I read three emails that dive into awkward feelings when interacting with others, deciding whether to settle for someone who doesn’t know what they want in a relationship, and someone who wrote to me saying that they are lonely and depressed.
Lots of variety makes for a packed show.
(The following podcast transcript has been modified for easier readability and to benefit the Deaf and hard of hearing)
I get a lot of emails and they pile up so I’d like to address three of them today. I’ve separated them into their own segments below.
Purging awkwardness and anxiety
The first email comes from someone who wrote:
“I listened to your podcast of April of last year on purging negative emotions, as soon as they happen, I loved it and it really hit home. To me, it’s about being your authentic self.”
And she explained some stuff which was great – some her history and her background – and she continued and said “as a mom myself, I seem to remember being affectionate, but as they became older, I found myself with those awkward types of moments that you describe in that episode, like your pullback handshake with your friends.
I’ve never said I love you in a phone call goodbye like I hear so many people do. I find it awkward. But I also find it even more awkward to end a phone call with something like “Okay, talk to you later.” There has to be another way with my daughter. I’m actually determined to talk to her soon about this awkwardness so I can purge it.
Anyway, thank you for the topic and all the other topics that you cover.”
Thank you so much for sharing this and let me explain a little bit because there is some stuff that she said that you may not know. I had an episode called Purging Your Emotions or something like that. In that episode, I describe an encounter I had with a friend. After he and I were leaving Panera Bread, I went for a handshake and he started to give his hand but instead pulled back and just gave me a hug.
We hug all the time so it wasn’t a big deal. But it was just a weird moment. It felt awkward. It felt like I was left hanging for a second. You probably know what I mean. It’s like going in for a high five with someone, or even a handshake like this, but maybe they’re not paying attention, or maybe they have a different intention and they do something else. So you’re left in some kind of cognitive dissonance and you might not know how to respond.
After that, I went in my car and he went in his and we left. I sat there in my car thinking ‘I hate this awkward feeling. Why do I have this awkward feeling?’ I recalled the moments before when I went for the handshake and how we didn’t connect, and now I have this negative feeling inside of me and I don’t know how to get rid of it.
It didn’t slip past me that I teach about tools and techniques on how to get rid of negative emotions and healing emotional triggers. I talk about the stuff that builds up and stays festering inside you. There I was sitting with something that felt like it was festering inside.
Then I thought, “What would be the fastest, easiest way to purge this lingering negative emotion?” And I thought of all the steps I could take:
- I could just scream out loud.
- I could just punch something (but it wasn’t that kind of emotion. It was just an awkward feeling)
- I could count to ten
- I could focus on the present moment
Instead of doing any of those things, I decided to visualize calling my friend and saying, “Hey, when we were saying goodbye, I went for a handshake and you decided to hug instead and it made me feel awkward.”
I teach that on the show every now and then: Just visualize you doing something. How do you feel after you visualize yourself accomplishing that?
That’s what I did. I told myself, “Okay, I’m going to visualize this in my mind. I’m going to call my friend and say, ‘Hey, look, when we were about to shake hands, and then you pulled back, then we hugged and we said goodbye, at that moment I felt a little off. It felt a little weird and a little fake. I just wanted to share that with you.'”
I visualized myself saying that. And of course, he’s my friend, so he’s going to say, “Oh, I’m sorry you feel that way. I didn’t mean for that to happen.” Of course, I wasn’t blaming him. But while visualizing, I was thinking this is what he would say if I said this to him.
Because he’s my friend we’re going to have an understanding conversation about it. It’s just going to be something that we can talk about. It’ll get cleared. Then we can move on without even thinking another thing about it.
I visualized that and I felt better after visualizing it. That wasn’t the solution to this negative feeling inside me, but it was darn close because I still felt awkward. It was still there. I didn’t actually do what I was visualizing, but I decided to do it to see if it helped.
I forget if I called him or texted him, I did something. I said, “Hey when we had that handshake,” (and just like in my visualization I told him what happened and told him how I felt).
He said, “Oh, my God, thank you for sharing that. And, yeah, I totally get that you would feel that way.” I forget if he said he felt the saw way too but I went through the action and told him what I felt.
After I explained it, he said, “Thank you so much for sharing that.” I left some of it out, but for the most part, it was a great conversation and as I figured, everything was good between us.
Even better, the awkward feeling went away.
I cleared the air. I got it out! I put it on the table and said, “Hey, look, this is what’s happening inside of me. I want to talk about it. I want to get it on the table and discuss this. Not even discuss it, just express what’s going on in me. I want to let you know this is how I feel.”
That brought closure.
