Advice Column #2: BS by B.S.

Welcome back to BS by B.S.! This week is all about becoming exclusive, red flags, and dealing with hate. Keep reading to find out more.

How do you have the let’s be exclusive talk?

Ugh, the dreaded DTR: defining the relationship. How do you know if the time is right? How do you even bring it up? My thing with “the talk” is that often times we put it off until it’s too late. Our pride stops us from asking the hard question because we’re scared of rejection.  The “let’s be exclusive” talk is the first major step in any relationship. If you’re considering having this conversation, that probably means you’ve come to a point with someone and you’re ready to take the next step.

The first thing you need to do is consider what kind of relationship you have with this person. Are you a starter or a bench player? Let me explain. Every person in the dating game, whether they know it or not, has their own lineup. Your line up consists of all the people you are talking to, seeing, flirting with, or hanging out with. Your line up is broken up into two groups. First, you have your starters. These are the people that usually come to mind first. They’re the people you hang out with often, text frequently, and maybe if you’re feeling crazy, facetime. Then, you then have your bench. These are the people you keep on the back burner, but you still keep them around just in case. You may Snapchat them sporadically, and texting will usually occur every once in a while, or consistently after midnight. Before you ask the person you’re seeing if they want to be exclusive, think about whether you start the game, or if you only play in the fourth quarter when your team is up by 30 points. Once you do the mental math and conclude that you’re their starter, my best advice is to do it in person. Sending a text message that says, “Hey, be my boyfriend,” can come off harsh. 

What you want to do is find a moment where there’s a gap in the conversation. Bring up a funny memory the two of you share or recall something the two of you have done together. This gives you some foundation for the big question because now you have brought up something you’ve done together. From there, the first question can be posed, “Are you seeing anyone else?” Then, he or she will give you their answer. The secret is their answer doesn’t really matter, because they will usually follow by reciprocating the question.  Since you are the one wanting to be exclusive, I’ll assume your reply will, “Actually, I’m only talking to you.” Here’s where the magic happens. Your next step is to pose the question in a nonthreatening way and almost blow it off. Exhibit A: “I really like what we have going on, we have so much fun. I’m not really into titles at least at the moment, let’s just keep doing what we’re doing, you know, just with each other.” Of course, the opportunity for rejection is there, but you’ve just set yourself up for a slam dunk. Whether they’re seeing other people, it now doesn’t matter now because you were vulnerable and put yourself out there. More often then not, the other person will let their guard down because you did first. If your gut is right about the connection, and it usually is, they will be more comfortable with “exclusive noncommittal,” as opposed to “let’s date.” As things go on, then you can talk about titles, but for now, continue to enjoy getting to know each other.

What is your opinion on red flags? How many should I look past before I call it quits?

Red flags are different for everyone, so it’s important to keep in mind that your partner may have a habit that you identify as a red flag, but for him or her, it’s just who they are. I think it’s never right to change someone. You should love your partner for who they are, but also sometimes two people just aren’t compatible. With that being said, I like to keep in mind a three-strike rule when it comes to red flags. The first time there is an issue, give them a chance to explain themselves. Maybe they had a bad day at work or fought with a friend. Take a mental note, but move forward. You don’t want to be too rash in ending your relationship. If it happens again, it needs to be a much longer conversation. It has to be made clear that certain behavior won’t be tolerated, and if it continues, there will be serious repercussions. This is where most people stop the conversation, and I’m here to tell you, you’re not done yet. Following the agreement to stop the particular action, there needs to be some kind of resolution. By just saying sorry and moving on a second time, the root of the real problem is being dismissed, and the issue will most likely continue. You need to work with your partner on how you can avoid this issue again. For example, let’s say when you and your boyfriend are in a fight, he has a tendency to raise his voice. For him, it’s a learned pattern and he may not even notice that he progressively gets louder as the two of you disagree. Maybe you come to the resolution that when things get heated, he steps away for an hour before the two of you continue the conversation. Maybe you have a word you say during the discussion to remind him of the bad habit. Whatever it is, there needs to be a plan of action that you both agree on. If the red flag occurs a third time, then it’s time to reevaluate your relationship. You need to identify what your needs and boundaries are, and if they’re being met. Everyone has a different tolerance for red flags and it’s important you identify your breaking point. As I said before, trust your gut. Sure, an old dog can learn new tricks, but you have to decide if the dog is willing to learn them.

How do you deal with people not liking you?

I learned very early that not everyone will like you. I, in particular, am a very polarizing person. People either think I’m super funny and a great friend, or they think I’m annoying and over the top. I don’t often find people that are indifferent about me, so I’ve experienced my fair share of people disliking me. What might shock you is most people are polarizing in one way or another. Everyone will always have an opinion. Even if you’re the nicest person in the world, there will always be someone in the woodworks calling you a name or discrediting something you’ve accomplished. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity and start to question your own self-worth. What we so often forget, is for that one person tearing us down, there are ten more lifting us up. The older I’ve become, the more I understand that opinions are not yours to change. It’s easy to lose who we truly are because we’re trying to appease people that don’t actually matter. The best way to deal with someone who doesn’t like you is to just not deal with them at all. It is not your job to make people like you. It is not your responsibility to cater to someone else’s standards. Love the people around you, take pride in your accomplishments, and never let someone make your feel lesser than what you truly are: Amazing.

And that’s on not taking any BS!

P.S, B.S.

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