Latest News: We've added 5 new bonuses to Submersion, our popular 60-day Subjective Reality deep dive course. These include the new Summary Guide, audio walkthroughs, walkthrough transcripts, Subjective Reality story videos, and the Subjective Reality Explorer's Guide. All Submersion explorers can access these bonuses in the Submersion portal now. See the related news post for details. Enjoy!
In this post I’ll share some deep thoughts on how to consciously create intimate connections with other people. I’ll also explain the mindset/heartset that can help you overcome any fear of rejection.
The Myth of “The One”
When I first started out in business (developing computer games in the mid-90s), I sank into debt for the first 5 years and then went bankrupt. I made a number of mistakes, but one of the biggest was putting all my eggs in one basket. My company developed one big game at a time and worked with one publisher at a time. If this type of deal fell apart, which happened more than once, my company ended up in bad shape. Suddenly we had no money coming in and had to scramble to find another publisher.
My goal at the time was to land that one perfect deal, to find the publisher that would be “the one” for our team. When I could see a potential deal on the horizon, even if it wasn’t a perfect match, I’d try to turn it into a perfect match. I made my business very adaptable to the needs of whatever publisher we connected with. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was a complete failure in practice, partly because much of the time, game publishers behave like crazy people. My strategy was rooted in desperation and low standards, and my business failed to establish a sense of integrity as to the type of creative work we wanted to do.
People use this same strategy in their personal relationships too. When we first meet a person, we can tell ourselves s/he is “the one,” but often this stems from a desperate desire to get into a relationship of any kind and avoid being alone. Then we’re inclined to shoehorn this person into a certain mold. For some people this works out okay, but in the long run, it usually leads to resentment and disappointment, especially for those on a path of lifelong growth.
If you have this expectation operating in the back of your mind when you’re not in a relationship, meaning that you believe “the one” is still out there, it’s likely to produce a heightened fear of rejection. After all, if you connect with someone who could be that perfect match, and you screw up the approach and get rejected, game over! Now you’re missing out for the rest of your life.
If you can let go of this belief, it will make a big difference in how you feel about rejection. It’s much easier to approach people and initiate connections if you aren’t so worried about possibly encountering “the one” or something close to it.
Let me qualify this by saying that it’s fine if people wish to label their current relationship partner as “the one” when they clearly have amazing compatibility and deep love for each other. But when you’re open to attracting new relationships, I think it’s best not to cling to this belief. It can cause you to reject many otherwise amazing connections, put pressure on others to conform to your mold, and create unnecessary stress and disappointment if you feel you haven’t yet found “the one.”
A funny thing happens when people stop looking for “the one.” When they can feel complete and whole on their own, they tend to attract a partner who pretty well fits the mold of “the one” without even trying. Eben Pagan, aka David DeAngelo, recently wrote about this happening to him (he’s married now), and Rachelle and I have had this experience as well. She’s not the person I’d have logically picked because I wasn’t interested in a long distance relationship where we only see each other 6 months out of the year. But because I opened myself to a broader range of possibilities, this kind of connection became possible, whereas previously I would have blocked it. Our journey together has been more beautiful and heart-opening than I ever could have fathomed.
Cultivating Multiple Options
I was able to turn my business around when I stopped trying to land that one perfect deal. I switched to doing smaller games and later licensed games from other developers to sell via my website. Within a few years I had two dozen titles selling. No single title was a mega-hit, but the first one I developed using that strategy won Shareware Game of the Year two years in a row, and the collective income from all those games was more than enough to sustain the business.
Some games that I thought would be hits turned out to be duds; they were rejects in the marketplace. Some games that I wasn’t sure about happened to sell quite well.
After going through multiple release cycles, I became less attached to outcomes. If a game sold well, great. If not, we’d proceed to the next game in the release queue.
Of course I wanted the business to succeed, but with multiple games to sell, I didn’t get so worked up over the performance of any particular title. Every release was at worst a valuable learning experience.
Socially, you can do the same thing. Instead of being so clingy with one potential connection, what if you focused on being very social in general, so you could enjoy a steady flow of new people coming into your life? Then you’d always have fresh options available to you. This can help you cultivate a sense of abundance, encouraging you to release feelings of desperation, neediness, and clinginess.
