When it comes to dating, you know yourself and what or who you like, but there’s some merit to stepping out of your comfort zone and tapping into the perspectives of those closest to you.

If you’ve ever gone on a blind date or gotten fixed up by a friend or family member, you know what I mean. Results may vary, but it can be helpful to have an external force shine a fresh light on your dating life. You still need to balance internal and external pressures and you ultimately need to trust your instincts. Allow me to regale you with stories of when I let the “You Shoulds!” direct my dating decisions. Feel free to laugh along with me.

“You should date him! He has a good job, a nice car and his own place!”

The good on paper guy isn’t always good off of it. I learned this when a friend set me up with her coworker, who she thought I’d hit it off with. Perhaps he was able to hold his own in watercooler conversation, but on a date? Nah. His personality was lacking, he had a haughty air of entitlement about his accomplishments and he took all the mints when our server brought the bill and told me to get my own.

Grand opening, grand closing.

“You should date him! Girl, he’s 6’6”!”

If you’ve ever done a superficial follow on social media, don’t judge me. Being 6 feet tall, my eye is always caught by a gentleman taller than I am. Having friends who encouraged this method of selection led to some interesting dating experiences.

In my day, a few fellas got a slice of my time simply because the surface was aesthetically pleasing. When I let things live as a fun, whirlwind affair, it was cool. My error was hoping that eye candy could suffice as a fulfilling meal. That wasn’t always the case and it was a lesson I had to learn a couple of times.

“You should date him! The tarot cards say…”

One of my favorite dating stories came from a tarot card reading in a dark room with velvet couches and crystal balls dotting every corner. My BFF took me to dinner for my birthday, saw the tarot card reader sign next door and dragged me in.

The reader gave me an insightful session. Regarding romance, she said that an ex was trying to resurface (he was) and I should NOT let him (further resolve to ignore those “hey stranger” texts). She said I’d meet the love of my life and that he’d be much taller than me, with light eyes and a logo on his shirt. She saw a deep love between us full of travel and adventure, so I went off, awaiting my soulmate.

Extending my birthday celebrations at a soca fete a week later, a mystery man started dancing behind me. When I turned, my eyes met a solid chest clothed in a polo shirt. That little man on the horse was right there —,the shirt with the logo. I realized I had to actually look up to see his face, so he was definitely taller than me. Then, there it was: a smooth brown face with a lopsided smile and two bright, hazel-green eyes.

It was him!

We danced the night away and exchanged numbers at the end of the fete. Our first date arrived —and it was a disaster. He was late with no good excuse, got lost when he refused to listen to the directions I gave and ended up using me as a human shield as we ate sundaes at McDonald’s because he thought the dudes arguing behind us were going to start shooting. I quickly realized that my spirit didn’t take to him enough for him to be my forever love.

We didn’t date again, but I saw him weeks later. We greeted each other cordially, but I noticed something was off, so I mentioned it.

“Is it your eyes? They look different,” I said.

“Oh, I’m not wearing my contacts. I rock colored ones sometimes ‘cause you know you ladies love light eyes!”

I smiled thinly, patted him on the chest and walked away.

Stepping out of my comfort zone or heeding the well-intentioned advice of loved ones hasn’t always ended up so hilariously awkward, but these instances reminded me to take things in stride. Sometimes the tried and true is just what you need and you always need to remember that you’re the captain of your “Love Boat.”

I ended up steering my boat back to the ex I was told to avoid and guess what? We’re still together, years in and counting. All that to say, when it comes to love, listen to who you like, but ultimately, do what you like.

Bee Quammie is a freelance writer, blogger, and media commentator. Find her across all social media platforms at @beequammie, and learn more about her work via her site www.beequammie.com.