Sometimes I forget that over 60% of my readers are men, and as much as I direct my posts at strengthening women and helping them find their true, authentic, inner goddess, I have to remember that back when I was starting this blog, and was posting points of view most women were uncomfortable with, it was my male readers who gave me the most encouragement. Often I doubted my own opinion, and it was those first comments from the guys “wow, where can I meet women like you” and “I wish you could teach this to all women” and “I tell my girlfriend to read your blog”, that kept this blog going.
So, I am directing today’s blog post toward the men too. After all we are all human, and I firmly believe that men and women want exactly the same thing in relationships, we just have different ways of expressing ourselves. Even when my male friends ask me what I think of their dating style, I always give them the exact same advice as I do to women. Human is human, so show me who you are as a human.
Dating is an industry and everyone is a commodity. I hate that. It is no wonder then, that a lot of people have this satisfaction guarantee mentality as they approach dating. We all expect to be satisfied, not just from this product or service we bought that claimed to guarantee our dating success, but from the person we are dating as well. How many times have you been approached by a man or woman with an agenda? It is almost as if they have no clue who you are on the inside, all they see is the exterior package and they have just identified you as their prize. You look like the type who will fulfill their needs. And so they corner you in a bar, oblivious to the signals that you are sending “I’m not interested” and they start to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. You can tell they are looking to close the deal, but you’re not even browsing.
I meet thousands of people every month, it’s the nature of my job, and regardless of whether they are flirting, networking, looking for friends or a significant others, I am usually aware of their story even if they don’t explicitly tell me anything. By now, I have learned how to tune out and switch off, to give myself room to breathe. And in doing that, I have come to observe how some people have the capacity to turn us on, or turn us off almost in an instant. Looking back over the years I ask myself who were the people who stood out of the crowd? Who are the ones who turned me on? Who are the ones who will always be unforgettable?
For me, it was always the people who were the most authentic. They were the ones who were able to speak from the heart, not from their mind. They were the ones who were totally vulnerable, okay with rejection, not faking interest or concern, the ones who were comfortable with all their own quirks, the unapologetic ones. So here is my personal list of favorite characteristics and how to be unforgettable.
1) Embrace YOU. No matter who you are as a person, the stupid mistakes you made in your life, accept the fact that this is you, and that it is exactly who you need to be if you are going to connect with the right person. That one who will understand you, will know he or she has met the right person when your flaws are totally okay. Don’t forget you, when you get into a relationship, and in order to make it flow more smoothly, you start apologizing for you and making excuses. In fact, when in a relationship, be you even more. Be unapologetic, be true to every aspect of yourself, and other people will either accept that right away, or do you a favor and walk away.
I recently met a friend’s new boyfriend. She was a bit concerned that he had a few “issues” and was not sure whether the relationship will work out. During dinner, she got up to go to the bathroom, and we started chatting. One of the things I love about people no matter who they are is when they can be brutally honest, open, and lay their cards out on the table. So, you can imagine my reaction when the guy revealed that he is an alcoholic, who just attended his first AA meeting. As he was telling me about his experience he was totally moved, emotional, brutally honest and raw. He got my attention, and I could tell right away that this person was committed to himself above all things. He owned up to his mistakes and was determined to learn from it.
I’m not one to judge, and I’m not telling anyone to jump into a relationship with an alcoholic, but just by listening to him I got a real sense of who this person is as a human. I can’t predict their outcome, but I do know what it takes to come to terms with yourself, let alone admit it to a complete stranger. I was impressed, and regardless of whether they go on, I can see this person as a potential friend. Don’t be afraid to be you, come to terms with all your flaws, get comfortable with them because either they will haunt you for the rest of your life or connect you to the right people, or help you find your path.
2) Be playful with yourself. We all know how to be playful while flirting, but how playful are we with ourselves? Do you laugh at your own jokes, your own gaffes, do you embrace your mistakes? I am not talking about making fun of yourself in a demeaning, self-deprecating, critical way, but in a lighthearted way that shows you are funny, healthy and easygoing.
I love people who don’t take everything so seriously, who can have a good belly laugh all by themselves because I can relate to that. I know that mistakes are okay with them, they are less likely to judge me when I reveal my big fiascos.
My favorite story I tell about myself is the time I fell out of my car. This probably was one of the most embarrassing incidents of my life, because I literally spilled out in the middle of a posh hotel driveway, with one foot on the sidewalk, and the other wedged underneath my steering wheel. No I wasn’t drunk, it just happened in front of a bunch of my friends, hotel guests and half a dozen valets whose first response wasn’t to help me up, but to test to see if I was sober enough to enter. The reason I tell this story is because that is me. I laugh at every mistake I made in my life, and believe me there are some very serious ones. When I hear people make fun rather than criticize themselves, I know they are less likely to be critical when they get to know me. Humor is healthy, and we should all know how to take things less seriously.
