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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ladies: References and Sharing Information

Hello Ladies, this one's for you... just a few of you. The rest of you know better.

Whenever I'm considering meeting someone new, sometimes the offer of a reference comes up. This is permission for me to contact someone else, another woman, and inquire about their experience with the person I'm thinking about seeing. I will write a simple note letting them know that a gentleman has given me their contact information for a reference. I'll say something like "Please let me know if you think _____ and I would be compatible. Any information you can share is always appreciated and of course confidential. I look forward to hearing your thoughts." I always appreciate their honesty. Sometimes they tell me things that have helped me to decide not to see someone.

I receive these kinds of notes from other women too and I always respond pointing out the positives like "he's great, a favorite - have fun!" Rarely I'll want to let them know about something I wished I had known beforehand because it would have been a factor in making my decision like; "he's perfectly safe and fun to be with but he was late a few times or didn't show up for our appointment once, or he's cancelled at the last minute before, sometimes he haggles over costs, he pushed my boundaries and I stayed firm - he was fine with it", etc. Sometimes it just a little thing like bad breath so they'll know to offer a toothbrush, mint or gum beforehand. I'll mention these things if that was my experience.

What I expect is that the information I've shared will stay between me and the other woman and not be shared with the gentleman. At least not specifically in a "she said... is that true?" sort of way. Not because the gentleman doesn't deserve to know or wouldn't benefit from knowing, but because I think there's always that guy out there who could be offended in some way and use this information against the woman who shared it. He could decide that it was out of line and wants to retaliate in some way. It could have detrimental consequences for her and that's not okay. I never know which guy that is or what's going to set him off so I always try to err on the side of caution - better safe than sorry.

I know these kinds of comments could get back to the person I wouldn't want to offend so I'm careful in how I phrase them. I weigh the risk against my reputation - with my established friends, potential new ones and with other women. I want them to feel comfortable using me as a reference and as a source of honest feedback. I realize that we all have our personal experiences that are not necessarily translated from one encounter to the next - that's not what I'm talking about here. So if there's information shared between me and another woman that he could potentially feel defensive about - use your better judgement and do not repeat it to him! Use the information for your benefit. Be clever in how you take advantage of the information. Do or say whatever you like around the subject, collect a deposit if you want to protect yourself from a late or no show and make sure he's familiar with your preferences. If you decide to go ahead and see him, you'll feel prepared for whatever might come up in your meeting. Maybe you can have some products available for him to freshen up beforehand, if necessary, but do not repeat to him what someone else has shared with you in confidence... and it's all shared in confidence.

Unfortunately, this has come up for me twice in just the past few weeks. It's not a lot and thankfully hasn't had any negative backlash for me but I worry about it. I worry that sometimes people let their impulses get ahead of their thinking. They get upset and want to "teach him a lesson..." or call him out on his bad behavior, letting him know that they're on to his tricks and won't be fooled. All fine and dandy... except he has resources and outlets for his upset too - in message boards, review sites, blogs, twitter, any grape vine out there. He can say whatever he wants, wherever he wants, true or not and "bam!" now she's the bad guy and she has a reputation problem. It's exactly what we're trying to stay away from.

So here's my request: How about you don't give him the information in the first place? It isn't worth it. You're probably not going to have the effect you're hoping for anyway. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you will. You're not going to teach him anything but you might just piss him off so keep the information to yourself and use it to your advantage. Be thankful for it. Start with the end result in mind and don't let your upset drive you down a path that you're not absolutely sure where it ends up. If you don't want to pursue a meeting with him, tell him you're busy - tell him you don't think you'll be compatible - both of which don't carry any negative backlash, but don't ever tell him it was something you heard from his references. He'll just stop using them so the information won't get shared in the future and that won't help any of us.

Play smart, be safe, and think before you act. Don't do anything that potentially puts someone else at risk.

