What Are You Looking For?
1. The fish has to see the bait.
The car has to see you.
2. The fish has to like what he sees.
The car has to see you as non-threateningand friendly.
3. The fish has to have a place to strike the bait.
The car has to have a placeto safely pick you up.
4. The fish has to swallow the hook.
If you can keep the driver talking,
you'll go much farther!
As a fisherman, you make choices in presenting yourself in order to catch the fish. As a hitchhiker, you make choices in presenting yourself to oncoming cars in order to catch a ride.
Dad taught me a lot about fishing and a lot about life. He taught me that to be successful as a fisherman you have to think like a fish.
Not planning to go hitchhiking anytime soon? Not even fishing?
Well, then, you will just have to apply this information as you can!
HINT: If you want other people to like you Ė If you want to be a pleasant person for others to spend time with Ė it might be helpful to think like the person you would like to attract. If you are looking for a special someone to spend time with, you will have to think like the person (real or idealized) that you are trying to attract. Understand what would attract them, and make it easy for them to interact with you and know you better.
Jim Chamberlin is a consultant in association management, a professional massage therapist, and a free-lance author/editor, living in Washington, DC. His father passed away in June 1999. This article is based on a speech to Capital Toastmasters 1 on January 9, 2001. Jim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Jennifer Johnson
Finding yourself single again in your late thirties or beyond can seem very intimidating. Hopefully you have had time alone to heal from your loss, and your grieving is behind you. You are feeling ready to move forward and get on with your life, but now you are faced with doing something you have not done for many years Ö DATING.
Dating again at a mature age is not the same as it was when you were twenty. Your values and standards have probably changed. Physical appearance and job status seem less critical than responsiveness to one anotherís needs. Since time seems to be the most valuable thing you possess, you want to spend it with someone you can truly enjoy.
Getting back into circulation will likely take time to evolve. With the knowledge that customs and lifestyles have drastically changed since earlier years, you may have reservations about dating again. Unless you are a man over fifty, finding available partners will require more initiative and effort than it formerly did.
You may have to force yourself to go out and find dating opportunities. When you attend singles club functions, discussions, parties, dances, and outings, keep in mind that everyone is there for precisely the same reason you are. The people you see and meet, or who answer your personal ads, are generally ready, willing , and available to socialize.
Getting comfortable with the new social scene takes time and patience. Each time you go out it will get easier. The breakthrough will come if you stick with it and practice. Think of your early dates as exercises in spending time with someone you donít know very well. When entertaining each other by talking and doing things together, you are experimenting with a new relationship.
Avoid thinking about your possible future together; instead, enjoy the present. Learn to be a fun person, and remind yourself that you are going out mainly for the experience of dating.
Show enthusiasm for being with the person you are out with. Safe topics to talk about (while you are discovering what things you share in common) are travel, sports, hobbies, talents, cooking, and current events. NEVER, NEVER gripe about how another partner treated you. Concentrate on having a good time without anticipating what might go right or wrong. Be yourself. If you say or do something stupid or awkward, it is not the end of the world, and most people intuitively understand. Experience leads to confidence, and confidence leads to social ease and skill.
Find your own comfort level in how often you choose to go out. Everyone has a comfort level, a style and speed, a way of acting and reacting that works best for them. Find yours. Once you do, donít let anyone else make you think you would be better off being anyone other than yourself.
Dating again successfully is almost as much a process of unlearning old ways as it is learning new ways. What changes have occurred? First of all, it is now acceptable for either a male or a female to introduce him or herself, ask each other to dance, ask for a phone number, ask for a date, pay for a date, split expenses, or telephone one another.
Equality is the name of the game.
Women need not play the helpless role anymore, and meeting a date at a given place is quite appropriate. The old trend of being picked up and returned at the door doesnít work too easily if you live fifteen or twenty miles away from one another.
Children could be in the picture and complicate things a bit. The ability to obtain baby-sitting services is often the rule and not the exception when there are others to consider.
