Are You Easy?

Calling all self-proclaimed “people pleasers!” Peace is a direct manifestation of living in alignment with your intuition.

I was twenty-five and had just found my husband dead.

Someone had recommended a therapist for me. I called and the receptionist answered.

“Is this an emergency?”

“Uh, no, no, it’s not an emergency.”

We scheduled a first appointment to see the therapist a good week later.

What We Think Matters

Back then, my inner dialogue went something like this:

I don’t want to make waves. I want to be easy, not a burden for others. This therapist obviously has a lot of patients to see if she can’t see me, a new patient, in the next 24 hours. I’m in terrible pain right now, but I am not bleeding, not on death’s door. I do not have the right to call my situation an emergency, since I’m still alive and breathing on my own. So, I will sit with the pain, shock, and fear I do not know how to process until it is a better time for this recommended therapist to meet with me.

The Balm of Self-Compassion

Writing this now, I want to hug that young woman I was, look her in the eyes and grab her firmly by her hunched shoulders. I write with tears in my eyes, yearning for that young adult to honor her experience and the feelings that were emerging, to explore the pain instead of holding it in her body like a grenade until it was convenient for a therapist to see her.

The Allure of Being Easy

There are many levels and forms of “being easy” for others.

We contort ourselves under the false notion that doing so will help us somehow belong, experience love, and feel worthy

The desire to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance is normal; after all, we are social creatures, spiritually wired to connect and even flourish through connection. The problem arrives when we subjugate our own needs to please others.

When our sense of self is inextricably tied to the approval of others, we lose our inner compass. 

We starve ourselves, either physically or spiritually, to feed what we believe others want.

The Most Important Question

The late playwright, George Bernard Shaw is famous for his pithy line:

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

I argue that it doesn’t need to be. You don’t need to be a twenty-five-year-old widow to discover the lesson that you can stop being easy, NOW — regardless of your number of years on Earth.

So, what can we do to help dissipate the often, knee-jerk reaction some of us have to please others at the expense of ourselves?

We can check-in with ourselves. We can cultivate a habit of asking ourselves a simple but profound question: What do I think?

If I could go back to that young adult who had just found her dead husband, I would ask her: What do you think?

She would say:

I am fucking scared! I am broken and lost. I don’t know how one minute, I was sleeping next to my husband, his warm hand on my stomach and now he is dead. I need a therapist NOW; this IS an emergency. My heart, mind, and soul cannot comprehend what just happened. I need someone to process what feels impossible to process NOW.

Easy is Overrated

Easy is overrated. Easy is the Corset of Life: it might look easy and effortless on the outside, but inside, we are slowly losing oxygen. 

Easy doesn’t avoid growth; it just postpones growth.

 The longer we are easy, ignoring what’s under the hood of our psyches, the greater the spiritual repair fee. But make no mistake, there’s a price for Easy.

The Impossibility of Pleasing Others

We will never please everyone, no matter how much we bend over backwards. There’s a comfort in knowing that when we start to please ourselves first, honoring our birthright gut, life actually gets easier.

The Underbelly of Nostalgia

It takes courage to look unflinchingly at our past without the rose-tinted glasses of “the good ‘ole days.”

Memories are a bit like movies: they stir emotions in us, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

The reality of green screens, costumes, makeup— not to mention the panoply of human challenges that arrive when humans work together (i.e. sickness, fatigue, personality clashes, etc.), never make it into the final perfect cut.

Movie for One

Each of us enters a movie theater every day, 24/7. During sleeping hours we are unconscious of the action on the screens of our psyche. Sure, we might mention to a friend:

“I had the strangest dream about my house that started to leak and then fall apart from the top on down. What do you think that’s all about?”

Your friend might wax Freudian on you and say the house symbolizes your life or your marriage or your health. Regardless, the dream interpretation is intended to be considered by the receiver of the dream alone: YOU.

