Don’t date someone from work. What if you break up? And you still have to see them every day? Wow. Awkward. “Are you almost done with the printer?” “Are you almost done making me feel like I’m disappearing?” Yikes. No, don’t date someone from work.

Don’t date someone who lives in your building. What are you thinking? What if you break up? You’d still have to see them in the stairway, hauling up their groceries, and in your mind you’d say, Good luck picking up that orange you just dropped, asshole who ruined my life! but with your lips you’d say, “Would you like some help? Oh, me? I’ve been good.” Your whole life would be a lie. And what if you saw them with their new partner? You’d think, You’re uglier than me and have a big ugly laugh, too, asshole! but you’d say, “Hi, nice to meet you.” No, don’t date someone from your building.

So you’re thinking of dating your local bartender, barista, or the person who once served you waffles. My question to you is: Have you lost your goddamn mind? What if you break up? Then you can no longer go to your favorite bar, or coffee shop, or place where you once got waffles and which you can’t quite remember the name of but it was over near where Will lives. In other words, goodbye Rustic & Leaf Coffee Roasters, hello fresh hell of Tim’s Bean Palace. You may as well go live inside a shack in the middle of a bird sanctuary because there’s no point in living in the city anymore. Ridiculous.

If you’re considering dating your community’s most trusted auto mechanic, what I want to know is whether the strange hallucinations you’ve been having recently have led to other dangerous behavior. Think about this. What if you break up? You’re just supposed to, what, fix your car yourself if it starts making a soothing but unsafe cooing sound? The most recent Chilton Auto Repair Manual is over 1400 pages long. Good luck with that. Or you could take your chances with the other place in town, Langlon’s Auto Repair, “Repairing cars since starting tomorrow.” My advice: stay out of it.

You could do the long-distance thing. If you’re insane. Don’t date someone who lives in a distant place. What if you break up? Then all that work — the emails, the letters (Letters! Who writes letters anymore, besides people sometimes?), phone conversations “just to hear your voice,” Skype “dates,” and costly weekend visits — would be for nothing. Absolutely nothing. Dating long distance is like dating a brick. When you try to explain how it works, people think you’re crazy. And when you get into the specific mechanics of romantic intimacy, well then you’ve really lost about 95% of your audience, and made 5% very, very curious. I recommend against this.

You’re considering dating a friend. That could go well, if you have the ability to change your name, facial structure, personality, and social group when it all turns to shit. Come on. What if you break up? You made a promise with yourself that when you moved out of that shack in the middle of a bird sanctuary, you’d never move back. It would be too depressing, and several hawks have claimed the kitchen. Well, once you break up, it’ll be time to build that scarecrow and take a broom to their cupboard lair.

You want to date someone you like. How romantic of you. How idealistic. Are you serious? What if you break up? At least you’ll have all those goats you received as payment to raise — oh wait, you won’t have any goats, because goats weren’t part of the agreement. Not so great at thinking long term, are you?

You read somewhere that you should date “yourself.” I don’t know what that means, but it seems incredibly sad. And what if you break up with yourself? I’m not sure what that would entail, but the bird sanctuary probably won’t help you now. So date a different person. That’s kind of the point of dating. Just don’t date someone you know or don’t know or like or don’t like or are not sure how much you like or who lives near/far from you. If you follow that advice, then you’ll build the kind of lasting relationship everyone wants: one that’s safe and not hard work and very fulfilling.