Forming Healthy Relationships – What’s Inside the Box?
Welcome back to this month’s edition of Realms of Relationships. In this segment, I’m delving into how we judge and are judged by others – First impressions and Body language and discovering what’s underneath the wrapping.
As humans, we are often judged by our outward appearances first. But if we never gave someone a chance to approach us to potentially form a friendship or relationship just because we couldn’t see beyond appearance, our circles would be pretty limited.
People come wrapped in all assortments. Who and what we attract or gravitate to stems from the vibe we give off – this vibe consists of a combination of traits we emit with our words, body language, and our physical appearance. All these elements comprised will help to determine who chooses to approach us.
Our demeanors and physical appearance send signals to others leading them to form a perception of what we’re all about. But without learning what’s on the inside, and perhaps what’s perceived as a first impression, we may not always adequately represent who we really are. Depending on how we choose to present ourselves on a given day, we’ll undoubtedly be judged by our actions as first impressions, so it’s a good idea not to misrepresent ourselves. Sadly, society does label people based on appearance, and as much as appearances do play a part in determining who we approach and how we’re accepted, appearance alone is not a great indicator of what’s inside our box.
Now we all know the old saying – don’t judge a book by its cover, but sadly, it’s human nature that people are judged by their covers. Yes, it’s unfair, but there are shallow thinking people among us. And pity for those who judge because they may just be missing out on opportunity for a satisfying relationship or friendship because they couldn’t see beyond difference.
What do we want most from a relationship? Acceptance, love compassion, trust, understanding, communication and reciprocation. These are the most important qualities a relationship should offer, and the qualities that will sustain a solid relationship. These aren’t qualities you can necessarily decipher based on looking at an individual. Yes, it’s easy to make judgement, but until we learn about what’s behind the cover, we aren’t able to make a complete assessment.
We are hard-wired for judgement. We all have our own version of what’s acceptable to us and peeves we hold in our mental lists of what we seek out of a relationship. But maybe we need to look beyond those physical peeves and explore personality and values.
Example Interview – Making Judgment:
Example: Mr. Brown goes for a job interview. He shows up looking rather disheveled. His stained shirt with no tie and in dire need of a haircut, and unprepared answers for interview offer no redeeming qualities to jump out at the interviewer to even put him in consideration for the job.
Next in is Mr. Green. His plaid shirt is in huge clash with his flowery tie, and his pants hiked up from the last flood make him look as though he’s from another era. He’s clean shaven with a respectable haircut, poses questions about a potential job he’s excited to have, has a cheery disposition and on point with all his answers.
Who will get the job?
It’s not difficult to guess who gets the job. But physically, none of these gents sound like they’re anywhere near Adonis-looking. In fact, if either of these men were walking down a street, some may take a double look and keep moving because judgment has been made, so no further inquiries required.
But here’s what we got from the short interview with these two guys. Mr. Brown gives us the impression of bad hygiene, and that’s a turn-off. His lack of concern for grooming – a haircut or clean clothes, and no ambition, holds little interest for anyone, especially when the idea of interview is to make a good impression. On the other hand, Mr. Green may be sorely lacking in fashion sense, but his clean-cut demeanor, enthusiasm, sunny disposition and quick comebacks in reply to questions make him a prime choice for the job.
In that short example, we learned a bit about what these men looked like, how they presented themselves, a bit of their personality, and a glimpse into their ambition. The interviewer took in all these qualities demonstrated to him and made his choice based on best redeeming qualities for the job. And this little study is an example of the way we should qualify people as relationship potential – only some get caught up in the ‘physical looks’ of someone, sadly overlooking some wonderful qualities for relationship material with some of those who didn’t make the looks list.
Now, when it comes to poking fun at men who wear white shoes or sandals with white socks, I admit, that vision does not set off any wild desire for me, lol. But to pass up a potentially good date or friendship with someone who could be fun and interesting, just because they wore ‘the white loafers’, could turn out to be a missed opportunity – especially if that guy has many outstanding other qualities.
If we didn’t bother taking the time to talk for awhile and get to know the guy, we would have missed out at being pleasantly surprised at finding he is very charming with stimulating conversation, and we lost out for judgment. Sure, it’s possible if we had a conversation with the guy, he could well turn out to be boring and insensitive, which would give me confirmation I’m not interested. But without getting to know something about a person we shouldn’t make judgement because fashion faux pas can be cured, but rudeness or ignorance usually can’t. And to be honest, on first meeting with someone who offers no redeeming qualities and exhibits a lot of personal issues, leading to having to try and fix that person, those days are long done for me. But that was a different time and story.
