Set the Tone Early, or Watch Your Love Life Perish |
A long way back before I started vlogging/coaching/knew what the hell was up, I unsuccessfully dated a very cool and aloof hipster-actor-filmmaker. Disclaimer: When I say "very cool", I generally mean he was extremely good-looking and mysterious, aka, unavailable. But he had a sexy mustache (a complete anomaly) and rode a motorbike in Brooklyn; I was smitten.
We had plans to go out on a Thursday, and he expressed interest in having me spend the night at his place. WINK WINK.
Being a smitten kitten, I wasn't against the idea. But I also took the stance of, "Okay, let's see how it goes."
We went out. We had fun eating falafels and playing darts. We loaded up the jukebox and had a 2-person dance party in the otherwise deserted bar. It felt like a movie. Or the beginning of a Taylor Swift song. Maybe a naked slumber party was in order!
Or maybe not.
Cause then he got STUPID DRUNK.
Like, not cute drunk. Drunkity drunk drunk. His buzz killed mine.
He became snarky and rude. He rambled incessantly about the asinine fights he got into in college (to anyone who would listen). He repeatedly left the bar to go chain-smoke and make phone calls outside.
Keep in mind, this is a guy who wanted me to go home with him that night.
This was a fantastic opportunity for me to SET THE TONE EARLY.
I gave him a hug and said I had to get going. He was confused and tried to convince me to stick around, but I insisted on excusing myself.
I didn't make a scene. I didn't call him out. I just politely peaced out.
Because I am hyper-committed to my clear, specific standards for those whom I choose to spend my time with (let alone spend my nights with). Even whilst smitten, tipsy, and young enough to be making stupid decisions, I knew what I wanted.
Sloppy, moody, and inconsiderate have never been part of that equation. I needed to make this clear through my actions and my words. The message was sent, and I set the tone:
"If you want to take things further with me, you can't act this way."
Now, whether a guy chooses to receive that message and do something about it is entirely up to him. But we all need to be broadcasting loud and clear.
And not in a pushy, shovey, "I'M A PRINCESS HOW DARE YOU," kind of way. But in who we are being. In the choices we make. In the way we conduct ourselves.
Had I chosen to go home with him that night in spite of his behavior (knowingly ignoring that I didn't like who he was being) I would have been sending a very different message.
Not the wrong message, just a message that wouldn't have been true to me. And like everything else in life, this is all about being true to yourself.
So before you start having feelings, before you make any kind of commitment to him, commit to setting the tone for what a relationship with you requires and entails.
This is going to be different for everyone, and you really can't fake it. This isn't about playing games or making moves so that he'll chase you or think you're "hard to get". This is about actually being hard to get.
Decide what you will and won't tolerate in your life as a single person so you can easily transfer it onto a relationship. That means getting honest about what you really want your life (and relationships) to look like, and being relentlessly uncompromising with that vision.
To finish my story, the morning after that crappy date I received a text:
"I totally fucked things up last night. I'm sorry. Can I see you later this week?"
We went out a couple more times and he made efforts to redeem himself, but it just wasn't meant to be...oh well. Que sera, sera, am I right?
So think about it: what tone are you setting in your love life right now? One of desperation? Incessant eagerness? Will you put up with just about anything?
And what tone would you like to be setting? A happy, fulfilled, satisfied one? Where you are willing to make space for a relationship if it's with the right guy?
Give this some thought and exploration. It's one of the most worthwhile things you can do for your romantic future (and present).