If you’re a woman who tends to over think and over analyze (and let’s face it…what woman doesn’t?) I want to advise you when it’s appropriate to do so about men: N-E-V-E-R!
Oh how we love to dwell in conversations with ourselves about all kinds of fascinating things. Is he attracted to me, what will I do if he does/does not call, what signal was he trying to send when he did this/didn’t do that, what did he really mean when he said…?
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There’s an inherent problem with this scenario ladies: we are often absent actual information or evidence, so we merely invent it. After all, we can’t possibly carry on our conversation unless we fill in those pesky little blanks!
This came up yesterday as I was talking with my coaching client, Nancy. She used a Date 911 coupon and we talked as she was arriving home after her first date with a man she connected with on plentyofffish.com.
She gave me a detailed account of the he-said-she-said.” She asked me why I thought he seemed to avoid talking about his daughter; do I think they are estranged? Why I thought he wore such casual clothes; wasn’t that disrespectful? Why he ordered soda and not wine; is he an alcoholic? And finally…do I think he was interested?
She had decided he was just another guy who wasn’t for her. She was disappointed, but thought it was “okay, because he probably wasn’t going to call her anyway.”
What’s the answer to all her questions? Beats the heck out of me. I have no idea.
What I do know is that Nancy was spinning out of control. She was over thinking and trying to read his mind. This wasn’t analysis …it was imagination.
Nancy was exhausting herself in an attempt to fill in the blanks. She couldn’t live with the mystery or, I think, the possibility of rejection, so like many women do, she veered her story toward the negative.
So I played along and suggested alternative stories. What if his daughter is ill or has passed? Maybe he wore casual clothes because men often feel this initial meeting isn’t a formal date; he waits to impress on the real first date. Maybe he didn’t drink because he wanted to keep his wits and make the best possible impression.
I explain that men think very differently than us; it’s futile to try to guess what they’re thinking. We need to always make room for the reality that often we can’t even imagine what’s on their minds. We need to ask them; the proper way. The way that men respond to.
I asked her if she had a nice time; was he a nice man? Yes. Then, a few more questions, and finally…after a deep sigh she says “well, I’d go out with him again but I don’t think he’ll call; I think I sent him the ‘I’m not interested vibe’”.
Uh…oops. Opportunity missed.
These mental gymnastics can lead you to a make believe world from which you may never escape. I don’t have empirical proof, but I bet this is one of the top reasons dating never moves to a relationship.
Dating is hard enough. There are real challenges. Don’t make it harder by spending time and energy on what doesn’t exist.
Take in everything you can from every experience. Accept that it takes time to get to know someone. Learn to communicate with men, including how and when to ask questions. Train yourself to recognize when you know something versus when you’ve made it up.
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You will never master reading men’s minds…but you can master quieting yours.
For more, read my post How to Create Your Own Reality and Simply Screw Things Up.