Recently I had a conversation in an online relationship forum where I coach and one woman brought up the term "bullsh*t detector." She referred to it as a "protective instinct" and seemed kind of proudly defiant, and a little defensive, all at the same time. I get that some people believe a sharp and finely-tuned BS detector is a must-have accessory for the dating world nowadays. Maybe even in your everyday life. But I have a slightly different opinion. As a relationship coach, I wonder if it might be a clue that you have some work to do? In fact, I'd suggest that thinking you need a highly-calibrated "bullsh*t detector" might be more "bullsh*t" than "detector."
"Bullsh*t Detectors": Asset or Liability?
I believe that when you think you have a really good "bullsh*t detector", at best, it gives you a false sense of security. The truth is that even with all we know from experts in body language and centuries of scientific research involving the monitoring of heart rate, breathing, perspiration and whatever else......lie detection evidence is still not admissable in a court of law.
Why is that? Because neither the art nor the science bear the burden of conclusive proof. In fact, lie detection is an educated guess at best. At worst, it's a witch hunt to assign blame somewhere. If that's not enough to dissuade you from putting all your eggs in one flimsy and unreliable basket, I believe the potential exists for an even more insidious cost. By definition, when one is suspicious and their "bullsh*t detector" is set on high, you must find some shred of evidence to validate that which you already believe. This skews your judgment and makes you biased.
When "Bullsh*t Detectors" go wrong:
Now since we often tend to get what we focus on — or find that which we seek — the slightest suspicion is enough to totally sabotage you and leave a terrible impression. Once you go into BS detection mode, trust has already gone out the window. From there, things quickly slide downhill from aligning to maligning. From matching to mismatching. Forget about connection at that point; now it starts to become about confrontation. We listen for inconsistencies and parse words. We become critical and nitpicky. We attack and accuse. We get argumentative and adversarial. Sounds like a wonderful date, huh?
Think I'm exaggerating?
I wish I could say I was but I can tell you that distrust and fear bring out the very worst in the very best people. I had a client just today who has come a very long way in recreating his marriage after a breach of trust severely damaged it. Despite the fact that a lot of great progress has been made and their relationship is actually better than ever on many counts, yesterday was a tough day for them.
While he was away working, he started to feel insecure when his wife wasn't available. As a result, his "bullsh*t detector" got activated and he did everything that a faulty "bullsh*t detector" would make you do — via text, no less, which is even worse. That's because texts remove context and without intonation, facial expressions, body language or other clues, communication becomes more riskier and less clear. His pointed questions, parsed words and general paranoia totally alienated her and broke all rapport, which had been very good. Until his spinout made him lose control.
The following day, all he could do was apologize because he knew it was his raw insecurity that caused him to sabotage some of the great progress we've made over many weeks. Luckily, he had me to help dig him out of the hole he created. The whole thing happened because he went into "bullsh*t detector" mode.
Would you be open to a better way with a better result?
Any time you embark on a fault-finding mission, you go into a heightened state of alert and suspicion. By definition, that causes you to focus on and live in fear rather than choosing a more empowering alternative. Listen, if you're going to venture into the dating scene in a state of fear and distrust, my advice is to take some time off. Get some coaching and heal your unresolved stuff, especially if there was some trauma like cheating or abuse of some type involved.
If you're not ready to show up on a date and bring out your very best version of you, you're wasting a lot of time. If you can't look for the best in people and give them the blank slate they deserve, you're not ready. I'm not saying there aren't some bad people out there that you need to distance yourself from. I am saying that if you refuse to give someone you've never met the benefit of the doubt due to your past baggage, you might be one of those people that others should avoid.
The secret to a much more empowering alternative
Here's a much smarter way to manage your state, show up at your best and actually have a chance at creating what I like to call a "legendary love for life." Instead of focusing on whether or not someone is trust-worthy, focus on trusting yourself instead. No matter how hard you try, you'll never change anyone else who doesn't want to change anyway. So change you.
Focus on love, faith and hope instead of the fear of being hurt. It's way more empowering. Have you ever noticed that our fear of "being hurt" is oftentimes more scary than the actual pain? Trusting youself is as simple as remembering that you've had challenges before. You'll have them again and no matter what. But you've always been fine and you will be again.
Just know that everything happens for a reason. Even if things don't work out, you can learn from your experience and be even better because of it. Remember, when you speak your truth and know your value, the ones who belong will "stick" because they are attracted to your vulnerability and authenticity. The ones who don't make the cut, drift away to make room for something better. Being positive and empowered on a date is incredibly attractive to great potential partners!
Good luck out there and be good to one another. If you're ready to get yourself in a great place and attract the kind of partner you truly deserve, contact me and I'd be delighted to help. www.legendaryloveforlife.com