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Hello. My name is Haley Sweat. I’m a sophomore in college, and I’ve been single for 19 years. A strong claim, I know — but sadly, it’s factual. Being single for so long has left me with a lot of things: mountains of empty tissue boxes and ice cream pints after a ton of crappy dates, numerous sad girl playlists ranging from “What’s Wrong: The Sing-A-Long” to “I’m Never Leaving My Bed Again,” dozens of rom-coms that I can practically quote from memory, and lastly (but by far the most important) many, many standards. 

Over the past few years of watching my friends zoom in and out of numerous relationships, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, men aren’t looking for the same things we are when it comes to relationships or don’t expect the same standards when getting to know a new person.  And in order to prevent myself from falling into this pitiful trap, I’ve put together a short list of qualities that I now look for in my interactions with the men in my life. I’ve been sticking to this brief list for the past few months now, and I can honestly say that it’s changed my life for the better.

Some people have called my idea of a relationship old-fashioned and unrealistic, but to that I say: I’m sorry that wanting a decent conversation and meal before sex is considered old-fashioned. It’s important for us all to have at least some expectation during our search for love so that we can avoid making excuses for others and accepting treatment that is below us. This goes for your professional life as well. You are an incredible person and this world is lucky to have you, and the people around you should understand that as well. So without further ado, here’s my list of the five things that I believe we ladies should never settle on. 


I can\'t help you mad men sally draper
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In the world of Zoom University, in-person conversations have sadly started to become a thing of the past. I get that many people decided to return home for the semester after all of their classes moved online, but here’s my issue: just because we aren’t having an in-person conversation doesn’t mean that you just somehow miraculously forget how to talk to people. Here’s a real-life example from a conversation that I had yesterday:

    You: Hi! It’s so nice to meet you! How’s your day going so far?

    Man A: Add me on snap.

Like, excuse me? Did you even read what I said? Based on your response, I’m guessing no, and if we were at dinner and this conversation took place…let’s just say we would never share garlic knots ever again. 


Alrighty, it’s the first date. You’ve gotten yourself all dolled up and the two of you are sitting in a restaurant and finally getting to know each other. The conversation is going great, all is well. Finally, the date ends, and you begin to start grabbing your things when all of a sudden this happens:

    Man B: What are you doing tonight?

    You: Nothing much, just some homework. Why?

    Man B: Oh, you know, I just thought maybe…

No. Just no. Just because you spent $4 on an iced coffee doesn’t mean that I am going to drop everything just to come over and “help” you out. This is not a transaction sir, go to Publix for that. This is a “Hi, you seem like a nice guy and I want to get to know you better” type of situation. If you are expecting something from me beforehand then please let me know so that I can purchase my own drink in the future.

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Two weeks in and things are looking good. You guys talk every day and agree to meet on Sunday for brunch. Sunday arrives and he’s a no-show. Finally, after over an hour of trying to contact him, he finally answers, apologizing and explaining that he lost track time but that next weekend would be better for him anyway. Next week he’s sick. Then he’s busy at work. The excuses go on and on.

I’m so sorry to have to say this, but I can guess that this man is lying to you. I’m so over the “being busy” excuse. I understand that people have lives — believe me, my schedule is absolutely ridiculous — but that doesn’t mean that people should be able to get away with repeatedly blowing someone off. 

Stop making excuses for them. 

If they wanted to be there, they would have been: case closed.


The day has come. You are finally going to his house. The two of you have planned a quiet night at home and hope to get some homework done while you’re at it, but then you enter the door. There’s crap all over the floor, dirty dishes covering the counter, the laundry bin is overflowing, and the trash clearly hasn’t been taken out in weeks. You offer to help clean the place before you guys sit down so he won’t have to do it later, but he declines, saying that he’ll get to it tomorrow.

This, my friends, is a red flag. If the room looks like it hasn’t been touched in weeks, what makes you think he’s going to do it tomorrow? Exactly: he won’t. Growing up, my mom always taught me that “you are what you are dressed as,” and I believe that this statement also directly applies to a person’s home. If you would be embarrassed for your friends to enter this room, then why are you there? If he can’t seem to navigate his way to a vacuum, then I can assure you he doesn’t know how to navigate through life either. 


Meeting your significant other’s friends and family is extremely important and more often than not, it usually becomes my favorite thing to look forward to when getting to know someone. This is because a person’s friends and family often bring out some of that person’s true personality that you don’t often get to see — so, if they are being really weird about introducing you to people in their life and you’ve been seeing each other for a long period of time…then get out. You should be an asset in your own relationship, so if they aren’t showing you off, then most likely, they don’t see you as such. Stop wasting your time with someone who doesn’t see a future with you.

I’m sorry if some of my explanations for these qualities sound harsh, but I promise that every word I write is with only good intentions. I’m tired of seeing all of these amazing people settling for less than they deserve, because let’s be honest, you know you deserve better! And if you don’t believe that, just know that I do, and I will remind you of that every single day if you need it. You’re an amazing person who deserves only the finest in life, so don’t settle for less.

Haley Sweat is a current sophomore at the University of Central Florida pursuing a double major in Musical Theatre and Clinical Psychology with a minor in Dance. In addition to her academic pursuits, Sweat is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and a scholar in the LEADs Scholars Programs. She hopes to one day make it on Broadway, but until then is actively enjoying her time in school and can usually be found spending her free time sipping on an iced coffee and working on her next project.
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