Judging by the number of emails and comments I get regarding Future Faking, Fast Forwarding and “It started out so great! Why can’t they go back to how they were in the beginning?” (even though the time between the beginning and the ‘change’ is very short), many people believe that they ‘know’ another person quite quickly. They talk and think with a high degree of certainty about what they can expect from them, even if they haven’t truly experienced enough with them to justify the certainty or claims of ‘knowledge’.
If you’ve ever watched Big Brother, you can see this in action normally within 3-5 days of them entering the house. The new housemates declare super-intense feelings or claim that they’re “best mates”, or that they know one another deeply. There are hasty promises and proclamations about what they’re going to do when they get out of the house. Of course, this quickly fizzles out after they leave the Big Brother house.
There’s a reason why it’s called ‘getting to know someone’: you are gaining knowledge about a person through observation, asking questions, and information. Over time. You can’t really claim to ‘know’ someone until you’ve observed them in all sorts of situations and come back with the same consistent information. The more the same information comes back, the more you can trust that what you’ve believed that you know is true.
The question is, how much time do you think you need to get to know someone, to the point where you would think that you know “a lot” about them? To the point where you’d feel misled if they ‘changed’? A few hours? Days? Weeks? A few months?
- How much time would you have physically spent with them?
- Would your judgement of them be based on actions matching words?
- Or would you base your ‘knowledge’ on how excited, horny or ‘connected’ you feel?
- If their actions and words ‘changed’, would you consider this part of the discovery phase, particularly if this is in the first weeks or early months?
At what point do you feel uncomfortable with reconciling reality with how you thought things were?
For some of you, the answer is immediately or at least a very short timeframe. This is going to pose some major problems for you, because it doesn’t leave any room for discovery and it certainly doesn’t leave you any room to adjust perceptions and assumptions that you’ve made. This defeats the purpose of ‘getting to know’ them!
In fact, you’re not ‘getting to know’ them. What you’re doing is working off an idea that when you experience A, B, and C (what you associate with strong indicators of attraction and them being the ‘right’ partner), you believe you’re going to experience XYZ (your vision of a relationship). So if you get flowers, compliments, and a good shag, you might believe that it means that it will and should lead to a committed relationship. You might decide that they’re available and that they’re already in love with you. To be clear, this is actually quite a leap.
It’s like there’s a point where you just shut out incoming information.
It’s like “Yeah baby! I like what I ‘know’ so far and I don’t want to ruin it with any more information. In my mind, I should be able to gauge who someone is within this timeframe. And truth be told, I don’t want to burn up copious amounts of brain energy by having to listen, watch, have boundaries, ask questions, and process information.”
This then leaves you with a static image of the person that isn’t actually very realistic. The longer you stick with this, the deeper in illusions you become, making it difficult to differentiate between what’s real and what’s fake.
Even if you have observed and asked questions, or gathered some information, you know what? That doesn’t mean that that’s ‘it’.
If you observe further things that contradict or change the nature of what you think you know or what you expect, or the answers to questions change, or your ability to ask questions and get answers are impeded, or you gain further information that informs you of what reality is, it’s your job to heed this feedback. It’s your job to apply this feedback, even if you don’t like it.
Sometimes we forget something crucial: Every dating and relationship interaction has a honeymoon period. It might be as little as a few hours (one-night stand/date), days (fling or a couple of dates), weeks (possibly several dates), or a few months (building up into a steady relationship). As ‘normality’, routine and even expectations set in, you’re either going to grow, go in fits and starts, regress, or come to a halt. Sometimes when I read stories about ‘relationships’ that have fizzled out within a few weeks, I do wonder if this whole honeymoon period was forgotten.
Time is what gives you the opportunity to get to know someone and to also gauge their true intentions for a relationship. While you might like to think we let it all hang out immediately, people actually reveal themselves over time.
In a very short period of time, particularly in days or weeks, anything you know during this period is distorted by the timeframe and possibly by intensity. Just like the Big Brother house, intensity in a relationship can’t last forever. And depending on the nature of your involvement, that intensity and your perception might be largely based on words rather than a more balanced blend of observing actions and sharing experiences with them.
When you decide to go on a date with someone or at a later stage, agree to get into a relationship with them, you do it based on what you know at that time. If you’ve gone in with your eyes wide open, have been listening, and packed your self-esteem for the journey, there’s less opportunity for unpleasant ‘surprises’, plus you’ll listen to yourself if you start to receive ‘feedback’ from your relationship that concerns you.
If what you base your decision to date or get into a relationship changes, you are free to leave at any time. You can walk.
If you struggle with the emotional consequences of putting in the time that comes with the territory of dating, you have a duty of care to slow yourself right down.
The litmus test of how well you think your Instant or Very Quick Knowledge Ability works is the results. So if you feel that someone has changed from what you thought you knew, it’s life’s way of telling you that you need to focus on learning about them instead of claiming that you ‘know’ them. Professor Life is showing you that you need to heed the feedback that a significant change in character, behaviour and values indicates: that you need to stop, look, listen and don’t proceed until you have gained more knowledge to justify continuing. Yep, it’s a code amber alert to slow your roll.
And here’s the irony in all this: I am inundated with stories from people who claim to know others quickly enough to justify their feelings and investment. Yet funny enough, this ‘skill’ doesn’t extend itself to recognising inappropriate behaviour! How can you truly claim to know someone, if you’ll only ‘know’ what you feel like seeing?
Knowledge when you’re prepared to be available for it, gives you the power to choose realistically. It gives you the power to choose from a place of love, care, trust and respect.
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.