(Ok, the point here isn’t really to teach you how to get a date. 😉 It’s to say that how we use words will affect the kind of relationships that we have.)
But first: Best. Trailer. Ever. And perfect for this post. Men, if you want to know how to pursue a woman, watch this movie:
An everyday life example: Dating with or without courageous speech.
1. Here’s how dating typically goes:
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are drawn to each other. Boy and girl hang out. Boy and girl spend more and more time together and really start to like each other, but neither one says anything about what’s going on, because they’re not really sure how they would articulate it anyway. One night while watching a movie together, boy and girl’s faces get extra close to each other, and they start to make out. Now (apparently) they are “together”, though they’ve still never actually talked about it. Both are kind of anxious about it, but hope that there’s no need to actually talk about it, “Because, I mean, it’s obvious that we’re together now, right? Right!?!?”
2. Here’s how dating could go, when courageous speech dares to articulate what is happening:
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are drawn to each other. Boy decides that he likes this girl “more than a friend”, and would like to get to know her better. Though it’s risky and scary, boy decides to speak to girl: “I know we don’t know each other very well, but you know what? I like you, more than a friend. And I feel drawn to you. I think you’re really pretty and I like who you are. Can we spend more time together so we can get to know each other better?” Boy waits nervously while girl considers this proposal and weighs her answer…
My point isn’t to say one way of doing things is “better”. But I do want to point out a few key differences between the two: The first one is characterized by anxiety, fear, and avoidance. Now, of course, there’s some excitement and fun in there as well. (And, of course, we all like to make out.) But the couple in the first example are not experiencing real intimacy!: Neither knows what the other is feeling. Much of the energy of the relationship is devoted to concealing what is really happening.
Of course, the second is example is not without its fair share of anxiety. Articulating your feelings and then saying them out loud is terrifying! In my life, I can vividly remember almost every single time I’ve approached a girl for the purpose of having such a conversation. (That’s right Evie from 6th grade… I still remember.) I remember it because terror has a way of searing itself permanently into the fabric of your soul. So don’t tell me I don’t understand why it’s easier to just avoid articulating your feelings!
But the second example is also characterized by risk-taking and vulnerability rather than avoidance. The energy in this example is devoted to shedding light on what is really happening, rather than concealing it. As a result, there is a possibility – though not a guarantee – of intimacy actually occurring.
Also, think about the aftermath of example 2: If the girl says yes, this example creates the possibility of security, peace, joy, and mutual understanding. In example 1 on the other hand, the aftermath of the make-out session is even more anxiety – usually, and especially on the part of the girl. She finds herself thinking, “Wait, what does that mean? Does he really like me? Or maybe he makes out with lots of girls? I WISH HE WOULD JUST SAY SOMETHING!”