The movie that plays during our conscious hours loves to replay scenes of nostalgia: the “good ole’ days.” The days before:

  • the car accident
  • that family member died
  • puberty arrived
  • the big move
  • the surgery

The list goes on as do the scenes we replay for a dopamine hit of what we perceive as benign nostalgia.

A Fate Worse Than Death

Socrates is famous for stating the following shortly before his death:

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Ultimately, the Greek philosopher chose death over exile. For Socrates, to be exiled and unable to seek and examine life was a fate worse than death.

The Danger of Rose-Colored Glasses

There’s a subtle yet distinctive difference between appreciating memories of the past and altering them to fit the narrative you want to see.

Wearing rose-colored glasses in the face of something painful is like wearing beer googles when you start a relationship: it won’t end well.

The Fallout

So what’s the big deal? What’s so terrible about keeping our rose-tinted glasses on indefinitely?

“The body keeps score.” Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

Maybe you keep showing up to your family’s Thanksgiving dinners and smile while Uncle Bill gets drunker and louder as the evening meal continues. Your friendly exterior belies the stomach churning and shoulder knotting in your body.

Perhaps you find your personal movie theater replaying scenes from before you moved and left behind your family and friends. With rose-colored glasses, you find yourself saying things like:

“I miss them so much.”

or

“It’s so much better over there.”

But when you take off your rose-colored glasses, when you sit quite in that dark theater of your mind, you see a different movie playing: you miss the idea of them, of who you wanted them to be, not who they actually are.

After Death

When something dies, new life can begin. The same is true for those memories we’ve glazed with the high-fructose corn syrup of unhealthy nostalgia. 

A part of us has to die to accept the past as it was and not how we wished it would be.

 Acceptance means awareness has arrived and will affect our choices going forward.

And maybe then we can appreciate the past without the need to reach for those rose-tinted glasses. We can look back and see a life lived on our terms; embracing the reality of our experiences, so we are free to choose what to keep and what no longer serves us.

Training Bras and Shaving Legs

Hungry to grow up in youth; hungry to slow down in adulthood.

One of my earliest pre-teen memories was the recurring dialogue between me and my mother:

Me: I need a training bra.

Mom: There’s nothing to train.

Aggressive Insecurity

Oh, how I wanted a bra. After all, I was officially a two digit number (10) and any day now (it would be another four years), I was going to be blessed with Mother Nature’s Gift of Womanhood: the coveted period.

I obsessed about wearing a bra. Underneath that non-stop desire was insecurity. Desperate to be deemed “normal” by peers, hungry to fit in. I’d seen other girls in my 5th grade class, their white bra straps winking on shoulders like an unspoken Calling Card of Coolness, of Belonging.

A training bra signified a ticket to my Belonging.

I read and reread Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret — folding the well-worn page where the tween protagonist does the ‘special’ breast-growing exercises while chanting the now famous words:

I must, I must, I must increase my bust.

If You Wear It, Boobs Will Come

My poor mother never heard the barrage of requests to get a training bra. It didn’t matter that I didn’t even know what a training bra was. I remember my unarticulated logic went something like this:

A training bra is a requirement, a prerequisite for boobs. I am doomed to walk the Earth as the only female in the world without “real breasts” if I don’t get that training bra. Why can’t my mother understand this??

In hindsight, my thought process was Field of Dreams: if I wear it, my boobs would come. 

Adolescent Blind Spots

No sooner had the sacred day arrived, the training bra in my pre-teen hands, that I started getting teased by a boy for sporting hairy legs.

Him: Why don’t you shave that?

Me: [horrified but hiding it] I don’t want to. [insert failed attempt at looking bored shrug]

I’d been so consumed with wearing that dang bra that I hadn’t even considered what was going on south of my torso!

Contemporary Boobs and Legs

It’s with a chuckle that I look back at that pre-teen girl who was yearning to develop so fast, she didn’t consider the beauty and wonder of her changing body right-then-and-there. Of course I didn’t. That’s youth, isn’t it? We are so hungry to grow up, eager to see what’s next, what’s next, we don’t appreciate the gift of the moment as its unfolding.

