Alright ladies, now it’s your turn. With all kinds of fun happening today to celebrate Independence Day, there’s bound to be some game-playing at the BBQs. Keep yo’self safe, from the inside of your head to the surface of your body. So here we go:
1. Know your wants and weaknesses. Beer, tequila, vodka, or whiskey… one night, a next date, ‘no thanks’, or ‘yes please!’? So many choices! Holidays and new situations bring a whole lot of opportunity for fun, but they can also attract unwanted attention if you’re caught unawares. Know what you’re looking for, and know the triggers that derail your self-confidence. It’ll help you stay alert for the jackpot and steer clear of the places you don’t want to go. Before you act on an impulse, give yourself permission to pause, take a breath, and assess the state of the union: Is this what you want? Are your actions supporting that mission? Hmm… good to know.
2. Give clear signals. We can be damn confusing creatures. Let the other flirtatious party know what’s working and what isn’t. Help them satisfy your needs by offering parameters in which they can confidently operate. (“Yea, I love Shocktop, but I couldn’t find the beer. A little help, perhaps?” ;D) You can still play your own game and give clear encouragement or discouragement– it will help you get what you’re looking for. FYI, a crystal-clear “No, thanks” and an end to all flirtation is a great creeper shutdown. For the long-termers, you know that holiday events are a minefield of unspoken expectations. Details are neglected, supplies forgotten, mistakes made. Please respect your needs by speaking up truthfully for what you want. Please also respect your significant other by doing so with patience and compassion. The good ones really do just want to make us happy, and snapping at someone you care about doesn’t help anyone. Again, if you need a moment to compose yourself, take it.
3. Genuinely appreciate that shit. Here’s the other side of that coin: when a dude does something right, acknowledge it. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or effusive. A simple, “Thanks, I appreciate that” or “Much appreciated” or “That was nice” goes a long way. And hey, there’s always nonverbal communication ;). Of course they want to know what’s working! (If you’re following, you might have noticed #2 & #3 are not just about the public arena.) When you fake any form of enjoyment, you’re setting your partner up for failure and yourself up for disappointment. Why wouldja do that? Doesn’t make any sense.
4. Look at the data. Sometimes dates do hurtful things. Sometimes they do confusing things. Sometimes you can recognize patterns over a given period of time, but extrapolating patterns where none exist is the Danger Zone. Be careful before you start pigeonholing someone and driving yourself crazy with assumptions or inventions (see #1). Ask yourself if you have enough information to make firm conclusions. ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ are big statements to make, and they come with absolute statistical requirements. If you’re disoriented–at a party or in a relationship–go back to step 1: know thyself. You’ve got a whole lot of self-knowledge in your brain and body, and even if you have no idea what’s going on outside of yourself, trust your intuition to help ensure your emotional and physical safety. If you’re getting icky vibes, trust your gut. Sashay away. If you’re having a blast, go for gold!
5. Forgive. If they apologize, let it go. If they don’t, establish your space… and let it go. Don’t spend the rest of the party whispering about the creep that did the weird thing two hours ago, or complaining about your significant other. Holding grudges corrodes the fun, for you and anyone involved. Why waste your energy on past grievances when you could be talking about awesome things instead? We have the power to set the tone, the rules, and the course of the game. Grace feels better than vitriol, so give it generously on this day of celebration. Start with yourself: sit deep in what you know, what feels right for you, and how you can fulfill your highest goals for play. Forgive yourself the blunders as you learn along the way. Liberation is a dance– of joy, of value, of reframing expectations. In today’s day and age, we can do both: honor our fore-mothers’ fight for freedoms, and rock the shit out of the party and its fireworks. Bring it on, homegirls. Bring it on 🙂