And remember, when given the choice between being right or being kind, always choose to be kind and you will be always be right.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Logic and Bullshit

I recently started one of those low carb, high protein diets intended to reset my metabolism so that I would not just lose a little weight, but be able to maintain it. I thought things were going pretty well until I was informed by the doctor and nurse that in fact I wasn't losing fast enough. I was stalling too much. I made the recommended adjustments to my regimen and was back on track. Then I stalled again. New recommendations were made and I followed them. There was more progress but now I'm stalled again. I told them this time I had the unusual experience of feeling especially hormonal. "I'm crying at the drop of a hat the past few days, I hate everyone and everything. This isn't like me at all. I have a headache, I'm shaky and irritable." To which, when pressed, I got this response; "It's okay. It sounds like you probably have a lot of emotions that you haven't dealt with that are coming up for you. Just journal, read the materials again and know that this is hard. I think you'll find that you'll have some great insights if your ego will allow you to see them and if you stop trying to sabotage yourself."

I'm sorry, my ego? Stop sabotaging myself? What were they talking about? Their insight into what they thought was going on didn't make any sense to me at all. I wondered if I was on hormonal overload this week, or maybe there was some other physiological phenomenon going on here. "Definitely not physiological," I was told "it's just emotional stuff coming up. It's your ego trying to sabotage you." I looked for something that might fit into this to journal about. I couldn't find anything. The suggestion to "keep looking, just journal some more..." was becoming more and more infuriating. I told them I just wanted relief. I wasn't asking to cheat on the diet, I just didn't want to feel this way, it wasn't natural for me. Their response was just to ride it out and they didn't know how long it would last, likely until I addressed whatever deep seeded issues I had and there's no telling when I'll learn my lessons.

Bullshit. That's what I thought. I could hear a little voice in my head saying "Well that's ridiculous, I've never heard of such a thing." I realize I don't know everything and that I don't know what I don't know but this...this just felt wrong. I consider myself a pretty smart and resourceful person. Probably the most resourceful person I know. Let's see if there's anything to this theory of theirs. I'll just Google some key words and see what shows up. I Googled HCG and irritability, weight loss and diet and irritability and low carb and irritability. There were studies galore documenting this very issue conducted by reputable sources like MIT and the Mayo Clinic, and yes it was common and yes there is relief. Why couldn't they have shared this information with me? Why did they make something so simple into something hard? Between bouts of tears and feeling irrational rage at the most stupid triggers, I read for a couple of days about the physiological changes that were occurring in my body at this stage of the diet. It made perfect sense. I reported my findings to the doctor and his nurse. They said they will research this information and get back to me.

Research this information? This seems like pretty basic information to know as a professional diet doctor and nurse. Their credibility jumped from my "cautiously trusted advisors" to "quack" status - (snaps fingers) just like that. What is is about people in positions of authority that lets them think that it's not only okay for them to bullshit people, but that their brand of bullshit can defy logic? When they finally got back to me, days later, I was told that this information was outdated and that I could believe whatever I wanted, if that made me feel better but that they would respectfully agree to disagree. Wow. The information I sent was from 2008 but referenced a previous study from the 70's that it supported, but okay - they'd rather believe that I was emotionally disturbed than consider another logical probability. They were really steeped in this bullshit!

I'm naturally logical and drawn to information and learning. I'm not saying that we all don't have our "issues" and "lessons" to learn, we do. I'm saying that I think mine are pretty much on track at this point and my ego is right where I think it should be. I'm a work in progress, like everyone else, but I wasn't linking diet and self realization together they way they were in my case. I chuckled to myself that perhaps the ego that needed looking at here wasn't mine, but theirs.

It turns out the problem with these kinds of diets is that seratonin levels get interrupted and are easily put back into balance with the right supplements. There are temporary replacements for this deficiency that is no longer coming through in specific diets. Whew, what a relief! I tried a little tweeking of vitamins and minerals, some herbs and voila! I'm feeling much better. Like my old self again.

The regimen is short, just 40 days. I'll stick with it and at the rate I'm going, I'm happy with my results. I am reminded again by this experience that nobody knows me better than I know myself and that if it there's advice I'm considering that doesn't make sense or work for me, I should keep looking. I trust my instincts. Bullshit is everywhere. It's not always easy to find the truth but it's definitely worth looking for and when I find it, I just know. It "feels" right, bullshit feels wrong.