Now almost half a century on this Earth, I find myself grateful for my breasts and legs but not because of what other people will think. I appreciate the health of my body in general, and the gift of this existence.

Now, the bra is more a nuisance, a small harness more appreciated off than on. Hair removal is no longer something I do to please the “popular kids” but to please myself. 

Ordinary Miracles

What a gift this life is. The memories of my mom and I discussing the much-desired training bra is something I treasure. Even the boy who looked at my hairy legs with horror, while shame-inducing at the moment, was special in its own way. In hindsight, that moment was a hallmark of my continuing journey into womanhood. 

It’s the ordinary moments, the ones we often take for granted or hunger to rush through, that are often the most precious in retrospect. It’s why Memory Lane is flooded with commentary once we reach young adulthood. We cherish the past, the experiences we can merely capture with words — a scratch we just can’t quite itch.

Parallel Lives:

Writing the Story Behind the Surface

Discover a powerful writing technique for understanding ourselves and our experiences.

Teaching English to middle school students during the peak of Covid last year often rendered me daydreaming for a lobotomy. It wasn’t the students. It was the eggshell-like-fear the teachers and students felt each day, not knowing how close to sit or converse, not knowing when to remove our masks to eat.

The inconsistent hybrid learning didn’t make teaching or learning any easier. Students’ WIFI would cause them to freeze mid-sentence, someone’s volume in the classroom would cause a deafening high pitch, or a student would choose not to show their face in our Microsoft Team’s meeting.

Staff was still expected to meet progress report and report card deadlines, attend 504 accommodation meetings, create curriculum, monitor students’ progress, discipline, nurture—you name it, teachers were meant to do it. 

English teachers are the ones who receive poetry and stories and personal essays bleeding with pain. We are most commonly the ones who notify the guidance counselor and make that call to CPS. 

Even though I’m no longer in the classroom, I am still a teacher. I’m still the person students share their creative stories with, fiction and nonfiction. It is a gift to be on the receiving end of their writing.

The teenagers I work with instinctively know that writing is a process. It helps them connect the dots in their lives, helps them to understand the world around them and their place in it.

Here’s the truth: we are all students. We are all trying to make sense of this topsy-turvy world on a macro and micro level. 

The gifted writer, Anna Quindlen, addresses this need for writing as a means of processing our very lives. We write to know ourselves, and in many ways, to heal ourselves. Writing as self-reflection is therapeutic.

Dr. Charon and Parallel Charts

Dr. Rita Charon founded a writing technique at Columbia University’s medical school called Parallel Charts. In Quindlen’s book, Write for Your Life, Quindlen quotes a summary of Dr. Charon’s Parallel Chart technique assigned to 3rd year medical students:

“If your patient dying of prostate cancer reminds you of your grandfather, who died of that disease last summer, and each time you go into the patient’s room, you weep for your grandfather, you cannot write that in the hospital chart. We will not let you. And yet it has to be written somewhere.  You write it in the Parallel Chart.”

Students and Adults Alike: The Need for Parallel Charts

Whether we are a student grappling with a tough home life, or an adult challenged by a difficult boss, we all experience stressors that can’t always be handled head on. Parallel Charts allows us to process and work through difficult emotions and situations.

Quindlen offers us an opportunity to do Parallel Charts in any circumstance:

“Take a look at your calendar, or your class schedule. Dates, numbers, times, and yet, for each, there is an observation, or a sentiment, behind it, whether of that specific event or course or of how you were feeling that day. There is a story behind our to-do lists.”

The Magic of Parallel Charts:

There’s an alchemy that occurs when we write the underbelly of our thoughts, when we connect with the surface of the day’s experiences and take time to digest them. When we write that we have a doctor’s appointment at noon, there’s the feel of the plastic chairs in your mind, the kind man behind the desk who has a picture of his daughter and wife next to a block calendar. When we write what we are experiencing behind the scenes, we boost our connection to the world around us and our place in it.

