I Would Like to Have Relations With You (Date 17 of 35)

27 Sep

I had a poster of Joey McIntyre hanging over my bed. Before I went to sleep, I would kiss it goodnight. Every night. I’d play the “Hanging Tough” cassette tape over and over again. Every time a New Kids on the Block video came on MTV, I would day-dream that Joey was singing to me. That he wanted to blow my mind that time. I had my mom buy Teen Beat Magazine the minute it was published so that I could collect every photo of him in existence. I wrote to his fan club weekly. I was in love.

Joey McIntyre. My first love.

It was seventh grade. And the most popular girl in school wanted to be my friend. My best friend. I was excited. I didn’t think I could go from the “grape jelly” gal to being friends with Ms. Popular, but there she was, asking to sit next to me at lunch and inviting me to her birthday party! One day, she turned to me and said “New Kids on the Block are dumb.” I stopped the bite of my sandwich and stared at her. “I can’t believe so many girls think they are cute. They are just ugly. U G L Y ugly.” She looked at me straight in the eye and asked, “You don’t like them, do you?” I met and held her stare and, with the most authoritative voice I could muster, responded, “NO. No way!”

We are all guilty of being inauthentic. Some of us at times. Maybe even just once in a blue moon. Others of us all of the time.

1. We tell people what they want to hear. Maybe we tell them that we agree with a political/social/economic stance they have, to avoid debate on a topic – because we fear they will get angry and/or leave us. Maybe we tell them that nothing is wrong, when there is something bothering us – to keep the peace. Maybe we tell them that we don’t like New Kids on the Block, when, really, we want to become Mrs. McIntyre and have little new kids all over our own block – so that we will be accepted.

2. We do things that we don’t want to. We’ll get serious with someone and realize, a few months down the line, that the person’s integrity, values and morals don’t line up with our own. Yet, we’ve fallen for that person. We’ve invested substantial time. So we stay, agreeing to overlook the one (important) issue and justifying it by adding up all of the many (unimportant) aspects of our relationship that make us happy.

3. We make judgments based on what we are taught to think, not what we feel. Or, worse, we conform our feelings to mirror what we are thinking. We are conditioned from birth. We are taught what is “good” and what is “bad”. What is “right” and what is “wrong”. What is acceptable social behavior and what is irresponsible child’s play. Our lessons are dictated by where/how we are raised and who raises us. So, from the first time we see someone, or hear someone – we have an opinion already formed on who we think they are, what we think they can offer, what we think we can offer them.

In all of those circumstances, we aren’t being genuine. We aren’t being who we are. We aren’t being authentic.

Of course, it’s very easy to say “be real”, “be genuine”, “be authentic” but it’s another thing to learn HOW to do that. So, when I heard about Jeffrey Platt’s Authentic Relating Game Night, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough that, although I had been in the city earlier that day for Date #16, I returned back to the city to attend.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Jeffrey describes it as a night where people learn how to really connect with one another so that they can feel truly nourished and inspired by their daily interactions with others. After my experience, I would say that Jeffrey’s definition underestimates the power of the evening. To try to explain the evening would do it an injustice. It’s something that needs to be experienced.

Before you attend, throw out your expectation of what a game night is. You won’t find board games, cards or even chairs. Rather, your entire evening is based on interacting verbally and non-verbally with the other attendees in ways that will push you slightly outside of your comfort zone. By the end of the night, you’ve learned how to “speak in the now”. You see how you’ve been conditioned to communicate in certain ways, even though you truly want to communicate in others. You learn how to bypass small talk and create a deeper connection. You learn how to appreciate…you! And how to vocalize it. And own it. And this is important. Only by knowing and accepting yourself fully can you appreciate the others around you. And by the end of the night, you do. Or you feel as if you are starting to. That you are on the path to “authenticity.” While all of this sounds quite “heavy”, I assure you the night is very fun! You’ll definitely laugh and you’ll come away with some interesting introductions!

