(Are You Confused About Flirting? MeToo!)
I have never been good at flirting. I have said that my entire life and have often felt like I missed the Flirting Gene that so many of my friends use with ease. Me; I’m uncomfortable and have this bull-in-a-china-shop kinda experience when I try. Now with the #MeToo movement sweeping the headlines, I suddenly feel I have an abundance of company on the awkward side of the fence.
Everyone is afraid. Personally, I think that is pretty sad.
This post isn’t going to be about men-bashing or how everyone has a story to tell. Truth be told, I have a story too. But today isn’t the day. My hope for this post is to bring some clarity and common sense back to dating and leave the eggshells for the compost pile and paint color.
With the exception of arranged marriages, all relationships start with a first date, and in order to have that first date, someone has to be brave enough to ask. Traditionally (don’t send me hate mail) this has been done by the guy and usually after some playful banter and mutual interest shown. Nowadays, guys are afraid to show too much attention or offer compliments for fear of offending, let alone ask to be alone with a girl on a date! And gals are dissecting every word/gesture/emoji a guy sends to make sure she isn’t being harassed. This is creating a culture of shallow interactions. The text message has already taken a toll on our conversations, we can’t allow this new trend to even further divide us. We all have to be willing to engage in honest dialog and true revelations.
Come on people! Let’s lighten up a bit! Dating is supposed to be FUN! So what can do we do?
Don’t – Explain or defend every failed relationship you had. Yes, we want to know a little about your past, but it Is impossible to prove up front that you have never harassed anyone. You can’t really prove that in reverse. You have to prove it every day, now!
Do – Understand that women are more sensitive now to the ‘buzz’ words. Don’t be a jerk. Be very careful when flirting or approaching someone much younger or a subordinate at work. Use wisdom and common sense. Have good manners.
Do – Recognize and accept the signals. As I continue below, I’m going to tell the gals to give clear signals. When you receive them, respect them. If a girl is playing coy or hard to get; too bad for her. No means no. Whether it is a date, a kiss, sex; whatever. If she tells you no, walk away. Hopefully, if any type of relationship exists, there will be mature communication to go along with the rejection, but if not, take it like a man and walk away.
Don’t - Use your power, influence, size, position to persuade, entice or bargain with a woman. She will either accept you for who you are, where you are, how you are, or she won’t. If your intentions are genuine, then allow hers to be as well.
Don’t - Look for ghosts. There is not a predator lurking behind every smile/compliment or request for your phone number. Absolutely use wisdom and make safe, reasonable decisions, but be careful not to paint all men with the cowardly stripe of a few.
Do – Give clear signals. As I mentioned above, be very clear with any guy who is coming to you with a request. If you don’t want to go out with him, be honest with him. Yes, it may hurt his feelings and no one likes rejection, but being vague will only keep his hopes alive and he will most likely ask again. Know what you want (or don’t want) and articulate that information.
Do – Deal with previous hurt/harassment. I am not so naïve as to not recognize that many of us girls have been victims to some degree of emotional or sexual harassment. Those scars do not just go away, and the pain is real. Talk to someone. Take time to heal. Learn the valuable lessons and move forward with confidence and wisdom, but understand there are still good and honorable men in this world.
My Hopefuls, as 2019 opens before us with all of her wonders, possibilities and promise, it is my hope that each of us make the most of every moment. If you are in a relationship, value and respect your partner. Strive every day to show them their worth in your world. If you are still on the Dating Roller Coaster, I’m right there with you! My best advice is to be true to yourself, know what you want, and learn how to effectively communicate both. Keep your eyes open for fraud and deception, because I do know it exists, but always, always, keep your heart open for love and true warmth. It is also out there in abundance. Let’s collective vow that #WeToo will be happy and at peace with ourselves.
And above all....
Hope With Abandon
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