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Dear Dr Matt:
My name is Nancy. I'm from Nevada. I'm 29 years old and single.
I have a huge crush on this guy (I’m sure you heard this one a hundred times a day). We’ve always been friends, from the minute we met. We’ve always been partners in crime, if you will. I went through my "wanting to be with him phase" and that just turned me into a spaz. I really don’t think he shares my feelings. But there is this teeny, tiny part of my heart that thinks maybe he feels something too. Either way, it’s a moot point because I know I would never have the nerve to do any of that 21st century woman asking man out mumbo gumbo.
My friends all have different opinions, the uber optimistic says "go for it," the semi-uber optimist says "do something" (the girl offering this advice may have a bit of a crush on him too, but that’s a different story). Unfortunately for me, my subconscious knew about my feelings well before my conscious, and everybody else figured it out with my SUBconscious. Everybody tells me that my actions told the whole story. Did I mention that he knows too?
My heart is at a stalemate. I just want our friendship to be what it used to be. But when I act like I used to, I worry that I’m just making him uncomfortable. It doesn’t help that I’m the most ridiculously sensitive person in the world, and anything that I see as even the tiniest slight, breaks me completely.
Whenever you and I fall into the repetitive practice of overanalyzing ourselves—our words, our motives, our actions—we may know for sure that we are proceeding along the wrong path. The best life we can live . . . will flow!
Attractions between two willing souls must also flow, and when we are second-guessing our words, intents, and actions, this means . . . the FLOW is not happening. Here's the way I describe mutually flowing relations in my book, Changing Your Stripes:
Attraction flows, it cannot be forced.
(Changing Your Stripes, The Manual, page 5-9)
You long for what you used to have when your friendship with this man was flowing, but now it is not. It may or may not flow again, you cannot control this; you can only control yourself and your own life decisions. You cannot control his decisions, but you can "influence" them.
With the words "mutually felt," I am describing a basic truth of how great relationships occur—it takes the willing cooperation of two.
Applying this principle to your situation, if the man to whom you have a major crush is not willing to cooperate, and send back the same, then the flow you desire is not happening—neither at the level of friendship, nor romance.
Optimism has little to do with whether this relationship will happen, contrary to the claims of "The Secret." (Read more about how positive visualizations cannot control the free will acts of others).
Being optimistic about having a "relationship" with this man will not make it happen; on the other hand, being an optimistic person will be beneficial to you personally, and will make you a more appealing person to be around—others will find you more attractive. Because the latter goal is within your control, this is where you should place your focus.
The Key to Becoming this optimistic and appealing person, does not reside in the willful conjurings of your mind, but in the good treasures of the Heart.
When we fix our concern upon things outside of our control, this is when frustrations arise in our lives. You are doing this when you "worry" that you are making him "uncomfortable." Keep your focus upon what YOU can do—what is within your control. Just make sure your actions and intentions are "comfortable"—and if he is "uncomfortable" this is entirely his problem. To better understand what I am trying to say, please read about the Division of Response-Ability.
Remember, "influence" IS part of what you can do! As long as you know that your "influence" is comfortable and congruent with your sense of conscience—the opinions of others cannot change the fact that you . . . are being true! In my book, I call this "the only Vote that counts: The one registered in the ballot box of the Heart."
To act in ways contrary to this, is to be guided by lesser votes of popular opinion and political correctness.
Finally, to the point of YOU being an assertive 21st century woman. You don't need to ask this man out on a date, all you need to do is show interest: be thoughtful, be attentive, be kind. If he is equally interested in you, then he will naturally return the same with no pushing or pulling, begging or coaxing on your part.
I've posted a previous answer to a situation similar to yours; the article is entitled Dream Woman is not Cooperating with my Dream.
Throughout your life, you will experience other men being attracted to you at differing levels of intensity and motivation: Some will be very motivated to get to know you, and others will be much less interested. On the flip side, you will have differing motivations and attractions for other men too.
When you finally meet a person who has attractions at the same level as you, it is then that the magic called "falling in love" occurs! While falling in love is fun, there is something better: "Standing in Love."
Discovering the intent of others (their intensity of attraction for you) is not as hard as you might imagine, for we all "wear" our inward intents on the outside. This is what happened when "everybody else figured it out with my SUBconscious" before you were consciously aware! Your friends could see your intentions through your actions.
Again, what is within your control is to "influence" him! So, show interest: be kind, be thoughtful, be attentive. If what you send out, comes back to you at the same level of intensity, then you've GOT something worth pursuing in terms of a great relationship. And if NOT, just be friendly anyway, and patiently wait for the day that someone with whom you have fantastic attraction . . . will feel the same about you!
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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