Authentic Relating Game Night

This was all very much in my mind when I met Shaun for Date #17, Salsa Dancing at M&S Grill at Reston Town Center. Unfortunately, Salsa Dancing was cancelled due to a fundraiser that they had earlier in the day that spilled over into the salsa time spot. So, we sat at the bar for a while and chatted. We talked about what we did. Where we lived. If we liked our jobs. Where we hung out. The vibe at M&S was a little, dead, so we headed over to that “go to” spot, Paolo’s Ristorante.

As we sat down, I decided to take some of the lessons I learned from Jeffrey’s Authentic Relating Game Night and apply it to my conversation with Shaun. Specifically, I promised myself that every word I spoke would be with the purpose of strengthening my value. That I would not make assumptions. That I would ask specific questions that would help me arrive at a deeper connection with Shaun. That I would be honest in my answers to his questions. Not that I would have lied but, rather, that I would be “full-out” with my responses. Immediately, the tone of the conversation changed. We started talking about family, our faith, our past relationships, our goals. I told him about Authentic Relating Game Night and he was very interested. This led to a discussion on the types of relationships that we wish to have with our friends and a future potential partner. We looked up and found that we were the last people in the bar. In two hours, I was able to not only talk to Shaun, but to communicate with him. I was able to not only learn about him, but establish a connection with him. I noticed that I felt comfortable around him and I appreciated that he was eager to learn about me.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture a photo of Date #17. But that’s okay. I’ll grab one when we go out again. Shaun asked me on a 2nd date. This time to really go salsa dancing!

(For those of you still not adventurous enough to travel into the city, Jeffrey and I are working to organize an Authentic Relating Game Night in the suburbs. One in Maryland and one in Virginia. Stay tuned for more info! Or, if you think you’d be interested in attending, leave me a comment!)

“If the REAL you isn’t sufficient or attractive enough to keep that person in the room, then let them leave. Because someone will come into the room of your life who will find the authentic you attractive enough. And when they come into the room in response to your authenticity, they will stay because you don’t have to keep your “act” going in order to keep them in the room. The tap dance can be over.”

-Neale Donald Walsch


17 Responses to “I Would Like to Have Relations With You (Date 17 of 35)”

  1. Christine September 27, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Be careful with generalizations! I don’t agree that everyone is inauthentic. That’s a big statement to make. I think there are a lot of people, myself included, who are quite the opposite. I would have too hard of a time trying to keep track of my likes and dislikes, my opinions, etc. if I were anything but honest about them. I may tell the clerk at the store “I’m fine.” when they ask “How are you today?” but when asked, I give people my honest opinion even if I know it may be hard for them to hear. I just try to do it in a constructive way. I may sometimes eat at a restaurant I don’t particularly like, or do something I don’t really want to do, because that’s part of compromising in a friendship, relationship, etc., but I have never and would never stay in a relationship where I have to overlook our fundamental differences at every turn. On the last point, “So, from the first time we see someone, or hear someone โ€“ we have an opinion already formed on who we think they are, what we think they can offer, what we think we can offer them.”, I really think this is a DC Metro thing. It took me a couple of years to lose my defensiveness after leaving NoVA. So many people up there are out for their own agendas, but people in this part of Georgia just aren’t that way. It’s a refreshing change.

    • Rita September 27, 2011 at 8:27 am #

      Hey Christine! I probably worded it poorly. I don’t think everyone is inauthentic but I do hold that everyone has moments of inauthenticity. Have you ever had too much to eat or drink and then regret it? And then have it happen again another time? That’s being inauthentic. Repeating a bad habit. Or had “an intuition” about something or someone? A certain “type” you’ve been attracted to, for a relationship or friends. I am obviously on a journey to be more authentic and I find it so inspirational that you are! Yet, even as I succeed, for me, I know that there will always be room to grow in that. That every day I can learn better how to be…even more. I’d love to hear about regional differences. When I lived in Pensacola, I was young, but still felt a pressure to fit in with kids at school, succeed for my mom, etc. Off course, our ability to be authentic changes with age, maturity and knowledge.

    • Rita September 27, 2011 at 8:52 am #

      You know, the best example I’ve heard of the conditioning is when you see a baby. It’s smiling and laughing, giggling. Calm. Happy. So you say, “oh, what a good baby!”