Every once in a while, you’ll find a very good match. But if you meet a lot of duds along the way, it doesn’t dash your hopes. A good match will eventually come up if you just keep meeting new people.
Did you know that on average, 75% of our romantic relationships come via our existing network of friends, relatives, and co-workers? It stands to reason that if you expand and/or improve your social network, your romantic life will likely improve as well. If you meet more people, some of them will make good romantic partners.
I have made many interesting friends by doing workshops, for instance, including my girlfriend Rachelle. I didn’t have to do workshops, but after so many years of blogging, I wanted to make my business more social. If I’d never done this, my social life would probably be much more limited today.
Even if you just want to enjoy a more abundant sex life, a good place to start is to make more friends.
One advantage to cultivating lots of options is that you’re going to learn a lot about what constitutes a good match for you. This will help you develop a set of standards that you can use to pre-filter potential matches.
If you have a clear sense of your own standards, you’ll be less concerned with rejection. Instead of seeking the other person’s approval, you’ll be more interested in figuring out if they’re a good match for you.
In general I enjoy connecting with people who are smart, happy, growth-oriented, honest, open, and playful. I usually have wonderful connections with these types of people, whether in business or my personal life.
Because I know what I like, I can look for these qualities during an initial conversation with someone. This doesn’t require interviewing the other person. I prefer to express the qualities I like and see how the other person responds. If I act playfully and joke around, does s/he play back at me? If I share something very personal, does the other person open up and do likewise? Are we able to sync with each other, or does it feel like we’re communicating on totally different frequencies?
Not everyone will meet your standards, and that’s okay. Keep meeting new people and stay socially open. It’s hard to feel disappointed when a mismatch happens if you know you’ll be meeting more people soon enough.
Even when I have a conversation with someone that seems a bit stunted, I still appreciate it because I always learn something. I gain some additional clarity about what interests me and why, and I imagine the other person gains something similar.
When I first meet someone, my aim is to get to know them better, and to help them get to know me. I love meeting people without any preconceived expectations as to how things will go. I don’t normally ask people out on dates, for instance, unless we’re already in a relationship, because that sets up the expectation that this will either become a romantic connection — or nothing.
When I meet new people, I prefer to just hang out and talk. Let’s see how we connect first. After a few hours, I’ll have a better idea of where we might go from there.
If we seem to create a good connection, and if we generally like each other, then we can further explore where that connection may lead. If the connection is a dud, then we can go our separate ways, and it’s no big deal. No one had to get dressed up and spend a bunch of money to learn this, so it’s not a big disappointment.
My main concern when meeting someone for the first time is making them comfortable, so they can be fully themselves. I don’t want to interact with their first-date persona. I’m normally very comfortable meeting new people since I do it often, but I recognize that some people may feel a little anxious when meeting me for the first time, especially if they’re the type to put me on a pedestal after reading my blog for years. So I like to keep things very relaxed and casual. I want us to connect as equals, whether someone is half my age or twice my age.
Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit
Once I get to know a person to some extent, like after our first meaningful conversation together, I like to think about how our connection may develop over time, and for that I use a 4-part model that includes body, mind, heart, and spirit. Think of these as the 4 primary ways in which people can connect.
Body is the physical level, which includes various levels of physical intimacy, everything from basic touching to sex. In business it also means connecting financially, i..e doing business together. I also include physical activities in this area, such as playing disc golf or tennis together.
Mind is the mental level, which includes exchanging ideas and information. This happens mainly through conversation, but it could also include sharing resources, such as by recommending books, articles, and workshops to each other.
Heart is the emotional level, which includes sharing our feelings and having empathy and compassion for each other. This may involve sharing laughs and/or healing emotional wounds for one or both people. Mainly this involves telling each other personal stories.
Spirit is the level of purpose and mission, which includes encouraging and supporting each other on our paths of growth. It means helping each other to become our highest and best selves. I also think of spirit as the overall, big picture vibe of a connection.
These aspects are matters of degree rather than of essence. By that I mean that these areas of connection are not all or nothing; they each contain a spectrum of possibilities.
