Today, I got a good reminder lesson for myself. It’s actually a lesson that I feel a lot of people should learn early on in life hopefully:
Don’t worry so much about what other people think or do.
I know it’s common. Deep inside, we all want to be liked. So we look to other people, our family, our friends, our peers to gain insight into our own selves, to validate us, to tell us that we are alright. We spend a lot of time worrying about what other people may think of us, how they may judge us.
I remember feeling that anxiety the most when I just turned 30. I’m 32 now, as of a few days ago. Back then, I started comparing myself a lot to my friends. What have I achieved so far in my life? How are my friends doing? How come I’m not where they are at? Shouldn’t I be married already? How come all my friends seem to be settling down already? Is something wrong with me?
I think it’s natural to self reflect from time to time. It can be healthy to want to know how people perceive us. It’s a sign of maturity in self-awareness… Sometimes, it can be a decent quantifiable gauge of whether we are going in the right direction. But sometimes, it does get out of hand. So today, I want to remind everyone: please please please don’t let people’s perception of you dictate what you do so much.
In dating, this is even that much more important.
It was endearing, really. I felt like a big brother. I was listening to him, smiling inside. He was so eager to ask me questions. He has never met a guy who did dating coaching before. I was waiting on a friend to be done with his work so we started chatting. He was Asian, just like myself. I looked at him in quiet amusement. He was 19, decently good looking, with high cheek bones and his long, black, straight hair pulled back behind a bandana.
As soon as he learned of what I did, he opened up to me about his situation. He was seeing a girl. It’s been a couple months… But everything seems to have gone too fast, he said.
– What do you mean, “too fast”?, I asked.
– …like the second date
– Who’s to say that’s too fast? Based on what?
– Well, I feel that’s all that we might do. I talked to my roommate a long time last night. He and I agreed that I’m the rebound guy. I’m OK with that. But how do you know if you are JUST the rebound guy?
– So what if you are just the rebound guy?
– I dunno… What does she want? My roommate and I talked all night. We kept on wondering what she wants.
– Why is it so important for you to define the relationship?
– Shouldn’t you? I think it’s important. Don’t girls like that? Well, I want to know. What if I wanted to be more than the rebound guy? When I met her, she just broke up with her boyfriend.
– OK and…? […] Do you like her?
– Yea… I do. But she’s going to Spain in a few weeks. Does that count? How does she see me?
– Well, what do you want?
– Hmm… I dunno.
– Do you want more?
– I dunno. I dunno yet.
– That’s your problem right there. Why are you so worried about what she wants when you don’t even know what you want.
– I dunno. I never thought of it like that. My roommate and I… we just kept on going in circles wondering what she wants.
– You can only know what you can do or who you can be once you know what you want. Think of it this way. If you are going on a business deal, you want something from the other person. What do you bring to the table? What do you have to offer? If you don’t know what you want, there’s no negotiation you can have with what the other person wants. So going back to your original question, as of right now, you can be whatever you want! You just need to know what you want first.
– Yeaaa!…. it makes sense.
– And with her, the only thing is… you might have to change the nature of what you do with her just to make sure she sees you the way you want her to see you. For example, make sure that when you hang out with her, you don’t go straight to the bedroom. That way, it will allow her to see you in a new light and it will allow you to discover different sides of her as well. That’s how you develop the connection that will create the potential for a relationship, assuming that’s what you want. Just one thing though, don’t be too nice.
– What do you mean? Why can’t I be nice? Why is it that everyone says that? I’ve noticed that when I date girls I’m not totally into, I’m not super nice. But with girls I like, I tend to be really nice.
– Again, that’s because you worry too much about what other people think of you, here with what she thinks of you. You want her to like you. It’s not that you can’t be nice. Just don’t put her on a pedestal. Let me put it this way. If you met a fat girl… scratch that, even a hot girl that really really really liked you and was super nice to you all-the-time. How do you feel?
– It’s weird. It’s awkward.
– I dunno. It doesn’t feel natural.
– Exactly. That’s because no one wants to be on someone else’s pedestal. It doesn’t feel right. When you are being too nice, it’s not real. People know that. It’s not the real you. It’s not genuine. So if you want a a chance at a relationship with her and you base it on you not being real or genuine…
– It’s not going to work. It’s not gonna be sustainable!
– [smile] You got it. Don’t worry though, this will pass with age. As you get better with dating, you’ll worry less about what other people think so you can be more of yourself. Right now, I’m sure that’s why you and your guy friends probably talk about who does what with who. You want to be liked by them and without knowing it, you try to outdo each other. You aren’t really trying to impress girls, you are trying to impress guys!
– Yeah, that’s true! I don’t know why we do that.
– Again, that’s because you worry too much about what people think of you.