I’m getting close to the end of my Fit4Love coaching program and even though I am feeling much more prepared for dating than I was, I know there are a few areas in which I’m still feeling very uncertain and my last online assignment was right on target. For this exercise, I had to go through a list of social effectiveness skills, dating skills and intimacy skills and identify which ones I felt I needed more practice in.
These include activities such as initiating contact, eye contact, being present and networking. Sheila’s had me practicing a number of these for weeks now and some I feel very adept and comfortable with. She asked me how I would normally introduce myself and I gave my little spiel about having two jobs .. one paid and one unpaid (this blog) and she suggested that I simply focus on where my heart is. So we came up with:
I’m a journalist and I like to focus on the unseen stories in social issues.
Now that’s an introduction I really like and one that I can stand tall and say proudly. I also think that repeating it reminds me what my priority is and where I should be focusing most of my work time and energy.
We also talked about ‘working the room’ and ‘disengaging’ which are two skills I’d like to do more confidently and obviously you can’t work a room or network effectively if you don’t disengage. Sheila asked if sometimes my reluctance to move on is because I sense the other person doesn’t want to be left on their own. I think I definitely do that and sometimes I don’t move on because it requires less energy to just stay. Using phrases like, ‘Please excuse me, there’s someone I want to make sure I speak to,’ or ‘It’s been great talking to you,’ or ‘I’m going to get another glass of wine’ are all good conversation closers and I’d much rather use those than tell someone I’m going to the Ladies room. Sheila suggested that in the coming weeks, when I’m at events I take note how others disengage from me, how it makes me feel and see if there are techniques I can adopt.
These include skills such as communicating expectations, natural evolution not forced, being authentic, keeping sexual boundaries and flirting. I did check all of these off as needing practice but in talking it through with Sheila I think I’m more prepared than I give myself credit for even though it has been a very long time since I’ve dated. I remember how awkward I felt when I was dating before I was married and I feel I’m a different person now. I know what I want and I feel that I’m confident enough to communicate that and to walk away from a relationship that isn’t compatible with that.
I have no doubt that once I do start dating I will run into some hurdles but another great benefit of the Fit4Love coaching program is that I’ll have access to Sheila even after my formal sessions are completed. I also have my Relationship Support System.
Wrapping up our coaching session, we didn’t have time to discuss the intimacy skills so we’ll be coming back to them in my next session. Sheila asked me to come up with an action plan for working on my skills and with the Holiday season upon us, this is perfect timing. I’ve decided at small events, with say ten people or less I’m going to make a point of speaking to everyone attending. At larger events, I’m going to make sure I speak to at least ten people. And, regardless of the size of the event, I’m going to push myself to talk to the people I’ve not met before or don’t know very well. To make sure I’m being intentional, when I get home I’ll write down the names of the people I spoke with and three facts about them that I remember.
Do you think that’s a good action plan? What would you do? As always … any tips you have for refining rusty skills would be most welcome.
Photo Credit: TechCocktail