Silence can be sexy when used the right way at the right time. Whether it leads to attraction or not is not the issue, rather are you aware that you’ve triggered the sweet spot of flirting of the person across you. Flirting is more than the words or touching. It is about understanding that person and using your energy to get in sync with each other, getting permission to experience desire and attraction in a way that isn’t overwhelming or out of bounds. The six conversations continues with flirting, attraction and vulnerability. Learn why being a man of mystery isn’t that effective anymore and why being true to yourself is a better way to flirt.
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Six Conversations: The Sweet Spot of Flirting, Attraction & Vulnerability with Arielle Browne
We have Arielle Brown on Season One of Six Vulnerable Conversations Between a Man and a Woman. Our show is around flirting, attraction and vulnerability. I had a lot of fun putting together a list of topics and questions. I’m very excited to see where the show goes.
This is such a fun place to play. I was having a conversation with a man around how do we play with desire in a way where we give full permission for the fact that we experience desire and we experience attraction, and allow it to transmit in a way that doesn’t bowl the person over and simultaneously we don’t repress it. Finding that sweet spot where we let people feel our desire just enough so they want to lean in and explore some more.
A big part of the conversation is, “What the F is the sweet spot?”
Sweet spot is where I’m in my body. The biggest thing that I’ve noticed that keeps people out of having a successful flirtational experience is that we’re too focused on what the other person’s experience is. What particularly attracts men to me is the more that I’m in my body, it doesn’t matter if I say something that’s totally connected or look at them in a certain way. It’s something about my awareness of how I’m feeling in my own body. That’s what magnetizes the person to me.
That would be the magic word, embodiment, which is a big buzzword these days and I totally agree. Men are often in their strategy mind, “I read this in a book. I learned this in a class. The right methodology to get the girl is follow step A, follow step B, follow step C.” They’re in their head but they’re not thinking, they’re not feeling their body and they’re not picking up on the many subtle cues that women are showing.
I went out on a date with this man where I knew that I had a certain level of permission to be completely honest with him and that he could handle it because of previous conversations. I had been stressed out before going on this date. Then we got together. He was already at the bar. I went and sat at the bar next to him and he went right in like, “How are doing? How was your day?” all these nice questions. What I was finding is that his questions were making me more and more anxious in my body. I decided to stop the conversation and I was like, “I’d love if we could go sit at a table.” We got to the table and then I looked at him and I was like, “I don’t have a desire to have any type of surface level conversation with you right now. I’d love to look at each other and feel each other.” I’m sharing this with you because you don’t need to speak to catalyze attraction. For me, being honest and saying what’s true in the moment, even if it completely disrupts the direction things we’re going, is one of my ways of flirting.
Disruption and flirting are two words often also not in the same sentence. Also brevity is one of my educations for men. If you can say something in seven words, do not use 27. Silence is also very sexy, in the right circumstance. How good of you to be honest, how unusually good, that was such a kind thing to do to that man. Instead of him trying to figure out, mentally doing all the gymnastics of, “Why isn’t she responding? Why isn’t she smiling? Why does this feel a little off?” you told him the truth. That’s huge.
It’s so important because what I found is whenever I’m not being honest with men, whenever their flirtation is not working, if I don’t do something to change it, to an extent, I just feel like I’m placating them. If I’m placating them that means I’m not fully respecting them. If I’m not fully respecting them then I’m probably not going to want to sleep with them.
Placating is a nice word. Let’s use the word coddling. Coddling is like, “Yeah, I like it.” How did it go from there? Once you expressed your desire to stare at each other, did you start to feel your body? Did he start to feel his body?
It was a beautiful experience in its whole. How it went from there is we had a delicious dinner and then we parted ways. The server that served us came up to me the next day and was like, “Just so you know, there was this beautiful moment where you looked back at him, and he wasn’t looking at you. Then as soon as you turned your head, he looked back, but you weren’t looking at him.” We both parted ways thinking that the evening was over. Then he wound up texting me and having a conversation and then we wound up going back to his Airbnb together and having a beautiful conversation.
Did you get any nookie?
Since we’re being honest, it was beautiful. This plays into our last conversation. I got really clear on what I wanted the container to be. The container for the evening was no physical penetration and no kissing.
Was there a rubbing body thing going on?