I didn’t have to carry the awkward feeling with me anywhere from that point on. I remember all the times that I used to carry the awkwardness or the anxiety or the weirdness, or whenever something happened, I might feel a certain way and I would carry that with me instead of discussing what just happened.
I’ve learned that now when I have this awkward feeling, I want to bring it up. It’s not just awkwardness, it could be any weird feeling. But I think it’s important to remember that when we have a weird feeling, especially with a good friend of ours, or our partners, or anyone… a co-worker, maybe if you have that kind of relationship where you can say, “Oh, that was kind of strange. I feel kind of weird that that just transpired. Did you have that feeling too?”
Half the time, you might say, “Yes.” And half the time you might hear somebody say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But that’s okay. Bring it up if it’s important to you. If you don’t want to carry that negative feeling with you all day, put it on the table and say, “I just wanted to express this. It was awkward for me. And I don’t know if there’s a resolution to this, but it just felt awkward and I wanted to get it off my chest.”
Your expression could lead to a conversation, or it could be nothing. But the way I look at this is that you are giving your emotion a voice. You’re giving the feeling inside of you a voice.
I think what happens is that we carry around negativity when we don’t give these feelings and these thoughts and emotions, we don’t give them a voice. We don’t let them express themselves and so they stay in us.
It’s even weird saying that: we’re giving our emotions a voice. But this is valid. It does work. I was able to try it and relieve myself (that sounds weird, but I was relieved after I gave my emotion a voice. After I expressed what I was feeling it was gone.)
This is what this person is talking about. She said, ‘I listened to that podcast’ and I told this story back then, so I’m sorry if this is a repeat, but I think it’s good to recall and discuss again because this can be helpful to you.
You might have awkward moments with people you love. And instead of just bringing it up and saying, “Oh, that was awkward, ” or “That was strange,” or, “Hey, you know what we just talked about? I’m having feelings about it. Can we talk about those feelings?”
I think that’s a good thing to do so that you don’t carry them around with you. Again, if they’re negative. If they’re positive you can say that too, you can talk about them. But you know we like the positive stuff, we just don’t like the negative stuff. We just don’t like feeling bad.
This bad feeling comes up and you can choose to put it on the table, express what’s going on inside of you, and hopefully get it out of your system. It may not. It may not fully get it out of your system but it’s going to be a lot closer, getting it out of your system, processing it, releasing it, than leaving it in there.
Leaving it in there, it’s imprisoned. It feels like it can’t go anywhere. It’s just stuck in there. Hopefully, it will come out in some other way. Hopefully not through some bad habit, like swallowing our emotions with alcohol or food or some other bad habit. If we never deal with them, they stay in there.
But where do they go? They don’t leave. They’re still in there. It worries me when they stay in there because how many are we piling on top of that because we never dealt with the first one or the second one or the hundredth one? So we have to be careful about that.
In the second part of her email she says,” It’s awkward to end a phone call with something like okay, talk to you later.” Or, like she said, “I was never comfortable or I never said I love you as a phone call goodbye.”
Yes, this would be great to have a conversation in this person’s case, something to discuss with her daughter. “Hey, you know what, it’s weird, I don’t know what to say when we say goodbye. Do I just say hey, ‘see you later’. Or ‘sayonara'”? Or what do we say when there’s an awkward moment instead?
I think this is the best thing you can do is to put it out on the table. I told the story before but I was in a roundtable discussion with a group of consulting hypnotists. This is after I got certified as a hypnotist. I talked with other hypnotist and we all shared techniques and we shared training and education. We were introducing ourselves. I watched every person introduce themselves, ‘Hey, my name is so and so, I do this, and I work here, and I do this.’
I watched these people introducing themselves, and as it was getting closer and closer to me, I started feeling anxious. I started having this anxiety come over me. And I was like, “Why the heck am I feeling anxious? This is weird. This is a simple thing. I’m going to introduce myself.” But it was happening.
I was feeling this anxiety. Three people away. “Hi, I’m so and so”… Two people away, “Oh my god. The anxiety is building”… One person away to my left, that person’s introducing themselves and I know and I know I’m next.
Here I am feeling all this anxiety now and I know that when I speak, I’m going to be hesitant or stuttering or something, and just try to get through it, try to muddle through it, and try to sound professional. I don’t know what it was. I thought I had to sound better than everyone else, or as good as everyone else. I don’t know what it was, it was some insecurity me – something coming up.
Then it was my turn. I decided I was going to nip this right there and then. I decided I was going to take care of this emotion in that moment. Instead of introducing myself, I chose to be vulnerable. I put myself on the table. I thought, “I’m going to put this out for discussion. It will give me a chance to express what’s going on inside of me by just putting that feeling out into the group.”
