It’s Not Going To Work!

SantaSchaefandIThere is so much fear at the moment about failure, rejection, looking foolish or being called out.  These are not new fears by any stretch but they seem to have become more pervasive as each of us lives a half-public life.  At times, I feel slightly sorry for the people who have grown up in a world with the internet and social media.  Largely because they’ve never known anything different.  Since I am not a digital native (first time on the internet was in college), I remember a time where I could fall flat on my face and only the people there to see it could really laugh.  So taking chances on things that might not work felt “safer”.  Although it may not always seem that way, it is a choice to feel safe or afraid.

In my early twenties, my best friend, Schaef, was about to get married in two months.  At the time, I was living in NJ but was spending a lot of weekends in Baltimore.  One particular night, I was hanging out in the Fell’s Point area with my friend, Damion.  A problem was lurking for me because I did not have a date to my friend’s wedding.  So I decided in that moment to ask the most attractive girl in the place to be my date.  I don’t remember exactly what Damo said but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of “that’s not going to work.”  And common sense would tell anyone that he was probably right.  Random guy, asks random girl to a wedding two months in advance when he lives in a different state.  Slim to no chance!

This is not exactly what I said but it is pretty close.  “Hi!  I was wondering if you could help me.  I’ve got an issue with my best friend.  You see, he’s getting married in two months and he made his brother his best man.  I’m a little upset with him because we’ve been extremely close for years now and I should really be his best man.  So in order to get back at him, I’m going to bring a date to his wedding that is so beautiful that no one will look at the bride and that woman is you!”  I did not get a yes right away but what I did get was a date for the next weekend and an eventual yes to the wedding.

Most of the time the problem isn’t that other people tell us “no”.  It’s that we tell ourselves “no” before we even make the attempt.  The world gets very few chances to reject us because we cower in the shadows afraid to gamble our self-image.  And therein lies the problem of the day.  We are protecting the image that we have of ourselves and it seems magnified by the device that sits in our pocket.  The fact that we can beam out our most perfectly angled selfie for all the world to see, also makes us afraid that anything less than that level of perfection will be chastised.  The world is not waiting for you to fall.  It’s actually not waiting for anything from you at all.  But maybe… just maybe… if you’re willing to risk those slim odds that you’ll end up finding out what you’re truly capable of.  Then next time it will be easier for you to say “YES!” to yourself because until you do, no one else will get the chance!

Put that first foot forward today!




Love and Peanut Allergies

Peanut heartRecently I’ve given this advice to some younger people in my life, my hope is that it helps someone avoid relationship potholes.  During my college years, I dated the same girl on and off for almost three years.  We ran on a six month cycle.  Almost every six months we would have some big issue and it would end with us breaking up.  Inevitably we would get back together a few weeks or a month later.  That would start a new six month cycle.

With each breakup came a few friends or family members that would say “she was a b____!” or something like that.  I never felt comfortable with that kind of 180 degree turn.  After spending months of being “in love” with this person, how could I forget all of the positive that quickly and focus on the negative.  It just didn’t sit well with me because although obviously not a perfect fit, she did have many of the characteristics I wanted.  The problem was that I had not diagnosed my “allergies” before we started.

People with acute peanut allergies have to be extremely cautious.  Their life depends on avoiding certain substances.  People with seasonal allergies are often inconvenienced by the amount of pollen in the air.  In both cases, it is intelligent to take necessary steps to diagnose and use preventative measures.  This mode of thinking can be used very effectively for relationships as well.

I did not have a “peanut allergy” to my college girlfriend.  It was seasonal and only became pronounced in certain circumstances.  The problem was not her but the combination of us and environmental factors.  I selected someone that was going to continually provoke my “allergic” symptoms.  We very rarely get into relationships with people who cause major “allergic” reactions because like a peanut allergy, the reaction is immediate and pronounced.  So the key is to go in with a plan.

Write down a description of your perfect partner.  Take as much time and paper as you need.  Go into detail on all levels: physically, mentally and emotionally.  List all of your MUST HAVES but list your MUST NOT HAVES as well.  These are your violent allergic reactions.  SHOULD NOTS will be your seasonal allergies that may crop up from time to time.  With this list, you are more likely to diagnose problems early and make an informed decision on how to proceed.

Too often we start a relationship and “love, lust, attraction” all take hold and we no longer diagnose anything.  We go on autopilot taking in all of the good and ignoring the bad that could eventually cause major problems.  If you’re still in high school, you don’t need to do this yet.  You need some failed experiments to figure out what it is that you want in the first place.  Once you understand your “allergies” (both severe and seasonal), you’ll be able to have a better chance of finding someone for the long term.

Click HERE to tell me about your experiments and findings.

Good luck in your search.






Dating: Playing With House Money

I’m not a gambler because I have a real resistance to losing my money.  The systems are set up in the house’s favor.  However I (I’d guess everyone else) would be happy to gamble if only playing with the house money.  The reason being is that it is extremely easy to bet when you have absolutely nothing to lose.

This same phenomena applies to the dating world as well.  From my own experience, when I was single, I found it almost impossible to get someone interested in dating me.  However whenever I had a girlfriend, I seemed to have no shortage of interested people.  Now part of this may be attributed to competition/supply in demand but I think one of the key factors is “playing with house money”.  It was always easier to make conversation and flirt when I already had a girlfriend because I had nothing to lose.  Rejection was impossible.

This creates a bit of a paradox because in order to “play with house money”, you need to have a significant other.  Not actually, the key component to “playing with house money” is a true belief that you have nothing to lose.  The fear of rejection that you feel is a feeling that you created.  How can you make the possibility of the date valuable and make the rejection worthless?

The way to make rejection worthless is to break it down into what it truly means.  The person that you have approached is not rejecting you.  They are rejecting their perception of you which may be way off from reality.  A rejection is not a finality, it is a learning opportunity.  As with anything else, improvement requires a degree of failure.  Since we don’t have virtual reality simulated dating programs (yet), you need to take these experiences head on without fearing rejection but fear of the loss of opportunity.  I cannot think of a time in my life where I regret telling someone how I felt about them.  However I’ve definitely got a few examples of regretting the fact that I didn’t tell them.

You’re playing with house money.  Someone saying yes or no to you does not change your value as a person.  Your worth is decided by one person and that is you.  The only way to lose that money is if you decide to give it away.