Have you ever been let down by someone in a new relationship? Have you ever made a real effort to look good, to get in the right frame of mind, only to be let down by that person? Have you ever been stood up?
When this happens the whole dating game becomes frustrating, annoying and pointless. We start to think that the issue is with us, that there is something we need to change.
The thoughts going through our minds when we’re stood up…
Tracy and Sam have met for a coffee after getting together via Singles Warehouse, tonight is their first ‘date’. Sam has made a particular effort to get ready after a crappy day at work, an evening when the best option is probably to sofa surf. The date is at 8pm in a quiet wine bar, the clientele are exclusively couples. Sam arrives at 8:05pm expecting to see Tracy. Sam orders a drink and sits alone. As the clock reaches 8:30pm, Sam is getting more and more anxious, and wonders “Where is Tracy?”, “Why haven’t I got a call or a text?” Sam texts Tracy, no response, and at 9:00pm Sam feels stood up and decides to go home.
Sam wonders, “how many texts you can send someone before you’re seen as stalking?” What will Tracy think if Sam is too pushy? Was Sam stood up because Tracy was put off by things said when they had coffee? Did Sam come over confident, laugh too loudly, or look clumsy when the coffee split on the table.
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The thought process continues…
“I’ve been stood up because Tracy must think I’m not worth the effort, I’m unattractive and I’m clumsy, so why bother spending time with me, when Tracy is out-going, gregarious and funny?” “I also talked about other people I’ve dated, what a turn off!”
The internal questioning goes on…
“Why should I be stood up? Why didn’t Tracy give me a call or a text?” “This is really selfish and cruel, and I don’t deserve this!” “It’s not fair, I had a crappy day at work but made the effort, why couldn’t Tracy? Typical, I knew that this was too good to be true, I bet there’s someone else I don’t know about……”
Where do all these thoughts come from? It’s from our desire to understand why other people behave in certain ways and what’s driving their behavior. People’s behavior can be driven by their values, their feelings and their beliefs. These come from three areas:
Your growing up experiences and influences. Your folks, school, friends, culture, environment, religious beliefs, experiences, family, the media, the era when you were 0-7 years old, as the 1970s were different to the 1990s, and many more. These have all happened to you, they can’t be undone or influenced. It is highly likely that these events will set the tone of your values, for example, whichever brand of religion was present at that time of your life. If you were brought up as a Roman Catholic, for example, you are still likely to be one.
2) Significant Life Events
We all have some destination or goal, and follow a pathway towards it. These are the occurrences that make us re-evaluate that destination. They include: births, marriages and deaths; also important events like divorces, exam success and failure, promotions, redundancies, lotto wins, accidents, illness and overcoming illness all have an impact on us. These things are partly in our control, and can adjust our behavior and attitude accordingly.
This is about our daily choices, and we are in control of these.
They include; who you chose to live with, where you live, where you work, how many hours you work, how much sleep you get, the diet you have, your use of drugs (or not), the friends you keep, the amount of exercise you get….
All three of the above areas mix together and from them appear our values, which inform our beliefs and feelings and ultimately our attitudes.
How easy is it to see someone’s attitude? Just being human means we strive to understand what is motivating others, why they do things. Sam is trying to work out what is driving Tracy. How on earth can Sam ever be right? It is impossible to work out the attitude of people unless you know them VERY well, even then we jump to conclusions and assumptions that are almost always wrong. Therefore, if you were stood up, what should you do?
The only way to deal with the situation is to use your brain. Dislocate your emotions from the situation and focus only on the BEHAVIOR. Sam needed to ignore the feelings about “why” Tracy is doing it, just look at “what” Tracy is doing (Behavior).
In this scenario Tracy has…
Not turned up for the date.
Not made any contact with Sam.
Knowing these facts enables Sam to take a course of action that is appropriate and fair. Removing Sam’s emotional baggage about being stood up, allows Sam to be reasonable and assertive.
So, don’t waste time and effort trying to second guess why someone has not turned up.
What assumptions have you just made about Sam and Tracy? Who is the man and who is the woman in our scenario? Tracy and Sam are both men and women’s names!
Use this approach in other areas of your life. Work is a great example of how we obsess over what we think someone means. Refer to our blog http://bit.ly/1xyt2aZ