Savannah, November 2018
This is the direct link to Buzzsprout http://www.buzzsprout.com/306041
Welcome to Conversation with Katherine and my podcast Buying the Upside
When you meet that special person and your eyes lock and your heart beats a mile a second, you have a spark. You may say to yourself this is the one. I say that you are buying the feeling not the person. Buying the Upside is very common in the American culture. This is a romantic culture in which we have such hopeful optimism about what romance brings to our lives. All cultures have similar concepts how they define their upsides are different. All upsides are not warm and fuzzy. Some people have dark places in their spirits. They see the world as a pretty gloomy place. In their world, all men are dogs and all women are a word that rhymes with witch. Now , it would be nice if they would just meet each other and leave the rest of us out of their world but no, no, no, they have just got to raise havoc with the rest of us
Some of us need to have rules and roles to play in relationships. These rules and roles make us feel safe. When we meet someone we define the moment by what is really going on inside of our own heads. If the person opens the door for us they can be honoring or dishonoring us depending on your personal equations. If they pick up the tab what are the rules do you ask to share the bill or does it say something about him if he pays. Or does it say something about you? The rules and roles shift in time and the upsides shift. That is why it is so hard to start dating after a long term relationship has ended, the rules may have changed.
People always tell us who they are in life in a very short period. My belief is that most reasons to stay or leave a person are there in the first twenty minutes of your meeting that person. It just goes by whether you are trying to stay or trying to leave. An example of this in my life is that I was talking to someone and a friend saw me talking to that person. They later asked me whether I was going out with that person and I said no. I gave her the reasons as to why and she was surprised at how accurately I had assessed the man. The reason that she knew was because she had dated him. She asked me how I knew that he was a chaser and didn't have much interest in me.
Chasers are the easiest person to spot. They will usually try to figure out what you want to hear with a few probing questions. There is not a real interest in you as a person and they will generally follow the social rules of dating. Now, I know that I am not that easy to "see" because I am something of an odd duck. I have also been chased a lot in my life especially in my late spring season. So you get a "feel" for chasers. They are dangerous to people who read too much into the "role" and what it means to the person. I have a male friend who travels a lot. He was always on an expense account and he would frequently take women out to fancy restaurants and wine and dine. Now these fancy restaurants did not mean anything to him. He was just looking to pass the time.
He once asked me why did all these women think that there was more to the relationship than just dinner. I told him because they weren't looking at what the dinner meant to him, they were looking at what the dinner meant to them. Taking them to a fancy, expensive restaurant to them meant that he must really like them. To him the dinner was just companionship. Same activity different meaning. They were buying his upside and he wasn't buying.
Predators are usually really good at figuring out another person's upside. They are good because they have had a lot of practice. They can figure out what you want to hear, and they are good at gauging your emotional energy. They can zoom in on your weakness and they can be a lot of fun. I went out with someone who I call sly, slick and wicked. He was a lot of fun but I decided that he could not get close. He would tell me that I was afraid of him. What he did not realize is that I was watching him from my emotional fence. Yes, I have an emotional fence. From my perch I saw how he treated others and I understood that it was when not if he would do the same to me. I don't believe that I am the exception and that because you are awful to someone else I am "so" special that you will not be awful to me. I assume it is just a matter of time before you forget and you show who you are. So as much fun as he was he had to go. I wasn't buying his upside, I was looking at the down side.
Now most people don't trust what they see when a person shows you who they are at that first meeting. Some people need more concrete information that comes over time. If you are fortunate you have learned to hone your intuition and the information will be available to you pretty quickly. A person's upside is really more about you than it is about the other person. During our upside excitement we sometimes use softer words when we notice a trait that we don't like in a person. I have a friend who hates "cheap" men. When she was in a new relationship she told me that the man was "frugal" when she left she told me the man was "cheap". When we want to stay and explore we talk ourselves into things and when we want to leave we talk ourselves out of things. It isn't that people change so much as what may change is our tolerance for who they always have been
What was I thinking then: What am I thinking in 2019
When I wrote this post my Saturday morning conversation with my friends was all about relationships. The external "why" question was generally being asked about the "who" of the men that my friends were dating. In piecing together my observation I noticed that in the romance phase the conversation was always glowing and hopeful. The person would be describe with positive statements about who they were. The feeling good phase of romance was clouding the judgement of my friends because they were buying how the person made them feel. If they felt good then the person was good. They were buying into the person's upside.
As time would go buy the "feeling good" was replaced with "what was I thinking". If you buy the person's upside what happens when the person that you thought they were is not who they were. What I noticed is the person had shown them who they were they just did not want to believe it because they wanted to stay in the relationship. The more they felt good the thicker the lens of their rose colored glasses.
Sometimes the ability to discern is clouded by our need to feel happy. Well don't worry, sooner or later my friends would see the person for who they were and the disappointment of their romantic fantasy was always hard to accept.
What Do I think now-2019. It is hard to notice a down side when you are feeling good. The good feelings dominate your thoughts and hope dominates your heart. That being said, the pragmatic part of me says slow down, take a few deep breaths before you leap into water. At least test the water by putting your romantic toe in to see if it is too hot or too cold. That advice would be generally ignored. I have told clients that feelings are not always accurate. The narrative that we tell ourselves, positive or negative is design to help us move in the direction of the narrative. The feelings help us confirm or deny the narrative.
When we buy the upside of a person we are creating a story about who we think they are which may or may not be true. The problem with putting on your emotional Sunday best behavior is that you can't keep it up. Whether it is a few weeks, or months sooner or later your true self will appear. If the person feels deceived by your performance you could lose not just the good feeling you could lose them.
Is feeling good worth the fall into the swamp land of "Oh I thought they were different? " Will the disappointment make you more distrustful in the future? Is it a reasonable assumption to make about another person that you were tricked? Or did you just see what you wanted to see so you could feel good.
Thank you for listening to Conversation with Katherine. If you would like stop by my website conversationwithkatherine.com and leave a comment about this podcast. Have a great day and great conversation in your life about. Buying the Upside.