As I get to know someone, I like to consider the potential for how we might connect in each of these areas. How would I like to deepen our connection? Am I attracted to this person physically, and would I like to open the door to physical intimacy with her? Is it possible we might do business together? Is this a potential disc golf buddy? Do I feel we have a good mental connection going, and would I like to have more conversations about certain topics? Do I sense the potential for a very heart-centered connection; would I like to explore that person’s emotional world and invite him/her into mine? Do I feel this person’s purpose is nicely aligned with my values; do I see this person as a part of my spiritual tribe, and can we encourage and support each other on our paths of growth? Does the overall spirit of this connection resonate with me; do I want it to become a bigger part of my life or let it recede into the background?
Until I get to know a person, I like to stay open-minded. This is one reason I don’t like traditional dating. It sets up expectations for a certain kind of connection, and if that doesn’t happen, it can leave both people disappointed. But if you enter into a new connection with the willingness to consider a broader range of possible connections, you may create a very nice connection in ways you didn’t expect. For instance, you may have some very deep, emotional conversations and encourage each other to grow, but you may not have the chemistry or mutual willingness to explore physical intimacy together.
Lately I’ve been enjoying very conscious discussions about the above with certain people, especially if I think we have a strong connection on some level, and if it seems likely that we’ll be in each other’s lives for a while. This is a very non-traditional type of discussion to have, and some people are initially surprised by it, but in the end I find that people appreciate this degree of honesty and openness. It gives both people a clearer sense of each other’s boundaries and how the relationship may develop over time.
Sometimes the ways in which we connect are so obvious that I don’t see the point in discussing it using the model above. Normally I have these discussions when I sense we have a lot of potential to connect somehow, but I’m not sure if we’re aligned in what we’re willing and able to explore together.
These conversations are about opening doors to further exploration. They aren’t about making long-term commitments. All I’m doing here is getting into a discussion about how we might both like to deepen our connection. The purpose is to see where we have similar intentions and where we don’t. In the short term, we’re only going to deepen our connection in the ways in which we both want to. If it’s not a mutual desire, then we won’t go there.
While you may feel that this approach requires a bit of courage, it has some serious advantages. It takes the silly game-playing and guesswork out of the picture. It speeds things along. It helps you focus on the areas where you both want to go deeper. It helps you avoid wasting energy or getting your hopes up about areas of connection that aren’t mutual.
This approach only works if both people are willing to be very conscious about it. At least with the types of people I attract into my life, I find that almost everyone is very receptive to it. If someone isn’t receptive to this approach, that’s important for me to know too. I would likely perceive that person as not being very compatible with me. If my openness and honesty isn’t appreciated by someone, I’ll simply move on.
I don’t think it’s fair to introduce the topic of conscious relationship exploration and then put the onus on the other person to share their thoughts and feelings first. I think it’s better that I should volunteer to go first if I’m the one bringing this up. That way the other person doesn’t have to worry about feeling rejected. I feel I get the best results this way. When the other person sees that I’m willing to be very open and honest with him/her, it encourages him/her to do likewise.
I don’t normally use the body, mind, heart, and spirit list as a formal checklist with the other person. After a few hours of deep conversation, I usually have a pretty good idea of which channels are likely to be significant.
Lately I’ve been experiencing some pretty deep heart connections. If I like the way we connect with our hearts, such as by sharing stories, laughs, empathy, etc, and I feel drawn to deepen this connection, then I’ll share my feelings about that openly. I might say, “You know, I really like you, and I especially enjoy the way we connect with our hearts. I’d love to spend more time with you and get to know you even better.” This opens the door to an emotionally intimate friendship at the very least. I don’t recall a time when the reaction wasn’t anything but positive.
After pulling back from online social media and focusing on my in-person social life this year, I’ve been immensely attracted to heart-centered connections. I love spending time with people who can be very open-hearted and allow themselves to be vulnerable. Often such people are a bit shielded at first, but they soon lower their shields when they see they can trust me and that I’m not out to hurt them or take something from them.
Heart-centered connections are tough to create online since we communicate so much feeling with body language, tone of voice, and presence. I think this was the #1 element that was missing in the way I managed my social life last year. The connections I tried to maintain via the Internet just didn’t provide enough depth to be fulfilling for me. But in person these connections are fairly easy for me to cultivate.
