There are two meanings for ‘stories’ floating around at the moment. One of them is to share your stories. This type of story connects you with others. It helps to find common ground and it helps others see you and your experiences and how they shape your life. These stories are beneficial and I agree they should be shared. The other type of stories are the ones we tell ourselves (and others) that cover up what is really going on. The stories that create the persona we wish for rather than reflect who we really are. They are the ‘make you look good’ stories and the ‘wish it was really like this’ stories. In summary the first type of stories are authentic and form bonds. The second type of stories are bullshit.
As humans we are able to detect which of the two types of stories are being told with much greater accuracy than we realise. Think about times when you’ve just met someone and what they are telling you just doesn’t ring true. Contrast this with other people you meet where you can really feel their joy or their sorrow. You want to be around them because what they are sharing resonates with you.
This handy innate skill is very useful when dating. I love watching dating shows to see the two people involved interact. So often one person fails to pick up the signs the other person is giving out. One person is awestruck by the other, but the feeling is not reciprocated. The reasons for this are many and varied. In a show I watched recently they included Eve had a child; Adam wasn’t the right height; and Adam only talked about himself or his ex. We can all have so many unknown biases. Regardless of what biases are applied while dating the messages should be picked up in the stories of either party.
There have definitely been times when I have thought I was getting the great type of story, but over time I’ve realised I was getting the artificial story. Some reasons for this cloudiness can be:
- You really want the story to be true
- The story is much more interesting than the reality
- You hope that over time the story will become reality
The rose coloured glasses that we can bring on dates can hinder our natural, innate story detection abilities. So what helps to identify which type of story you are hearing? The short answer is – Substance.
- walking the walk and talking the talk
- backing up what you promise by delivering
- what you want to be happening is actually occurring
Substance can be measured by comparing what has been offered with what is occurring. Please note that substance should not be confused with unrealistic expectations. It is not about having the bar so high no-one can meet your lengthy wish list. Rather Substance is about comparing your desire to dance with the two 20 minute twirls around the loungeroom. It is about your desire to play music compared to actually being invited to attend band gigs with “Oh you don’t really have to come all the time. There’s no pressure.’ I interpreted this invitation as ‘I’d rather you don’t come.’ Do you agree with my interpretation? Have you had similar ‘invitations’?
So when you look at your dates do you sense the substance of the stories? Do you take time to see if the stories have substance?
Let me know when you’ve been bowled over by authentic stories – Or when the stories just don’t ring true.
Here’s to stories with substance sparking your relationships.