I have a very vibrant and forward personality. With this, I run into trouble with men because I come on too strong. I’ve been trying to dial it back so I don’t scare them away. Recently I met a great guy who I really like. So far I haven’t done anything to show my interest for fear of scaring him off. How do I let him know I’m into him without coming on too strong?
The loudest girl in the room
Hello Miss Boisterous,
Congrats on meeting a great guy. That’s always fun. About this scaring men away business: Is this something you were told you do or something you assumed? Sometimes when romance doesn’t work out in the time frame we want it to, we assume that we must be the problem. The good news is that’s not always the case. Sometimes feelings aren’t mutual and it’s no one’s fault.
Now, if you’ve noticed a pattern and every time you ask a man out while holding a bullhorn he runs away, I can understand wanting to change your tactic. I say make your intentions known modestly—flirt and see if you get flirting in response. If you get the cold shoulder, then it’s best to quietly accept defeat. It doesn’t mean love’s not out there. It just means it won’t be with this guy. If the flirting is reciprocated and you feel comfortable, you can invite him to ask you out. In other words, you invite him to coffee or the like with the hopes that he’ll ask you out on an evening date.
I caution you: I did this once. I asked a guy to coffee. He accepted and on said coffee date he asked me to see a movie. I accepted with a smile and…that was it. He never followed up. When I saw him after that he pretended that he never asked. Did I kick myself for being too forward? Nope, I declared him the wrongdoer and called it a day.
You have every right to ask. Here’s the catch: If he says no, it’s important to respect that and start to let it go. It’s okay to be disappointed. Being rejected hurts but not as much as a life of no risk taking. I actually have a lot to say about this topic: Should I or shouldn’t I let him know I’m interested? I address it extensively in the first chapter of my most recent book to it. While this may seem like a ploy to get you to buy my book, it’s not. The first chapter is available in its entirety is online: Click here. I hope this helps!
My parents are getting a divorce, and my father and his girlfriend are now moving into the same town as my mother and me. I’m afraid that I’m going to get caught between sides. Do you have any advice for coping with this?
Stuck In the Middle
Dear Stuck In the Middle,
This one is fairly simple and yet, not so simple. It’s not easy to watch your family change so significantly or to let go of the old comforts and roles you’ve always played, even if divorce is a good thing for everyone involved. It can be easy, however, to set some boundaries. Though maintaining them might be the tricky part. Communication is key and it never hurts to check
yourself when you are pulled under by waves of emotion.
Before any more cherries are thrown on top of this ice cream Sundae, I suggest you have a sit-down conversation with each parent, offering your love and support. I’m sure they too are experiencing some apprehension. And, while it would be nice to expect such support in return, remember that expectations are the demise of relationships, even when it comes to parents and
their children. Especially when it comes to parents and their children! Perhaps you can ask for support during this time in the form of respecting your boundaries, while you also practice the
acceptance of whatever “support” is actually given.
Whether either party is capable of respecting or understanding what you are asking of them you can be firm in what this request looks like for you, as well as giving them a heads-up about how you intend to maintain these boundaries if they fail to help you in doing so. This gives you a pass when the parents become potentially self-absorbed and forget your request for neutrality when in the heat of the moment. I always advocate for before, during, and after conversations when defining and redefining your terms in any relationship. Bottom line, you need to communicate your anxiety about what could possibly come of this change, while also being open to any positive potential that might show up, too. Here all parties are offered an opportunity to accept responsibility for how they enter into this next part of things and you don’t have to close yourself off to find peace.
What might seem like an impending disaster could actually be a gorgeous opportunity for growth and intimacy development. Don’t become too consumed with worry, after all, you are an adult now too, and you get to choose how you engage with whomever, and what you will and won’t stand for. No one is leading you around. You are just as much a driving force in this emergent dynamic as any other, so use this to your advantage; be the voice of reason and the presence of grace. There can never be too much grace when dealing with family.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.