I said, “You know, as I watched everyone introduce themselves, I started getting more and more anxious. And as it got closer to me, I felt the most anxious. And I don’t even know why I felt this way but I just wanted to share that with you. And I don’t know why I feel anxious, but I wanted to share that with you just so I could express it. Just so I could maybe put it out there and maybe other people could relate to that or resonate with it.”
Somebody broke the ice and said, “You know, we are all hypnotist and we could probably help you out with that.” And everyone laughed, and I laughed. And I suddenly felt great. And of course, I was able to say “Oh yeah, my name is Paul Colaianni and I went to this school, and I did this and this…” and it was easy to talk after that. It was easy because the anxiety wasn’t the obstacle at that point.
I was able to introduce myself after I purged the emotion. When you get rid of those obstacles, you can think clearly. You can do what you need to do. There’s no obstruction in the flow inside of you.
But when there is that anxiety feeling or awkward feeling or that buildup of negative pressure, negative emotional energy inside of you, it’s very difficult to be yourself. It’s very difficult to be authentic. It’s very challenging to show up in a way that you feel comfortable.
I had felt so uncomfortable and wanted to feel better. This is why I am encouraging you to be able to feel what’s going on inside of you so that you can just put it on the table: “Hey, you know what, we’re having this conversation, I’m having these feelings. I just wanted to put it out there and just let you know I’m having these feelings.”
You can’t do that with everyone. Not everyone’s going to want to talk about feelings. That’s too bad too. I wish more people would talk about what’s on their mind and heart. Hopefully, you have friends and people you love and trust so that you can share something like that with them. You want people in your life that support you and say things like, “Wow, okay, let’s talk about that. Yeah, I don’t want you to feel like that. Absolutely. Let’s get to the bottom of that.”
It doesn’t have to be a deep psychotherapeutic, dive into yourself. It could just be that opportunity to express what’s going on inside of you. So with this person who wrote, you said the perfect thing: “I think I’m going to bring it up with her and talk about this awkwardness.”
I guarantee you once you talk about the awkwardness, the awkwardness, it fades away. Unless you don’t bring it up. If you skirt around the issue, “I’m having these feelings and I’m not sure how to feel…” You may not have that dissolve as fast as you want.
But if you say you know what, when we’re saying goodbye, I feel awkward. I feel like I don’t know what to say. Try to be as authentic as you can. Try to be as honest as you can so that it hits at the heart of the matter. Like you are really defining the emotion that’s going on inside of you or the thoughts and feelings that you’re having.
You put it out there just to recognize it, to acknowledge it to validate it. I hope you can be with someone that loves you and supports you and wants you to feel better and they say, “Wow, I don’t want you to feel awkward. Let’s talk about that, great.” Or “Just tell me what’s going on.”
Maybe you just want them to listen. Maybe that’s what you can tell them, “I just want you to hear this. I’m having these feelings. I’m having this awkwardness.” Then maybe you’ll get to a point where you can go, “Oh, now that I’ve expressed it, I feel better. I don’t even know why it was awkward for me, because I don’t have a problem now saying goodbye. I could just say hey, talk to you later.”
If it was awkward before, it may not be awkward now. She could say the same thing and may not be awkward again. I teach this with anxiety all the time. I like to use the first date example:
You’re on a first date. You are anxious. You’re nervous. You have all this pent up negative energy, and the person you’re with is likely feeling awkward too. Or maybe they’re feeling a little anxious, who knows? Or maybe they look confident, and that makes you feel even more anxious or awkward.
I think it’s so healthy to break the ice and say, “You know what, this is making me feel anxious. Going on a first date is anxiety-inducing enough for me anyway. I just wanted to share that with you.”
If you say this, I’m going to guess that 8 out of 10 times, the other person will say, “Oh, I’m so glad you said that because I feel the same way. I just didn’t want to say anything. I didn’t want you to think I was insecure. I didn’t want you to think that I was some sort of loser. I’m so glad you said that!”
This is what happens when we’re vulnerable with people. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and it allows them to be vulnerable with us too. Most of the time. Of course, some people are jerks and they just aren’t good dating material. Those probably aren’t the kind of people you want to be vulnerable with.
If you’re on a first date and they turn out to be a jerk, then they’re not going to have that kind of response. But at least you’ll find out quickly if they’re a jerk so you can weed them out early. You don’t have to date that person anymore if you don’t want to.
But for the most part, the kind, caring, generous, loving, supportive people are going to want you to feel good. They’re going to want you to be comfortable, and they’re going to support you no matter what you say.