You can “blame” Rachelle for that. She and I enjoy such a deep heart-centeredness in our relationship that by contrast, it made many of my other connections feel shallow. After 2+ years of experiencing an amazing emotional connection with her, I had to raise my standards and introduce this aspect to more of my friendships. Now I feel great about this part of my life since I’m making more friends with whom I can share a deep heart-to-heart connection. I enjoy these kinds of connections immensely.
If I’m attracted to a woman physically, and I want to open the door to exploring physical intimacy together, I will usually just tell her. But I’ll typically do this after I get to know her first. I want to see if there are other ways we might connect too, and if there aren’t then I may not want to connect with her only on a physical level.
Some of my male friends suggest that this is a weak approach and that if I’m interested in a woman, then I should just start being very physical with her, and assume she’s okay with it unless she objects. That doesn’t feel good to me though. I can be very physical after we’ve opened the door to physical intimacy, but I feel it’s important to respect other people’s boundaries, and I don’t like to risk an accidental boundary crossing if I don’t know where the border is. I also prefer to connect with women who appreciate an honest and open approach, so I like to filter for that first. I’d rather not connect physically with women who don’t want to assume any responsibility for their choices; I tend to regard such women as too immature for my tastes.
I see no need to adopt a physically aggressive posture up front and try to push women into doing things they aren’t ready to consciously choose. If, however, I’ve already had a deep conversation with a woman about what she wants to explore, and if she welcomes physical assertiveness, then I’m happy to do that with her. I certainly enjoy this when the woman is willing, so it’s not a stretch for me. But if a woman doesn’t share with me that she wants this kind of connection, I’m not going to guess that she’ll be receptive to it in advance and push it on her.
While some people might feel this approach would rob a fresh connection of its intensity, I find that it does just the opposite. It removes all the negative stress and guesswork, replacing it with trust, comfort, and relaxation. In that space people can still create tremendous intensity, and there’s no hesitation or self-doubt because each person is clear as to which doors are open and which aren’t.
Women in particular tend to have the most boundaries in the body area, so I find that this area really benefits from a highly conscious, open, and communicative approach. I know full well that it’s possible to seduce someone, to get her physically aroused and lead her into having sex. Some people even teach that this is what men should do because women don’t want to be responsible for consciously saying yes to sex. There’s a large seduction community online, and many books share tactics that can be used to seduce someone.
Personally I reject the mindset behind this approach. If your primary aim is to have a lot of sex, then it’s your choice to go that route. My primary aim is to live consciously and to encourage others to do the same, so I can’t very well use an approach that involves manipulating the other person and putting them in a position to pretend they aren’t responsible and that “it just happened.” I can also see the long-term effect on people who use this approach. They may have a lot of sex with different partners, but they don’t seem very happy and fulfilled with their lives. You can see the emptiness in their eyes. I suspect they rely on such tactics because deep down, they fear that an intelligent, conscious woman would not actually choose them if she knew what she was really getting. So they tend to target women with low self-esteem who can be emotionally manipulated, and of course those kinds of connections aren’t particularly fulfilling. They confuse mutual masturbation with real intimacy.
It can be delightfully pleasurable to seduce someone or to be seduced, but I feel this is best enjoyed after people have agreed to relate to each other in this way. Once people have consciously opened the door to this type of exploration, there’s no manipulation or force. You have a green light to proceed, so then you can focus on simply enjoying yourselves.
Sometimes the signals people give off are so clear, that it’s obvious that they both want to become physically intimate, but other times it’s not that clear. We have the ability to push each other into doing things that we might not consciously decide to do, but is this a wise approach? Sometimes it works out just fine, but other times it can lead to regret. This regret can be avoided with a conscious discussion in advance.
Rachelle and I love to seduce each other, and we’re really good at it. I know her hot buttons, and she knows mine. If she really wants to have sex, and I’m a bit tired, she knows she can have me, and I know I can do the same with her. But we also have a good sense of when it’s okay to seduce the other person and when it isn’t. For instance, she knows not to attempt this the night before I’m doing a workshop, since it’s important that I’m well rested the next day. We respect each other’s boundaries, but we also give each other full permission to “seduce at will” where there are no boundary-related issues.
