Pooks is back today with more on Love and Relationships and looking to help you steer clear of the...well, you'll see. If you have any topics you'd like her to explore, be sure to comment below and let her know. XoCandace
Disclaimer: While I hope that and intend for the messages in my posts to feel meaningful and relevant to people of all genders and sexual orientations, and try to write using gender/sexual orientation-neutral language as much as I can, I oftentimes will write from my perspective as a a heterosexual, cis woman. I hope that what I express on the blog is easy to apply to your dating life and relationships regardless of how you identify or who you’re attracted to, but if you have any feedback as to how I could make my posts feel more inclusive, I’d love to hear it! xoxo Pooks
If you went outside one morning and found a big old pile of dog poop in your yard, would you look at it and think, “MAN, I bet that poop is going to turn into something great someday”?
The answer is no. HARD. NO.
Actually, the answer can be “yes,” but ONLY if you see the higher calling of that dog poop to be resting on the stoop of a big white house in Washington DC. Otherwise, the answer is probably “no” - as it should be, and here’s why:
The dog poop in your yard is showing you exactly what it is. Poop. It’s smells. It’s gross. You might find the remains of a chewed up plastic french fry toy if you’re a pit owner, like me. But the point is, you really want nothing to do with it. And you know damn well, without giving it an ounce of thought, that the dog poop is meeting its full potential as, well, dog poop. The dog poop is doing the best it can, and the dog poop is not good enough for you, so you get rid of that (literal) shit, because DUH.
OKAY BUT WHY CAN WE NOT APPLY THE SAME LOGIC TO HUMANS THO?!
I mean, JEEBUS people, how often do we look at someone we’re (considering or already) dating and say, “they have such potential!” I mean, I feel like this ish happens all the time. We see someone for what we think they COULD be, perhaps what we WANT them to be, or even NEED them to be. We extrapolate the data they are giving us about themselves, when really there may be no upward trend of which to speak. When it’s a worst case scenario, we are looking at that dog poop in our yard and making it into a diamond. We are literally shining a turd. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK.
Here’s an example: I go out a handful of times with a dude that on paper seems just…. perfect. He’s French (like so French I can’t understand what the F he’s saying half the time), tall, has his PhD in Biology, well-respected at work, didn’t vote for the orange dingleberry currently running this country, good sense of humor, fun, and not to mention very handsome. This seems like he has a lot of POTENTIAL… right? RIGHT?
But he also says he wants to make plans and doesn’t follow through. He also disappears for days at a time with no explanation. He also doesn’t give me a straight answer when I ask if he wants to hang out, and then pretends the conversation never happened next time we talk.
Come again? That POTENTIAL we talked about? Is it still there?
To all of you reading this, I’m guessing you’re sitting there thinking “that guy sounds like a douche” - and I don’t mean French douche as in “shower”, I mean English douche as in DOUCHE BAG. But me being me, a human that both found him attractive and enjoyed our time together, wanted to see him as who I hoped he COULD be. Who I WANTED him to be: a guy that followed through, that communicated clearly around plans, that prioritized making time to see me instead of reaching out when there was nothing better to do.
But he wasn’t that guy. He was both all the things I liked about him, AND all the things that made me feel small and confused and insecure. ALL of those data points were there, most importantly the bad ones, but I shined him up like the French turd he was and hung around for way too long.
The fact is, at any given moment, that guy you’re talking to is being all he can be - for YOU. He is showing you who he is, and what he is. He is showing you his full potential. He is LITERALLY DOING THE BEST HE CAN. For YOU.
He doesn’t text you back? That’s the best he can do, and he won’t do better.
He makes plans and then flakes? That’s the best he can do, and he won’t do better.
He doesn’t take an active interest in learning about you as a person? That’s the best he can do, and he won’t do better.
He doesn’t fight fair when you argue? That’s the best he can do, and he won’t do better.
