Monday, September 28, 2009

So, you're going to call him (or her) for a date?

OK, so you're going to call him (or her) for a do what? Movies, dining, dancing, a concert, a ball game, bowling, pool, some kind of party across town, or maybe you'll just be hangin' out together with mutual friends?

What do you think you want to accomplish on that first date? Hmmm. Consider my "TV watching principle"

I've watched my share of television shows--dramas, mysteries, situation comedies, investigation news journals, made-for-TV movies, etc. You get the idea. In my experience most TV shows, aside from offering some kind of emotional stimulation--momentary entertainment--they're not particularly memorable. Of course there are those exceptions to the rule. But in my experience a really memorable one gave me something I didn't have before, and it was packaged in a way that made it immediately "fit" into my life circumstances. I think the "take away" was memorable because it was immediately relevant, usable, and re-usable. That's true of the dating experience, too.

It's one thing to be "on a date,"
but it's quite a different and a comparatively more memorable experience when you do something cooperatively with your date. But you can ratchet up the value of that "take away" even more! Dating is most memorable when the experience you share is something you've planned together and then you actively do it together.

So, you say you're going to call him (or her) for a date? Make the first date an investigative experience, that is to say, purposefully plan some time together when you can discover and discuss your big interests (other than the opposite sex!). Thoughtfully ask each other and discuss this question: "Overall, what makes you tick. What do you generally enjoy doing the most, and what about it makes that personally meaningful (i.e., Why is it important to you)?

Then, if after that first date you're finding yourselves agreeing on the idea of another date with each other, don't wonder what you're going to do. Take the pressure off! Agree that for the next date you'll get together just to plan something that will require pooling your talents and skills to accomplish it...something you'll do together and that you'll both really remember!

More along the same theme next time. Have fun. Be yourself...and be Smarter!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Little Green People on Earth?

I'm really not a judgmental guy. Sometimes I may sound that way. When I watch adolescent boys and girls I find myself thinking, "I was never like that was I?" Then I think, "Yah, I was." But then I think, "What's the biggest difference I see between me, then, and what I observe now?" Two things come to mind, and I attribute them both to changes in our culture's mindset. I heard of someone who put green dye in her fish pond. The fish remained healthy, they acted like fish just as they had before--but they turned green! All that to say, I don't think it's the kids' fault any more than turning green could be blamed on those fish.

I can summarize the "two things" with the words "sex" and "bearing." "Sex" is my reference to the--and I really hesitate to use this term--pornographic influences we all seen in our culture and the impact these have on us all, particularly our young adults. Where can anyone turn and not hear or see some message about sex, and I don't mean just differences in gender? These messages saturate our media and marketing efforts. Unsubtly they dare young adults to be sexually active as early as they can. For the rest of us we're challenged (from a bathtub on a lonely beach!) to hang onto the sexual sizzle as far into our geriatric decades as we can.

"Bearing" is my reference to someone's personal conviction around a life purpose and his or her motivation and grit to tenaciously chase it. By contrast, and for example, much has been written about the upward trend in our nation's high school drop-out rate, about young men's (and women's) curious inclination to freeload at their parents' home through their 20s and early thirties, and about the grip binge drinking has on the high school and collegiate crowd.

The things that make romance smarter can have a near magical influence in adolescents' lives. Among those I'm privileged to observe around me day-to-day, I wonder who among them won't turn "green?"

Till next time, be yourself, have smart.

(PS: You can see that romantic sunset on the bay front at Newport, Oregon)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Those Nasty Barnacles.....Life Skill No. 8

If you spend any time at the beach you can see them a lot on the rocks and posts and structures along the waters' edge. Barnacles are little crustacean critters that can attach themselves to these surfaces, and to large fish, and to the hulls of ocean going vessels. Because the sheer numbers of these little creatures can grow and grow, they begin to slow ships' movement through the water. So the ships are routinely removed from service to scrape the Barnacles from their hulls. The ships are then returned to service.

People can acquire "Barnacles," too. Their influence is strikingly similar to their oceanic namesakes. They vary in the degree of influence they can have on people's lives and on the lives of people around them. But they can actually slow or stop a person's development and hinder his or her ability to reach personal goals or make self-desired contributions.

Here's a short list of destructive "Barnacles" I've observed:
  • Drug Abuse (including Nicotine) Addiction or Illegal Drug use
  • Alcohol Abuse and/or Addiction
  • Chronic Gambling/Gaming
  • Sexual Abuse and/or Sex Addiction
  • Chronic Anger and/or Rage
  • Addictive Behavior around Spending Money
Actually, I believe there may be some acquired skill (Life Skill No. 7) associated with one's ability to be Barnacle-free. However, it's often true that if a person already has or is going to accumulate crippling Barnacles, the critters' presence will be seen as early as his or her dating and courtship years. Keep a sharp eye out for critters that have already "attached" themselves to your dating partners. Their presence is telling you something. Listen carefully.

Until next time. Be Smart. Have fun.