Are You Laughing in Pain?

Great comedians like Robbin Williams and Lucille Ball did it. They laughed despite their pain. Learn the difference between humor as a release and humor as a deflective strategy.


I have a dear friend from college who I refer to as The Deflection King. When things get serious, he goes for humor. It takes intelligence to throw out the quick zingers he often does. Most of the time, his comedy is welcome, but there are times when his personal stand-up routine is both sad and frustrating.

What Does Deflection Mean Anyway?

The word deflect comes from the Latin word deflectere. De means away from + flectere means to bend. Humor is my friend’s way of deflecting a barrage of whatever unpleasant experiences come his way.

I happen to love humor, and like my friend, I’ve spent time on stages performing as a stand-up comic. Humor can be a fantastic balm to a hurting spirit. Humor sugar coats some often painful medicine, allowing it a more palatable digestion.

Humor as a Band-aid

But when we use humor to deflect, it becomes a coping strategy, a comedic Band-aid that prevents us from growing and moving forward. Deflection becomes armor that might keep us from getting hurt, but it also keeps us from experiencing life fully. Over time, that armor becomes a weight, and we might wonder why we feel so alone.

Deflection is defined as causing (something) to change direction by interposing something. Verbal deflection pushes loved ones away and keeps the deflector “safe” from feeling anything of substance. Deflection is the young sibling of Denial and will literally keep us away from the chance of experiencing a genuine connection.

My dear friend has a heart of gold. He is loyal to his family and friends. He also has uncanny comedic timing and possesses the ability to make a crowd wish they were sporting Depends. But this King of Deflection is in pain and no amount of sharp jokes will remove the turmoil in his eyes.

Comedians in Pain

I think of the late and great Robbin Williams, bringing tears of laughter to millions of people through the years. I think of Christopher Titus whose mother and sister both committed suicide; I think of Lucille Ball whose offscreen personal life did not look anything like the slapstick humor the late comedic genius displayed onscreen. Humor can be wonderfully therapeutic, but we also need to be willing to look under the spiritual hood.

So, the next time you find yourself or a loved one tapping a funny bone, ask yourself: is there a bigger story here that I’m ignoring? Humor can often be the vehicle to truth.

They Myth of Empathy: What It Is and Isn’t

The notion that empathy can deplete our mental resources or hurt us is an unarticulated myth.We can appreciate someone else’s suffering without the need to experience it.

A good friend has a car accident. Your uncle has dementia. A sibling has breast cancer. In each of these situations, as in any challenging time in the lives of loved ones, our heart has the opportunity to open and experience compassion.

But sometimes, we humans confuse Compassion’s powerful sibling, Empathy, for a virus that’s potentially contagious. 

So, we close up, emotionally distancing ourselves from whatever turmoil a loved one is experiencing, not because we don’t care, but because we are afraid to care too much.

Empathy Fear in Action

Years ago, a friend of mine saw I was struggling with a family issue. When I articulated what was going on, she told me the following:

“You know I love you, but I can’t be around you while you are going through this. It’s too hard for me. Once it’s over, let’s get together.”

Despite knowing me for years, my friend equated “being there for me” with somehow catching the challenges I was facing.

What Empathy is Not

Empathy is not something that requires physical, emotional, or spiritual stamina. It doesn’t ask us to drain our health, bank account, or time. Empathy doesn’t infringe or demand. It isn’t a cosmic paramecium, feeding off of us to help another.

What Empathy Is

The prefix EM means to put into or bring to a certain state. The root word PATHY means feeling or suffering. To have empathy to imagine what another feels in a given situation. We are imagining the Other’s experience, but we are not in the situation itself. Empathy is the emotional lubricant that allows humanity to connect. By putting ourselves in another’s shoes, we stimulate Compassion.

