Act like a lady, think like a boss
Remember that guy you dated who would just rattle you with a comment right when you thought things were going well? How many times did you hold your tongue with him? How many times did you actually call him out on his bullshit? How did it feel?
I can tell you how it felt for me when I didn’t call him out on his bullshit. Not good. Days later, this feeling would get even worse as the resentment swelled up in me. Then he’d say something that somewhat resembled his last comment and immediately it all poured out in a flurry of emotions that resulted in an intensified argument fueled by miscommunication. The result? I’d be even more worked up than I was after his first comment.
My opinions were justified. They were just buried in the emotions that layered my delivery.
My go-to response when someone says something I don’t like is to internalize it. I’ve done this with friends and family for years and occasionally have done this in relationships.
Recently, I took a well-deserved break from any form of romance. It was much needed, and as a result, I felt my authentic self rising back to the surface. I felt strong, capable and confident.
Then, I met someone. They say that tends to happen when you least expect it.
We’ve approached the 2 month mark and just had our first official fight. We were at dinner and a few things surfaced during a conversation that didn’t sit well with me. My initial thoughts ensued as follows; maybe he’s not the right guy, I misjudged the situation, it’s still early, I should get out now. Next were the emotions that followed the hurt that was caused by his unassuming comment. That emotion coupled with my conclusion that this might be the wrong relationship caused me to go even further within myself. Wow. Talk about fight or flight.
He asked me what was wrong but it was too late. My walls were up.
The rest of the night unfolded as you would expect in this situation. He drove me home, continuously asking what was wrong. Finally I caved and told him how hurt I was. I insisted on going upstairs to bed and he insisted that I stay to hash it out. About half an hour into this, I looked at him and saw how hard he was trying and how much sincerity was in his eyes. My heart softened. This guy was here begging me to just talk it out calmly with him and here I was so wrapped up in hurt that I had momentarily forgotten how to be calm. I had also convinced myself that he just didn’t understand me.
Fight or flight.
His eyes won me over and I calmed down. We ended up having a long calm conversation about it and I realized that he wanted to understand me. Yes, he made a few comments that he deserved to be called out on. But what guy hasn’t? Instead of directly calling him out, I used those comments to define who he was in that moment and potentially who he would be in our relationship. My feelings were justified but my delivery of them was heightened by a story I was telling myself.
As our conversation ended, he asked me for one thing. The next time something bothers me, be direct. Call him out on it. Tell him it bothers me in the moment instead of internalizing it. I realized then that the reason I have trouble doing this is because I don’t want to seem vulnerable to him. But, there’s strength in vulnerability. And any guy who can’t handle your vulnerability with the delicacy it deserves, isn’t worth it.
I’ve committed to being more direct when the next conflict arises. Let’s face it. Guys can say dumb things. But the good ones, have no intention of hurting you. So if you know you have a good one, act like a lady, think like a boss, and nip it in the bud.