Conversation Discussion Part 3 of 3

Part 2

I HATE MIND GAMES!!! There is one really big reason dating conversation is so unnatural: because you’re wondering how the other person is going to take it. You know they’re going to go home and analyze your statements while they brush their teeth, picking apart your statements and maybe even applying Freudian analysis.

Did you lean against the door in the car because of some physical repulsion? The fact that you confessed to doodling mice in the margin of your notebooks – does it mean you have self esteem issues, do you perhaps feel hunted or hemmed in, or are you just going to be the next Walt Disney?

Is your fondness for kickball a displacement defense mechanism for inner aggression? And when you accidentally said “brother” instead of “mother,” is it because your childhood nurturing figure was your older sibling and you don’t have a normal family background (or whatever)?

You hesitate to tell the story about the time you make a kumzitz around an alcohol fire in seminary, because what if he thinks you’re a proud rule-breaker on principle, or even a rebel, or that you have a creepy attraction to combustion? You choke back a reference to a line from John Donne, even though it makes your point so well, because you know he’s never heard of Donne, you’re afraid you might have to describe the context, and it’s from a love poem. The offhand mention of a Hollywood celeb dies in childbirth, lest he think that you actually follow their lives with any amount of interest.

It’s like being a politician. You can be nailed for the slightest slip, so you need to make sure you don’t make one.

And I confess, I do the same thing to my partner. I once dated a guy who got praised by his references for his involvement in a certain cause. Yet on the date, though I approached the subject from three different directions, I couldn’t get him to breathe a word about it. Naturally, it made me wonder. Was he not really so involved in it? Was he embarrassed of it? Was he just being modest? What’s a girl to think? If it was a friend, I would probably come out point blank and ask, but if this was a friend, I wouldn’t know about stuff through references. And a friend would feel more comfortable saying “none of your business” whereas a date would just feel put on the spot, assuming he really doesn’t want to talk about it. Possibly, he just doesn’t know how to, and the point-blank question would be welcome – so maybe I really should have asked…

The mind games can totally paralyze communication.

Then, while popping out your lenses, you go over your own bloopers and wonder how they’ve been interpreted. When you hesitated to discuss your job, did he interpret it as lack of satisfaction instead of repressed enthusiasm? When you joked about ordering some fancy drink off the menu, did he think you really wanted some alcohol? Were you too ambiguous about your future plans – will he think you have none? It becomes a “he thinks that I think that he thinks that I think” situation. Then you make a note that you should clarify it on the next date, and you hope that he doesn’t think that you’re clarifying it on purpose to clean up a slip, and and and it can go on until you want to bash your head against the wall to end “the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes.” (Well part of Hamlet’s issues were shidduch-related, you know.)

There’s something to be said for meeting people in a natural setting, like a street corner. With the exception of undercover journalists, they’re usually non-judgmental when you utter unedited and uncensored scripts. Hurrah for candidness.


32 thoughts on “Conversation Discussion Part 3 of 3

  1. If you hate mind games, then why do you play them?
    If you’re as smart as you think you are, you’ll figure out how to chill just a tad.

  2. My philosophy is that the one youre supposed to marry will marry you despite (or because of) what you say. So go ahead be yourself…and if he doesnt appreciate you for who you are then he isnt the one for you!

  3. Gosh I was always hoping dating would be exciting and make your cheeks flush when you come home and you can’t wipe the silly grin off your face (if the date wasn’t a disaster kind of course) but this just sounds brutal. You’re letting it be like that- stop the madness say something out there, let him say something out there…laugh about it! Be happy!

  4. Well, I always make mistakes, and don’t really follow the rules. I agree with ^. The right one will like you for who you are- the real you, not the person you are trying to be that really has no personality. 🙂

  5. Yoni – From your blog it’s clear that you do this even more than bad4s, and it’s abundantly clear that it has made you anything but euphorically happy!

  6. sam, oh but the one time I’d found someone who seemed just about perfect?

    Oh I was so euphoricaly happy you have just no idea. Stressed, scared, but positively bubbly. 🙂 Frothing madly with joy and enthusiasm and euphoria as does a soad can that you’ve spent the last 6 hours shaking. I doubt even the famed extacy could be that good. 😉

  7. Yes, we all do this sometimes. It’s called Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Or maybe a case of the “if onlys.” We must all be frustrated doctor wannabes because we spend so much time dissecting things.

  8. Yoni – Until she quickly tired of your obsessive compulsiveness and neediness and bolted like all the rest. Drugs can also provide short-term highs, the key to true happiness is long-term sustainability.

  9. sam, do you know that for a fact?

