Giving away your energy
I like first dates. I like meeting new people or those I don’t know well, but have enjoyed their company in the first few interactions.
I really appreciate it when someone asks to meet up and share time together. Walking and talking ticks all my boxes, as it’s endorphin promoting and if you can look at something interesting or new, then it’s the perfect trifecta.
I don’t give my time away easily anymore. I think about what I will get out of that interaction. But at the same time I’m mindful that I bring my best self to the meet. Or if I can’t do that, be honest with that other person about how I’m feeling. That gives them the option to ask you about it or just let it be, but hopeful that they will be kind. And if they are my friend, they would be kind, right?
Of course most of those I spend my non-work time are friends. I wouldn’t do it otherwise. And I try and be honest about why I need my own space. Usually balances out ok for me. Give and take, compromise etc.
But there are some, who I seem to attract, who don’t know about this. They set up dates with me, knowing that we will be locked into an hour at least of my undivided attention. They take this time and energy as an invitation to express their hurt and disappointment. They mistakenly think they are opening up and sharing their secrets and feelings. What they are actually doing is taking advantage of a captive, empathetic audience who is hopeful for an authentic connection.
My hope drains away when I realise what is happening. My energy dips and I have an internal dialogue along the lines of…
My feelings: Oh, they sound upset. It must have been tough.
My brain: Wait, what? Why are they talking about an ex?
My feelings: awww, how awful. I need to actively listen to be supportive
My brain: Ah, I get it. They don’t care who I am. I’m just a willing pair of ears
My feelings: I know that brain, but be kind! Everyone struggles
My brain: Another one who can’t regulate their own emotions! Another one who needs to be listened to but needs a counsellor not a date! Dammit!
My feelings: Oh ok, I see what you mean. We have enough to deal with.
My brain: We need a friend to build a foundation with who is responsible for their own emotions, strong enough to support others while regulating their own response. Who has boundaries and respects mine.
My feelings: That’s so hot!
My brain: This is being kind. Help them and support them to get the right help. Dating them is unkind.
My feelings: Thanks brain! Love you x
I’m not suggesting we don’t support our friends who regularly support you, who you can laugh with and who lifts you. I’m talking about those who you just meet and you may be attracted to and have hope for, as a potential partner. Step back, wait for them to respond. If this is with anger, they have work to do. You can decide to be there for them, but remember they may not become the person you’d like them to be to you.
And I’m pretty sure this is why there are so many older people who are single. Specifically women.