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Getting To Know You Before Love

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Slow. The word itself glows if you give your eyes a moment with it — not exactly the most typed-out word in my emails and text conversations.  Frustration is often my initial reaction when I text or type the word “slow,” usually coupled with grumbling disappointment for something being “too slow.”  It’s as if my secret mantra is, “if it takes a while, then it is not worth my time or my energy.”

We aren’t very openly expressive about the process in-between creating tInstagram-worthythy moments. Dare I say, we don’t really acknowledge the value in processing.  It’s almost as if we are afraid of process, terrified of looking like we are taking too long in the process and god-forbid we’d be indecisive!  So, we decide on impulse. We have become masters of manifesting.  Ideas are now tangible, cropped, photographed, and displayed online for the validation of others.  Our efficiency has increased with the ticks of modern must-haves.  Heck, our turn-around time is stellar.  We sort of skip the in-between time it takes to build something so we can gulp the glorious feast of our ideas in full fruition before us.

We don’t want slow. We convince ourselves with reasoning like, “what we need immediately must serve its purpose.”  This can be a true statement if impulse guides us in moments of discovery, even when meeting someone new. The question arises, is efficiency in dating healthy to our souls?   What does changing the pace of modern day dating look like in the shaky in-between?  If we are really short on time, do we have time to waste on becoming emotionally spent with the wrong person?  Without diving into the boundaries discussion, we can dialogue about how to create stimulating and provocative conversations in the time we get to know someone.  If what we are looking for is a meaningful, lasting, loving relationship, then here are a few ways we can give ourselves permission to build that bridge to our potential love or to guard the intruders.

State Your Intentions

Part one to getting out of the game and into the reality of connecting with someone starts by showing up as who you are and sharing who you are, honestly.  It’s okay to vocalize that you are being intentional with the time you have with a new guy — you can tell him you are excited to get to know him more.  It’s literally as simple as saying, “I want to get to know you.”  This is not too forward, as sometimes we backpedal in the game of dating.  A fun way to being a listener and adding to this new connection is by asking yourself, “In what ways can I nurture getting to know him?”  Adding to his life in this time by getting to know him shows how you are a giver and not only a taker in the relationship.  It helps to keep your own heart in check and his, too. Be bold with your questions to get to know someone.  It makes your time together enjoyable and memorable.  Keeping intentions clear and simple is a healthy start.

Keep Your Train Moving

It’s crucial in this time to have your own thing.  It can literally be anything: a class, time with a friend, or time working on your career path. Whatever it is, keep scheduling time for it.  Make this a me-time a priority — you can even prioritize him around this time.  Having your own goals and projects is not only an attractive trait to most guys, but it allows separation and time for you to process what you need.

Needs vs. Needy

As important as it is separately to do-you, it’s also pivotal to honor your heart and your new connection and realize what you may need in this new relationship.  If you are long distance, maybe you need more conversation, or if work is crazy, maybe you need more intentional time together, more fun or even more romance.  Reveal what is important to you to unlock your heart. Yet, as soon as you inform him of your needs, ask what his needs are, immediately.  Understand his day.  Understand his personality.  This exchange establishes a “we” mentality instead of a “me” mentality.  Plus, you have the opportunity to respect his schedule, emotional capacity, and heart.  A two-way street is the best lane to keep!  Of course, see how he reacts. Thank him for what he shares.  If he doesn’t support your needs, it’s time to think about this relationship.  Often times, by this phase of the connection, the excitement of meeting someone new lingers into potential for more.   Remember this relationship or potential for one is a gift.  Gratitude for their presence in your life adds a constant spark into the relationship and deters anyone from becoming too needy, physically or emotionally.  With him, communicate but keep the chase.  Keep involving your close friends in your processing.  Share your heart openly with other people you trust while you build trust with someone new.  In addition, choose when to process and address conflict if your needs go a little deeper — usually the end of day is the worst time, try either late morning or early afternoon to open up and solve conflict together.  If this is a personal issue, it’s sometimes healthier to keep it to yourself until you have built the trust to share.  Let him in on it.  Stay open about your process and inform him of what you need, even if it is time.

Digging deep to find out where this fast-paced millennial wild hair comes from, I cannot help but be perplexed by the truth that is, many things in life that are the most time consuming are the most valuable:  nine months of pregnancy; four years of college to perfect a skill and prepare for a profession;  planning a wedding;  baking a cake.

It’s okay to take time with a someone new.  Round out the silence in-between the attraction phase.  Fill it with new fancies, like hot qualities that catch your eye.  Discovering and building a new connection takes time, and if we truly don’t have time in our lives for anything but the best, then we don’t have time to waste on a debasing relationship. Nurture the possibility of something meaningful by being upfront with your intentions, deliberate in your you-time, and exchanging needs to add depth into the new space of getting to know someone.  Keep the hope of what could be worth your while, even if it is a slow burn.

By Christie Brooke