    (I’m not trying to dismiss this at all. I just need to know. I had very few answers when she said goodbye, and have been crushed by wonder about what I did wrong ever since. If you know in greater material than you are saying, then please email me. Please? for my benefit, so that I can work on correcting those faults in myself. Please? It would certainly help me in many, many ways.)

  10. and sam, just by way of explanation, I want to go to therapy to get the character flaws fixed, and I know that it was my character flaws that caused her to leave. I know that and acknowledge it. I want to change the desperately, so that I can find my real besheret.

    but I’m not good at articulating things and I often do not figure things out well and when I sit at the therapists I often am not sure what particular flaws need working, all I have are questions and possibilities, and I tend to overbroadside things and make themworse instead of better, and a brutaly honest account of which flaws caused the problems, with examples so that I can understand them, would be of major, critical help to me in speaking to a therapist, in ways I can’t describe.

    I want desperately to change. I really do. Please, please if you know well enough, please email me what it was I did wrong so that I can take that list to the therapist soon and get help on it. Please, I’m begging you. I want to change so that I can find my real besheret, but I’m screwed up enough I don’t even know where to begin.

    (sorry bad4 for wasting this space on your blog. I’m really sorry.)

  11. C’mon – I’m not the only person who does this! Someone else ‘fess up – that’s an order

    –I’m sorry, do my eyes betray me?! The fact that other people do something acts as a justification?

  12. I used act ike this all the time but now I’m at the point of showing who I really am and acting my regular not so normal self.

    I realized that I was misinterpreting almost every word that came out of the guy’s mouth. c’mon let him live.

  13. I confess, I do this also. There, b4s, does that make it better? (As some wise person commented earlier.)
    However, we can try to change, and analyze less, and try to relax. Although for me, it’s usually after the date that the analyzing starts. Scrabble is a good suggestion- thanks for the idea, Ben.
    And, what’s wrong with John Donne? 🙂

  14. >>C’mon – I’m not the only person who does this! Someone else ‘fess up – that’s an order

    –I’m sorry, do my eyes betray me?! The fact that other people do something acts as a justification?<<

    Once again, G, I fail to follow your leap of logic.

    I posted this because I thought it was common. The first bunch of posts were from people who seemed to think I was an alien being. So either there are only a few people who do this (and I apparently know all of them) or nobody wants to admit it. Thus, my statement.

  15. Bad4-I confess, I used to do this. Well, to be perfectly honest, I STILL do this. In fact, I STILL (as recently as last weekend) can find myself going over in my head a long-ago date with a cool guy and cursing myself for some stupid thing I said.

    Current dates–not so much, probably because I (at least half the time) stopped caring whether I marry or not.

    Which is probably not the ideal direction for you to go in.

    Have you tried valium? Heard it works wonders. 🙂

  16. Once again, G, I fail to follow your leap of logic.

    LOL. Oh, it’s even worse when you get to know him. 😉

    {Sorry G, I couldn’t resist.}

  17. The first bunch of posts were from people who seemed to think I was an alien being. So either there are only a few people who do this (and I apparently know all of them) or nobody wants to admit it

    So what? Who cares?
    Why the call for backup to your opinion? Does it being the majority give it more credence or give you more confidence in it?

  18. 😀

    Don’t go too far G – I’m already half way around the equator. We might meet. [yikes!/]

    I wasn’t calling for a backup for my opinion, seeing as I didn’t express one. I wanted to know if indeed this as common as I’ve been led to believe. Nobody seemed to want to admit it, so I pressed.

  19. Anon85 – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! [wipes tears from eyes] That was awesome. 😀

    Anyway, I see a purpose in seeing if one’s own experiences are the norm or an anomaly, or even to just vent about a (presumably) common frustration*, and in this case, I think B4S’s are as common as she assumed…

    * whether to simply vent, to discuss possible ways of dealing with the ‘issue’, etc.

  20. Another comment from the peanut gallery–I also find it helpful to know that other people have the same meshugas that I do and that I am not, in fact, an alien.

    One of the reasons I enjoy Sex and the City.

    Bad4-definitely, positively bad for shidduchim. Wait till you are safely married and then rent it on DVD.


  21. From my non-scientific analysis between my own dating and that of my sisters’ – I think this kind of hyper-detailing is more a girl thing than a guy thing…

  22. G- tires squeal? Were you getting so sick of this that you were leaving?

    The sum of all arguements: a desire to bring out the other side. I think we all agree with each other.

    And G and others are right- if you don’t like it, don’t do it. No one is holding a gun to your head an forcing you not to be frank.

  23. Pingback: Friday Repost: Why is Conversation So Hard? | Bad for Shidduchim

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