They’re going to say, “Oh, wow, I didn’t know you felt that way. You know, is it something I’m doing? Is there something that we can talk about?” You’re going to feel better, you’re going to feel the support coming at you – from the right people! The right people will throw that support at you and love you and care about you enough so that they want you to feel better.
I want to thank this person for writing. I hope this helped. I think you’re on track. I don’t think really I told you anything new because you already said you’re going to talk to her about it. Good job. You’re going to talk it out, hash it out and figure it out. I’m sure it’ll go well.
Should you wait for someone to become the perfect partner?
Let’s get to another email. I’m not going to read you the whole thing, there’s just a couple of lines I want to read.
This woman wrote to me and said she developed a relationship with another woman. It was her friend for a while and they realized, Hey, maybe there’s something more than just a friendship here. So they tried it out for a few months but after that, the other woman said “I’m just not ready. You seem so confident and so self assured. You just seem so much farther than I am in your personal growth, so I’m not ready for this relationship.”
When I read this, I thought, “Wow, what a courageous thing to say!” To be able to admit that you need more work and that ‘I’m just not where you are and I might need to keep working on myself and maybe do some healing…” I think that’s amazing that somebody can say that. It’s amazing that somebody can actually have a self-realization like that.
Kudos to that person. The other woman went on to say, “You don’t have to wait for me. I don’t want you to wait for me. I need to do my own work. I need to do my own thing and move on and figure out what’s going on in my life. And maybe we’ll get together in the future, maybe not, but I don’t want you waiting for me.”
The person who wrote to me said, “Okay, I won’t wait for you. We’re good.” She didn’t say these words exactly, I’m paraphrasing here, but she told me “I’m not waiting and I’m going to move on. The situation also made me realize that I have some work to do too.”
She said she has worked on herself a lot. In fact, she said, “I’ve been listening to your show for three years. Every single episode. I get excited every time I see another episode. And I just can’t wait to listen to it. And I listen to Love and Abuse, your other podcast too. And I go to therapy.”
She is doing everything she possibly can. I like to look at it as exhausting all resources. In this case, “exhausting all resources” for her own improvement.
This is what she’s doing. She’s exhausting everything she can to work on herself and improve herself. And she got into a relationship. And she sees this relationship, even though it didn’t work out, the way they both hoped, she sees it as a learning opportunity, as a healing opportunity because there was pain there, and as a growing opportunity. And she’s looking at it in a very adult way. I think she said she was 25 or something.
At 25 I was like 15. Now I’ve said this before, and some people know this is true, that adult men are usually 10 years younger. And adult women are usually their age.
A 25-year-old guy, he’s still a teenager, sometimes older (though I know there are guys out there that definitely do act wiser than I did at 25).
But women, they usually grow up faster, they’re more mature. I look at this as someone who’s actually treating this as they should, as this learning, growing, and healing opportunity. Because of that, it does help her move on.
Even though there’s likely some pain and grieving in there, she still knows that it’s most important to take care of herself and move forward. Especially because this other woman said, “Look, don’t wait for me”.
That’s great. That gives her direction because some people don’t get that type of a specific comment. Some people might say, “Wait around for me and hopefully, I’ll get better. We’ll just wait it out together and see what happens.”
I can’t tell you how much I can’t stand that. It happens all the time, where people say, “Oh, I’m not sure what I want.” I’m not trying to make fun of you if you do this. I’ve done it myself. I’m just saying it’s very difficult when somebody says, “I don’t know what I want, and I’m not sure. Hey, will you not date anyone else until I know what I wan for sure?” Because you are left waiting, and it feels like a rut for weeks, months, or maybe longer.
If you’re on the waiting side… if you feel like you have to wait for the other person, you’re doing it wrong.
I’m just going to put it out there: You’re doing it wrong.
I’m 99% sure about this. Though I know I could be 1% wrong with some people out there, and I apologize if that’s you. But for the most part, 99% of the people that wait for someone else to get their act together, or get into a space where they’re ready, are doing it wrong.
I tell you that because people who tell you to wait for them, you usually wait indefinitely. Statistically speaking, using my own statistics from the couples I’ve worked with for many, many years now, I’ve seen that when somebody says, “You know, I’m just not sure. I need to figure things out,” that they end up waiting indefinitely for the person.
I’m just telling this to this other person who wrote to me that, Yes, it’s great that you are moving on. But if you can fully accept that she won’t come around then it will help you release this, if you’re dealing with that. She did ask a question. I’m going to go over in a moment.