You may be disappointed to learn that you will not be the answer to every personís dream, nor will you find all the people you meet to be your ideal, either. Being back in the dating world often means learning to cope with rejections when a relationship doesnít work out. If a person has a preference that doesnít include you, recognize you are going to get hurt at times. Be personally wary of misleading people so as not to cause distress to others.
By remaining in old patterns of thinking and acting, you will have little success in establishing new relationships. The people one meets later in life are fairly set in their personalities. Sometimes it might be difficult to click on a subject. If someone doesnít share your own thoughts and ideas, adjust your attitude. The way around this dilemma is not to say, "He/she is wrongÖ I am right." But rather, "That is interesting!" Try to accept the other personís differences.
People love to talk about themselves and not too many people let them do it. Talk with the person, not to (or at) him/her. As you converse, focus on the positive aspects of your life, omitting any complaints about past or present events. Ask questions about what makes the other excited or happy, and be a good listener. Make use of open-ended how, what where, when, and why types of questions rather than those only requiring a yes or no answer. Establish eye contact and nod as you listen. Exercise caution when you find a subject you both take pleasure in, so as not to start talking like crazy from a one-sided perspective.
Dating skills, like all skills, are learned. They improve with knowledge and practice. At first you may feel awkward, but as you date more, you will gradually notice a change in your comfort level.
People want to be acknowledged by the outside world, and this acknowledgment starts with the person they are with. Every new experience from the people you encounter in the world of dating will help you grow and move forward. In time, you will become more relaxed and comfortable in any social situation.™
Reprinted by permission from Singles Choice, 17125C W Bluemound Road, Brookfield, WI 53005.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE:
by Cathryn Stephens
1) Dating is a serious sport. Your entire future hangs on the potential mate nervously sipping ice water across from you. Be sure to hang all of your childhood fantasies on him, as well as your ego. This should make for a wonderful, spontaneous, fun evening for the both of you.
2) Donít date men who wear skirts. Kilts count. Just trust me on this one. Makeup also falls into this category.
3) College bands are Godís punishment to us all. The only thing they can do well is turn up the volume on their amplifiers. "Singing to the cantaloupe cooking in a microwave" is not a good song title. Itís a cry for help.
4) Beware of men with well-groomed spiky blonde hair. They reek of insolence. And impossibly beautiful girlfriends.
5) Young men should not attempt to grow a beard Ė unless they can prove that they can do so well. Otherwise, they resemble nothing so much as foolish chickens.
6) If you really want to annoy your date, talk to them excitedly about your favorite band, and then insist on playing only that bandís music during your conversations, and any other times you can find to fit it in. Donít forget to have some tapes for the car so that your dateís listening enjoyment will be uninterrupted Ė for the entire evening.
7) True, you are a very interesting person. However, your date has not been hungering for endless information about your sordid past Ė in fact, your date would rather eat the fish plain, without all your sauce.
8) People who have a cell phone permanently attached to their hands should also be avoided. That is, unless you plan to have emergencies with fair regularity throughout the evening. And they are willing to stop their conversation about their sisterís rash for a few minutes and place a call to 911.
Reprinted from August, 1999 edition of the Singles Network Newsletter.
"Watching a tiny girl share the joy of a new discovery
with her dad
I realized that none of us are aware of our insignificance -- until another person convinces us.
We all know, deep inside, that we are essentially lovable -- if only others would accept us as we are and notice us when we venture out of our private shells.
by Mary Carol Lewis
I have a vision: If Singles can learn to accept one another as they are and love one another as precious, then we will all be stronger individually and corporately. Perhaps we can even teach the Christian church how to love!
Loving is not automatic. Love requires knowledge and acceptance. Love requires a perception of the vision, the "passion" within a person.
We cannot love ourselves without these things. We cannot extend that love toward others unconditionally without this groundwork.
If someone brought a beautiful child and set it before me right now and commanded me to love it -- I could not do so instantly. Love is not an emotion that can be consciously turned on. We do find ourselves suddenly loving someone because of something we recognize in them.