      That’s conditioning and having a judgment from the instant you see that baby.

      That’s the best way I can explain of the inherent conditioning of the type I’m referencing.

      • Christine September 27, 2011 at 9:14 am #

        And I guess my point is, not everyone would make that assumption. I would think “Oh how cute!” but not make the leap that he or she is always a good baby.

        I get what you are doing here, Rita, and I support it. I took exception to the fact that you generalized which will always land you in trouble with some portion of the population because nothing applies to everyone other than the fact that we’re all humans.

        Also, as a copywriter, I’m big on careful word selection. To me, inauthentic is different than making a bad decision. Even a repeat bad decision.

      • Rita September 27, 2011 at 9:17 am #

        I miss you! Come back to visit so we can have a night of making bad decisions together. They’ll make for great stories, haha. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Kirsten September 27, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Love the quote at the end (may steal that for my FB) ๐Ÿ™‚ and would love to attend the game night if you have it in the ‘burbs!!
    Enjoying all your posts Rita…I see a lot of my own issues in the things you are talking about. Keep up the good writing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Colleen Delaney September 27, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Totally would come to an authentic game night (just don’t schedule it Nov. 5…lol)

    • Danielle September 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      Would love to attend a game night! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Rita!

    • Piper Lisseveld October 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      I’m in too! The authentic game night sounds like loads of fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. jessica September 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    Christine, I find it interesting that you are so quick to call out Rita’s “generalizations” when you yourself are so quick to point out that most people “up there” in NoVa are out for their own agendas, and people in Georgia are not that way. Is this not also a gross generalization? As you go so far as to say that “I took exception to the fact that you generalized which will always land you in trouble with some portion of the population because nothing applies to everyone other than the fact that weโ€™re all humans.” Interesting. So, which is it?

    Love your blog. This is your experience and your view of yourself and the world. Kudos to you for putting yourself out there. Much respect!

  5. Christine September 28, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    Jessica, I lived in Northern Virginia for 35 years, and I moved to small town Georgia 3 years ago. I think I’m qualified to make observations about both areas. Rita made the claim that “everyone” is inauthentic to which I took exception because it would be difficult to assert that her direct experience makes her qualified to judge “everyone.” However, my own direct experience living in both areas does qualify me to make my own observation, and when I did so I used the phrase “so many people” which makes reference to the fact that there are others out there who are, in fact, not that way. It’s the difference between the use of the words most and all. I think the only person who called anyone out here is you. I was merely having a discussion with my friend.

  6. Jessica September 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    HAAHAAHAA. Ok, sorry, didnt realize you were qualified.

    • Christine September 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      Not surprisingly, you entirely missed my point.

      • Rita September 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

        Oh my. Well, at the end of the day – I guess it still doesn’t matter. I still hold that everyone has been inauthentic at one point in their lives. Whether it happened when you were 4, 14 or 40. There has been one instance where you have been inauthentic or not true to yourself. Whether its that you want to be healthy in your genuine internal being, yet you choose to eat fatty foods that make you fat….whether it’s that you did something to impress your best friend of age 5, whether it’s that you said you are “fine” when really you weren’t….however little, or however big, I still truly believe that everyone has, at least once in their life, had a moment of inauthenticity. To me, it would be sad if someone said that wasn’t true – because then it means you have no room for growth in that area – and I think we should always be growing.

        And I can be right, or I can be wrong, but it’s just what I think….and that’s all that matters. Didn’t you know?


        Ok, now we can move on and either A) HIGH FIVE RITA FOR GETTING A 2ND DATE from this particular one, because that was completely overlooked haha…or B) start commenting on the NEW post. ๐Ÿ™‚

        But I do appreciate everyone’s contributions…I’m so excited that I write about things that make people think!

  7. Joy September 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    It’s amazing to ‘snap’ out of the fog of conditioning in all areas of your life. It’s as easy as questioning why you automatically feel and do everything. Why do I believe that? Why do I say that? Why do I eat that? Why do I buy that? WHY do I cut the ends off of the ham on special holidays? (Great story!)
    Game night sounds like it could be fun!


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