But if you’re dealing with any type of, “Well, should I wait? You know, maybe I shouldn’t date you know, just in case.” Don’t go in that direction. I know it’s easy for me to say, hard to do, but I’m telling you right now, if you choose to wait, you may wait indefinitely. How much of your life are you going to put on hold waiting for someone else?
It sounds cold when I say that I know because someone else may need time. Absolutely. They may need some space. They may need a lot of things. They also may lose you as a potential partner in the process.
But that is still their journey that is still what they might need to go through. If they are serious about improving themselves, they’re going to make an appointment the next day to seek therapy. They’re going to tune into shows like this and listen to it hours and hours every day or read self-help, or you know, find someone to help them through their issues, their struggles. If they are really serious about changing because they want to be your partner and they see the huge potential of your togetherness, then they’re going to move mountains to make it happen.
But if you don’t see that on day one, day two, day five day ten… It might be time to move on. I’m putting it out there knowing that, yes, there are circumstances where waiting might be an option. But most people will be disappointed if they wait.
Let me get to this person’s question and see if this kind of covers what I’m saying or not. I forget her question… She said, “The problem was, I was ready and she was not. You can’t make anyone be ready. And truthfully speaking, I want someone who knows what they want, especially when it comes to a relationship. I wonder what your thoughts are on this.”
She’s saying ‘I want someone who knows what they want in a relationship.’ My thought on that is Absolutely! Why not?
That is a fantastic way to look at it. You know what that says? It says you won’t settle for anything less than what you want. You won’t settle! Because there are too many people out there settling.
They’ll say, “At least I’m in a relationship.” But now they’re miserable. They could be in the relationship for years and years:
Someone in a miserable relationship might say, “At least I’m in a relationship. At least I’m not lonely.” But, they’re still miserable.
There are people like this. If you’re in that situation, I’m sorry. And I wish I could have helped you see what was going to happen sooner. But if you’re thinking about getting into a relationship and think to yourself “Ah, they’re good enough, I guess it’ll be fine. At least I’m not lonely, ” then I just want you to consider things. Be careful about the commitment.
I don’t have a problem if people get into relationships. If they know it’s not going to work out and it’s just a temporary thing, and they just want to be with someone, great! But that’s not the type of person I’m talking about.
The only problem I have is when you get locked into a relationship. You have kids, you get the mortgage, you get married, and you really never liked the person, but it’s good enough. I start to worry about that if you’re not happy.
Yes, you can be in a “good enough” relationship and be happy enough. You can be fine for the rest of your life like that. Some people can do that, and that’s great. I think a lot of people can do that, “Hey it’s good enough. I found someone that’s good enough. I’m in a situation that makes me happy enough. I’m okay with that. And that’s great.
I’m talking about the people that get into a relationship that say, “It’s better than being alone.” That’s not even “good enough”. It’s not even anything. It’s just, it’s better than being alone.
It’s like the opposite of good enough. It’s just not bad enough. It’s just not awful enough to get out of the relationship. This is what I’m talking about. When you settle for something that’s just not bad enough. That is what concerns me is that you might get into a situation like that. Now I don’t think she feels that way about this person that she was with for a while, but she is asking my thoughts on wanting somebody who knows what they want.
It’s very difficult. I will say this, it’s very difficult to find someone that knows exactly what they want in a relationship. It is. Not everyone is going to write down their perfect match. You know, the perfect relationship.
Some people do. My girlfriend before we met, she did. She refused to settle for anything less than what was on her list. Yes, she was willing to wait years, and even die single. That’s how committed she was. A lot of people don’t want to do that. But that’s how committed she was. She was so committed, she wrote her list and said, “I will not settle for anything less than this.”
That sounds like a segue, but it’s not! It’s not because I met all of her criteria. I didn’t. I did not meet all of her criteria. But I met enough. To her, that was good enough.
Yes, I have one of those “good enough” relationships, but I wouldn’t call it that. I’m only basing the “good enough” on her criteria. She tells me this is the best relationship she’s ever been in. To me, this is the best relationship I’ve ever been in.
This has everything I need. I’m not emotionally triggered, we get along, we talk about stuff, we express stuff. Everything I’m looking for in a relationship that I didn’t even know I’m looking for. I got into this relationship not knowing what a perfect relationship was. I got into this relationship not knowing exactly what I wanted.
In answer to this person’s question, what do I think about looking for someone who knows what they want in a relationship? I think it’s important, but it’s not vital. I think it’s helpful, but it’s not necessarily required. But, I would question. Because you may have to find out what their ideal relationship looks like.
