Whatever you feel you do not like or are interested in, is based on past experiences of personal trauma, rumors, apathy, laziness, or other excuses. Meeting someone new is a way to restart memories about yourself and approaching certain ideas with a new perspective. More important than WHAT the activity that your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend wants to do really just means, would you PREFER his/her company?
If the Friend Asks: Do I want to do XYZ outside?
My Instinctive Answer: No, not really, definitely not. I want to sit on the couch all day, binge watch everything, eat fried chicken & Zebra cakes!
What the Friend is REALLY saying: Will you join me? Will you support me in this goal to improve my character? If you believe in me, I will believe in myself.
What my answer is REALLY saying: What I feel is more important than what you feel, I’d be perfectly happy if I don’t see you for the entire day.
A person adjusts to life and matures with age, in a relationship the adjustment doesn’t necessarily happen to both people at the same time… however, the ending is happier when both find opportunities to show support. What are you demonstrating, unless you’re willing to attend something to make the other person feel more important than you are to yourself?
After moving to Europe and having a tantrum, I agreed to ride a bicycle to work 6 miles because it was the most affordable and fastest way to get around. With the safe direct bike lanes in Netherlands, we gathered coworkers that wanted to explore nearby windmills and small towns so we went on longer bike rides for sightseeing. It was joint functional exercise.
Then, one day biking around we saw the local marathon and followed it on bike for a while. When Roger turned 26 the following year, he decided to do the local marathon. I was not interested at all, weekends were for errands and the couch. After the 2nd Saturday that he was gone for 3+ hours in the morning, leaving me home alone and bored… I had a few choices:
- Selfish perspective: Complain that he’s choosing running over spending lazy time with me like we had been spending spare time (other than bars), and state he doesn’t care about me if he’s leaving me alone! Tell him running & marathon is hurting the relationship.
- Single perspective: Find something else to do while he’s gone, so I don’t feel his absence. No I’m not doing all the chores for two people, and errands by myself.
- Supportive perspective: Acknowledge the perspective of the other person and if there are any positive aspects of this behavior change, which in turn could deepen the relationship bond. Leaving to run while I’m still asleep takes discipline in a personal goal outside of work. Despite wanting to spend time with me, this personal goal must be really important to him, by taking solo initiative for hours of our weekend and energy to invest into building endurance. If this goal is so important to him, then it’s important to me to make it a success too. How can I support this, so I don’t have to aimlessly wait?
We had only been dating for 1 year, so a part of a (new insecure) girlfriend wants to make sure he’s really running for this many hours lol… The following week, I made him breakfast when he got back, and asked him which route he took if he saw anything cool. He told me a few but that he couldn’t take pictures and stop, or he wouldn’t ever finish. I had never ran the amount he was doing, nor at his speed, but I could bike! I could take pictures of cool things that he saw, so he wouldn’t have to lose momentum to stop.
Roger needed a long run, and he saw that it was 26 km to the beach! I wanted to go to the beach! This was Roger’s first point to point long run, and I wanted to make sure he was safe, so I decided to bike beside him as moral support so he didn’t give up! Will you join me?
I asked him, what time he wanted to finish the marathon? He said, Oprah ran her marathon in 4:29 so he wanted to beat Oprah. (P.S. Oprah for ~20 yrs has been the icon for many weight-loss systems as an overweight middle-aged woman who was a flipflop dieter. If she can do this, semi out of shape, then it’s motivating to at least match reference here) Roger has been an athlete his whole life but not in long distance running. After seeing all the effort he was putting forth, I wondered how my energy level compared to other females that were 24. I was not an athlete in mind or health, but undeservedly considered myself energetic and slim, so that should count for fit… right? I saw the same day as the marathon also had a 5k and a 10k. I wouldn’t waste money or effort for 3 miles, so I asked him to see if I could join a training run with him for 6 miles? In retrospect, I HATED it, but in tribute to his effort choosing to do 26.2, I’d be interested in the comparison with other females who were running the 10k and signed up.
On race day when he had to go into the corrals, I started crying for his moment. He had put so much effort, and WE had invested time into this BIG day and I really wanted it to be successful for him. The training & selfless support was an opportunity to show him that he was important to me. After my 10k run, I jogged home (super close) showered, changed, bought a huge balloon and went to wait for him at the finish line with a few friends.
As a reminder, I had done the 10k to see how I compared with other females my age. I HATED running, sweating and getting cramps everywhere. I hate feeling sweaty & hair getting in the way. I enjoyed biking because it was functional, even after moving to San Diego I just biked. I’d get up with Roger to supervise his swim workout because I was not letting him open water swim alone. I’d go with cowbell to any triathlon events he did, because I like to watch him care about things that come from the heart, and aren’t just work or money related. I ended up cheering for other people, and meeting other supportive “sherpa” families as well. We’d laugh about our crazy athlete loved ones, and secretly agree, never me.
After an exercise we would try a new breakfast place or bike to a coffee place together. This was his idea because he knew I was into discovering cute places.
In the USA there’s a lot that “traps” a female in the company of a man… the guy picks her up at her place, the guy pays for dinner, the guy drops her off at home: what effort has the girl made to show interest? And don’t say dress up because that has nothing to do with WHO you’re meeting, a female will get dressed up for any reason.
Be present, be open-minded, and be a cheerleader.
Isn’t that what you want him to genuinely express?
I knew that being present is a choice, when it’s done with a positive open-mind, it’s more precious than any other gift. Regardless the primary love language.