I was watching the season finale of 30 Rock recently and Liz Lemon's boyfriend of the season, Criss (James Marsden, in the one role in which I don't find him completely annoying), said something that made me laugh and then made me think. He was explaining to Liz why he was stressed about their relationship, saying:
“You know what kind of women in their 40s have never been married, Liz? Uggos, crazies, and bailers. You’re not an uggo. And you’re haha crazy, not oh boy crazy, which means you bail!”While I'm not in my 40s (although you could argue that the pressure on an LDS woman who is single and in her 30s is roughly equivalent to an non-LDS woman in her 40s), the comment stuck with me. I'm aware enough to know I'm not a complete uggo, middle school pictures to the contrary, and I like to flatter myself that I am endearingly and amusingly crazy, not scary crazy. That leaves one choice: bailer. Once I started to think about it, it didn't see so far off the mark.
A brief and non-scientific analysis of my behavior would show that I am the first to leave any situation. If I'm in a conversation, 99% of the time, I'm the one to end it. In an sort of communication situation, I'm so worried about making a fool of myself, I get out early before I can embarrass myself. You can imagine how the stakes rise if I'm actually in a situation involving a guy in whom I might be interested. A ticking timer starts in my head the minute one of those conversations start. I can only imagine what kind of signal it sends to the guy I'm talking with (gentleman readers, if you exist, please chime in).
Additionally, if several of these conversations, with their abrupt endings, occur and nothing comes of it, I assume there is no interest. I bail on the possibility of something, which inevitably becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. And since I assume they are not interested, you can imagine how much shorter the conversations become and how much sooner I'm ready to pull the plug. Which does nothing to change the situation.
So, how do I change my behavior? That internal timer is so habitual I don't realize what is happening until the situation is over, til I sit back and realize I've done it again. Suggestions?