Conscious seduction involves leading the other person into experiences you know they’ll enjoy, but they’re putting up token resistance in the moment. You can be confident that afterwards, however, they’ll appreciate that you nudged them into a blissful experience. I think it’s wonderful when two people know each other so well as to be able to seduce each other in this way.
Incidentally, this type of seduction isn’t just about the bedroom — it relates to selling products and services as well. I have seduced a number of people to sign up for SBI, for instance, when I could clearly see it was a good match for them, and they just needed a bit of a push to get them past their complacency and finally get moving on that Internet business they’d always been talking about. They were quite appreciative when they got their new business up and running.
When it comes to physical openness, everyone is different. Some people are very receptive to physical intimacy, while others are more guarded about it. I’m very open in this area, but I recognize that many people are not. How I open the door to proceeding further with someone depends on how shielded I sense she is. With a very open, sexually liberated woman, I feel good about being equally open since I know it won’t make her uncomfortable. I might say to her, “If you’re interested in playing together sometime, let me know. I’d be up for it.” Or if a woman expresses interest in D/s play, I might offer to introduce her to it in a way that let’s her expand her comfort zone in a safe and playful way.
With a woman who seems more shielded or more traditional, or if I’m just not sure, I’ll go much more slowly. I might very gently introduce some light touching first, like a shoulder massage. Then I’ll see how she responds to that. If she tenses up or seems uncomfortable, I’ll back off and discuss it with her. If she’s clearly enjoying it, I’ll keep going.
I also like to invite a woman to explore touch by letting her know that I’m receptive to it. So I might say something like, “In case you’re wondering, I would welcome your touch, so feel free to touch me as much as you want. You don’t even have to ask.” If that’s all I do, however, she may acknowledge this but might not actually do anything. Many women don’t feel confident in initiating physical contact, so it’s not a substitute for reaching out and touching her and seeing how she responds. But I like putting this out there since if she does want to escalate things at some point, she knows I’m open to it.
Many women tense up at the mere thought of physical touch because they’ve been hurt in the past. Old emotional wounds make them hesitant to be physically intimate with anyone. If you try to seduce such a woman and succeed, you’ll be having sex with just her body. She won’t open her heart to you since that would be too painful for her, or it might make her feel to exposed and vulnerable. While some people are fine with body-only connections, I want us to have a good heart connection as well. This is another area where Rachelle has spoiled me. 🙂
I rather like the opportunity to help women heal blocks to physical intimacy, not by pushing them into anything but by simply letting them know that the door to exploring this with me is open and then letting them set the pace of exploration. When I can sense they really want to move forward and just need a little nudging, then I might playfully nudge them to explore near the edges of their comfort zone, so they can expand their comfort zone and enjoy more experiences. People have done this for me, and I really appreciated it. One reason I feel good about doing this is that I enjoy a ridiculously unblocked connection with Rachelle, so I don’t have unmet needs that I need someone else to satisfy. Consequently, I can approach other relationships with an attitude of giving, sharing, and playing instead of worrying if I’ll get what I want. This attitude brings more happiness into my life anyway.
On the other hand, some women just aren’t interested in touch. It doesn’t mean they’re blocked. It just doesn’t do much for them. Personally I have a hard time relating to such women since I absolutely love touching, but if I can see that’s the case with someone, I’ll accept her as she is and respect her wishes.
Welcoming All Outcomes
When I’ve opened the door to physical intimacy with someone, most of the time the answer has been some version of yes. It may be a cautious yes, or it may be a very receptive yes. This leads into further discussion about what we’re interested in exploring together. I have to say that it’s pretty easy to transition to touching someone when they’ve already shared that they’d like to explore this with you.
In the case where the other person isn’t interested in exploring a physical connection, I don’t feel rejected because I’m open to that possibility, so I accept it. It’s perfectly okay if she doesn’t want to go there. She may not sense there’s enough chemistry between us. She may not want to explore this part of her life right now. She may be involved with someone else and wants to stay monogamous. She may prefer love strategies that don’t involve touch. Whatever her reasons, I don’t worry about it. She’s free to make up her own mind.
