Remember playing “keep-away” back in the day? I know I’m dating myself, but surely I’m not alone!
Maybe you were fortunate enough to be one of the “perpetrators,” keeping the prized item just out of reach. Or perhaps you were in the middle, racing back and forth, desperate to end the madness. To the one whose item always seemed just out of reach, keep-away was a tactic meant to frustrate and dare I say, torment.
Unfortunately, some of us went from playing keep-away, to developing a habit of keeping others just out of reach. I sat down with a counselor some years back and she described the ‘keep-away’ scenario I was living in my relationships. Gasp! ‘Me?’ I asked. Yes, you.
While I was sure that she had me mixed up with someone else, my delusion didn’t last long. I listened as she described how I routinely flung my arms open wide, beckoning new people in my direction. Until they got too close. Once I became uncomfortable, I may either sabotage the relationship, or just run away. Ghost.
Other times, I chose the keep-away option. I dangled carrots of emotion, vulnerability, et cetera just out of reach – pulling them back every time I got scared.
Malice? No. Fear? Absolutely. And if you’re like me, you aren’t malicious either. But that doesn’t make us right. I didn’t realize then how many people I hurt. Yet, I was constantly trying to figure out why I kept getting hurt. Duh!
It took time and work to change. And just as I got better at it, I moved more than 1100 miles away from my hometown. Since I had to start again with making friends, I got to practice starting from a ‘whole’ place. How fun is that?!
Now, if you played keep-away with your heart and got hurt while trying NOT to get hurt, perhaps I can help. Ready? Think: DIBS. Yep, I’ve got “DIBS” on how to let go of fearful habits and approach making friends in a new way. You want DIBS on new friends? Here you go:
D: Discernment – Learn who “your people” are. This is a struggle because we often want everyone to be our people. That’s not realistic or practical. (And when we get this part wrong or realize late in the game that someone’s not our “person,” we have to be okay letting go.)
I: Intention – Don’t play in the grey area; let the other person know what you’re looking for. Being up front can also help identify your people!
B: Be yourself – If your ‘representative’ shows up initially, it’ll be hard to end the charade. Be your authentic self from the beginning. Your people will be drawn to the real you.
S: Share – Communication is vital. Be willing to share things about your inner workings. Don’t make people you care about – and who care for you – guess what’s going on with you.
What do you think? Did you find these DIBS helpful? Do you have other suggestions or a story to tell? Let’s hear it in the comments!