When you’re in the phase of getting to know each other, those are the questions you want to ask. In fact, you may want to write down what your perfect relationship must be honest, must make me laugh, I must be attracted to them, they must like sci fi movies, all on this list. All these “must haves”.
In my M.E.A.N. Workbook I have a “Perfect Partner” worksheet. In there, I show three columns. The first column says “Must Haves”. The second one says “Would Be Nice”. And the third one is “Must Not Have” or something like that.
I highly encourage you to create this worksheet yourself and create all of your Must Haves and your Would Be Nices. i.e. “It would be nice if they were a multimillionaire. It would be nice if they were a model. If it would be nice if they were this or this .”
Then make sure to fill out the Must Not Haves: “They must not be addicted to such and such. They must not yell at me when they get angry. They must not this and this…” Whatever your criteria is.
After you create that list, you’ll know what you want. So, you’ll be able to ask questions to a potential partner in a way that helps them find an answer in the way you ask it. An example of that is, let’s just say that you’re talking about your Must Haves. You can ask the person “What are you looking for in a partner? What do you really appreciate? What do you love in a partner?” This is one way to help them tell you their criteria even if they’re arent’ sure themselves.
Now hopefully, they’re not one of these people that just listen to you and then tell you everything you want to hear. You got to watch out for that too. Don’t get stuck in that trap. As a former people pleaser, I can tell you, if I know what you want, I am going to fit that criteria. At least, in the past.
If you are asking me these questions, “So what is your ideal partner?” My people-pleasing skills would kick in and I would be able to extrapolate from them what they are looking for in a partner and I would become that person. I would be the chameleon.
We want to watch out for people like that. So we don’t want to give them too much information ahead of time. Hopefully, you don’t run into people like that, I’m just kind of throwing that out there because I was that person, so I know it can happen. But what are you looking for in a partner is a perfectly valid question.
What are you looking for in a relationship? Another valid question. So you can kind of extract these Must Haves and Would Be Nice’s and Must Not Haves from them, and they may never have thought about it too much. They may have been like me all my life where I just get into a relationship and if we get along great, we continue moving forward.
That’s, that’s been me for a long time. So my thoughts on wanting somebody who knows what they want in a relationship, that’s a Would Be Nice, but the chances of that happening are probably slimmer than not, so you might have to kind of get it out of them if they don’t know, but don’t hold it against them if they don’t know.
Just be aware that when you’re having a conversation with a potential partner, just be aware of any red flags. Like if you really, really like this person, and then they mention “You know, my ex and I didn’t get along and she was so awful. She said this and she said that…” That could be a red flag or it could be true.
You kind of have to connect the dots and figure out, okay, was his or her ex a problem because this person’s a problem? Or was his or her ex a real problem? You don’t want to accuse the person and say, “Maybe it’s something you did.” You just want to connect the dots and keep your radar on. Even though you like someone, you don’t automatically dismiss things. You don’t automatically say, “Maybe it’s not what I think,” or think “That poor person.” You might actually feel sorry for them like they’re the victim.
We want to be careful how sucked in we get into a potential relationship with someone until we know enough. And that could take weeks or months.
Because as soon as you fall in love, if you’re one of those type that likes to fall in love and commit, and be so close and bonding immediately, you might be more tolerant of the red flags. You probably will be, you’ll probably be more tolerant of the red flags. This is why I like to say just take it slow, keep your radar on, and everything that looks good, great. You know, add those to the good points.
Then if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to explore it subtly and figure out where they are. Make sure that you’re in alignment with it. Because it’s really not about finding someone that knows exactly what they want in a relationship. It’s more about you finding someone who matches your criteria.
I think that’s what it comes down to. That’s my answer to you. Is that, when you are seeking a relationship when you want to find a potential partner, and they’re not sure what they want, then decide if they are what you want. Because you’re going to learn that pretty quick, especially if you know exactly what you want.
That’s why I say it’s great for you to have that list, so when you meet someone, yeah, you can talk about what they want and figure out what they want, absolutely, it’s a necessary thing. You want to make sure you’re compatible in a lot of ways. You figure out. Ask yourself, “Hey, is this person being honest?”
You might even try to rub some salt in some wounds that you don’t know are there. What does that mean? That means if they have any type of emotional trigger (I’m not saying that you should do this) but if I were doing this, if I were a woman, and I was really careful about who I dated, I would probably gauge how much I was letting them get to see me and talk to me.
This actually might be out of the book The Rules. I don’t you ever heard of The Rules. One of “The Rules” in dating is Don’t call him back.
I think that book is talking to women dating men, but don’t quote me on that. The book said, “Don’t call him back for days.” My girlfriend told me about that book. She said she doesn’t necessarily agree with that rule, but it does have some merit. You learn something very important:
You find out who they are when they don’t get their way.