No. One of his interests is BDSM. The beginning of the evening began with him putting me up on a pillar and just playing with me a little bit. Then he could feel the moment where I started to get overwhelmed or he attuned to the fact that I was peaking and then he decided to take me down and brought me to the bed and took the cuffs off and then proceeded to pleasure me throughout most of the evening. It was a really beautiful experience. I’m an intensity junkie and I’m so used to the hard, fast or rough. It was beautiful because once I slowed down enough, there was so much sensation going on that I couldn’t feel a lot of anything. There was something amazing about him just realizing that and slowing things down and taking me down that I realized how much more I can slow down in those moments, and just how much sensation there is, how much there is to feel. This ties back to the flirtation piece where if we were in our bodies, really sinking up to the person across from us and just feeling what’s going on in my body, as I’m also sinking up and feeling like what’s going on with this person, it actually takes very little to create connection and create arousal.
I think that’s a great mystery that for me, as a man, confused the shit out of me when I was starting. It was like, “Flirting is verbal or flirting is touching.” You’re just saying it’s not about the thing, it’s about the presence. It’s about the energetics. It’s about the noticing. You can flirt just with your energy by leaning forward, “Is he going to kiss me?” and then leaning back, “Why didn’t he kiss me?” There are so many fun ways you can play with those subtle energetic cues, but no one teaches this stuff. You gave that guy a great lesson in the beginning of the date because you were like, “I don’t want to talk the small stuff. Let’s just get synced up energetically.”
Ultimately, the simplest piece of advice that I can give anyone who experiences social anxiety or a fear of not knowing how to engage is get really curious about the other person, “What’s going on in them?” Just wanting to know, and it instantly creates this chemistry.
Get curious, one, and two, get out of your head and get out of your ego, “Am I doing this right?” will definitely kill the energetic flirtatious vibe.
How did you learn that lesson?
The hard way by making about 1,000 mistakes. I was so numb and dumb when I started this world, granted it was 1998, I was 28 years old. I was so in my head. I was this masterful thinker, plodder, planner for business. I could build a project plan like no other. I could build a computer system down to the finest detail. I was so anal and I applied the same technology to women. It didn’t work so good. I was married and I had a woman and I was nice but the sex life was not very exciting. I was thinking too much and I was worrying too much. I was worrying too much that I was hurting her, that she was this fragile little bird and my great manliness was going to overcome her. That was my arrogance, my chauvinism and my misogynistic nature. I always had all my attention on myself and I couldn’t feel what was happening for her. That’s what I was taught. Women were weak and lazy and they could be broken. I was a New York Jew. That was the primal education I had. You had to dance around the females because they couldn’t handle you. That’s how I treated women and that’s why sex was so mechanical.
When you finally had the shift that women aren’t these weak beings, how did that change how you flirted?
Everything. I also have to say that realization to becoming a good flirt was a good four and a half year process. It was an extended process. It wasn’t like I saw the flash of like, “Pretty much everything I knew about women was wrong.” That was the first thing. The second thing was dedicating myself to a practice of understanding women. That took four or five years for me to fully figure out. The baseline of the flirting was equal meets equal, player meets player, God meets God, spy versus spy, however you want to say it. I just thought, “This is a fun game.” Women, I found, really liked to play deeply and go up and have different experiences. Once I figured that out then I was like, “I just want to play.”
Describe to me the game of flirting with you.
The first thing is that after eighteen years, after the first four years of totally being a rookie and flirting like this, I spent eighteen years to learn a few important things. The first is that I think I’m awesome. I just fully know I’m a truly awesome human being. I don’t say that in an arrogant fashion though it may sound like it, but in a self-loving way. When you flirt with me, I already have inside my body a huge wellspring of approval and self-validation and belief in myself, that I’m not looking to you to validate me, which confuses a lot of women. A lot of women are used to guys on the grab or the scarce pouncing like the tiger in Calvin and Hobbes pouncing. They’re used to the pouncing and I’m not a pouncer, which really confused a lot of women, “What’s going on with this guy? Why isn’t he pouncing? It’s really weird.”
I like your flirting. I describe it as like you throw out these little lines like there’s a little bobber on there or something like that. I like the way that you flirt.
The first thing is I think I’m awesome. The second is, I truly know that women are powerful and that took a long time to figure out. I don’t have to play safe in terms of she’s broken and at the same time, I have to ensure that the container I’m setting has the appropriate amount of safety for that specific woman.
What does that look like?