But the ability to love, I believe, requires not only a stimulus, but also a conscious acceptance of human beings with all their frailties (and this particular human being especially) and enough personal confidence to allow openness to growth and change and the inevitable vulnerability that loving someone induces.
I believe that a person must begin by learning to love himself.
Some of us have difficulty seeing ourselves as attractive or precious because we have endured such trauma that we fear the experience has permanently altered our appearance for the worse -- but think of this:
Suppose a dozen young children were lined up at the front of the auditorium. Wouldn't the hearts of the entire assembly go out to the one who was poorly dressed, misshapen or ugly?
If we can learn to accept and value that one, we can learn to love ourselves (and others), misshapen as we feel we are. Remember that the good shepherd leaves the flock of smart, healthy sheep and goes out to seek the one who has missed the path somewhere along the way and is now hurting, lonely and scared.
This is one of my favorite bits of poetry. I think about this poem when I feel crippled by my past and unlovable because of all the damage I have sustained. It was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning as she was determining to leave her childhood home and elope with Robert Browning, even though her father had forbidden it because of her crippling illness:
" If to conquer love, has tried,
To conquer grief, tries more,
as all things prove;
For grief indeed is love and grief beside.
Alas, I have grieved so I am hard to love.
Yet love me, wilt thou?
Open thy heart wide and fold within
The wet wings of thy dove."
This article appeared in the May 1997 edition of the Singles Network Newsletter. The most recent publication by Mary Carol Lewis is Season of Lovers. Read more about this book on this site.
Red Chips Playing
by Mary Carol Lewis
For those of you who did not grow up playing poker, a little explanation may be necessary:
- or even stop their aggression. (I have also used other tactics such as removing a warm sweater at a crucial point in the bidding - but that is another story.)
*The white chips are worth the least, and every one almost always opens the bidding with one or two white chips.
*If someone has dealt you a good hand, however, and you want to stay in the game, you must also put out some red markers. You use red markers not only to match someone elseís bid, but also to preempt the bidding and perhaps cause the other players to pause
Dating activities and relationship building are like card games ó only your goal is not to run away with the goods (yours or someone elseís) but to make investments that will lead to a successful future for all of the players ó and provide a delightful game for everyone in the process. And you never know the outcome. Each player is betting that something good will happen, but no one knows what is in the otherís hands, or how anyone will play their luck "when the chips are down."
In the dating & relationship game, each person has something to give, and needs to be met, and the potential for more satisfaction than either of them could experience alone. But dating & relationship games are not like a marketplace where the goods are put out on the counter and a fair price is agreed upon and paid. For one thing, the goods may not be what they appear to be. And one of the greatest joys in this game is that there is always "treasure" hidden where you least expect it.
But human relations donít do well in a buy/sell quid pro quo system any way. When relationships take on the marketplace approach, at least one of you begins to expect something in return for what has been given. Some people honestly believe that, regardless of anything else, a woman should feel obligated to have sex with a man who has spent a lot of money on her. Many people look for a payback for all the work, worry, management, good will, direction, money, favor, etc. which they feel they have provided for their partners. But love does not work on a pay back system.
I have some past experience in "commodities market relationships," where there was an attempt to strike a bargain with red chips. So I tell everyone close to me, "Donít give me anything or do anything for me or say anything to me unless you can do so expecting NOTHING in return."
I love to give, and I accept what is given to me, but sometimes I am unaware of the expense of something that has been provided. I believe that expecting returns (equal to or greater than what was given) puts too much pressure on a relationship. So I give out of my abundance and request out of my need. There are occasions when I cannot give what is desired ó sometimes for a very long time. But what I give, I give freely.
I do not give lectures or a little charity. When I give, I give myself." Walt Whitman
Relations with others are always a gamble ó the outcome is never predictable and we always get far more than we bargained for (in all directions!).
So when we meet someone, we begin by putting out a few white chips: smiles, hand shakes, hugs and a compliment here and there. But as we discover that they are interested in further developments and we are interested in future developments, we must begin investing our red chips.
