Posted on: March 4, 2010 2:52 pm

Terms of Service

If you ever actually read the fine print of a contract or warranty, there’s always some disclaimer that winds up coming back to haunt you.  For example, at my job, we purchased a piece of equipment for $20,000 that did of course come with a warranty.  It broke down a few months later, and we had to call our usual service company to repair it.  The lengthy amount of time it took them to figure out the problem cost us $120 per hour during which they even tried to call the manufacturer who could offer zero help…..shocker.  In the end, they traced the issue to a pressure switch that we wound up having to replace.  We’ve had to replace this part twice since over the course of a little more than a year.  You know what’s coming……the part isn’t covered under the warranty.  You know that has to be on purpose.  The fine print on paperwork should really be defined as red flags. 

Which brings me to relationships, my favorite topic next to the Yankees and baseball.   The disclaimers or red flags here are much more subtle and difficult to interpret, but they are there. They come in all shapes and sizes through statements and actions. 

You start with the honeymoon period where everything is rosy, and you talk for hours and enjoy every minute with each other.  That’s all well and good, but your first red flag is if one or the other takes it TOO fast.  For instance, you’ve met someone online which is the norm nowadays.  You talk for awhile until you’re comfortable enough to meet.  You meet, and you get along extremely well, so you agree to meet again.  During the second meeting, one or the other gushes about how you’re the one, or some similar statement.  I know someone who traveled long distance, and during the second meeting, he told her he was miserable without her and wanted her to move there.  Of course, that made her feel really good, but she was realistic and knew it was too soon.  How well can you really know someone after months of online chats and 2 meetings?  Not well enough to uproot yourself.  That of course is an extreme case, but I’m sure you’ve all had similar situations where you were overwhelmed by someone’s enthusiasm.  I’m not saying to show the person the door if they move too fast, but it is a red flag, and you should wonder why.  The first assumption is usually desperation which isn’t necessarily fair.  The truth is usually that the person has recently ended a relationship which has made them vulnerable and lonely.  Remember the question you always ask yourself after a breakup?  It’s do I miss the person or the relationship.   The answer is almost always the relationship itself.  You miss just being with someone, so when someone else comes along, you’re anxious to get the security of a relationship back.  So, now not only have you uncovered the red flag of underlying meaning, you’re also alerted to the fact this person is probably not very independent.  In addition, they’re not very mature if they can’t recognize their own state of mind, and how it does take time to get to know someone.  I will say that I do believe in instant connections.  Even though I believe they should be tempered, if it feels right, you should go for it, but  proceed with caution because there are beliefs and personality traits that do not surface for months.  No person is an open book immediately or after a short time. 

Let me sidestep here to the online thing.  The person you talk to online is not exactly the person you’re going to meet.  People’s inhibitions online are much less existent.  It’s much easier to talk to someone on a computer than face to face.  The person you talk to online is generally in there somewhere, but it’s going to take longer for them to come out in person, so even more reason to take the time to get to know each other. 

Ok, so, you’ve decided to move forward even after being overwhelmed.  You continue to get along well, and you buy into them being really into you.  You allow yourself to open up more and believe there may be a future with this person.  Suddenly, they’re not so available.  They become really busy with work and can’t talk to you or see you as much.  You ask if maybe this isn’t a good time, but they insist that things will get better soon and ask you to be patient.  Danger!  The person is likely reassessing  their  feelings for you, and maybe even seeing someone else.  They don’t want to lose you, so they’ve only backed off until they’re ready to make a decision on you.  In addition, I see this as game playing which to me is unacceptable.  I mean, aren’t we adults?  Also, a person who can’t be honest with you is a coward in my book. 

Let’s say their schedule frees up, and they have time for you again.  That’s great since it means they want to move forward with you and have stopped having doubts.  It also means they may have legitimately been busy.  If it keeps happening though, I don’t believe the person is on the up and up.  If every few months, they’re taking a month off from you, that’s a problem.  The bigger problem is if you allow it.  A person is going to do whatever you allow them to do.  If you’re on and off with someone for a year, and you’re seeing them in your future, you’re likely wrong because they’re not on the same page.  There comes a point when you have to draw the line and say, hey, what gives if you think the person is worth it, or have some self respect and say goodbye before you waste any more of your time. 

