I betcha in your day job you don’t go through threads of text histories to sleuth out where communication has gone off the rails, what they really meant when they made that weird rambling vague remark, dial back the deflection and innuendo and get an entire relationship dynamic out of purgatory. Well I do that over my breakfast diet Coke, in the bath, on my run, over dinner, between sessions, during sessions, at the grocery store and during Netflix and while I am walking the dog. It’s a strange superpower to be sure, involving some quick emotional calculus –oh this is what they meant when they said this, here is the issue, when you said that you really meant this, what is it that you were trying to accomplish, let’s speed review and solve for your triggers in a way that doesn’t trigger them and VOILA, the wedding march plays.
This week in particular I out-ninjad a young lad, okay middle aged man who has been in a painful dynamic with a client of mine for some time now. I would say he is a master level deflector. She asks for some clarity and without missing a beat he whisks the conversation back over to his stress, distress, what’s on his plate and how many demands there are on his time (Dear Reader can you guess how many? Yes! You are correct, ALL OF THEM!). So many demands that he cannot puh-ossibly find time for like, spending time with you, in a meaningful way, on your terms. Nope. But if you would so kindly support him unconditionally, ask him how he is doing tenderly, build him up and slather him with compassion and maybe your lovely breasts, if you don’t mind, like they aren’t doing anything better at 11pm on a Tuesday are they? Come on!
So the text history has you, my lovely young lady asking 1001, not Dalmatians but variations on “where do we stand, can we have a conversation, what are you looking for, I need clarity, your behaviour suggests…”, blah blah blah blah OUCH blah.
Together it took us three texts to ask “Are we dating or just friends?”.
And it took him two back to say “No but I want to work toward it”.
While that may not be enough for her, or for you, Friend, it was not deflection. It did just happen to be the most direct communication that had transpired in months, nay years.
So I am calling it a win.
I suspect he was white as a ghost after that exchange.
It’s NOT the only “dance around” I have intervened in of late. This shit happens ALL OF THE TIME.
*commercial break to tell our audience that in fact while this exemplification is male as deflector, there are just as many avoidant women as men and men are not being singled out in this educational piece*
WHY ALL THE GUESSING? Why oh why do we hate ourselves so very much that we sign up for this particular brand of torture over and over and OVER again?!!!
Turns out that I know why.
We don’t ask directly for truth or truthfully because we feel embarrassed, shy, self conscious. Because it is so very terrifying to let someone else know that we like them when we don’t know if they like us or want us in exact measure. We fear the rejection, on so many levels! Oh how many tragedies friends, how many Romeo and Juliet romantic tragedies have transpired under the guise of saving face. And saving face is not even a real thing.
I wish I could do a mass desensitization training with all of us. You know like they do with spiders –arachnophobia or other irrational fears. I am sorry Tess to call your fear irrational. I don’t want spiny black insects crawling around in my personal space either even if I stand to win in a bar fight. It’s okay I’m not going to make anyone hold a spider today, but what if we practiced letting someone know that we like them?!!! What if we said what we mean? What if we asked the scary question instead of skirting around it for weeks, months, years?
Wanna go out with me?
Do you think I’m gorgeous wanna marry me?
I think you’re special, hot, sexy, cool, interesting, nice, sweet, crush-worthy, smit-worthy or even cool enough that I am considering checking out a romantic potential between us.
Or simply, I am scared.
Maybe we all need to channel our inner Italian man –Bella Bella! Ciao bella!
It’s cool to make someone feel amazing.
To know that you are so sexy it doesn’t matter how they respond.
If they don’t respond compassionately that’s on them.
And so on.
I think I should set it up like speed dating.
By the end I believe that most of the crush recipients would be positively engaging with their crush-ees even if they didn’t see a future.
We both love me? That’s cool!
I do know that getting in touch with your own amazingness is key to overcoming this limitation.
The more you fall in dreamy love with yourself the less daunting someone’s imagined rejection of you.
The more likely you are to hold out for the person who sees what you want them to see, rather than fighting to feel worthy or adequate.
So today, whether you are the lovelorn, or the love-seeking, or happily ensconced in relationship I invite you to practice with me.
Review something you have said or plan to say and ask “Is that really what I mean?
Or am I dumbing it down, shying away, protecting myself from seeming (insert terrible adjective here)?
Clingy, needful, not detached and cool, unsexy, HUMAN (ugh), vulnerable, enthusiastic, emotional…”
I –ERIN am such a big big fan of taking all of the torturous guess work out of dating and love and relationship and human interaction.
It’s okay if you’re not perfect.
It’s okay if you’re soft.
You don’t have to be the ice king or queen, the imperious to FEELZ, the sauv-ay.
It’s okay if we all say “Awww” and if they don’t like it, or you, it’s not ON YOU.
I watched this basketball movie with Adam Sandler the other night at like one am for a break.
There is this drill where he yells insults at the person he’s coaching to desensitize them.
Let’s just do this together.
You weak, you a fool, you sappy, you a needy bastard, you soft, you whipped.
Do it do it do it until you laugh because it’s just some nasty trying to throw you off your game.
It’s cool to love.
I said it first.
You don’t need to dance around it for a day or a week or a year or a lifetime.
Be an emotional hero.
I’m in the car riding your ass up the hill, loving you so hard that nothing’s going to hurt you when you fall.
P.S. If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling sometimes a few sessions of support can make all the difference. Reach out and we’ll find the solution that is right for them.
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