We like our friends, in part, because of who we are when we are with them. We feel we can relax and be our best self.
Unlike how we feel when we are around people who we find difficult, obnoxious or off-putting. Part of why we don’t like being around those folks is because we don’t like how we feel around them.
Another way to say this is: around our friends, our true self is called forth. We feel good, comfortable, relaxed.
When we are exploring a new relationship, it’s important to be aware of what part of you is called forth. Do you feel comfortable, safe and relaxed? Do you feel kind, accepting and generous? Or do you get defensive, angry, or competitive?
Most people aren’t conscious of what is being called forth; they just decide they like someone or not. They don’t realize that part of why they like or dislike a person is based on how they feel around them and what part of them is brought out.
I was discussing a mutual colleague with a pal. I said, “I don’t like how I’m triggered to be when I’m around him.” Yes, you can consciously choose how you behave around others. But the people who elicit the strongest negative reactions are those who trigger something deep within us — some old hurt. We find ourselves reacting before giving any thought to the situation.
So when starting to get to know a potential romantic partner, be mindful of what part of you is being called forth. If you feel wonderful and rarely confused or upset, keep seeing him. But if you find yourself regularly feeling defensive, hurt or angry, move on.
However, know that some relationship counselors suggest that if you are able to hang out in the negative emotion, you can work to heal that old hurt so it no longer has any power over you. But this is an advanced skill that is hard to master. I have, on occasion, realized that the negative emotion a beau evoked was an opportunity to look at the underlying old hurt and heal it. By healing it, one is no longer susceptible to the triggers, so isn’t bothered by the behaviors that called forth the disappointment.
After a date, ask yourself, “How did I feel? Was my best self called forth? Was I kind, generous, interested a good listener? Or did I find myself getting irritated with him over little things?” If the later, best to move on, unless there are other overriding characteristics that will make it worth your while to notice and examine the negative triggers.
Have you noticed how you feel after a date and identified what part of you was called forth? What did you notice and what did you do about it?
For more info on what to be aware of when first dating, get your copy of Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great?