Trick Or Treat- Is This Make-Believe Or The Real Thing?
"I'll call you this week". "Yes, I'd love to see you again". "I had a great time". "I'm not interested in dating anyone else". "I think I'm falling in love with you."
These are a few of the phrases passed between singles as they move through the stages of meeting and dating. At the time, they are uttered with what feels like true emotion and honesty. No wonder the person they are directed to is so confused when the call never comes, the person becomes unavailable, or it soon becomes evident that the speaker is dating or deeply involved with someone else. Can we ever believe what we see or hear? How can we be sure?
Dating is a process of getting to know someone. It begins with an attraction, which is formed by that first impression. Often, this first meeting occurs by chance at a social gathering, at work or in the course of one's daily life. More and more, it happens through a response to a personal ad and the emailing and phone calls that follow. Both in-person and email or voice contact give us a sense of the other individual- but this is only a brief snapshot of who they may be. It takes real time together to create a larger and clearer picture of this other person and their rightness or wrongness for us. During this time we assess for friendship, attraction, shared interests and values, and a willingness and ability on the part of both individuals to move forward in a relationship.
Given that this is a process, it has stages. A first date helps the couple to learn more. It is a fact-finding experience, which involves not only the information the other provides, but our feelings and reactions to it and to them as a potential partner. We show our best selves and attempt to make an appropriate connection with someone we find desirable. In the best scenario, everything clicks for both people and conversation is natural and easy. More often, there may be questions, doubts, and/or mixed feelings. Seeing each other again is often suggested by one or both people and is a good way to learn more about each other and resolve any questions. But the doubts and negative feelings go unstated in a desire to either give the other person a chance or to let them down easily. It's also an easy way out for someone who is uncomfortable with this level of emotional honesty.
So, how do we know what the other person is truly feeling? You have several options for getting this information.
Remember also that the responsibility for honesty is also on you. Don't say what you think the other person wants to hear because you don't want to be impolite or hurt their feelings. If you really think about it, it is more hurtful and in poor taste to be dishonest with someone who has a true interest and is trying to learn yours.
is a psychotherapist, relationship coach and founder of http://www.consum-mate.com. As a recognized expert, Toni has been quoted in many local and national publications including; The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, New York Daily News, Indianapolis Star and Newsweek newspapers and Family Circle, Cosmo Style, Tango, Men's Health, Star (regularly quoted body language expert), and People magazines. She has been featured on ABC news, Discovery Health, AOL news, MSN, and Match. Toni is also the featured relationship coach in "The Business And Practice Of Coaching," ( Norton,September 2005); and is the author of the forward for," Winning Points With The Woman In Your Life, One Touchdown At A Time" (Simon and Schuster, November 2005). From March 2005 until December 2005, she was a weekly contributing commentator (love and dating coach) on the KTRS Radio Morning Show, (St. Louis, MO). Toni is a member of The International Coach Federation, The International Association of Coaches and The National Association of Social Workers.
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