He’s talking to other girls when you’ve agreed not to see other people? That’s the best he can do, and he won’t do better.
I could give you a million other examples, but here’s the thing! We don’t need 20/20 vision to see what’s right in front of us. Sometimes we see it all, but we toss those unattractive data points to the side. We keep hoping that there’s more, but there isn’t. We keep hoping it will get better with time, but it won’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hope, but this is one of the only times I’ll probably advise you to give up on something - give up on hoping that a turd will turn into a prince. AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.
Are there outliers to this theory? Most likely. Do some turds turn into princes? I’m sure they do! But is that a risk worth taking? What do we sacrifice in the meantime? Our sanity? Our sleep? Our self esteem? Our time? Our effort? Our tears?
Is it worth it?
Sit with that question for a minute.
No, not yet.
Give it another sec.
I really don’t think it’s worth it.
Listen, if you’re into that type of risk, go for it. But there are also PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA. To be clear, sometimes I really have trouble convincing myself of this. Sometimes I feel like there’s no one out there for me. Like, will I ever be able to find a man that doesn’t make me feel like crap in one way or another? There are days when it’s REALLY hard for me to believe that’s possible.
But it is.
So hold out. Don’t shine a turd. Turds are exactly what they are - TURDS. So what can we do instead? *enter stage left*
THE ABUNDANCE PHILOSOPHY
Okay, so, this is basically a souped up version of the “plenty of fish in the sea” philosophy, but it’s got some ass behind it, as described in one of my favorite books, Attached - and there are two parts:
PART 1: There are lots of good potential partners out there for you!
Here’s the reality, there are lots of turds to avoid in the dating pool… I mean shit swamp (Jesus, sorry I keep making so many poop analogies, but I’m just going to run with it). Anyways, the premise of this philosophy is “understanding that there are many unique and wonderful individuals out there who may be superb partners for you” - DESPITE THE TURDS. If you’re like me and at times find it hard to believe that you will someone suitable, remind yourself of Part 1 of this philosophy, and do so frequently.
PART 2: Date around, for Pete’s sake
If you’re like me, you may, for example, subconsciously latch onto someone that seems *good* rather quickly because you’re afraid they might be IT for you, and the only other option is a life of solitude (please refer to Part 1, by the way). If this resonates with you, Apply Part 2 of this philosophy, which is to date lots of people. Okay, gotta admit, this kinda makes me want to barf. But GUESS WHAT, when you attach to someone quickly, you don’t give yourself time to truly evaluate if that person is a turd, or not. And if you’ve attached prematurely, you might find yourself SHINING A TURD when you’ve spent enough time with that person to see who they really are. So instead, remember that the more people you go out with, the lower the stakes are PER PERSON, and you enable yourself to have more time to really get to know someone before integrating them into your life more deeply.
Listen, for me personally, applying the Abundance Philosophy has been a new, challenging, ongoing process, but I’m trying. My point being, I understand that applying this strategy could be an adjustment for you, and that it might not be easy. BUT…. if it prevents you from shining that turd you scraped off the bottom of the online dating bucket, then GET TO IT.
REMEMBER: He’s showing you the best he can do, and he won’t do better. Is it worth it?
Until next time, YBCers!
Wait wait wait, PS: Have you shined a turd? Any tips for how you stopped shining turds? HOLLA ATCHA GIRLLLLLL in the comments below or go straight to the source. I love hearing from you guys!
OH ALSO PPS: I’ve been writing for YBC for 6 months now. Yup, 6 long, excruciating months of you reading my ranting and raving about love and relationships (SORRY NOT SORRY). I have a few topics lined up to write about, but I'm curious to get your feedback - how am I doing? Is there anything else you’d like me to address on blog? I’d love to know your innermost thoughts and feelz on this issue, because sometimes I wonder if these posts go into the black hole of the interwebz and no one actually reads them - but I want them to be useful and entertaining for you! So please, hit a sister up! You know how ;)