What’s the difference between a life test and a scholastic test? Some would say that scholastic tests are given to you after the lesson, while life tests are given to you before the lesson; that scholastic tests are standardized evaluation tools that base your effectiveness on the quantity of “right” decisions that you make, and life tests judge you on making the right decision at a given moment.

In either ordeal, preparing for a test is a hellacious process.

In one area, if you get nine out of ten right, then you are moving on up. In the other, if you get one out of ten wrong, then you could get demoted. School is supposed to prepare you for life, but this sounds like a raw deal, no? In relationships, tests arise all the time. However, relationship management isn’t taught in school; that is something that is acquired within the outside world.

So who’s the teacher, your parents? That would be cool except for the fact that they often aren’t the best teachers. In fact, they tend to suck as relationship teachers. Parents tend to teach their children what they don’t want them to do, based off their lives. But their parents’ examples more than likely sucked too, so that’s just a case of the blind leading the blind. Parents are manipulative like that, not because of any malice or ill-will but because of an inherent need to steer their children away from trouble. In sports, this is called over-coaching. So yea, this is what parents do in this regard, “over-parent.” Or they sit and employ the Republican strategy and not intervene and let the “market do what it wants.” And we all know where that strategy leads us.

So the fundamental question is this: How does one pass a test in which they receive little to no training? Say no more. Below is a three no-nonsense foolproof guide to heartache avoidance and drama freeness. Think of this as the Relationship B.S. Repellant.

(Why only three steps? Lesson #1 in test taking: The deepest concepts have the simplest answers.)

1) Ask the right questions. While talking to Diahann Carroll she stated something to me that was quite simple, but yet so profound. She talked about how essential it is to ask questions upon meeting someone. Questions on a potential’s background, aspirations, responses to certain situations, views on issues, whatever. All of these are the right questions. Ask them. This is the most important step.

2) Stick with the right answers. This, is the hardest step. In multiple-choice tests (relationships), there are many questions that are designed to trick the test-taker. Your gut knows that the answer may be “C”, but answers “A” and “B” look real good. Something in you wants to select “B” even though you know that you’ll end up retaking the test if you don’t stick with “C”. So, stick with the right answer. Who wants to go through the hassle of meeting somebody new, learning about their fears, ambitions and lifestyle, all to take the test all over again? There are many among you who spend their lifetime taking the same tests because they don’t stick with the right answers.

3) Check over your answers. This is the most overlooked step. Re-evaluation is vital because we all have discovered something during the latter part of an exam (relationship) that gives insight to something in an earlier part of the test (relationship). Go back to that earlier part and check that answer. There is a significant difference in a person’s actions four years into the relationship as opposed to the first year. Or even two years as opposed to one and a half. Check that answer by asking the right question again. So what if you didn’t ask the right questions in the first place? Then your answers will be misguided…and hence, you will have to take the test all over again. That’s why the first step is the most important step.

Follow these three rules and you’re in there like swimwear. Relationship bliss is yours for the taking. But it won’t happen for many and the reasoning is simple.

Most of us are poor test takers.

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