Updated: Nov 13, 2019
I am privileged today to write this article amongst some of the world's leading, most recognized, dating experts. I am surrounded by new and old ideas. If I only had a nickel for every piece of relationship advice being given out in this one space right here, right now. People are receiving good advice on relationships with their parents, older adult siblings, probation officers (yes!), themselves, and their romantic loved ones.
Where am I?
Your average coffee shop.
We are all relationship experts. Why? Because we are pack animals, as a species. We rely upon our caregivers to raise us until our brains can take us further. Most creatures are nearly fully formed once leaving the womb. Humans take an extra 18 to 25 years to mature beyond birth.
During that time we learn to navigate the complexities of those around us, especially those who care for us (aka "love").
The only problem is that we inherently find this experience to be complex. So what do we do to resolve the dissonance caused by our complex relationships? We ask people for help.
In Cafe Flore. In San Francisco. (And elsewhere).
This said, I would now like to contribute my two cents to those around me. Since everyone else here is an expert, I can also chime in, right? Great.
Easy Rule #1: Turn Toward. You don't have to give in to every demand posed by your partner. But you should try to turn toward. This includes a simple acknowledgement of his or her bid for attention. (Envision him/her saying something to you, and you physically turn toward it.) The easiest way to turn toward? Ask an open ended question. "So can you tell me more about why you think XYZ is important?" "How often has that happened to you?" John Gottman, the country's leading relationship researcher, found that happy couples turn toward each others' bids for attention about 87% of the time. So you don't have to get it perfect, but it is way up there.
This article could list many other easy rules. But I challenge you to get this ONE rule well, at least 87% of the time. The nice thing is that you can start counting - right now.
- Gay Couples Institute Staff
(To the two guys on their first date, sitting near the carrot cake cooler: Get OFF your phones! Nice example of not turning toward.)