1. PROTECT YOURSELF.
Do not engage in risky sexual behavior. I know this is hard because one-night stands are fun. But this is also a really great way to find crazy people. The men who will treat you well and love and care for you aren't hanging out on the internet at 2 AM looking for sex.
2. BUT I LIKE TO HAVE SEX WITH STRANGERS AND I'M A FEMINIST AND I HATE YOUR ADVICE.
That's okay. This is just what works for me. As Kevin Cline stated in "A Fish Called Wanda," pork away, pal. Just don't be surprised if that rando who fits perfectly into your vagina now later fits perfectly into the profile of an abusive sociopath. Take time to get to know people before becoming intimate with them. Look before you leap. You wouldn't go swimming in a body of water if you saw that it was infested with sharks, would you?
3. ASK FRIENDS TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THEIR AVAILABLE FRIENDS.
Ask friends to set you up with friends. Everyone knows good-looking single people. You don't have to look at it like it's a potential hook-up or a guaranteed thing or even a date at all. Try setting up a new internal dialogue: Where does this person come from? What makes them interesting and unique? What can I learn from meeting them?
4. TRUE LOVE CAN BE KIND OF BORING.
This is A-OK. Doctors say that routines are very good for our well-being -- waking up and going to bed at the same time, eating the same foods, working out for 30 minutes every day, meditating regularly, all that business. So, if you are in a relationship and you genuinely care for the other person and would like to continue, but you can't shake that annoying feeling of calm and peace, stir things up by finding a new passion. It's okay to let your soul scabs heal.
5. KEEP PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW AT A SAFE DISTANCE.
It's okay to make friends of all sexes and backgrounds, but feel free to keep people at arm's length. If someone is your friend, that doesn't mean you have to be available for them all the time -- or ever. Ideally, you're too busy to be available to spirit assailants and emotional vampires.
6. HAVE A FEW GIANT TOUGH FRIENDS WHO YOU CAN CALL ON IF YOU NEED TO.
I have a few big mean guy friends who will beat the shit out of a smarmy narcissist if he comes within spitting distance of me. It makes me sleep better at night.
7. MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR HOME ARE SECURE.
Don't sleep with your door unlocked or keep roommates who repeatedly leave the doors unlocked. If you live on the ground floor, make sure the grates on your windows are secure or the windows are locked. The NYC court system offers many free resources for victims of abuse such as counseling, self-defense classes, relocation programs and more.
8. CARRY A PHOTO WITH YOU IF YOU HAVE A RESTRAINING ORDER ON SOMEONE OR EVEN IF YOU SIMPLY DON'T WANT THEM TO FOLLOW YOU AROUND.
Every club or restaurant I go to, I'll show the manager the photo of my ex. I'll say, "This guy is not allowed in here, and if you see him, please call the police immediately and let me know."
9. THROW YOURSELF INTO YOUR WORK.
Look -- you won't be able to avoid getting laid, finding love and romantic encounters. That will happen regardless. But if you find something you love and are passionate about, no matter what it is, especially if you can find a way to do your work that also helps others, you will find and surround yourself with good people. Those are natural side effects of being selfless and working hard. It's amazing how dramatically life can improve when putting energy toward helping others.
10. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
I can't say this enough. If you leave this story with nothing else, let it be this. If there is a voice inside your head that says, "Something is wrong, back off," it is there for a reason. The Chinese symbols for the word "chaos" are twofold; the first means danger, and the second means opportunity. In these situations, realize the danger -- if it exists -- and take the opportunity to get yourself the hell out of the way of that danger.
11. FORGIVE BUT NEVER FORGET.
This is a hard one, and I'm still grappling with it. Having compassion for those who would attempt to destroy you is noble. If you can understand where they come from and what made them how they are, it will help you in future situations. Knowledge is always power. It doesn't mean that anyone ever has permission to ever fuck with you ever again. Don't let them.