Let’s say their schedule doesn’t free up yet they still continue to dangle a thread.  They feed you a line about how special you are, and they want you in their life, but it’s just not the right time.  Remember, this is after you’ve already asked them if it’s not the right time.   Well, they probably didn’t want you to be the one to end it out of guilt, or they likely have control issues.  Thing is, you don’t deserve someone who continues to put you off.  You’re obviously not important enough to them, and you should’ve seen the end coming.  A friend of mine allowed a man to put her off for months believing he was that busy with work.  He kept telling her he still wanted to continue seeing her.  Whenever she questioned his commitment to that statement, he blew up at her….another red flag.  He would yell about how he had all this pressure on him, and she was adding to it which of course made her feel like crap.  She would always wind up apologizing and then explain how she merely wanted him in her life more.  Was that so terrible?  No, you’d think someone would be flattered.  If they’re not, they don’t feel the same way, and they should say so instead of leading you on. 

Continuing on with the above scenario that happened to my friend, things did end because she drew the line and said hey, what gives.  She got the answer I mentioned previously.  She said, sorry, but no go because she didn’t want someone in her life who hadn’t treated her properly.  As we all tend to do, she started to think back about the time they spent together.  At first, she blamed herself because he must’ve not liked her faults.  Then, she became more objective and realized he gave her plenty of warning signs.  He was very critical of her.  He would say one thing, but do another.  He was weird with money.  He was hypocritical. 

I call this blog item “terms of service” because not only do you not want an inanimate object that doesn’t meet your standards, you don’t want a person either.  If their terms of service don’t match yours, and they’re not willing to compromise, it’s never going to work.  For your own good, it’s better to recognize that sooner rather than later.  My friend’s relationship I talked about was with a man who only wanted her in his life on his terms, refused to meet her halfway, and didn’t even try to understand where she was coming from.   It’s a selfish person who acts this way, and there are always signs along the way that’ll point you in that direction.  Recognize them, realize there’s generally a reason for them and don’t ignore them.  Believe in your own worth. 

Category: General
Posted on: May 27, 2008 3:38 pm

Smoke Signals

Since my relationship blog items seem to draw the most interest, here's another one for you.  This one is regarding the games people play in relationships and the signals the opposite sex send out.  Both genders are confusing to the point of utter frustration.  Don't you just want to shake the person you're interested in and/or involved with and say, what do you want??????????

Let's start from the beginning.  You see someone you find attractive across the room of a bar or wherever.  You can't tell whether or not you'll be shot down if you approach them, so you don't because rejection is a bitch especially when other people are watching.  The deal is if you want to be approached, you have to act like it.  Now, there are times when a person just doesn't feel like meeting someone because they've had a bad day or something, so don't take it personally.  I myself am very cut and dry.  If you're checking me out and I like what I see, I'm going to smile at you.  If I don't, I'm going to act like you don't exist.  Too cruel?  Maybe, but I'm of the mind you don't lead anyone on and waste their time. 

So, you've made initial contact with the person of interest.  You're making small talk and getting a feel for each other.  All of a sudden, oops, would you look at the time, I gotta go.  Why?  Something unappealing has been said or done.  Everyone's different, so again, don't take it personally.  What you said or did could be your future spouse's favorite thing about you, this person just hated it.  Thing is, if the flirting is abruptly stopped at 10 PM,  there's usually a reason for it, and you shouldn't bother asking for a phone number.  You're just leading yourself down a road of more rejection. 

Let's say you do get a number.  Yeah, if you don't want to appear too eager, you should wait a couple of days before you use it.  Eager = desperate in some people's minds, and desperate = unattractive.  Women and men alike look for confidence in a mate, someone strong and assertive that they don't have to worry about.  Nobody wants someone constantly bringing them down with clinginess.  Ok, back to using the number.  Personally, I can't stand the wait 3 days rule.  If you took my number, you want to call me, so do it, and I'm not going to perceive it as desperation.  I'm going to take it as a compliment.  That's just me though.  Now, if you get voicemail, and your intended doesn't call you back within a week, give it up.  There is a slight possibility the person's phone is messed up, so trying one more time isn't terrible, but no more than that.  Save your dignity.  Again, it's nothing personal.  Your crush just probably realized you weren't for them. 

The first date sucks.  You can't really judge someone on it alone, so if they're not a total loon, give them a second date.  The best thing to do is have a drink before you meet the person to relax yourself.  You obviously don't want to be drunk, but you want to be yourself and alcohol helps that cause, it really does.  You want your date to like you for you.  A first date is best approached like an interview, a gathering of information about each other.  It's also best approached on a friendship level which takes the pressure off.  The more laid back you are, the more comfortable your date's going to be which will bring out their true self.  That's the person you want to see, so you can determine whether or not they're right for you romantically.  Too many times I've seen people pretend to be someone they're not to please a member of the opposite sex.  I've also seen people be dishonest because they thought the person wouldn't like the truthful answer.  Then, you constantly have to remember the lie(s) you told, and it's bound to bite you in the butt.  Why people don't want to be with someone who appreciates them for them is beyond me.  Why put that much stress on yourself? 

