Creating, looking for, and finding the perfect great guy can feel like roller-coaster of ups and downs.
That’s ok. There’s a time for flatlining – and it’s not now.
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One reason why it might feel like a wildly swinging pendulum is sometimes the way you view men can change. Understanding and using our mental shortcuts, or applying a model can shift our perspective. This post describes a model that can help you navigate the ups and downs of your dating life.
Mental Shortcuts and Models
Making judgements is a fact of life. It’s necessary for our brains to work. If we didn’t we’d be overwhelmed with information. In Daniel Kahneman’s amazing book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” he explains how we interpret information and can make mistakes based on rules of thumb, biases, and other mental shortcuts.
As well as mental shortcuts, models can make complicated decision making a little easier. They’re not meant to be a perfect representation of reality, but they can help us take action. A management model that can be usefully applied here is social psychologist Douglas McGregor’s Theory X/ Y. This theory from the 1960s (which is on the A-Level Business Studies Syllabus!) is a model of how managers view their employees. Initially, I appreciate this might sound ridiculous applied to the area of relationships – but a simplified framework can make a surprising difference.
There’s nothing wrong with using mental shortcuts and models – indeed they have made humans really successful. But when we might be stuck in a particular area, or repeating patterns of behaviour, it’s worth finding another way to look at things. In an area as important as creating the relationship of your dreams – awareness and a different approach can make a huge difference.
Men are simple creatures (Theory X)
McGregor’s Theory X in management is the idea that some managers view their employees as lazy. They assume that don’t like work and have no motivation. This makes them the kind of manager that tells people what to do.
In the area of relationships, you might make judgements about men from this perspective. You might bring your previous experiences of dates, meeting guys, and conversations to your everyday interactions. How many of the following have you said to yourself about men:
- All guys are players
- Men are only after one thing
- They don’t like to talk about how they feel (etc.)
Men would like to create partnership (Theory Y)
McGregor’s Theory Y in management is a different perspective – where managers view their employees as people who want to work and want to contribute to something bigger. This makes them the kind of manager that involves people in the decision-making.
Thinking about men from this perspective has a different quality. Have you found yourself saying things like this?
- Men will take care of us (and themselves)
- It was nice of him to do/ say xyz
- Pressures on men are different to women
Only *One Possible* Framework
The thing to consider, is that acting from Theory X could give you a different experience from Theory Y. Each one might give you a particular set of dates, level of expectation, and a certain kind of guy asking you out. This is only one possible framework from which to view the way you might relate to men.
Remember, it’s not that any one framework is better than the other. Each of you is on your own path of discovery and self-awareness. There is so much useful material out there about dating and relationships – and not all of it will appeal to you. Read and absorb as much as you want – but try on as many ideas as you can.
Empower yourself. It’s your relationship journey.
Empower The Men In Your Life:
- Give men space – really listen to what they’re saying begin to discover what it’s like for men
- Find the positive – notice the uplifting moments you have that have been created by men
- Tell the truth about the negative – be straight up with men if they do something that doesn’t work for you