. Sometimes, sex is just a total letdown 

When Joe and Beck first hook up, they both expect it to be amazing. Instead, Joe… climaxes in just eight seconds. Um. Awkward. Sometimes, what we hope is going to be awesome just turns out to be disappointing and uncomfortable. And that’s actually okay. It’s unrealistic to expect to have mind-blowing sexual compatibility with everyone we meet at the bar –– and frankly, it’s refreshing to see TV address this.

5. Be careful what you put on social media 

We all roll our eyes when our parents say this, but it’s true. Unfortunately, there are some total creeps out there (cough, cough, Joe) and we have to be cautious with what we put on display for the world. Oh, and invest in some curtains too while you’re at it.

  6. You can’t “fix” your significant other 

Dating someone shouldn’t be a project. If someone has serious issues, they aren’t going to suddenly change just because you’re dating them. It’s not your job to solve your significant other’s problems and it’s unfair to the both of you if you have to fully take that responsibility on.

7. If you don’t have trust, you have nothing 

Even though Beck did admit to cheating on Joe, she still had a valid point: a relationship isn’t worth anything if you can’t trust each other. 


Ultimately, Joe is definitely the worst – even with Penn Badgley’s cute face. But, we can certainly learn a lot from him and Beck’s toxic relationship.   

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