Every year, usually after Spring break, I hear the tragic tale of a melancholy student (e.g. Molly) complain, to their “supportive friend-in-tow” (e.g. Claire) about the guy (Chad) who won’t return their text messages. Often, it’s the same story with different names but introduced with the prologue, “Chad totally texts me every couple of days, and I sleep over. He says he loves hanging out with me—but never texts me. You know what I mean?”
The Claire interpretation: “Chad’s just afraid of commitment. He had a terrible break-up, and he’s probably still healing from a broken heart. Guys have a hard time expressing feelings. That’s why he’s running away, because he knows he’s graduating soon. He has to consider a long-distance relationship.”
I think: Wow! This Claire should reconsider her fashion-merchandising degree and start a psychic hotline.
With respect to Clarie’s latte-fueled analysis, I’d also like to point out Molly and Chad met downing Long-Island iced teas--a common interaction that precedes the ocular syndrome known as “beer goggles.” Beer goggles distort the eyesight, allowing the brain to see losers as Prince Charming instead of the reality: “Delta-Chi, Red-Lobster, beer-bong Chad.”
The irony of Chad’s apparent “complicated” heart and mind is usually based on nothing concrete. Most often, it’s just two college girls desperately trying to avoid or validate their feelings of rejection or hurt. There’s nothing wrong with trying to cheer up a friend, but friends often spin the fantasy into a place of insanity—comparable to an original Lifetime movie. I used to joke my college life deserved an Emmy for its action-packed dramas and toxic love affairs.
Creating stories about a difficult situation may provide comfort for a teary, inconsolable friend; however, the insanity of fantasy promotes obsessive thoughts. Sometimes, this can be a positive thing, similar to positive affirmations towards a goal, but over-analyzing most situations leads to reactive responses instead of action responses. In other words, building false assumptions often builds resentment, fear and anger—especially in matters of the heart.
Even though I believe talking to friends helps blow off steam, they often help solidify the crappy stories you tell yourself. While creating unrealistic expectations about your fantasy love affair certainly builds drama, intense feelings of rejection will cause players to do ridiculous things to ensure their fantasy ending. After our efforts prove futile, we feel abandoned. In reality, we have abandoned ourselves.
We have programmed our brains to think like victims: “why can’t he/she love me? What am I doing wrong?” If we are victims, we have no choices. If we have no choices, we let others decide for us. If we let others decide for us, we give away our power. When we give away our power, we turn to The Dark Side. Just kidding.
To me, the most admirable qualities of an emotionally intelligent person are their courage to face fears, ability to utilize their emotions and their ability to take action, no matter how painful. These types of people know preserving their self-worth attracts meaningful relationships and abundant opportunities.
Emotionally intelligent people allow emotions to ebb and flow. They recognize the value of their intuition and are eager to master skills and welcome the lesson. They don’t blame or analyze Chad’s behavior, they analyze their own reactions and emotions with curiosity and reflection. If a person can discover the dominant emotion behind the feeling of being rejected, they have an opportunity to work on feeling worthy. Once they recognize their value, they can problem-solve intelligently and gracefully.
Unfortunately, intelligence and grace have not made the cut on Molly’s list of “common-sense attributes.” She’s too busy searching for the perfect boots to complete the ending scene as “… they ride into the sunset.” After all, Chad and she are “soulmates.” At night, when Molly compassionately analyzes Chad’s demanding work schedule and dismissive behavior, her smile slowly turns into anger when she discovers a shocking surprise on Instagram: Chad, wearing a coconut bra, clearly intoxicated with an absent-minded blonde draped over his shoulder. Looks like Claire’s crystal-ball needs a tune-up.