One of my guilty pleasures is watching the popular hit TV show, The Bachelor. http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor The hunky man of the hour this season was a suave Venezuelan named Juan Pablo Galavas.
As he was closing in on who the lucky girl would be that would have his heart, he got a bit of a shock. One of the final three women, Andi Dorfman, came to him angry, had a shocking conversation with him that kept going further and further off the rails and she then essentially stormed off the show.
Andi went into the conversation with guns blazing and the whole situation could have gone in a completely different direction had she started out a little differently.
The mistake she made was that she kept trying to make him admit to something that she thought he did wrong. She was feeling more and more frustrated as is normal when someone is defending what they say rather than trying to understand your perspective. This is how my conversations used to go when I wanted the same thing. YOU did this to ME and unless you figure it out and be responsible, this conversation is going to go badly.
On one hand, it does make sense. It’s frustrating when someone isn’t responsible for their impact on others and Juan Pablo wasn’t being at all curious about that. On the other hand, I have never seen a conversation like this go well. Ever.
For one thing, our realities are very subjective. Andi has her own very specific reactions to events that occur. Something that would frustrate her or make her angry may not have the same affect on everyone. In fact, it didn’t. Juan Pablo treated Andi the same way he treated other women and the other women swooned.
She went in to a conversation expecting that Juan Pablo would know what he did “wrong”, or at least would understand once she told him and then she may as well have been holding a hammer over his head. The message is clear. You need to be different so that I can feel comfortable. Who is going to respond well to that?
It’s also never a good idea to go into a conversation angry and upset. If you can come in with an open heart, willing to trust that there is something bigger at play that wants you to have a loving experience, then a whole new world opens up.
From that place you can share yourself, openly and vulnerably with no expectations on the other person. There is no message that they have to do anything different or be different. You can talk about the impact of someone’s behaviour on you in a way that lets them more into your world. “I felt really hurt when you said X. I was feeling very vulnerable and I didn’t like it when you talked about the other women on the show.”
You aren’t asking someone to be different. You are sharing who you are. That’s it. There is no disputing what you have said as it is your subjective experience. And you are letting the other person plainly see the impact of their behaviour on you and you are teaching them how to add you into the mix of what they need to consider when they are in a relationship with you. There is no right or wrong, just sharing.
The great part is you get to see who the other person is in relationship to who you are. You get to see if they amp up the behaviour you don’t like and do more of it (I have had that happen), if they relate to you and apologize, or if they don’t quite understand yet, but feel you are important enough to them to continue to explore the dynamic. As you share who you are, you get to see who they are and then you get to make your relationship choices accordingly.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think Andi is awesome. She will be the next season’s new Bachelorette and I’m very excited for her. I hope she finds the love she yearns for and deserves. I also hope she finds this advice as it’s a mistake that so many of us women make, me included, and I know her love life would go much smoother if she were able to first find the beauty of the truth that lives in the vulnerability of true sharing.
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