The end of another year is once again just around the corner. In continuing with the tradition of remembering the important lessons I learned over the last 12 months, here is the list for 2008.

Instant Relationship – Women tend to be guiltier of this than men. After a month or two of dating someone, they assume they are in a relationship. Even though there has been no discussion of commitment or exclusivity, they start to behave as if they are already the girlfriend.

The time between when you want to be exclusive and when he wants to be exclusive is very delicate. If handled improperly, you may never get to the relationship you want.

Rejection is God’s Protection – Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.”

When someone we’re interested in rejects us, it is of course painful. However, when we look back, we are often glad that it didn’t work out. If you’ve recently been rejected, take comfort in knowing there’s a good reason that you will probably understand at some point in the future.

Investment = Control – The more invested you are in a relationship, the more control you want over what happens with it. Conversely, the more control you want, the more invested you are in the other person.

If you want to know how “into you” someone is, asking them is not the best way to get the answer. Look at how much control they want!

Communication Not Confrontation – People writing to me for advice often ask if they should “confront” someone. To me, this means they believe the other person is doing something wrong, and they need to call them out.

This is always a bad attitude to approach someone with.

Steven Covey says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Communicate, don’t confront.

The Right Time – Speaking of communication, choosing the right time is just as important as choosing your words. If you are tired, hungry, cold or hot, that is not the time to have an important discussion.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s OK to go to bed mad if it’s late and you’re tired. You will wake up with a new perspective, and suddenly things won’t look as bad.

Principle of Perfection – Instead of thinking that other people need to be fixed or changed, it’s a lot less stressful to see everyone (including yourself) as already being perfect. On the one hand, you know they aren’t perfect, but maybe, in the grand scheme of things, they are!

Inner Beauty – Everyone has an ideal in their mind of what they think their partner should look like. When someone comes along who doesn’t quite fit into that box, they reject them, even if there is a mental, emotional and/or spiritual connection.

Your ego wants the “one” to look a certain way, but your heart only wants a true connection. Listen to your heart.

Better or Worse – When you can’t decide between two courses of action, ask yourself: Will I feel better or worse after doing this, saying that, going here, etc. I’m not talking about feeling better immediately; I’m talking about feeling better in the long run. If you stop to ask yourself this question the next time you can’t make up your mind as to what you should do, you will make the right decision more often than not.

Commitment – The common myth is that guys don’t want to commit. I believe most guys do want to eventually make a commitment. Everyone wants to love and be loved.

Guys don’t run from love; they run from making a commitment too soon. Keep that in mind the next time you are impatient and trying to move things along.

Is it Acceptable – People put up with all kinds of things just to have someone in their life. They tell themselves they are being too needy when confronted with behavior that their intuition tells them isn’t right.

Ask yourself, “Is this acceptable to me?” If not, then you need to communicate your feelings and decide what course of action to take depending on the response.

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Remember: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.