Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing, and you have no idea how to start the conversation: a situation that many clients come to me describing when they think of having to initiate a conversation with a potential life-partner. What’s the first secret to releasing this tremendous self-imposed pressure?
1. Stop viewing the person as your “potential life-partner.” Sheesh. Chill.
Instead of viewing the conversation as the one you are about to have with the future mother or father of your children, change your lens! View the exchange as one you are having with someone you want to learn about. Does this person remind you of the people you like hanging out with or those you respect? Ask yourself if this person feels accepting, giving in the conversation, and someone who does not annoy you. So, the second secret is:
2. Do you actually get along with this person—as a friend or peer first?
You should of course take this one step further into romantic territory, but not before you first discover if this is someone you would want to be around. The romantic bit is sometimes just too much pressure at first and, honestly, it’s putting the cart way before the horse. How long did you get to know your closest friends before you actually built meaningful relationships? I’m guessing more than one conversation!! Which brings me to the third secret for releasing the pressure:
3. Have a positive view of yourself and your experiences—now share them.
People often ask me, what should I say or ask? “I mean, I’m boring or I’m really complicated and most people are just turned off by me.” Change your view of yourself and think about the positive things you want to share. Sharing a personal experience or fact about yourself is proven to create intimacy between two people and encourage them to share of themselves as well!! So, think about the things that are important to you: do you have a new years resolution? What have you learned from your job? Who has been most influential in your life? Why did you choose to study what you did? After sharing these experiences, ask the other person a question about the same topic. When you approach someone with a list of questions and yet have not actually shared of yourself, this automatically places him or her in a defensive posture. Don't want to feel like an interrogator? Then, help the conversation run smoothly by self-reflection and sharing first.
Finally, remember that conversations are a give and take. No one person should dominate the conversation or interrupt the other. These are signs of bad habits that may come to bite you later. But don’t automatically think that one bad conversation makes someone a bad choice to explore. So, the fourth secret?
4. Realize that most people need more than 1 conversation to reveal who they are. BE FAIR!
I know, seems like a “duh, obviously!” statement, but you would be surprised how we don’t want to give someone more than 1 or 2 conversations before we X them. Not fair! I always recommend 3, at least 3 conversations where you can see someone in real time, view their micro-expressions, and get a real sense of who they are. By 3 conversations, you can get past a lot of the initial nervousness that comes with first contact. Be merciful to one another, and look out for seriously wrong signs that I may post in a future post.
Until then, please keep the pressure low—both on yourself and others!
Author - Yasmin Elhady Nassiry
Learning about love everyday. Grateful for what I have. I'm a relationship consultant who plays a lawyer and public policy specialist on TV.