My dear friend Susan*** came to me with a perplexing scenario: She and her newish gentleman friend of 3 months had a breakthrough conversation. He opened up to her about his dreams and fears. And for the first time, he spoke clearly about his particular brand of family dramas. He’d previously brushed it off in past conversations, but now it’s all out in the open. Phew, what a relief! Susan feels closer and more connected to her gentleman friend.
Just one problem, he’s not returning her calls. Well, to be fair, he’s taking a little longer to return her calls, texts, and emails. She feels the emotional distance. She’s not happy about it, and she doesn’t understand it. What happened?
Here’s what I told her: The good news is that it’s not about you. It rarely is. Think about it for a moment. Strange behavior that you don’t understand, logically, is strange because you’re missing some important information to make sense of it. And if it’s his strange behavior, it’s probably his thoughts and patterns that are making him act as he does. But what are they? Honestly, I have no idea. It could be anything, from the cockamaymi far-off to the completely mundane. But be clear about this–You want Mr. Gentleman Friend to handle himself in an honest and clear way, right? You don’t want to be confused. Am I right on this?
You’re a smart and curious woman. You know you don’t know everything, but you’re willing to learn. DO this. And SAY this.
1) Remind yourself that you’re not the problem here.
2) Recognize that you’re working with just a sliver of all the information necessary to make sense of this.
3) Ask for help. Ask nicely, openly, and in a sincerely curious way. Say,”I loved our conversation last week. Thank you for being so honest and clear with me. However, it’s harder to connect this week. I don’t understand. Can you help me understand better, by sharing some information that I don’t have yet?”
What do YOU think? How do you think Mr. Gentleman Friend will respond?
***You know the drill. Names are changed (or not) to protect the innocent. Or they’re just shy.