Not letting “I’m busy” rule my life

I’ve found the phrase “I’m busy” comes up in my conversations more and more recently. It appears I’m not alone. But this blog entry isn’t to talk about how we as a country feel an incessant need to stay occupied, but rather about using that as an excuse.

A few weeks ago a gentleman I was seeing, and with whom I thought there was mutual chemistry, told me he wasn’t interested in seeing me any longer because he didn’t have the time to invest into the relationship that he thought it deserved. In short, he was too busy to have a relationship, at least with me.

I’ve found myself using “I’m busy” as an excuse on why I haven’t done something or another: responding to an email, getting together with friends, etc. But frankly, the excuse is hogwash. We’re all busy. Yet we somehow make time to do the things that we deem important to us.

We’re at one of the most stressful parts of the release cycle at work. Long hours at the office and insanely packed days are the norm, but I still need to make downtime for me and time spent with my friends. Yes, that may mean living even more rigedly by a schedule for the next several months, but that’s better than living under a merky haze of being ambigiously “busy”.

So I’m purging “I’m busy” from my vocabulary, becoming even better friends with my calendar, and making time to do things that are important to me.

Move over Words of Affirmation

This morning I took the 5 Love Languages online quiz again prior to sending the link to Paul. The quiz is a compliment to the book by the same name. The concept is that people express appreciation to each another in one of 5 “languages”. In addition people best receive appreciation in one of the 5 as well. Relationships are most successful when you speak the language to the other person that they most appreciate.

Despite the presence of “the L word” in the title, I find this helpful in most all relationships. I think of it as Myers-Briggs of appreciation. For example, if Jonobie appreciates quality time most, why expend effort buying her trinkets?

Every time I’ve taken it, I’ve always maxed out Words of Affirmation1 (give me a sincere compliment and I’m good for a month). I was startled to find that was no longer true. I had a tie for Quality Time and Physical Touch then followed by Words of Affirmation.2

This was really obvious when taking the quiz too (it’s only 30 questions and easy to see which answers map to which language). And it’s dead-on. I still value affirming words, but find myself really missing quality time with friends and physical touch. My friends have probably gotten more hugs from me recently than ever before — and they can expect tons more. It also explains why I don’t enjoy being alone as much as I use to.

I’m more interested in why it changed rather than the change itself. This will give me something to chew on all weekend.

1 Which I blogged a bit about back here.

2 I told Chris this revelation tonight and he laughed at me. Said he could have told me that months ago.

Leagues

For the past 5 weeks I’ve gone one several dates with Paul. Enough dates that I’ll be so bold as to say we’re “seeing each other” but not so bold to say we’re “dating”. (Don’t ask me to define the difference.)

At the gym this morning I realized that I think Paul is out of my league. He’s smart, funny, and a co-owner of a successful environmental consulting firm. And did I mention attractive? Actually, ‘attractive’ is a disservice. The man is gorgeous. The only way he could be more physically attractive is if he never wore a shirt again. Ever. And for some reason I think he’s out of my league. Even as I type that I realize it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I thought Chris was out of my league when I started dating him too for many of the same reasons, but I found him to be approachable and we worked out rather well.

So maybe “out of my league” is a poorly-defined phrase for someone who impresses me. Someone who challenges me. Someone who exceeds my status quo. Maybe that’s just the type of person I need.

Alphas and Betas

It may take two to tango, but there can only be one leader of the dance.

Most relationships have an alpha and a beta. In my experience though, it isn’t one person leading all the time, but rather people taking the lead in different areas. Maybe someone is alpha at the finances and the other is alpha in social situations. And like the term “expert”, being an alpha in an area is a localized phenomenon. Just because you’re a financial planning alpha in one relationship doesn’t mean you won’t be the financial planning beta in another.

Chris and I have been dating for around 5 months now and one of the most interesting things about our relationship is that we’re both alphas in many of the same areas. This is a fun experience because it gives me the opportunity to let someone else take the lead in an area I’m use to controlling. And I’d like to think vice versa, although the man still had a hard time walking through doors I’ve opened for him!

So far it’s been a fun dance. Although we each have our moments of back-leading, its still a fun twirl out on the dance floor.

Homewrecker – the rest of the story

Everything in the previous article is true, but sorely lacking in the juicy details. So let me go all Paul Harvey on you.

The truth is G has been pseudo-stalking me at the gym. Remember the Facebook post about the flower in my locker? Yup, from G. In December he gave me a present and said “happy belated birthday”. It was a pair of workout gloves. A bit awkward, yes — particularly since I never recall telling him when my birthday was nor are we friends or friends-of-friends on Facebook.

The taxi ride? Nothing besides a hug happened although it was clear he was wanting something more. At no point did he say anything about being in a relationship, long-term or otherwise.

Even this morning, after telling me his partner kicked him out of his own apartment and that the partner blames me for their breakup, he flirted with me.

That relationship has some obvious issues to work through.

And now you know … the rest of the story.

Homewrecker

There’s a gentleman at the gym, let’s call him G, who I’ve seen most mornings in the year I’ve worked out at Rain. I had a feeling for a while he was family, but didn’t know for sure until seven or so months ago when I saw him out at the Cuff. That evening we grabbed a bite to eat after the club and shared a taxi back to Belltown (he lives a few blocks away from me). Beyond saying hello to each other at the gym, that has been the extent of my interaction with him.

Recently I’ve seen him working out with another guy in the mornings. I assumed they were together but didn’t know for sure. On Saturday night, we three happened to be on the same bus back to Belltown from the hill and did the head-nod of acknowledgement.

This morning he told me he and his partner of 17 years broke up last night and his partner blames me. G wanted to give me a heads up.

Ummm. Ok. Thanks. The most intimate contact G and I have ever had was a hug the night we shared the taxi. Behold the power of the Homewrecker — my newly revealed super power.

Sparks, or lack thereof

I’ve been going on lots of “meeting people dates”. Just getting together with new guys for coffee to test the waters. Lots of them. And from these I’ve been acquiring lots of acquaintances. From all the “dates” I’ve had maybe three people were friend material. One of these is rapidly becoming a good friend (hi J!). With one of them I felt the spark of there-could-be-something-more but if he had a similar spark, it seems to have cooled on his side and I’ve decided the ball is firmly in his court.

Based on the interactions of some of the guys I’ve met they’ve felt sparks on their end (I’ll throw modesty aside for a moment and say that in some ways I’m a catch so this doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable) but it’s not been reciprocated on my end.

I’m looking for mutual sparks. Sparks of potential deep friendships. Sparks of potential relationship material.

I’m tired of meeting nice people but it not going anywhere. Meeting nice people is great, but as an introvert I like having a smaller set of close friends, not these wide nets of acquaintances. I think there are still slots on my dance card for “new friends” but it’s to the point where I can be more discerning and start focusing less on some of the folks who are acquaintances taking up space on my social calendar. Otherwise, I won’t have time to see if there’s someone out there where the sparks are reciprocated.