Why don’t we ever say anything to Shelia in accounting when she, continually, pilfers our favourite pens? Nor do we say anything to our friend Brian, when he assumes that we will pick up the tab…again? Why don’t tell our parents that we’d love for them to come and stay with us, but not for 10 days?
Why don’t we ever say anything?
It’s because we don’t have boundaries. And, we are afraid of what might happen if we lay some down. But this is a mistake, according to Brene Brown. It’s also one of the biggest misconceptions that she found in her research. While you might be thinking that if you put down some boundaries people might get upset, or even stop liking you. She found that putting down boundaries has the opposite effect. It doesn’t make people like you less or make you feel horrible. It actually increases your capacity for love and compassion.
‘The most compassionate and loving people i have met are those with firm boundaries’ – Brene Brown
What is the first thing that happens after deciding that you ‘like’ someone? Whether it’s someone whom you already know or someone you’ve just spotted, after adding the like label, does everything just become easy? With a relaxed confidence, do you stride over and immediately introduce yourself? My guess is no. What I found with my clients is that once they identify that they like someone, the next feeling is pressure…
Let’s say that, somehow, despite the added pressure, you do manage to go over and say hi. Do you find that the person’s inside is as gorgeous as their outside? Do you still ‘like’ the person, once you’ve actually had a conversation? On the other hand, has it ever happened that you didn’t initially find someone attractive, and had even written them off, but after speaking to them, your interest rose?
I started Flirtology when I was 30; this means that I have been running my business for over a decade. I have seen many changes in how people relate to Flirtology and its offerings. Twelve years ago, the Fearless Flirting tours were viewed as a ‘cool idea’ but there weren’t many punters. Now it’s a sold out event, where people feel they really need help learning these skills. This is one of the many changes that I have seen.
As people find that technology isn’t bringing them love in the way they have hoped, they are returning to the fundamentals of how to meet people, and re-learning the skills of how to be in face-to-face interactions. This is where Flirtology fits in.
Gathering from my research as a Social Anthropologist, and my long standing experience working with people in this area, I know that there are practical tips that one can execute to become a better flirt. These are learnable skills, and one doesn’t need to be born with them in order to become good at the science of flirting. However, all the tips in the world can’t help someone find love, if they don’t first address the following two questions.
2016 was the year of fear and control, exemplified by those who ended up in democratically elected political offices. This wasn’t just happening in the Western world, but all over the world. (Rodrigo Duterte, anyone?). Fear and control go hand in hand. And, in the world of politics, it’s easier to control people if they are afraid. The flirting world often brings fear because we are not in control of the outcome. This means that instead of showing genuine interest in someone, and them possibly not reciprocating, fear stops us from making a move. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of this fear/control element in my life. Are you?
I want 2017 to be different – which is why this year I am embracing empathy/acceptance – the only antidote to fear/control. Instead of never asking out the person whom you’ve always wanted to get to know better, because you can’t control the outcome and are afraid of what it might be, try this – using empathy/acceptance, ask the person you’d like to join you for a drink. You have no expectations and are not attached to the outcome, because you are not trying to control the matter. Because of this, you are not afraid and are more likely to do it. There is no fear of what their answer might be. There is only acceptance of their response and acceptance of the outcome. Empathy is also important, because it forces you to look at situation from a viewpoint that isn’t only your own.