Does the idea of stranger danger keep you from dating? If your answer is no, then congratulations but keep reading. If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place.
In the survey that I ran last month, you told me that learning different ways to think about relationship and dating were the most valuable thing that gaygirldatingcoach.com provides you. The next most important thing you get from connecting with me here, was that you gain courage to take the steps to start dating.
Stranger Danger Means Never Talk to Strangers
So let’s talk. Why are you afraid to date? Are you afraid of strangers? Our society has developed a few rules about strangers. From teaching our children to NEVER talk to strangers to national news stories about bad things that happen because of “strangers”, we can spend every day being weirded out by what we hear and see on television.
Now fade out of the news story and into the local bar scene or your upcoming Pride Parade. Oh my God, there are strangers everywhere! The bar is full of them. Your local Pride Parade is literally swarming with strangers. Can you say, “Danger Will Robinson!”?
No really this is meant to be sort of funny, but the tongue in cheek kind of humor because there is some unconscious truth going on here. You’ve got unconscious rules in your mind about how you live your life. Those rules define what needs to happen for you to feel safe. They define what has to happen for you to feel good about yourself. They define what happens to make you feel guilty, to feel shame or to feel like a failure. They also define who a stranger is and what you should do or not do.
Now add to that female DNA. You might be queer and love women. You might be butch and love women. You could be high femme and love women. But all of us here do have female DNA and that means there are some genetic rules that impact how we approach the world. One of the big rules for female DNA is safety. Stay safe. Back in the stone age having babies was a lot more dangerous. Taking care of babies and little children required a constant focus on safety. And perhaps safety also meant not being dragged away from your own tribe by some other tribe. We still have that DNA in our bodies.
You are Hard Wired for Safety
If you talk to some women from certain parts of the world, this is still true. You are hard wired to be concerned about safety.
I recently attended a Tony Robbins event, Date with Destiny. It was an amazing experience that I recommend to anyone. There were 4000 people and pretty equally divided between men and women. Tony asked a question of the women at one point – how many of you have made a decision based on your safety in the last week and about 25 women put up their hands. Then he asked about the last month, then the last three months and finally the last six months. At that point pretty much every woman’s hand in the room was up, including mine. That’s 2000 women.
He went through the same questioning process with the men. Barely 200 men put up their hands. (My guess was probably 50% of those men were gay, but Tony didn’t ask that question.)
What does this tell you about women? We are often concerned for our safety. I am always very safety conscious when I travel alone and that happens often. Am I afraid? No but I’ve had a couple of bad experiences in my life with strangers and I pay attention to certain things now that I’m older. I’ve lost that innocence and wide open approach to life. Honestly, I’m not sure I had it for very long as a child anyway. But that’s another story about rules.
What does all this have to do with dating. Well dah! It shows up here too. In order to date, you have to meet with strangers. Talk to strangers. Let a stranger eventually become someone you know well, fall in love with and then go on to create a life long relationship. I’ve talked about this whole stranger thing before.
As we get older, we get less flexible. We get rigid. Our hearts and minds do the same thing. The rules we have created consciously (“no one is ever going to hurt me like that again”) become like unconscious cement. We get stuck. We can’t move forward. We stop taking chances because we don’t want to be hurt. We don’t want to suffer loss again. We wonder why we aren’t happy? Why life has become so stale and boring? The simple answer is because the rules you’ve created to keep you safe have made it that way.
Fast Forward to the End
Take a second here and imagine being at the end of your life. Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s going to be important?
- What chances do you wish you’d taken instead of choosing to be safe?
- What would you regret not ever having done?
- What fears do you have that hold you back right now that you would regret at the end of your days?
- What strangers are you not talking to because today you are afraid?
- What unspoken rules do you have about life and safety that are holding you back?
- Do you want to continue living this way?
What did you learn about yourself? Did you have an Ah Ha moment?
This week I’ve been talking with women who are speakers for the Live Your Best Lesbian Life Tele-summit. Some of them are very public figures and some are not. Some of them are afraid of the interview process, what to say, what YOU will think about what they say. You are their stranger! They are afraid of strangers. Amazing right? Same thing applies to dating. You are that other woman’s stranger. You are both dealing with stranger danger. Wow, right?
When I am coaching clients, we work on those rules. It’s amazing what can happen when a client starts to see her rules for the first time and then sees how those rules about life, safety, love and happiness are often a total set up to make her feel awful. Many of you have written a set of rules that have an endless array of ways you can feel awful, wrong, shamed, guilty and like a failure. You also have a complicated and almost impossible set of rules you’ve written internally that allow you to feel good about yourself and your life. If you are wondering why you so often feel like crap it’s all those crappy rules you’ve got.
To be clear my friends, I’m not telling you to throw yourself into dangerous situations. I’m not saying do foolish things like walk in dangerous neighborhoods alone late at night, OK? Be smart and sensible with your personal safety. Step out and take chances with your heart and with love.
So tell me, what are your rules about strangers? How about stranger danger? Share with me in the comments section below.
Now go out and hug a gay girl today! Some of those strangers are friends you don’t know yet.
About Mary Gorham Malia:
Mary Gorham Malia is a gay girl who’s passed the age of 50, survived menopause, hot flashes and night sweats, raised two children, came out later in life, divorced, grew from being a baby dyke to a lesbian with many dating experiences, has been rescued from cubicle nation and now finds the wisdom of being a bit older as the salvation she always wanted. She’s gone from lost and angry teenager to seasoned life traveler who has a commitment to reach out to the lesbian nation and make a difference for lgbt women.
Mary is also an entrepreneur, business consultant, dating and relationship coach, speaker, writer, strategist, gay girl community builder, mentor, mom and lover of women of all stripes. She has worked for and consulted with Fortune 500 companies, national non-profits and run multi-million dollar projects and companies. She has also run multiple small businesses.