"It never works out," my friend cried on the other end of the phone.
It was past midnight, and my friend had just broken up with her boyfriend of two months.
The "it" my friend was talking about -- the one that never works out -- is dating.
I listened to her cry and bemoan her singleness for a while (until about 1:30 a.m.) before I told her the cold truth: If you define a dating experience as "working out" when you meet the love of your life and end up living happily ever after ... well, 99 percent of the time, it isn't going to work out.
I'm a realist. And my friends know that I am not afraid to be brutally honest when necessary.
The reality is people put way too many expectations on dating relationships. Isn't it a little crazy to expect anything at all from someone whose middle name or favorite '80s TV show you don't even know yet?
Whatever happened to just going out and having a good time? Just seeing what happens, enjoying the journey and not worrying about the destination?
When you throw your expectations out the window, you open up possibilities. Maybe you meet someone fun or really cool. Maybe they are the love of your life or just become a lifelong friend. Or maybe it's a total disaster, but you learn something and/or have funny stories to tell afterwards.
But burdening a date or a new relationship with the expectation that it's going somewhere or that the other person is The One, is a recipe for disaster. On top of that, it's totally unfair to you and your date.
Best-case scenario? Love at first date. "It" works out, and you and your date live happily ever after.
Most probable scenario? Your expectations of the date, relationship and other person fall short of reality. Your expectations and disappointment eventually sabotage the burgeoning relationship. The relationship breaks up. And you end up crying on the phone to one of your friends in the middle of the night about how "it never works out."
Not exactly a happy ending.
So the next time you meet someone exciting and new, try to let go of all your expectations and just have a good time. You'll have a lot more fun. And your friends can get their sleep.
Gina Bever is a local public relations professional and woman-about-town. She's known for providing her friends -- male and female -- with thousands of hours of free therapy and (asked for) relationship advice.
ASK GINA: Send questions about relationships to Gina at firstname.lastname@example.org.