How To Start Things Off Right With A Woman

I bumped into Christmas Party Friend (from my last post) and I asked her if she’d heard anything from Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out.  She had quite the encouraging story to share.

Disclaimer:

Now, before you begin thinking my Christmas Party Friend is just a woman who casually let’s her lips flap about the latest relationship in her life to just anyone, understand, that this is a woman I’ve known for quite some time.  Our friendship spans nearly a decade and I was with her through her dark night of the soul and during  many of her post-divorce dating nightmares and she patiently walked with me through mine.  This isn’t just any casual friendship. We keep in touch fairly often and sometimes cross paths at work, then sometimes don’t see each other for months. When we get together again it is like we were never apart.  She happened in at my place of work today on some official business or other and I happened to be on lunch when we ran into each other.  Oh, and, before you start thinking that I write everything about the people I interact with here on my blog, understand that I change so much of the details and specifics as to make my “anecdotes” completely fiction worthy.  No one reading this would recognize themselves in this story, yet everyone might, at some point.  So, consider that my disclaimer.  While my ideas may be (not always are) taken from real life experiences, they are just that “taken”.  The life experience may simply give breath to a larger idea I am trying to express. Savvy?  Okay, then.  If the stories do represent real people, these people are disguised and I have their express permission prior to writing and posting. In other words, unless the story is specifically about me, no animals were harmed in the writing of these anecdotes.  In the case of Christmas Party Friend, well, she’s given me her permission, but even she wouldn’t recognize herself here.  However, Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out would certainly see himself in these posts, if he does, indeed, exist.

Now, back to the story.

So, Christmas Party Friend ashamedly admitted that she forgot Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out’s  name. She admitted this kicks her out of the running for Socialite of the Year Award.  She spoke with the woman she worked with who hosted the party today and got, not only his name, but some other interesting tidbits as well. Like the tidbit about the fact that he asked said Party Host about Christmas Party Friend on several occasions during the evening.  Hmmm?  Was he interested or what?  Methinks he was.  Shethinks he was too, in spite of the fact that he didn’t call her the very next day.  ( I think there’s a rule about that.  Isn’t there a rule about that?) Christmas Party Friend was intuititive enough to figure out that no man worth his salt goes to that much effort and doesn’t follow through…unless there is something very wrong with him and then better to know that early on, she thinks.  I tend to agree.

Apparently, as Christmas Party Friend was leaving her office the Monday after the Saturday evening party, she received a call from Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out.  It was pretty casual, very fun and the conversation flowed.  It wasn’t a long conversation from what I gather, but it was incredibly effective and to the point without coming off as interviewer-esque or drill sergeantish.  As best I can remember from her this is basically how it went.

Call rings in. She answers, “Hello”.

He re-introduces himself.  She indicates that she remembers.

He asks about her day.  She answers, then asks about his.  (Great exchange of lifestyle information there.  Don’t knock the things you can learn about a person in the small talk.) During their conversation, she is in the process of leaving work, he is still at work and looking at putting in a few more hours. 

He says, “I’d really like to see if we can figure out a time to get together, where we can talk and see if we’d really like to pursue this any further.” 

Well, no beating around the bush there, is there?  I’d say it was pretty clear that he was interested but also realistic about the fact that they might just not hit it off. He sure wanted to take the time to figure it out with her though.  How very direct, yet low pressure.  He didn’t play games.  He put his cards out there in a non-threatening way.  No guesswork for her to sleuth through or wonder about.  She had a decision.  Did she want to meet with him to explore the possibilities or not?  He made it a simple yes or no answer for her.  Of course, my friend, said she’d like to get together with him. 

After a bit of “well this is what my schedule is like, what is yours like?” they narrowed the time down to which meal and what days.  In fact, his exact words were, “It’s looking like something like lunch early next week might be best for both of us.” She agreed.  He followed up with, “Let’s get through this week and I will call you toward the end of the week and we can set specifics up then.  How does that sound?”, (they are both in similar career fields and this time of the year is high pressure for them).  My friend was fairly impressed with how easy he was making this for her.  Prior to this, she’d spent so many of her interactions with men who gave her their numbers, never called, expected her to do all the work of trying to get the relationship off the ground.  My friend is not opposed to putting in a great deal of relational effort, but when she begins to feel like she’s the only one in the relationship she’s just got to stop and wonder how interested the guy really is.  Her guess is, not very.  She’s usually right.  She’s pretty smart that way.    This guy, on the other hand, was not taking the easy way out.  He was taking the initiative, setting the pace, being assertive and every step of the way he was Mr. Respectful and Considerate, because he stopped and listened and heard from her before moving forward or clinching the deal.  He put himself out there, made himself vulnerable but he was in no way wimpy or needy or passive. There was simply not going to be any “here’s my number, call me when you are free” with this guy.

He wants to move this thing forward with her, but he doesn’t appear to be in any big, huge, needy, insecure rush.  He’s well aware that busy professionals have demanding lives and that it might take a bit of discussion and patience to carve out some time together initially. He seems to be understanding of this reality.  In fact, as I listen to my friend tell about this brief exchange, I realize she seems to be dealing with a fairly confident, well adjusted, mature individual. That’s a rare thing these days according to her. 

My friend is a pretty put together, attractive, self-sufficient, independent woman who really enjoys her single life.  She someday hopes to be in a long term exclusive relationship, but she’s not desperate to be in one. She, like so many of us would actually rather be alone forever than be in a bad relationship again. She gets the sense that Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out is coming from the same place.  Of course, it is all still too early to tell but that’s her first impression. She finds this refreshing.  She’s hopeful that they’ll be able to take the time to get to know each other without having to sacrifice themselves to do it.  There’s already been far too much communication about what works and what doesn’t for each of them in a very respectful manner for that.

As I reflected on my conversation with my Christmas Party Friend today, it  dawned on me that these two, in just the three or so short interactions they’ve had, accomplished something many married couples never achieve.  They negotiated the differences to gain a positive mutually satisfying outcome.  They’ve taken two worlds, two very different worlds, negotiated all the existing hurdles and roadblocks to find time to spend together. He had to give up some information, she had to do the same. A great time to meet wasn’t readily apparent to them.  They both would probably prefer to get together earlier but they both have prior commitments they can’t change and they shouldn’t have to. They both are mature enough to realize that life doesn’t quit just because “you met someone”.  

In thinking about the example of good relational interactions that my Christmas Party Friend and Mr. Knows demonstrate, I realize one more thing:  He is not just Mr. Knows How To Ask A Woman Out but he is also Mr. Knows How To Start Things Off Right. Precedents and expectations are dynamic indicators in the health or illness of a relationship. Mr. Knows set the precedent for considerate, thoughtful interaction in scheduling and planning time together. Christmas Party Friend matched him stride for stride.  It is now the expectation that they will both have as they continue to interact together. I mean, didn’t someone somewhere say, “As the thing begins so it will go”?  I suppose much can begin badly and turn out alright, after all in Shakespeare’s words, “All’s well that ends well”.  I’m certainly hoping on many levels that this can be said about me at the end of my life.  Even so, in relationship, it seems much more difficult to fix a bad start than to start it off right to begin with. 

Mr. Knows seems to get this. 

He sure seems to understand how to start things off right with a woman in three conversations or less.

 

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