I never really had a ‘type’ when it came to men. In fact, no two men I ever dated had any resemblance to any other one I dated. But I do have standards and if they aren’t met then all the charm and champagne wouldn’t tempt me.
When I met my husband, he didn’t wear white shoes, but he wore ‘wide ties’ circa 80s. By our 3rd date, we were already in ‘I feel like I know you all my life’ mode, and in our shared sense of humor I felt comfortable and jokingly ( even though I meant it), I told him from now on I’m going to buy his ties. I’ve been his fashion consultant ever since.
My husband ticked off many great qualities on my standards list, but as much as I know he did try his best, matching ties with patterned shirts can be a tricky thing. Hubby was always well-dressed and groomed but he had met the fashion guru and then one day that BOX of ties he had from a decade or two past that his sister had given him from a time she worked in garment manufacturing, went to the donation box. All those ‘Saturday Night Fever’ ties weren’t missed, and the guru began a whole new collection over the years they’d spend together.
When I met my husband, he had a smile to light up a room, quick wit comebacks, a generous heart, and most of all, he made me laugh. I got all that from a 10 minute conversation. If I’d met him under different circumstances, I may have overlooked him. But I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, which gave us a few moments to chat among us. And despite his outdated flowery tie, I felt an instant attraction to him. Because I took time to look inside the box.
Short Excerpt from my book – Words We Carry
You can get the book here: http://smarturl.it/bookWordsWeCarry .
When forming friendships and relationships of the heart, we tend to gravitate toward likeminded individuals, or we attract people based on how we represent ourselves. People with healthy attitudes about themselves tend to fall into relationships with those who share similar attitudes and values. The level of self-confidence we project sets the tone for who we attract.
Women will often ask, “How did that girl latch on to him? What did he see in her?” Do you ever look at a couple and notice that perhaps one of them isn’t particularly attractive while the other is? You’re left scratching your head, trying to figure out what the attraction was, without realizing there’s so much more to our composition than physical appeal. More than likely, kindness, wittiness, and compassion sparked those relationships. The traits we expose of our personalities are what calls attention to us.
People like to be around happy, positive people. Those qualities are natural attracters. Physical beauty and sexiness aren’t enough to solidify a relationship if someone has nothing more to offer. Yes, it’s true that there are some shallow people out there who’ll only go out with “beautiful” people, but if those people continue relationships based only on looks, they may find their partners displaying other negative qualities—and at that point they have sacrificed happiness for vanity. It does happen. Physical beauty alone is no foundation for a happy, healthy relationship.
You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.
Books by D.G. Kaye
One of the recent reviews for Words We Carry.
It is my belief that every woman on the planet should read this non-fiction inspirational story that reveals the negative self-esteem experiences that many if not all women encounter during various incidents throughout their lives, and the consequences of those experiences often begin in early childhood.
D.G. Kaye writes with empathy, compassion, and a plethora of knowledge using her own experiences to help other women understand the importance of realizing their sense of self that is intimately associated with our self-worth. Self-worth is not a vanity and it not excessive pride. It is how we access our own sense of being, of who we are.
The author, D.G. Kaye, writes with a warmhearted conversational style that beautifully eliminates dogma and in effect the judging of us, by us, and others for what we may perceive as a failure to have fallen victim to ridicule, to embarrassment, and instead we begin to believe in our personalities and our value in the world.
Our society often appears to judge women by our appearance: a cultural sense of what beauty is, a person’s station in life, and least but not last – money. If as a child we experienced being bullied, laughed at, ignored, and ridiculed, our self-worth without a positive, loving alternative from your parents, grandparents, and siblings—is damaged and our chances of feeling unlovable, inadequate, and homely take root in our psyche. A psyche that is damaged presents difficulties in our self-expression, our personalities, and our ability to thrive in the world without a sense of inadequacy. This sense of inadequacy leaves us open to being further damaged by others.
D.G. Kaye, the author, encourages us, helps us to understand, and presents a rationale that can and does present a newer, healthier view of ourselves as well as to develop healthier relationships. Once we rid ourselves of negativity, jealousy, envy, and that awful feeling of inadequacy; our inner personalities, our joy of life, and a sense of inner happiness will begin to shine.
D.G. Kaye’s inspirational non-fiction for women is the best of its kind that I have ever read, and a must read for all women. I give this book a 5-star rating
Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US
and: Amazon UK
More reviews and follow Debby: Goodreads
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My thanks to Debby for taking on the challenge this year of exploring the complexity of relationships, and sharing strategies to improve the way we manage those important to us. As always your feedback is very welcome. Thanks Sally