Empathy in Action

My friend’s fear of empathy ironically prevented her from experiencing it. When someone loses a loved one, when there’s a difficult divorce, when a family member is robbed — the greatest thing we can do for that person is be present. The sufferer does not expect their friend to BE in pain, only to acknowledge that it’s there.

Empathy is a silent or verbal acknowledgement to let the sufferer know they are not alone. It can manifest in anything from a homemade pie to a text, letting them know you’re thinking of them.

The Myth of Empathy

There’s this unspoken fear that demonstrating empathy, allowing ourselves to “go there” for someone in pain, is going to break us. 

But the opposite is true: when we open our hearts to someone else’s pain, our heart gets stronger, not weaker. Our ability to put ourselves in another’s figurative shoes makes us more powerful, not less.

A Surprising Benefit to Empathy

When we lean into empathy for another’s suffering, we strengthen self-compassion for ourselves. By welcoming the unwelcome in others, we grow more understanding and forgiving of our own imperfections and challenges.

What’s the Big Deal with Meditation?

Meditation is about giving the fractured parts of us a space to commune.

Last night, the rain slammed against the windows of my home and woke me up, thunder making sure I stayed awake. I tossed and turned, not quite asleep but not awake either, as the light bled into the bedroom with the dawn.

A couple of years ago, a storm like that would have easily rendered me hitting my pillow, counting, and recounting the hours of sleep I was missing. A couple of years ago, I perceived life coming at me more than coming through me. A couple of years ago, I saw my brain’s worst-case-scenario game as something belonging to me instead of a mere function of that organ warehoused in my body.

My external life hasn’t changed much in these past couple of years. There’s still bills to pay, traffic to maneuver through, personal challenges to face — you name it, life stressors continue.

So, what’s changed? What’s given me the gift of inner peace, the ability to both strive and surrender, to relish experience over destination, to trust that everything is always working out — even at those times when my brain is telling me a very different story?

Meditation. I love it and cannot recommend it enough.

The prefix medi is Latin for middle. When we meditate, we are putting ourselves into this middle space between waking and dreaming. We are both in our physical bodies and beyond them.

In the middle, we are able to watch our thoughts without judgment or censorship. Meditation allows us to go from a micro to macro perspective. The late and great, Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote powerfully about this in his book, The Shift: Taking Your Life from Ambition to Meaning:

“Becoming the observer (step back) you begin to live in process, trusting where our source is taking you. You begin to detach from the outcome. That detachment allows you to stop fighting and allows things to just come to you…You get to a place where you begin to be guided by something greater than yourself.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer

The gift of meditation grows over time. Each time I take those 10–15 minutes in the morning to meditate, my spiritual muscles are stronger than the day before. If I find myself in what I perceive to be a stressful situation, I am able to catch myself that much sooner and breathe through any unpleasant feelings that arise, “welcoming the unwelcome” (Pema Chodron), knowing as the pithy goes, “This too shall pass.”

There is no wrong way to meditate. Go for a walk, listen to the air conditioning as you sit comfortably on a chair, fold laundry, paying attention to the sensations of the fabrics your fingers touch.

Meditation is about giving the fractured parts of us a space to commune. It’s an opportunity to slow down and observe, to watch without fixing, to feel without concealing, to allow our sheer being to just…be. Over time, you learn to trust both the Universe and your inner knowing (which, in my book, are one in the same).

“People can tell you all kinds of wrong directions, lead you around any corner. You can’t trust any of that. You can’t even trust me. What do they say in car adverts? About the navigation system? Comes as standard. Everything you need to know about right and wrong is already there. It comes as standard. It’s like music. You just have to listen.” How to Stop Time (author, Matt Haig).

Meditation is the portal to listening and by extension, knowing ourselves.

What’s the big deal about meditation?

In my opinion, everything. Cultivating our inner compass is where the real magic happens.

The Most Important Bank Account

The most important bank account has nothing to do with your 401K.

