So I’ve been wondering about this whole being forward thing recently.
After polyday a whole bunch of us went to dinner together. And at one point I overheard a few of the women discussing the ever-challenging concept of women dating each other. So when they all jeered in agreement at the frequent occurence of not knowing if they’re on a “date” or not, I couldn’t help but chime in with “Na, I’m far too forward to ever let that happen”. To which, they seemed to concur, meant I had a good attitude.
Which, actually – isn’t something I expect! I expect my expression of overtness to be met with awkward silences and implied “why do you have to be so weird Tess?” looks on their faces. Or similarly, and exasperated “That’s Tess for ya”. That’s just the reaction I’m used to, I don’t expect to be congratulated. So that moment warmed my heart a little.
But this all got me to thinking, why? And why am I any different? What advice could I give? I think various issues come up when you put yourself in these positions. It’s to do with vulnerability, appropriateness, self-doubt, and control.
It seems to me that being able to read someone is quite important in these situations. You don’t want to bother someone, but at the same time you want to know when pushing things a little further is actually invited. I suppose I like to think I’m quite good at this*, but by relying on this I occasionally run the risk of being a bit inappropriate. And to me, that’s the only real risk I worry about, having this approach. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the only thing most people are worried about risking by being forthcoming about their feelings for someone.
Of course, vulnerability is a factor here. Rejection is a pretty reasonable threat in these situations. My attitude in that regard is; the longer I wait, the more I have to lose. So I tend to try and get it out there sooner rather than later – so if I get rejected, it’s much easier to let go, and the possibility for friendship is greater. And for me – personally, I feel so much more relaxed if I know they know how I feel about them. Being direct about it lets me know where I stand – so I know how to act around them, which tends to give me a little more confidence either way.
So all that gets me to thinking – why aren’t others the same? It’s a logical strategy for avoiding unnecessary stress and pain… And I think the answer might be; control**. The longer you beat around the bush with someone, the more they might get to know you – and potentially be less likely to reject you. And part of me worries that I’m missing out a bit by being so to-the-point about it all. But then, I have found that people tend to know how they feel about you by the time you know you like them anyway. So all I would *really* be doing there would be trying to control the situation, which is impossible really.
I predict we might all be a little more happy in life if we just let go and let things happen more. If you’re one who’s prone to this I’d be curious to know what you think about all of this.
*I have my own theories about other people’s ability to read others. I think it’s usually either (or a combination of) because their parents weren’t hugely expressive in their body language when they were a baby, or they are in their head a little too much – worried about how the other person perceives them. The latter I can imagine might easily put a bias on any interpreted non-verbal cues, leading to mis-read signals. Something that might lead someone to believe they’re no good at picking up on stuff. So, my advice – have expressive parents, and stop worrying so much :-p Maybe there are other things I’ve not considered though that might contribute. Probably actually.
** I think some people might also think it takes away the mystery… but don’t even get me started on mystery – that’s a whole other blog post right there!!!