The SW Experts | Overcoming a Dating Disaster with the BIFF Model
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Overcoming a Dating Disaster with the BIFF Model

overcoming a dating disaster

Dating disaster….again! Did the evening drag on and you knew it was wrong but didn’t feel able to SAY anything? Were you gabbling too much due to nerves and your date got bored and became silent? Were you completely overwhelmed by the experience and so said nothing, and your date thought you were an idiot. Were they an arrogant son of a bitch and you just switched off? Did your date not turn up?

Overcoming a Dating Disaster:

How emotional did you become during this dating disaster? How able were you to express your opinion of how the date was going coherently? How emotional do you usually become when faced with a difficult situation, either at home or work, with friends, colleagues or strangers? The 4 step model I’m about to give you will help in any type of relationship.

Dating disaster – The Scenario

overcoming dating disasterIn one of my previous articles I talked about Tracy and Sam. They had met for a coffee after getting together after meeting online. Tonight was their first ‘date’. Sam had made a particular effort to get ready after a crappy day at work, an evening when the best option was probably to sofa surf. The date was at 8pm in a quiet wine bar, the clientele were exclusively couples. Sam arrived at 8:05pm expecting to see Tracy, but there was no sign of Tracy. Sam ordered a drink and sat alone. As the clock reached 8:30pm, Sam got more and more anxious, and wondered “Where was Tracy?”, and “Why didn’t I got a call or a text?” Sam texted Tracy and got no response, and at 9:00pm Sam decided to go home.

In this scenario Tracy didn’t not turn up for the date and didn’t make any contact with Sam. Sam’s imagination was running riot, which didn’t make her feel any better nor resolve any issues with Tracy. She needed to deal with the situation to try and get some clarity and feel better.

Dating disaster – The feedback model

Sam can use the BIFF feedback model.

The BIFF model is a way of giving feedback and links to a blog I have written for our website.
B – Behaviour = what do you want to see change, i.e. not being stood up
I – Impact = the impact the other person’s behaviour is having on you, others or the environment you are in, i.e.you wasted money on drinking alone waiting for your date to turn up.  Knocked your self-esteem etc
F – Feelings = how you feel about that person’s behaviour, also how they feel, as it might explain their behaviour = felt uncomfortable waiting alone, don’t know if you can trust them, angry, frustrated,
F – Future = what is going to be different in the future, i.e. if you agree to another date, the person will ring if they are going to be late.  Meet somewhere you feel comfortable etc

This looks at Tracy’s Behaviour, the Impact of that on Sam, how Sam is Feeling, what happens in the future, if there is one! It is a method of giving assertive feedback to someone, and can be used in a range of situations. In this case, Sam can use the following four steps to give Tracy feedback on his behaviour.

4 Steps to the Feedback Model

1) Identify the behaviours that need to be changed or maintained?

In this case, Tracy didn’t turn up, nor make any contact to say he wouldn’t be.

2) What was the impact of that behaviour on Sam?

She was left alone in the wine bar, spent time and money that wasn’t necessary. She is unlikely to want to make any effort like that for Tracy again. She worried that something had happened to Tracy and didn’t sleep that night, which meant she was not in the right frame of mind for a work meeting and let herself down with her boss. Finally, she is now having to do loads of work to rebuild her relationship with her boss.

3) How does that make Sam feel?

She felt angry, frustrated, embarrassed, let down, un-valued, stupid, childish, frightened and confused.

4) What does Sam need to see in the future?

If there is a future… it is one where Sam isn’t let down like this. It is one where there must be better communication. It is one where Tracy needs to be more respectful of Sam, and where Tracy needs to think about the consequences of his actions.

Being Assertive and Using the BIFF Feedback Model:

When Sam and Tracy finally talk, Sam needs to be calm, have her thoughts in order and use this feedback model to help channel what she wants to say, to avoid another dating disaster. Telling the other person what they have done (Behaviour), what the Impact of it was on her, and how she felt about it, is a powerful tool. Preface it by saying “I am not sure if you are aware…”, as it is possible that Tracy had no idea of the impact of his no-show on Sam, as he might have totally misunderstood the arrangements.

At the feelings stage, Sam MUST ask Tracy how he feels about the impact this has had on her. Sam needs to know that she has been heard and understood. She also needs to know what Tracy thinks a suitable future would look like. At the very worst Sam is going to find out that he doesn’t care, but then she’s learned something valuable early on in the relationship, and can make grown up decisions about her future. Sam can even attach consequences to the future, such as “if you stand me up again, it will be the last contact we have”.

Benefits of Delivering Messages Using the BIFF Feedback Model:

  • It has 100% success rate – Not that Tracy will change, but that he heard Sam’s message.
  • Nips things in the bud before they escalate.
  • Allows people to see their ‘blind spots’.
  • It’s not about attacking someone’s personality, but about challenging their behaviour.
  • Opens the pressure valve on our emotions.
  • After the message has been delivered, Tracy cannot say he didn’t know the effects of his behaviour on Sam.
  • When faced with difficult challenges from individuals, think about what they are doing and how they are doing it. DON’T waste your life trying to work out why they are doing it, you won’t ever be right!

Have you used something similar when dealing with a reluctant partner? We’d love to hear how you dealt with the situation, and how it was resolved. Please re-tweet and let’s get a bank of ideas together to revolutionize our responses to dating disasters and no-shows and whip our potential partners into shape!

Also see how this BIFF feedback model can be used in other circumstances.