Monday, March 10, 2008

Look for the Patterns before Start to Date

Since you’re old enough to read and think about dating, you have some patterns to go on. Even if this is your very first dating experience, you’ve talked to the opposite sex, fantasized, and interacted. In this section, you look at those patterns (this is also good information to put in your dating notebook):
  • Who you choose: Are you drawn to blondes, bullies, actors, athletes, people who hold you too tight, or people who seem to disappear? Are you talking down-to-earth or mysterious, bubbly or reserved, serious or silly?
  • How you act: All of us act in characteristic ways, and once we understand those ways, we can see our behavior and the effect it has. Understanding this, we can then begin to see alternative ways of behaving — what to do more of and what to change — before our emotional bruises become permanent. In your notebook, put down what works really well for you and what bombs. Are you really a good listener, or are your jokes terrific? Do you dance well or help everybody with homework? Can you remember your first grade teacher’s name? Do you do well at Trivial Pursuit? Do animals love you? Are you great at crossword puzzles?
  • How you react: Where are your buttons? What makes you blow up —what words or phrases or situations? We all have them, and they’re often connected by a long, sturdy thread to our past. I hate being told to shut up. “Keep quiet” is okay; “stop talking” is okay; but someone’s saying “shut up” makes me see red and purple and black and blue. Don’t get hung up on the belief that some people are just naturally good at dating and some are awful; it’s basically not true, and even if it were, it has nothing to do with you. The goal of this blog is to help you figure out how to build relationships in a way that makes some sense to you and is effective and honest and sincere and fun.

Don’t assume that everything you can do, everybody else can do. It’s just not true, and the beginning of any good relationship is the relationship you have with yourself. Don’t be shy and don’t be overly critical or overly kind. Paper and pencil can help you to focus on your strengths.

When you’re done, you’ll probably have a pretty detailed list of the most super New Year’s resolutions of all time: how you’re going to polish, trim, highlight, and embrace who you are and who you are cheerfully and enthusiastically becoming. The more specific the list, the more obvious the path and the more straightforward the task.

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