            It’s not the number of stocks or annuities in your retirement portfolio, nor the percent of interest accruing in your money market account. It isn’t the bonus received or expected from work or the amount of dollars in your checking and savings.

            The most important bank account isn’t measured in cryptocurrency, gold, or one’s investment in semi-conductors. Those values, like everything else fiscally measured, will rise and fall. Just peruse renowned investor’s Ray Dalio’s recent books, Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed and Fail to discover the cyclical nature of economic abundance and poverty.

            After our most basic needs are met—thank you Maslow (air, water, food, shelter, sleep), our spiritual bank accounts require our attention.

            Only we humans possess an affinity to avoid pain and discomfort. We flee from hurt, instead of looking at it directly. We hide behind schedules or alcohol, or addiction to numb our pain.

            Avoiding the pain, denying what we are feeling creates two potential outcomes over time:

  1. Mountain-out-of-a-molehill behavior 
  2. Illness in the body and mind

Author and speaker, Brene Brown (Atlas of the Heart), refers to this tendency to be triggered over something seemingly insignificant as “chandeliering.” 

We see this triggered behavior all over the world and in our own backyards: 

-the “Karen” ready to attack someone for having a different opinion

-the road rage against a total stranger on the highway

-the friend who starts cursing up a storm when their iPad won’t charge

In all of these examples, the anger lashing out is not about what appears to be the source of their anger. The anger is a symptom of an inner pain that is going unaddressed.

The anger is misplaced, unexamined pain and a symptom of a depleted spiritual bank account.

Then there is the manifestation of pain in our body:

-the back pain that worsens in traffic

-the chest pain that “comes out of nowhere”

-the panic attacks 

-the frequent malaise

Brene Brown refers to our tendency to swallow our pain, pushing it down, so it can’t see the light of day as “stockpiling.” These are the folks who say everything is fine, like a spiritual Unikitty (Lego movie) when things are feeling far from fine.

If we are in denial like a super-charged positive Unikitty, ignoring our wounds, they will fester. And if we aren’t “chandeliering,” we are likely to “stockpile” our negative emotion until they show up in our bodies.

It’s human nature to avoid pain and seek pleasure. But there’s a real danger in denial, in running from our negative emotion or swallowing it and swimming like a duck through life—graceful on the surface but fighting for our lives below.

Unexamined and untended to pain that remains hidden will fester, affecting either others (when we lash out) or our own bodies negatively.

When we take time to look our wounds directly in the eye, something wonderful happens: the wound itself begins to heal.

Our spiritual bank accounts fill when we honor our journey and respect the emotions we experience along the way. Emotions, like the weather, change; it’s only when we deny their existence or demand that certain ones stay that our bank account falters.

Did You Just Cancel Yourself?

When we lack compassion for ourselves, we are dismissing and cancelling our very experience.

The 21st century has brought us a world of “cancel culture” where one wrong phrase or action could land you on a figurative island of ostracism. Cancel culture is “political correctness on steroids.” American culture has morphed from a gentle parent to mind one’s manners to a shame-inducing zealot of morality. And no one is immune from getting “cancelled.” Heck, as I’m writing this now, there’s a good chance that someone is silently seething in their seat from these words on their screen.

When did we get so sensitive? When did we go from speaking up to shaming? When did we go from making a mistake to paying for it for the rest of our lives?

There’s an old Twilight Zone episode that comes to mind: Rod Serling’s The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. We often hear, “history repeats itself,” and the 1960’s sci-fi episode is proof of this aphorism. Without giving the episode away, the story involves neighbors in a “quiet, suburban town” who suddenly lose electricity, sans explanation. When one neighbor’s car starts on its own, the other neighbors begin “canceling” him. Before long, with other lights in the neighborhood going on and off sporadically, neighbors begin to turn on neighbors. The late and great Serling was using sci-fi as a vehicle to highlight the onslaught of fear of communism.

