What part of you is your date calling forth?

We like our friends, in part, because of who we are when we are with them. We feel we can relax and be our best self.

Unlike how we feel when we are around people who we find difficult, obnoxious or off-putting. Part of why we don’t like being around those folks is because we don’t like how we feel around them.

Another way to say this is: around our friends, our true self is called forth. We feel good, comfortable, relaxed.

When we are exploring a new relationship, it’s important to be aware of what part of you is called forth. Do you feel comfortable, safe and relaxed? Do you feel kind, accepting and generous? Or do you get defensive, angry, or competitive?

Most people aren’t conscious of what is being called forth; they just decide they like someone or not. They don’t realize that part of why they like or dislike a person is based on how they feel around them and what part of them is brought out.

I was discussing a mutual colleague with a pal. I said, “I don’t like how I’m triggered to be when I’m around him.” Yes, you can consciously choose how you behave around others. But the people who elicit the strongest negative reactions are those who trigger something deep within us — some old hurt. We find ourselves reacting before giving any thought to the situation.

So when starting to get to know a potential romantic partner, be mindful of what part of you is being called forth. If you feel wonderful and rarely confused or upset, keep seeing him. But if you find yourself regularly feeling defensive, hurt or angry, move on.

However, know that some relationship counselors suggest that if you are able to hang out in the negative emotion, you can work to heal that old hurt so it no longer has any power over you. But this is an advanced skill that is hard to master. I have, on occasion, realized that the negative emotion a beau evoked was an opportunity to look at the underlying old hurt and heal it. By healing it, one is no longer susceptible to the triggers, so isn’t bothered by the behaviors that called forth the disappointment.

After a date, ask yourself, “How did I feel? Was my best self called forth? Was I kind, generous, interested a good listener? Or did I find myself getting irritated with him over little things?” If the later, best to move on, unless there are other overriding characteristics that will make it worth your while to notice and examine the negative triggers.

Have you noticed how you feel after a date and identified what part of you was called forth? What did you notice and what did you do about it?


For more info on what to be aware of when first dating, get your copy of Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great?


7 responses to “What part of you is your date calling forth?”

  1. Beth S. Avatar
    Beth S.

    Interesting question. I’ve just started dating someone who I find very interesting and with whom I am establishing a connection. But here is the dilemma. He is an extrovert, like my ex-husband, and I am an introvert, but a social introvert who likes being around people and getting to know them. What I find happening though, is the same old pattern I had with my ex, where he did all of the talking and I listened. So what I worry about is that when I want to have my say, I won’t ever get a chance to have my say. But at the same time, he is someone I want to continue to get to know. Part of me says, run away run away, you will just be the same old door mat if you continue with this. But maybe this is a test to see if I am growing as a person and can learn to find a way to get a word in edgewise. Maybe it’s a good thing that I recognize this already.

  2. katie Avatar

    This is an excellent observation, as women in general have a habit of not consciously checking our gut when we’re collecting data. How you feel before or after a date is useful information. One would think that in earlier dates there would be fewer triggering incidents; the rose-colored glasses or fuzzy warm feeling may occlude your vision. And yet… there are signs for those who would see them. The day before a second date a man opened his text to me with “Hi, Sexy.” Since that had not been the message I had sent at all on the first date, it didn’t sit right in my gut, and I assumed he was projecting what he wanted. My gut proved right. We ought to pay closer attention to these valuable pieces of information.

  3. Lisa Avatar

    Beth, I don’t think being an introvert necessarily makes a person a doormat. I am introverted too, but for me this means that in groups of people I don’t say very much. But one-on-one and in small groups I am just fine. It also depends on how well I know the people. Does this man ever ask you any questions about you? That is a true test of whether he is worth getting to know. Sometimes I find that conversation can seem balanced without anyone necessarily asking a direct question–there is just a natural back and forth. But if that is not there or he does not ask any questions about you, I would think about that. What does he talk about? Just himself and his interests?

    I do think intial feelings are really worth listening too though. Most recently, an internet man had suggested meeting up then proceeded to not respond to my e-mail saying I would like that. He was the very last person I had any plans to perhaps meet up with before I gave up on match.com. His silence so irritated me and was so typical of all match.com men that I sent him a snide little e-mail suggesting that possibly he was drunk or thought he was writing to someone else. It was probably not a polite thing to do, but it got a response! A person’s lack of responsiveness always gives me pause.

  4. Mark Avatar

    Lisa, that man was remiss, but I will say this much in his defense. For us guys the internet dating requires us to send out a LOT of email. Seriously, we might average one response per 10 emails. It can get confusing, and it is exhausting.

    But since you emailed him, he really is at fault.

    Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that online dating mostly sucks.

  5. Yvette Francino Avatar

    I agree… Listen to your gut. I know I have certain “triggers” but they are things that are important to me. If someone acts selfishly or disrespectfully, I’m turned off, but if they act that way when we’re just getting to know each other, I definitely want to get out early before I’m too invested…

    Lisa and Mark, I just had a debate with a blogger about the question of responsiveness with online dating. He was advising men to block women who didn’t respond in a week, which I think is ridiculous. Check out: http://singleagainonlinediary.blogspot.com/2011/02/your-loss-and-other-stupid-stuff-people.html

  6. Lisa Avatar

    Yvette, those are good musings on rejection. When I was doing the on-line thing, I always tried to respond politely to anyone who took the time to write or meet with me. I only did not do that if the person were obviously a wierdo–hostile, etc. I don’t expect an immediate response, but a timely one is appreciated. Most men on those sites just seem so ambivalent or immature or confused. I think when you’re in your 40s, as I am, those are the hardest years to meet someone as they seem to be the big divorce years. A lot of the men seem really messed up. They make your gut say run before you’ve even met them!

    Anyway, I am not doing it anymore, or else not for a long long while. It is just too depressing and emotionally exhausting. I used to go into with a sense of adventure, but, as with many adventures, sometimes you just need the journey to end. I will be a spinster for a while longer!

  7. Pamela Avatar

    I always agree that you want to let feelings be your guide with anything in life. Going with what feels best whether it is in a relationship or anything else is really key to having life flow.