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Eleanor Roosevelt’s Timeless Advice on Dating and Relationships

Dating has never been easy. There’s so many preconceived notions on what you should wear, act like, and behave that it can leave any girl frustrated when trying to find the right guy. Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt offers her advice on dating and relationships in IF YOU ASK ME

Do you believe in “love at first sight”?

I have heard tell of such a thing. Many people when they say “love at first sight,” mean that some people have a natural attraction toward each other. This does not mean always that it will develop into the lasting love of a lifetime. [JANUARY 1944]

I’ve heard it said over and over again that an intelligent young woman must make an effort to hide her intelligence if she wants to be popular with men. Do you think it is smart to act dumb?

I never think it smart to do anything which is not natural and truthful. The kind of young men who are attracted to you because you are stupid, or try to appear stupid, are not worth having around. I think every girl should make herself as attractive as possible, but I do not think she should pose and appear to know things that she really does not know. Honesty, modesty and naturalness are three very good qualities in making and keeping friends. [OCTOBER 1946]

Like many women in their twenties, I am beginning to face and fear a future alone with no husband for love and companionship. What advice would you give those of us who do not marry, to permit us to lead full and happy lives, free of the fear of loneliness? Do you think overeducation which lifts a woman above the intellectual level of the people she meets is ill-advised?

I should advise any young woman who does not marry to take a deep interest in young people, so that she will have the same satisfaction with other children that she might have had with her own. I should also advise her to build up very warm friendships and cultivate her interest in some kind of work which will tie her down to obligations, so that she will never find time hanging heavily on her hands and feel that her existence is profitless. There is no such thing, from my point of view, as overeducation, nor being above any people because of formal education that you might have been fortunate enough to acquire. Anyone with character and the opportunity can acquire a formal education, and many people who have not had a chance for book learning are wiser than those who have had. If education hasn’t given you enough understanding so that you can get on with people around you and appreciate their quality, and perhaps help them through your opportunities to more opportunities of their own, so that their interests may coincide with yours, then I am afraid your education has done you more harm than good. [JULY 1948]

What do you consider the three most important qualifications of a good husband?

That he shall be honest, not only in material things, but in intellectual things; that he shall be capable of real love; and that he shall find the world an increasingly interesting place in which to live every day of his life. [AUGUST 1941]

Get more advice from Eleanor Roosevelt in IF YOU ASK ME!


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Excerpted from If You Ask Me by Eleanor Roosevelt. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee on Unsplash.


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