I also don’t feel embarrassed in such situations. I appreciate that I have the courage to be honest with people and the willingness to receive their responses without undue attachment to outcomes.
If she responds in the negative, then I’ll usually say something like, “I appreciate your honesty. Just know that if you ever change your mind, the door is still open on my end.” To date I’ve never encountered anyone who didn’t seem to appreciate this type of sharing.
I don’t come at this from a place of neediness. I already feel abundant in this part of my life — Rachelle’s yumminess guarantees that. Even before Rachelle and I connected, I took a few weeks to create a vibe of abundance in my mindset and heartset first, so I wouldn’t approach people with an attitude of trying to get something from them. Instead, I approach people with the intention that we may connect in the ways that we both feel good about. This attracted Rachelle to me like a magnet; she’s a beautiful match for the vibe I created. I love and appreciate her dearly.
So why continue to keep opening new doors relationship-wise if I’m already so fulfilled by my relationship with Rachelle? After you’ve read the best book you’ve ever read, why read another book? Why see another movie after you’ve seen The Princess Bride?
There’s no need to close the door to a variety of new experiences. Why not continue to invite more richness and abundance into your life? I think it’s even better to initiate new relationships when you’re already immensely happy and fulfilled since then it’s so much easier to let go of neediness and clinginess. You can relate to people from a place of giving and sharing and co-creating happiness.
If a woman and I don’t open a physical connection together, I don’t throw out the relationship if there are other ways in which we can connect deeply. I can still keep her as a friend, and now we have a friendship that’s based on trust and openness. There’s no silly game playing. I don’t feel hurt or embarrassed if I express a physical interest and the other person doesn’t reciprocate. It just means I can focus more energy on the channels where we both agree to connect.
Does this kind of conversation cause things to become weird, potentially ruining a friendship? In my experience it has the opposite effect. What makes things uncomfortable is when you approach with clinginess and neediness and succumb to disappointment when you don’t get the response you were hoping for. But if you fully accept the other person’s answer and respect their ability to make a free choice, there’s no reason things have to become uncomfortable. More likely you’ll become closer friends because of this openness. And you’re still perfectly free to explore physical connections with other people.
Don’t try to pressure or convince someone to change their mind. Simply accept their answer, and invite them to tell you if they ever do change their mind.
If I have this experience with a woman, she knows I’m not going to be pining away for a physical connection with her if she tells me she’s not interested. At the very least, she knows I already have a girlfriend. I certainly don’t hide that fact. I also know from experience that most of the time I invite a physical connection with a woman, she responds positively, so an occasional no isn’t a big deal.
Sometimes I’m not sure how far I want to go with someone physically, so I open the door just a little at first. Then I can test the waters to see if there’s the potential for more.
I’ve especially enjoyed seeing what’s possible when we let go of labels. Physical intimacy isn’t about intercourse or nothing. Cuddling is very nice. Massage is wonderful. Making out is terrific. Even holding hands while talking is delightful. If you can let go of labels and expectations, you can receive and enjoy a lot more.
Timing and Logistics
A friend of mine who enjoys tremendous social abundance says that his biggest social challenge is logistics. I can sometimes relate to that. With an open approach to relationships and a vibe of abundance, the biggest issue isn’t fear of rejection or embarrassment. It’s a matter of coordinating schedules with other people.
This isn’t a bad problem to have, but it’s still something to be dealt with. If you have a lot of open connections in your life, it can be tricky to spend time with everyone you want to. It’s wise to do some conscious management of your time and energy here.
Sometimes people don’t initiate connections with me because they assume I must be super busy all the time. Sometimes I am busy, like when I was doing several new workshops in a row, so when I’m in that mode, I may not want to open too many new social doors. I’d rather keep things simple, so I can focus on my work.
Presently I’m taking a break from workshops, so I’m enjoying more free time for social connections. This means I can maintain a more open posture and say yes more often.
