As a follow-up to our recent conversation on “To text him back or not“, our in-house heartbreak coach, Claire Byrne, is sharing ways to navigate texting during a new relationship. So, how do you show up as your confident, authentic, desirable self, not coming off too eager, but also not acting too cool for school—both of which could result in you pushing him further away? Keep reading for her tips and expert insight.
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
1) Pause. Check in with yourself before you respond. Remember that an intentional response is better than a rushed, haphazard one, coming from a place of fear and insecurity.
2) Observe. The uncomfortable feeling in your body—this might be more notable before you discover the thought you’re thinking that’s causing the discomfort. Maybe emotions like insecurity, inadequacy, shame, and disappointment come up.
3) Allow. Take some breaths and allow the negative sensations and emotions. As counterintuitive as it feels, allowance moves you quicker through the discomfort, instead of resistance.
4) Ask yourself: “What am I thinking about not hearing from him for X number of hours?” Or, “What am I thinking about the words he just wrote?” Perhaps you think something like, “This isn’t good enough.”
5) Tap into your future self in her ideal relationship. This is a big leap from step 4, so check in to see if you’re ready to go there in your brain. When you’re triggered or annoyed, it may not be easy to authentically tap into the future version of yourself who’s happy and in love with her ideal guy who wants the same things you want. When you can, imagine how you’d feel if he was here: secure. Light. Giddy. Complete. Confident. Desirable.
6) Ask your future self in her ideal relationship: “What would you think about this text? How would you respond?” When I was newly dating my boyfriend, I had already been working step 5 on a daily basis before he appeared, which I highly recommend. I knew we had a special connection and that he wasn’t a commitment-phobe (winning!), but he legit had a very full plate, so his texting was consistent but not as frequent as Present Claire’s brain would have liked. I tapped into Future Claire, and checked how clean my reasoning was behind wanting to hear from him more, and let’s just say it was quite dirty. I was wanting to hear from him more so I could feel more secure, knowing full well as a coach that I get to give myself that security any time I want. I cleaned up my thinking, decided to not play games, and gave him the space to show up when he could. It wasn’t easy, and there were still moments of fear that he wasn’t interested, but I committed to FUTURE ME, who knew responding from a place of patience and confidence, versus fear and a need to protect myself, was the right approach with this particular guy … and it worked.
7) Respond as future you. Once you’re clear on what the future version of yourself would say, (having factored in who you think this guy is so far—not who you want him to be!) respond as her. Remember—if you’re so committed to being the woman in her ideal relationship, it won’t matter if it’s this guy, the next guy, or the 10th guy you date from now. Own your decision on what to say and when to respond from a place of confidence and self-love, whether you decide to see him again or not.
Keep in mind when you’re practicing these steps that you don’t fall into the trap of believing you’re “doing all the things,” but still find yourself stumped because this new approach in how you communicate isn’t creating the result of finding him.
Be HONEST with what you’re actually thinking, and assess if you really think this guy is as available as you want your ideal person to be.
So often, my single clients who think they’re looking for the one end up putting on the “breezy chick” hat with someone who clearly isn’t behaving like their ideal guy, but they’re blinded by the spark they felt on the one or two dates that transpired over the course of six weeks, so they hold out hope that he’ll suddenly show up in a more attentive way.
As their coach, I show them how they’re BS-ing themselves and don’t even realize it.
We’re human. We all have blind spots, so hire a coach or therapist to show you how you’re getting in your own way with your thinking, if you can’t see it for yourself.
When you push yourself into being the woman in her ideal relationship with standards BEFORE he arrives, not only will you know exactly what to say on a text exchange, you’ll also start showing up as a much more up-leveled version of yourself in all areas of your life.
This may mean a few nights home alone instead of repeatedly saying yes to Mr. Unavailable, who pops up on a whim and scratches your loneliness itch for a night.
I can assure you that your future self definitely prefers her own company than the company of a guy who’s giving her crumbs.
Create space for the right person. Don’t fill it up with someone you know deep down isn’t showing up the way you ultimately want your person to.
Growth is supposed to be uncomfortable, but when you lean in and keep your eye on the prize, you’ll look back and see that the pain was so worth the gain.