3) Be kind to yourself. We all know how to be kind to others, in public, or when we want to earn their favor. But people who are kind to themselves are truly the kind hearted. How they treat themselves, shows how they feel about themselves, and that in turn shows you their true capacity for love. Do you treat yourself well, buy yourself little luxuries, indulge in things that only please you? When you express kindness toward yourself people notice. If you forgive yourself for that stupid thing you said, for that costly temper tantrum, for the one that got away, you are likely to treat others like humans too.
4) Be open. Be vulnerable, fearless, optimistic, happy go lucky. Closed people protect their hearts knowing that any new partner is potential to get hurt. Open people know that love hurts and they go for it anyway. Love is totally worth it. Open people are open toward everybody. They have fewer judgments, less fear, they see the best in everyone.
5) Show your scars. Khalil Gibran said that the most massive characters are seared with scars. There is no way to learn from experience of life, if you don’t have the scars to prove it. In fact, it is the people with only superficial scars and blemishes who are the emptiest inside. They always have their guard up, are the most private, secretive, self-protective for fear that someone might find out who they really are. But if you are afraid that people will see you for who you really are, what are you really? A fascade.
The most beautiful people are deeply scared. They don’t display their wounds like some badge of honor for sympathy, likes or attention. Instead, the confess them, explore them, learn from them, get over them, and revisit them once in a while only for reference.
6) Show character. We all admire character, but almost everyone I meet flakes out at some point. It’s a quality everyone wants in a mate, but it is the first thing I see is missing. How soon do you flake out? Flakiness is not disinterest in the other person. We are all entitled to not be interested. Flakiness is not keeping your word, and not being true to yourself and personal belief system. I like people who think for themselves, and have their own beliefs. How quickly do you compromise them away to get along with others? How quickly do you sweep those beliefs under the carpet just to earn favor with someone? More importantly, can you make an intelligent case for your beliefs or do you weasel out and end a debate with a conclusion that the other must be stupid for not sharing your point of view? Stand for something, defend it, and don’t pander it away or be apologetic about it.
Character is that rare quality that I admire in people. In my life I may have met only one or two whose character has made a lasting impact, the humans I will never forget. I tend to never lean on people, I prefer to stand on my own. So I always notice the few rare ones who are strong enough to carry the world on their shoulders. They are the first ones I’ll approach, sympathize, befriend and help them lighten their load.
I recently realized that I never fell in love with perfect people, the ones who seemed to have it all together. Each and every time I fell for the deep wounds, for the survivor. Those are the people who I could identify with, those are the ones I could share my reality with, those were the ones most likely to understand, and they are the ones who will point you in the right direction.
We all claim that we are looking for a deep connection with another human, yet we date people for their outer qualities, rarely getting to see their bruises and stitches around their heart. And we all are protective. I know I often fear that the scariest things I survived will be judged, deemed unsavory and rejected. But I also know that when that happens, that person is not for me. The one I can connect with knows exactly what its like to lose it all, over and over again. The one who is not afraid to say I screwed up big time in my life too.
Being unforgettable has nothing to do with your favorite shade of lipstick, your ability to open the door for a lady, your signature scent, nor that glam car you drive. In fact, my favorite homeless bum who lives down the block has much more character than most people I know. Being unforgettable is not that glamorous quality that Hollywood movies depict. It is not that attention grabbing one liner of Gone With the Wind. It isn’t money, it isn’t style, it isn’t even an attitude. It is inner and outer strength that keeps a person standing long after everyone else has backed down. It’s that word you give and keep it no matter what it costs you. It is that one man or woman in the crowd who is strong, unshakeable, respected, always only true to themselves. We all want that special someone who is strong, who will make us feel safe, able to carry the whole world on his or her shoulders. But are you that?
We will never qualify for that person unless we are exactly that. We all have only thirty seconds to make an impression and to connect. On an average night, when my head hits the pillow I don’t even remember who I spent the night talking to. But the few who have made a lasting impression were always the people who were completely open, honest, laid their cards on the table from the start. When a person can openly show you who they really are, you know right away if you have a connection. Regardless of whether the connection turns into a romance or a friendship, it is always much stronger than that empty Hello.
When you embrace yourself people know it. When you are kind to yourself, people know you’ll be kind to them too. When you laugh at life’s biggest mistakes and keep on marching with a smile, everyone wants to embrace and help you out. And when your heart is open, you are a magnet for love. When in doubt, when in hurt, or when you are trying to recover from a broken heart, get back into your practice of realigning with yourself, and rediscover what makes you unforgettable.