Last week a good friend of mine went on a third date with a lady, with which he was quite smitten. Due to unforeseen traffic he was 15 minutes late. He made it to her front step and was about to knock when she swung open the door and exclaimed, “You’re late—you didn’t have second thoughts about coming, did you?”
Killer Point 1: If your date is a few minutes late, do not wait at the door like a sick puppy. Relax, pour a glass of wine, take out a book and enjoy yourself.
Let’s call my friend Ace—and his date Alice. Alice is already displaying what I like to call the “great destroyer of love” trait.. and it’s really quite simple. Alice is over-analyzing Ace’s every move. This way of thinking is a trap in any relationship—romantic or otherwise. Instead of coming to the rational conclusion that Ace was late due to traffic, Alice zipped through far too many scenarios and finally landed on, “He doesn’t like me and isn’t coming.”
Killer Point 2: You don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. Expectations and assumptions aren’t your friends. Ace arrived stressed from trying to get there on time through traffic, and was understandably offended by Alice’s brash greeting. Meanwhile, Alice assumed the absolute worst of Ace and revealed her insecurity cards to boot. Not a good start to the evening.
Moving on—Alice and Ace attempted to brush awkwardness under the welcome mat as best they could and continue their night. Their chemistry was back on track by dinner until Ace did a double take on one of the female servers. Alice immediately reacted, demanding to know why he would “check out another woman so rudely.” But the server was an old friend of Ace’s from college. He was surprised to see her there and was trying to be friendly. Completely platonic. Completely appropriate. Complete overreaction.
Killer Point 3: Wait to react until you actually know what’s going on. This is another direct by product of assumption in a vacuum of facts.
Regardless of these tense moments, Ace was (astonishingly) still feeling Alice. He sent her a text after the date that said, “Let’s make round 4 even better, what do you say?” He didn’t hear back from Alice for 3 hours and forty-seven minutes (I know this because he told me the exact time). In that time, he decided that Alice doubted his good intentions or perhaps she misconstrued yet another moment of the date she perhaps hadn’t actually asked about. The assumptions game again. Meanwhile, Alice was busy enjoying a relaxing bubble bath and then watched an episode of The Bachelorette before glancing down at her phone.
Killer Point 4: These are silly little things to nit-pick about, but what if you assume, over analyze, and overreact to big things, like living together, finances, or parenting? Nobody’s perfect, we all have our sensitive spots and insecurities, but a healthy relationship is dependent upon healthy communication—free of (usually erroneous) assumptions and blaming.
Your mind is your reality. It is the source of your strength and security, but also can be a petri dish of anxiety and self doubt. Allow yourself to fall into obsessive thought patterns and you will have a difficult time maintaining healthy relationships.
When in doubt, take a breath - or five - and wait. You may be surprised to discover that your worst case scenario almost never comes to pass.
Love Wisely, friends.