A couple weeks ago, I ran across two situations where people I knew made the same communication mistake.
They were expressing their feelings to someone, and instead of waiting for a response they said: "I just wanted to let you know, you don't have to respond."
This immediately shuts them off from creating deeper connections, and I want to break it down a little further so you don't catch yourself making the same mistake.
My client Kathy was was telling me how her brother and one of her friends started dating (let's call them Ryan and Maya).
Ryan and Maya had been on six dates and were getting along really well. When Kathy would ask her brother about how things were going, he wouldn't really talk about it but a huge smile would take over his face.
One day Maya felt bold, so she texted Ryan telling him how she felt about him.
She revealed that she enjoyed his company and was starting to like him, which is bold and courageous.
And then she made one fatal mistake.
She ended the text message with, "You don't have to respond to this message."
Guess what happened?
He didn't respond to the message.
My client knew Maya had confessed her feelings and hadn't gotten a response from her brother, she asked her him why he didn't respond after Maya had been so vulnerable.
He said, "She said not to respond to the message."
I can hear you now saying, "But wait, if he really liked her he would have responded and told her anyways."
I get it, but first I want you to see that this isn't just a typical girl, guy thing.
My cousin Raj was introduced to a girl through a friend of ours, and they had a first date that was good, but didn't blow him away.
It felt a little forced but the conversation was flowing, so Raj was open to seeing her again.
On the second date, they had a fabulous time. Raj was much more at ease and they started talking about their lives and the deeper stuff, which changed the connection and took it up a notch.
Raj doesn't like playing games, so after the third date he decided to simply tell her he liked her and wanted to get to know her more.
But after he got those words out, he ended it with, "You don't have to say anything."
So guess what happened? She didn't.
Often our impulse to say, "You don't have to say anything," at the end of something that's hard to reveal or when we're getting vulnerable is a protection mechanism.
It's to protect ourselves from getting rejected, judged, AND from getting clear on whether someone is on the same page as us.
The thing is, as human beings, we like to hold on to an idea or fantasy about someone rather than actually engage with them in real life or with what's actually happening.
It's to "save" us from being hurt or feeling pain in someway. The brain is wired to do that, but this closes you off and keeps you in your head. Not in your heart.
What you really want in your love life, the high quality man, the next level in your relationship -- that exists when you are open to the possibility of falling in love.
The brain will shut off that possibility and just have you ASSUME if the guy really cared then he would have said, "I like you too" or "I'd like to see you more."
That could be true. Or NOT.
You won't know unless you really get his side of the story -- when you get his direct answer.
I'm all for revealing how you feel and getting vulnerable, because when it's right it only has you get to the next level of connection even faster.
The trick is to leave the conversation off with a QUESTION.
For example, in Maya's situation she could have said, "I'm really enjoying your company and spending time with you. I'm curious, how are you feeling about where we're at?"
No matter what, this will get you a clear answer on what is going on for the other person. So you can feel relief, instead of not getting an answer and creating the possibility for even more anxiety wondering what he's feeling.
Stay open to the possibility of LOVE. When you do your ability to communicate with men can be powerful.
Let me know in the comments if you've ever revealed your feelings and then followed it up with, "You don't have to say anything, I just wanted to let you know." How did it go for you?
I can't wait to hear your stories.