Fear itself is the all terrain great vehicle for cancel culture: the unspoken “what if” that is temporarily flattened when attacking another. It’s temporary because, again, the next person to be canceled could be you.

However, there’s another side of cancel culture that goes unaddressed: canceling ourselves. Rejecting what we think and how we feel. The other day, I spoke with a friend who was upset with something her fiancé did. 

“Do you think I have a right to be upset?”

Wow. It doesn’t matter what her fiancé did or didn’t do; what stood out to me was her unconscious decision to question her very emotion. She went on:

“I think I’m just going to stay quiet. Things are good between us. I don’t want to upset that.”

Double wow. Instead of allowing herself to feel the negative emotion—not bathe in it, mind you—just feel it, she shoved it down, away—no different than the way we cancel culture each other. There’s a famous quote by Rumi that comes to mind:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”

The field, I believe Rumi was referring to, is Compassion. When we have compassion for ourselves and others, we are able to make mistakes and learn from them. We are able to grow and forgive ourselves and others. We are able to see that we are all in this life together and canceling one of us is canceling all of us.

Source: Author D. Eric Schansberg https://www.courier-journal.com/story/opinion/2021/03/29/cancel-culture-america-political-correctness/6991235002/

The Bar Date or the Coffee Date?

First date coffee or first date drinks? One of them is better than the other. The answer depends on where you are right now.

*Samantha and *Matthew are good friends. Both are divorced, though Samantha is 10 years post the end of a marriage and Matthew is in the embryo stages of life after divorce—a few months shy of a year. Friends since college, there is an ease between them that can only come from a combination of time and knowing each other in their formative years.

Since Matthew’s divorce, their friendship has morphed into an unspoken mini therapy group of two: sharing each other’s trials and tribulations in the dating world. Matthew wants to get laid; Samantha wants to experience a romantic relationship. Their different goals cause the other to shake their head.

“Why are you wasting your time on a coffee date?” Matthew asked.

“I want to get to know the person.” Samantha said.

“But you can’t make out with a person in a Starbucks.”

“I don’t want to make out with a total stranger. You do?”

“Uh, yes! That’s the whole point of meeting at a bar.”

Both have approached me separately, telling me how foolish they think the other person is. They are both right…and wrong.

Matthew is newly divorced and still licking his wounds from his ex’s desire to end the marriage. “I was happy,” he tells Samantha. Married for almost 19 years, the only roles that remain constant in his life are father and business consultant. Overnight, he’s gone from living in their family home to residing in a one-bedroom bachelor pad. 

“What are you looking for on all those dating sites?” Samantha’s asked.

“I don’t know. Nothing serious. I’m all messed up now. But I’m still a guy.”

So, Matthew meets women at bars. For now, this works—for him. He doesn’t want a relationship now; he wants to “make out” and wake up the next morning and drive his daughters to school. He wants physical intimacy without emotional intimacy; he wants easy sans—for now—self-reflection.

Samantha wants to get to know someone without alcohol coursing through her veins. She doesn’t want the commitment of a meal with a total stranger. She wants to pay attention to the person she meets without the distraction of loud music or the subterfuge that comes with a smoky, dark bar.

“Meeting at a bar just sets up a different set of expectations,” Samantha says.

“Exactly,” Matthew says.

                        Again, they are both right…and wrong.

                        Both Matthew and Samantha are dating the way that works best for each of them. They’re both honoring what they need. The issue between them is wanting the other to live through their lens; the dating diet that works for each of them is a prescription that works for them and them alone.

                        Matthew is hungry for physical intimacy; Samantha is hungry for emotional intimacy. Both have different ways of acquiring what they want. Both are good people figuring out what works best for each of them.

                        When it comes to dating, honor the journey you are on. Decide what kind of dating style works for you. There is no right or wrong when you heed your intuition. 

*Names have been altered to retain the privacy of individuals.

Click here for more dating advice.


Discover a new kind of tea here.