So, the first date comes to an end.  You think a goodnight kiss is in order, but it doesn't happen.  Don't think it's because the other person didn't have a good time too.  Everyone expects the guy to make the first move, but maybe the guy isn't sure you want him to.  Nothing wrong with the girl giving the guy a kiss, even if it's on the cheek.  Again, if you're interested, you have to let each other know. 

Where letting each other know is concerned though, there is sharing TOO much information.  After you survive the first date and get into a full blown relationship, it's best for both parties to just go with the flow.  This is especially hard for women because they generally need things defined.  I'm guilty of it too.  Talking about EVERYTHING just complicates things which makes your relationship less enjoyable.  It'll drive someone away because who wants to do something they don't enjoy if they don't have to.  Thing is, if you enjoy being together, that's all you really need to know.  You also should be sensitive to the fact that everyone needs positive reinforcement, I don't care who you are.  You just can't take each other for granted, and you have to throw compliments around from time to time to let the person know you definitely find them attractive, you enjoy being with them, you like the way things are going.  Now, obviously, if you stay together long enough to think about a future, there are certain things you're just going to have to talk about, and guys have to realize this and suck it up. 


Category: General
Posted on: May 2, 2008 5:09 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2008 6:19 pm

'He's Just Not That Into You'

I remember hearing that said for the very first time on an episode of Sex and the City.  Carrie was introducing her new boyfriend, Jack Berger, to Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte for the first time.  The girls are discussing their love lives at some bar while Jack listens.  Miranda tells about a recent date where she invited the guy upstairs, but he declined saying he had to be up really early.  He kissed her twice and said he'd call her.  Jack bluntly utters his opinion, "he's just not that into you."  The girls argue with him about push/pull, guys are afraid of rejection too, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Jack reveals the secret to men is that there is no secret.  If they're interested, they say so by going upstairs and booking the next date. 

I'm all for Jack's assessment of a guy's behavior on a date, but what about 10 or however many dates down the road when the guy loses interest?  How about when they end a full blown relationship that's lasted months or maybe even years?  Why is it that one day "he's into you" and the next day, "he's not that into you?"  Now, I've been through my share of breakups, and I'll admit that after the initial shock wore off, I could objectively look back on most of them and see that there were warning signs.  I just didn't want to see them.  I'm sure there are many other women who've been through the same thing.  All of a sudden, he's really busy and preoccupied.  He's moody.  He cancels dates you have planned.  You just think your relationship is on such solid ground it's impossible it could be anything more than what he's saying.  But it is.  So, why, if it's so simple with guys, don't they just come out and say it?  Yes, it's going to hurt the girl, and yes, she may cry, but you're a man aren't you?  So be one. 

I have also been through breakups where after that initial shock wore off, I could objectively say there was no forewarning.  These are the really perplexing guys and situations.  You're going along, talking all the time, getting closer and closer which leads you to believe he really likes you and then boom, nothing.   I've always thought it was because the guy got scared.  He's not ready for anything more serious with her or anyone, and he wakes up one day with the realization he's been getting close to a girl.  Well, that just can't happen.  So, what would be so terrible about telling the girl you like her, but you feel things are getting too serious, and it's not the right time for you?  My, honesty, what a novel thought.  It beats playing the games both genders play.  Hmmmm.....how many days should I wait to call?  How about as many as you want instead of as many as is necessary to throw her or him off.  Why can't everyone just say and do what they want?

It is true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  The most notable difference to me is how women like to talk things out, and men can't be bothered.  I'm not criticizing men for that because I envy their ability to let things go.  A lot of the time, women just can't.  We need some sort of explanation for why things happened, some sort of that annoying word, closure.  As we mature, we realize it's just not worth the agita to chase down a reason, but doesn't mean we don't wonder from time to time.  Men letting things go makes them adverse to facing the girl of the moment when they want to end things.  Hey, both sexes know each other to a certain extent, and all a guy can think of is how he doesn't want to deal with a crying chick.   Isn't that why they ease their way out hoping she'll either figure it out herself or break up with him?  I think so.  Why can't we all be reasonable and accept our differences by meeting each other halfway.  Hey, I promise not to freak out if you promise not to be a chicken. 

Category: General
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