One of the marvels of being a human creature is that we all have lots of red chips and they are all different. What a glorious variety! A "SHORT LIST" of Red Chips might include the following: good looks, musicianship, courtesy, thoughtfulness, kindness, skills, insights, money, gifts, understanding, connections, listening, humor, cheerfulness, grace, peace, intelligence, warmth, cleanliness, softness, tolerance, care, knowledge, gentleness, health, energy, youth, maturity, speed, artistic ability, talents, perseverance, good will, faith, humility, honesty, forthrightness, stylishness, active lifestyle, athletic abilities, vision, strength, wisdom, family, independence, property, presence, awareness, passion.
And my blue chips? Iíll be playing them soon with someone very special. ™
Season of Lovers, published in 2001, is the most recent book by Mary Carol Lewis. A paperback copy is available for purchase at this web site or at Amazon.com.
Title idea is from a chapter heading in How to Make Your Husband Your Lover by Lois Bird, Doubleday, 1973
Ten Things to Know
When Ending a Dating Relationship
by Janet L. Jacobsen
Leading a singles discussion on breaking up, I asked participants how many had been the "leavor" in their last relationships. More than fifty percent answered that they had been the one to leave the relationship (59% women & 54% men).
So the majority of the participants had done the breaking up, and yet they were here for information on breaking up. Apparently singles do find breaking up hard to do.
Some folks might say that part of "whatís wrong with the country today" is that people go into relationships expecting them to break up. After all, much-married Mickey Rooney, who certainly speaks from experience, advises, "Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesnít work out you havenít wasted the whole day."
Others, however, suggest you do the planning earlier than the wedding day. Says comic Rita Rudner, "Whenever I date a guy, I think, is this the man I want my children to spend every other weekend with?"
But with most singles, what they are wondering about is not the problems of breaking up a marriage Ė thereís a whole legal system designed to do that for you. The problem is how to end a dating relationship.
Some of us made the case that in certain situations "fading away" is the best Ė seeing each other less and less frequently. This is a good alternative when you feel the relationship isnít quite working out, but still has value. By seeing a little less of each other, you may get some new perspective on how to make it work Ė or why it should end.
"Fading away" also has some merit if you have concluded that the other person may react violently to an outright breakup. I suppose it has a certain ring of dishonesty, if you are seeing less of the person because your intent is to stop seeing them altogether, and they do not know that. But with the violence associated with some relationships today, self-protection has to be a consideration.
However, when you are both balanced, reasonable people Ė and the relationship is not working out Ė what makes a breakup a "good" one? Here are some suggestions from our discussion:
1. Be sure you have given the matter careful thought Ė no heat of the moment breakups. Understand what is motivating your decision as best you can.
2. When you know it is over, say so, and stick with your decision. Hanging on until you find someone better is incredibly unkind to the other person.
3. Let the person know your decision in a face-to-face discussion, if at all possible. It shows respect, and helps give a sense of real closure.
4. Have the breakup discussion in private, in a non-threatening location. A walk in the park is one way.
5. Show respect. There is no need to place blame Ė both parties are equally responsible for any relationship, after all. Game playing Ė such as not returning phone calls, or hanging up Ė is not respectful.
6. Allow the other person to express his or her feelings. You can hear them out without having to change your decision.
7. Preserve the other personís dignity. They are still a good person; it is the relationship that is unworkable.
8. Donít hash over old wrongs, past problems.
9. If you are the person being "rejected," accept the situation. Behaving maturely may help things; behaving badly certainly wonít.
10. Negotiate the territory so that you both have time to heal. If there are places or events you regularly go together, divide up your interests for a certain period of time Ė a few months usually Ė so each of you can feel confident that you will not run into each other. Keep those agreements.™
Reprinted by permission. Janet Jacobsen is publisher of Single
Scene, Box 10159, Scottsdale, AZ 85271.
Look for more of Janet's insightful comments at www.AZSingles.com
Network 4 Pilgrims/Christ Covenant Int'l Ministries