Tag: women

Girl Talk: Getting to Know Someone

Girl Talk: Getting to Know Someone

When I was in my first year of junior high, I remember falling head over heels (guys can use this term too, right?) for a girl who took the same bus to school. I remember picking a flower out of my neighbor’s garden, so I could hand it to her on the morning ride. She was embarrassed, but accepted the token.

Her friends were impressed-ish, but tried to signal early on that she wasn’t going to be interested. And soon after, I found out: she only liked me as a friend.

As much as the rejection stung, it dawned on me that “being just a friend” shouldn’t have had any kind of impact– we weren’t even friends! I didn’t know anything about this girl. I can’t even remember if I knew her name before her friends talked to me.

From that point on, I kept that memory to motivate me: blindly falling in love with a girl you barely know is dumb. You have to get to know the girl.

Unfortunately, I drove that notion into the opposite extreme. Through junior high and senior, I’d try to guard myself from butterflies in the stomach. I’d make a conscious effort to talk to girls, to get to know them, and to be friends first.

But then, I’d just “fall in love” with every girl who I felt like I knew “enough” about.

Reaching that level wasn’t so hard to do. I’d try to fact check myself. “This isn’t just some girl I have math class with! Her favorite holiday is Christmas. She likes food.”  As you can see, I was just a little too eager to draw conclusions that me and a girl had so many things in common.

Along the way, I kept learning to raise the level higher and higher, but getting to know someone became a lot of work. What really sucked was these rejections actually hurt more! The “crushing defeat” was especially crushing because I thought I really knew the person. And that’s the thing to glean here: knowing a lot of information about a person, doesn’t mean you know the person.

It doesn’t matter how many pieces of trivia you pick up. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only person who’s been told the fact. To truly get to know someone takes time. And if it feels like it’s a lot of work? That’s probably because all the effort is one-sided.

When you’re getting to know someone who’s equally invested in getting to know you, that dynamic makes dating a lot of fun.

Girl Talk: Pick-up Lines

Girl Talk: Pick-up Lines

We all want to make a good impression, but I think we over-estimate our first words. While it’s fun to think back on how the connection all started, the encounter itself doesn’t always lend itself to a good story.

Even if you live by an “I have no regrets” kind of attitude, the bad first fumbles are still always going to sting. And on the flipside, even some of our best friendships and relationships have unmemorable beginnings.

We’ve been conditioned to think there’s got to be a spark from the get go. We think having the words to sweep someone right off their feet is romantic. I’ll cover the topic of false positives some other time, but let’s tackle pick-up lines for now.

Some are funny. Most are crass. But can they really ever work?

Girl Talk: Working Hard in a Relationship

When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s not just how you talk to other people, but the ideas that you communicate to yourself that can cause problems. One of the best life lessons in this area I ever got came from the anime Cowboy Bebop.

In the episode 10, Ganymede Elegy, focal character Jet Black “bumps into” an old ex. For years after the split, he never got any closure. He just had no idea how things went sour despite doing all he could to take care and provide for her.

At the end of the episode, she hits him with the truth: he worked hard, but too hard. Putting so much effort into their relationship actually put her off. By focusing so much on doing things “right”, he treated their relationship like a concept instead of something organic.

“I wanted to live my own life. Make my own decisions– even if they were terrible mistakes,” she cries– which caused me to cry too. That notion of trying to do the right thing, yet missing the point entirely, stung.

Despite the lingering impression that’s stayed with me, it’s too bad I really didn’t put into practice the lesson from this episode of Cowboy Bebop. See, at the time, I was in the middle of my first serious relationship, and I was truly in love with the idea of the relationship.

I told myself I wouldn’t be a slacker. I would work hard at it in order not to lose it. And I think that’s a mistake a lot of people make. They think of “hard work” as the antithesis of being lazy.

Let’s be clear, yes, please do give a shit about a partner. Or, at least, if you don’t give a shit about them, make sure they’re on the same page and don’t really give a shit about you either. That seems fair, yeah?

But be aware there is such thing as trying too hard. And if you’re going that route, you’re going to go the way of routine. You’re going to fall into scripted territory. You’re going to find yourself “losing the passion” because you let the relationship become just a thing instead of something you share with another living human being.