I think that’s a great lesson to learn when you’re starting to date someone. If they don’t get their way, and they say, “Oh, please, come on. Let’s do it this way. Come on!” now they’re pushing your boundaries.
Or if they don’t get their way and they get angry and say, “I can’t believe you’re doing this. Why would you do this? You know, I bought you flowers.” Now they’re being bullying and intimidating.
These are some red flags that if you don’t recognize them, you should. What can happen in a relationship with a kind, caring, generous, compassionate person is that they will hear something like, “Oh, please! Please let’s do this. Please!” and the caring and supportive person will cave in and do what is being asked of them.
What they’re really doing is allowing a boundary to be violated. It may not be a full-on boundary but it’s important to remember, No means no. If you say “No, I don’t want to do that,” and they don’t honor that, them dishonoring you is going to be what happens in the future too. And as the weeks and months go by, it will only amplify.
Whatever you’re feeling even a little bit in the beginning gets a lot worse over time with someone like this. That is of course unless you nip it right away. If you nip it and say “No, I said no.” And they say, “Okay, no problem. I get it totally.” Then you might be good. That’s great! At that point they’re listening. They know that you’re not a pushover and they know that No means no.
This allows you to keep your sanity and your integrity intact. It helps you keeps your personality intact too. It also keeps you out of being in a controlling relationship. And that’s important as well.
I’m not sure if I answered the person’s question who wrote this, but I hope this helped. I hope this helped. I think it is important to know what you want in a relationship. You probably shouldn’t expect it from everyone. But as long as you know what you want, then you’ll figure it out. You’ll figure out who the right people are.
The fact that you are moving on and not waiting for this person, I think it’s an excellent idea. Because as I always say, you never know, this may not be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with this person, but in 10 years, you can have a relationship with her.
You might have to have other relationships before you’re with this person. It could happen. It doesn’t mean it’s over, “once I get into another relationship, it’s over”, it just means they’re not ready now. The relationship is not going to happen now, so you do move on. Because you don’t want to spend your life waiting.
Spending your life waiting and staring at the phone and hoping they call and… It’s just miserable. I’ve been there. It’s just an awful, awful place to be.
Moving on helps you move on.
It really does. Just move on. If you can’t, listen to my episodes on obsessive thinking. I made a few on obsessing about your ex. Definitely listen to those. Also, something I like to do is pretend that they said, “I never want to see you again.” Or, I’m not necessarily suggesting this but I personally do this myself: Visualize that they died. When I do that, I have no choice but to move on.
Again, I’m not suggesting that. That’s a bit morbid for some people, but it really helps me reach closure. It really helps me move on. That’s what I’ve done in the past at least. If that works for you, great! Again, I’m not suggesting you do it, but I hope it helps if you try it.
I’m alone, lonely and depressed
Here’s the last email. I’m going to make it a challenging one. I don’t really have an answer for this person, but I want to tackle the subject because I know a lot of people feel as she does.
“I’m in constant conflict. I’m living away from my family, and they need direction about what to do since this pandemic. My life has changed. No work friends. And friends that you thought were friends are not there for you. I just need some direction. I’m getting a little depressed. I’m alone. And I’m also a widow. Thank you.”
That’s such a challenge. Thank you so much for sharing that. Here’s what I’m going to tell you. I don’t have a magic pill and we are kind of all going through things in our own way, especially during this COVID pandemic.
We’re all trying to figure out what to do. Some of us have friends. Some of us can’t connect with our friends the way we used to. Some of us have family that we can talk to. Some of us live with people.
You sound like you’re alone. And you’re sad. I get it. I really do.
I want to tell you that my part in helping you is trying to connect with you and trying to be there for you. Right now, I’m right there with you, talking to you. I’m right next to you wanting to connect with you and wanting you to know that even though I don’t have the answer, I am listening.
I can even hear you. You wrote this message to me and I hear that. I hear it and I feel it. I feel what you’re going through.
I want to let you know that I’m sympathetic and empathetic. I can relate to what you’re going through in some ways, but I may not be able to relate to your situation in other ways.
I know what loneliness feels like. I think we all know what loneliness feels like, but maybe not to the extent you’re feeling. Maybe it’s hard to express how lonely you really are and how lonely you really feel.
I’m here to say that I get you and I hear you. I am here for you. I am listening. There are other people that listen too.
There are people in my Facebook group called The Overwhelmed Brain Empowerment Group and it’s on Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, and maybe you do or don’t want to create a profile. I’m not saying you can create a fake one, but you could if you don’t want to be on Facebook. 😉 I’m not saying you should but people have done it and I didn’t talk them out of it. If you’re on Facebook, join the group!