Additionally, at different times I’m more open to exploring certain types of connections than others. At this time I’m mainly interested in connections that have a strong heart element, especially those that could involve heart-spirit or heart-body aspects. I’m less interested in purely mental connections right now, so if someone just wants to pick my brain and it’s unlikely that we’ll have much of a connection beyond that, I’m more likely to pass. I do still appreciate purely mental connections, but at this time I’d rather invest more time and energy in relationships where there could be a stronger heart connection.
Our interests and desires change over time, often ebbing and flowing in wave-like patterns. Sometimes our waves will align beautifully with someone else’s, and sometimes they won’t. If you can see that you’re out of alignment with someone else, don’t worry about it. Just attend to the areas where you are aligned, and let the rest go. Someone else will be a better match for you in those other areas.
Over time you may find that individual connections experience waves of expansion and contraction as well. For instance, a friend may become a lover for a time, then back to a friend. Sometimes your relationships will seem to fit established labels, while other times they’ll defy such labels.
Being Socially Assertive
People are often pretty passive when it comes to maintaining connections. Don’t assume someone is busy or uninterested just because they don’t get in touch with you as often as you’d expect. They may be waiting on you to get in touch. If you want to reconnect with that person, take the initiative and issue an invitation now and then. Otherwise the other person may assume that you aren’t interested either.
It’s been months since I played disc golf, which is a hobby I love. I don’t like playing during the cold months, but now that the beautiful springtime weather has returned, I definitely want to get back into it. I could wait passively for one of my disc golf buddies to contact me, but what if they don’t think to do so for several more weeks? What if they never get around to it? Being passive here is silly, so I issued some invites this week, and now we’re already scheduling our next game.
It takes practice to find the right balance that works for you. I’ve had to make a lot of changes to my social life to avoid overwhelm. I love connecting with people face to face, so I’m deliberately expanding that part of my life. I’m also glad not to have the discussion forums and Facebook in my life anymore, as those outlets became too draining. My advice is to expand the areas that bring you the most joy, and collapse those that don’t.
Think of it like investing. You only have so much time and energy to invest, so invest your resources where you enjoy good returns. Withdraw resources when the returns are weak or negative.
It’s up to you to define what kind of returns you’re looking for. Right now my favorite kind of return is to enjoy a very heart-centered connection with another person. I love such connections and welcome more of them into my life. I love sharing personal stories, laughter, and empathy with people. It lights me up inside when another person and I pause to smile at each other, as if the spirits within us recognize themselves as old friends. This type of experience leaves me feeling centered and grateful. When I’m able to create that kind of connection with someone, then anything we can add to it is a bonus, but if that’s all we’re able to create together, that’s more than enough for me to feel fulfilled in our connection.
I like this overall approach to intimacy. It’s conscious, open, and honest. It involves no manipulation, deceit, or game playing. It works very well in practice, and it leads to fulfilling connections. I don’t need to rely on secret tactics to wield a conversational advantage. I can share the whole process with the world and still use it; in fact, other people’s awareness of it will only make it easier.
If you feel so inclined, I encourage you to share this article with someone you already have some kind of connection with. Use the ideas here to open a discussion about where you both want to take your connection next. See if you’re on the same page. I think you’ll appreciate the results.
In truth it’s even simpler than using a process. This way of connecting evolved after I created a vibe of social abundance in my life. When I simply hold that vibe as I connect with someone, I don’t worry about outcomes, and I can’t be rejected. I’m simply seeing if the other person’s vibe is a match for mine, and if so, then in what ways. A mismatch is just a mismatch, not a rejection. I know my vibe is a good one for me to be experiencing right now, and I don’t expect everyone to resonate with it.
The key principle I keep coming back to here is love. Relationships are about sharing our love with each other. If a certain type of connection doesn’t feel positive and loving to both people, there’s no need to go there; that would only create resentment. Let each person be free to explore what they desire to explore.
With an open, abundant attitude towards relationships, you don’t have to lay a bunch of neediness and clinginess onto others. You can have all your desires fulfilled by the totality of your social life. If that shows up as a deep relationship with just one person, and if you feel fulfilled by that, great! If it shows up some other way, also great! Hold the vibe you wish to experience, and try not to be attached to how it manifests. You may be surprised. 🙂
We live in a socially abundant world. With billions of people to choose from, you can find plenty who will be delighted to connect with you in the ways you’d like to connect.