I’m going to read you a question that was asked to me from one of my Love Life Club members, and there was a part of this question that I immediately called bullshit on. I want you to see if you pick up on what part that was. And I will tell you, and you can see if you were right. “I travel a lot and there’s this guy I started seeing a month and a half ago. Because of our travel schedules, we’ve only seen each other every couple of weeks with texting in between. When you have an intense schedule, how do you continue to deepen a relationship? With this guy, it feels like there will be these moments of momentum, then things stop. How do you keep it going?” OK, which part did you say was BS? The part that I called out was when she said, “When you have an intense schedule, how do you continue to deepen a relationship?”
Here’s what I said to her in the moment, “Is that really what you think? Do you really feel like right now the relationship isn’t progressing because you have such an intense schedule?” And she looked at me and started smiling. I said, “Let me ask you this. Could you text him more? Would you like to?” To both of these questions, she said yes. So what I said to her is, “Then this isn’t your excuse. It’s his excuse and you’ve appropriated it.” He has a very busy schedule and has an intense travel schedule, blah, blah, blah. And by the way, so does she. It’s not not true that she has an intense schedule, but he uses it as an excuse as to why he can’t give more, and she now has adopted the royal we around that excuse.
It’s a bit like being with someone who says, “I’m a really zen person. I just like to kind of go with the flow and I’m very chill and I don’t know. I don’t like to make plans about what this is and where this is going and put a label on it. I’m just more of a spontaneous person.” And then when you go and describe the situation to your friends and they say, “Hey, how’s it going with that guy you’re seeing?” You go, “We’re just both really chill and just kind of seeing where things are going and just not putting any labels on it right now. Just enjoying being spontaneous and just kind of taking it as it comes.” I see this happen all the time. If I were to put a true vulnerability filter on the question that she asked me, here’s what I would translate it to.
I travel a lot and there’s a guy I started seeing a month and a half ago. Vulnerability filter, I travel a lot and I’m also ready for a real relationship in my life where I prioritize someone and there’s a guy I started seeing a month and a half ago that I’ve actually come to quite like. When you have an intense schedule, how do you continue to deepen a relationship? I have an intense schedule, but that doesn’t change the fact that I want to deepen this relationship. So how do I do that without getting brutally rejected by someone who actually doesn’t want the same things as me? With this guy, it feels like there will be these moments of momentum, which get me excited and hopeful, then things stop, which makes me sad and is hurtful. Look, I get it. I get exactly where this woman is. She’s three dates in with a guy. She’s a month and a half into knowing him, and that naturally feels, especially in a world that feels so casual all the time about dating, that feels like a time where we’re not entitled to make our demands.
We don’t want to come on too strong. We don’t want to scare someone off, and so we feel like we’re in this no man’s land of not being able to demand anything, but at the same time, knowing that we want more. So what do we do in that moment? Is this a time to lay down your standards? Because that’s something that can easily come across as too aggressive. Why is this person yelling at me? We’ve only known each other a month and a half and we’re both busy and we have a lot going on. What is this? We’re afraid of creating that reaction. So this isn’t a time for laying down the law. He’s been so disrespectful, but we also want to communicate something of our intentions. Well, I believe that a wonderful gateway to conversations about what we want, standards, boundaries down the line is vulnerability today about how we feel.
Let me give you an example, because I always believe that I can give you all of the psychology in the world, but if I align it to an actual phrase, an actual message, or a way of having a conversation, that’s the most useful thing I can give you because you’ll hear it and you’ll go, “Oh, that’s how that sounds.” So imagine for a moment that they spoke on a Monday or a Tuesday, he disappeared for the rest of the week, and then the following Monday he reaches out to her and says, “How was your weekend?” Here’s what she could send back. “I had an amazing weekend, a little disappointed I didn’t hear from you though… How have you been?” Now, the nuances in this message are important. The fact that when you say, “I had an amazing weekend,” and then you put little blushy face emoji, warms up the message, right?
And it also says, “I had a great time.” I was not not having was having a great time because you didn’t reach out to me. But then comes the vulnerability, “A little disappointed I didn’t hear from you though…” The dot dot dot is an invitation for him to actually respond to that. Then you say, “How have you been?” Which is still warm and you’re still making conversation. There’s no bitterness about this message. There’s no edge. In fact, the whole point of this is that it’s coming from a place of just … there’s a pureness to it. It’s just vulnerability. I’m just sharing, bravely I should add, something that I feel. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t hear from you. What this does is it immediately changes someone’s perception of you from two dimensions to three dimensions. You become human. You’re not just some thing to be experienced for someone’s enjoyment when they want to reappear.
You’re someone with feelings and things that you would like in life, and you’re affected by things. So now someone sees you in your humanity and they get to decide how to respond to that. Now, they may want to progress things with you or they may not, but what they can’t do is pretend your humanity doesn’t exist. Vulnerability is like a beautiful loophole at a time where you don’t feel entitled to make demands of somebody. And of course, the fact that you’ve expressed a vulnerability means that later down the line you’ve paved the way for a more honest conversation if the sporadic communication continues. And that’s what this message does, it makes you more likely to be taken seriously for a real relationship. It makes it harder for someone to pretend that their actions are having no effect and it allows you to own your needs and where you actually are in your life, which is not in the same place as this person who may be just working relentlessly and traveling and only have time for casual on the side.
That’s not where you are. Where you are is a person who’s busy and excited about a relationship and willing to prioritize it if you find the right person for it. When you know that about yourself and you own it, then you start to communicate it and when you can communicate it, you get taken more seriously by the people you encounter. Now, so many people find that the most useful part of a video like this is the part where I actually wrote out what to say because it’s different when you hear it. It’s one thing for me to say be confident. It’s another thing for me to go, “This is a confident conversation in action. This is what a really confident message looks like. This is how to start to assert a boundary in a very gentle way that doesn’t scare someone away.”