I consider that group the safest place on the internet. People will sometimes pour their heart out in the posts they create there. There are lonely people in that group, but they don’t feel as alone, or maybe they don’t feel alone at all when they share this stuff.
It’s just like I was saying earlier when you’re able to share something, express it, give your emotions a voice to anyone that will listen, that can be one small step toward feeling just a tiny bit better. Because I guarantee you that no one can come up to you and say, “Oh, you’re feeling lonely and depressed and you’re a widow? It’s okay. You’ll be fine.”
No one can do that. I mean, they can do it, but it’s not going to work. It wouldn’t work for a lot of people. I know it wouldn’t necessarily work for me. I think maybe it’s a little dismissive of what you’re going through.
There are good intentions behind it of course. I once heard someone say, “I know your wife has cancer. God bless. She’ll be fine.”
How does that person know that? No one knows. Why do people say things like that?
It’s because people have good intentions. People really do want you to feel better. They say things like that in hopes that you will. They want to give you hope. They want to give you faith. They want to give you something positive to hold on to.
But sometimes you might just want someone to acknowledge what you’re going through. To the woman who wrote, yes, right now is a lonely time. I hear you. I know you are lonely. You have every right to feel bad. You have every right to feel hurt. You should be able to express that freely without someone telling you not to be so down.
Of course, if someone telling you “You’ll be fine” works for you, great! If somebody says, “Everything’s going to be fine” and that works for you, I don’t want to take that away from you.
I’m just saying that sometimes you’re in such a deep, dark, hurtful, lonely, or sad place that you don’t want someone to dismiss it. You just want someone to validate it. You just want somebody to realize what your truth is – what you’re experiencing.
To this person who wrote: I am listening. Thank you so much for sharing that. My heart is with you. I can feel you. I know you’re going through a lot. I know it.
And yes, I do want to say, “You know what? Everything will be fine.” But why would I do that? How do I know? I don’t know. All I know is what we have today, right now, right in front of us. What can we take advantage of today that might help us and give us a little boost in the right direction?
Right now, that’s all I have to offer. Join our group on Facebook. Maybe you can share what you wrote here in that group. Maybe you can just post and say, “I’m lonely. I just want to share that.” At least there will be other people, and I’ve seen this over and over again in this group, that will say “Yeah, I know exactly what you’re going through. I feel that too.”
When that happens, you’re suddenly not alone in your loneliness. And that does change loneliness. That does change it.
I wish I had some solution. I wish I had a magic pill. There are a lot of things I can tell you to help you feel more positive. Like:
“This too shall pass”
I think that’s a great quote. It does help me because I look at my past and I remember being in situations that I knew would never end. I knew I would never be happy. I knew it!
I “knew” that no matter what happened, that I was going to stay unhappy. But then one day I was happy.
It took a while. One unhappy time in my life took years to get through. But it did pass and I did get through it. That might be depressing for you to hear. “What? It might take years?” Sometimes it doesn’t.
I’m just saying, for me, I really believed happiness wouldn’t happen. I had bad thoughts. I had suicidal thoughts, I’ll admit. It was a long time ago. But I got through those times because of the work I did on myself. At one point, I was depressed for about 3 or 4 years. The woman I was living with decided to leave. At that time, I had so much riding on that relationship: All my happiness was from that one person so I didn’t know how to create my own happiness. I didn’t know how to be my own best friend. I didn’t know how to be my own anything because I relied on other people too much to fulfill me and give me energy and strength.
It was very hard to learn to rely on myself, but I did it. I went through it. I just trudged through the mud every frickin day and just got through it. So I now see things as “this too shall pass”. If it helps, remember that you will just have to continue trudging through that mud, as hard as it is, so that someday you can look back and say to yourself, “You know what? That was a hard time. That was one of the worst times I’ve ever gone through. But here I am today. I made it. I’m happier than I ever thought I could be.”
Trudging through the mud is still forward momentum
It’s still moving in the right direction. That’s what I want you to do. Just continue moving in the right direction. Continue doing something small every day toward a better perspective of yourself; toward a better relationship with yourself; toward working on your mental strength and your mental health. Continue to move toward the person and place you want to be.
It may seem like you’ll never get there, but just keep moving forward.
Thank you so much for writing this. For a lot of people, these are tough times. I want to let you know that I am with you. I want all of us to look back one day and say, “Wow, do you remember when that happened?” I want us to be able to look back and feel grateful for what we have now. I would like to have that with you.