You are on a first date: how do you know if the person sitting across from you is going to be your next Mr. or Ms. Right? If you are the woman I met on Saturday night, you will make him skip. She tells me, ‘This shows that he is up for a laugh’. She then added, ‘Oh, don’t worry. I always go first to show them how’. Another woman said that if he doesn’t share his food, it’s an immediate no-go. Both of these women have good points. Who wouldn’t want a partner who was up for a laugh and shares their food? But then I think of my wonderful husband, who would, flat out refuse to do the ‘skip’ test, (although he has a wonderful sense of humour) and certainly doesn’t share his food with me (much to my annoyance). I would have missed out on a wonderful partner, if I had based our potential future relationship on these two criteria.
But these aren’t the only situations where people are using the wrong criteria to assess potential partners. One client told me that because she was assertive and confident, that the man would have to be the one to approach her otherwise, she believed, she would railroad right over him. I understand why this woman would need someone equally confident but, once again, the criteria she was using, was completely ineffective. My husband is self-assured, and certainly an equal partner for me, but would have never come up to me without knowing me or someone whom I was with. Her criteria means she is attracting the wrong guys and missing out on the right ones. There are far too many case of women making up their own yard sticks, without any merit, and using them to assess potential partners. They’re doing themselves more harm than good.
Still doing the same ol’ things, but expecting different results? Let me tell you about Julia.
Julia has a date. With a cute boy. Whom she likes a lot. Do you want one of those? Then do what Julia did. Or, rather, do what Julia did differently then what she would have normally done.
Julia was invited to a birthday party of a new acquaintance. Since she didn’t know anyone there, she invited Dianne to come as back-up. Unfortunately, Dianne came down with a cold, so Julia did something she had never done before…she went by herself.
Julia found a nice group of women to talk to and, normally, she would have happily stayed put all evening. But, she decided to do something else that she hadn’t ever done before; she went over and introduced herself to three guys who looked like they were having fun. As it happens, she really hit it off when one of them. She then made sure that she was sitting next to him when they all sat down for dinner, another thing she wouldn’t have normally done. Unfortunately, they lost track of each other after dinner, and she didn’t get to say good-bye. However, the signals were strong, and she had nothing to lose, so she did something else that she had never done before; she emailed the host, asking her for the guy’s details. And, she contacted him. After a couple flirty exchanges, they are meeting up next week.
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?