It’s different for each woman.
How about for me?
You need to know that there’s a doorway out. You need to know that there’s an ejector button at any point. If a guy is trying to hold on to you, that’s pretty much the end of the flirtation. I need to ensure that you know that at any point, you can say, “Pause, stop or exit.”
It’s very true because this current lover I’m exploring with, one of the things I love about him is he’s constantly like, “If you change your mind at any point, even if I’m out there and I’m five minutes away and you don’t want to hang out anymore, that’s fine.” It’s amazing. It’s such a key and maybe I’m unique in that desire as a woman. My experience is that women can have a lot of challenge expressing boundaries and desires. While it would be nice in an ideal world if we just felt completely secure and able and confident to speak our voice and our truth and our desires at any moment, it’s so nice to meet men who can feel and are sensitive enough to a woman’s experience that they can be like, “Here’s this bowl for you to express your desires. I created this bowl for you to feel the permission and the freedom to do that. I’m also not going to be needy or annoying in asking you every moment if you’re okay.” I respect the fact that it is not easy for men to find the right balance of flirting so that it’s sexy and at the same time aware and considerate.
You don’t want to be anyone’s mother.
I don’t do that.
There is a percentage of women that do. Most women want to have kids and be the kids’ mother and then have a partner and not be the partner’s mother. They don’t want a third child. They want a partner. You don’t want to be anyone’s mother.
I’m curious about your perspectives on age differences and flirting. For me, it took me a while to be an approval of the fact that I tend to be attracted to and attract older men. There are all these taboos in our culture around age gaps.
Define what older is so that people know.
I would say maybe anything more than like fifteen years older or something like that. Ten doesn’t even feel like a lot; that just feels like, “A decade.” I’m curious about what your experience has been around finding approval of flirting with women who are younger than you. If it feels different to flirt with women your age as opposed to people who are younger than you.
I have a long history with this. I started an organization called OneTaste which was a sexual research community. During my twelve-year tenure from 32 to 44, I probably flirted with over 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 women. It was nonstop. The age range was humongous from women twenty years my junior, to women ten, fifteen, twenty years older. I did have the age range. Here’s something I discovered. The first was that the age sometimes didn’t make a difference because women my age or older sometimes acted like teenagers. Sometimes women ten or fifteen or twenty years younger than me felt older than I did. The age itself was only one marker of it. The second thing was that I have a lot of shame about my attraction for women half my age. I would feel the attraction and then they would come to me and start flirting with me and sometimes I’d hold it in because I was worried about the social ramifications of it or how I’d be perceived. Remember, we’re just talking about flirting. Then I got to the point where it’s like, “This as a human being and I can assess each case separately and not diminish them because they’re younger than I am or older than I am. Just look at each woman specifically and see how it felt.” From that, there was a freedom that I felt in my body that I could be myself and see what happened. It was difficult in the beginning and then eased up once I started to see the person, not their numeric age.
My partner is fourteen years younger than I am. That was a really big thing for her mom. She was very nervous about that. I don’t perceive Morgan younger than I am. Obviously, physically she looks different but emotionally and power-wise, we feel like old spirits together. There’s never my thought, “She’s younger,” though I do tease her mercilessly about the age differences like I was in high school when she was born or when I was in college, she was in kindergarten; those conversations that are fun. From an emotional point of view, we are surely equal.
I’ve noticed for myself there was a while where I was with older men. I usually am with older men though I’m totally open to being with a man my age. I find that I’m rarely approached by men my age. It started to get me curious as to like, “What could I be putting out that would have it be that men my age aren’t approaching me?” or perhaps that I’m just able to see older men’s flirtation in a way that I’m not able to see younger men’s flirtation.
Maybe you’re blocking and energetically pushing away the younger men.
They’re terrifying or you’re terrifying?
It makes me think of my college years when I was terrified of men. There’s this part of me that’s still terrified of teenage boys.
Can I ask how old you are?
I didn’t know where I was in my 30’s. 30’s was the beginning of me fully knowing who I am. Teens, I was going through high school and then twenties was really a self-development. I didn’t even know who I was until I was 30. The millennials are much better at knowing who they are than I was. I’m just using myself an example. In the 30’s is when I first started to get a clue of who I was. It wasn’t really until I hit the 40’s that I liked myself. It took me 40 years to turn the corner and a lot of self-development work to actually like who I was in the world. You demand someone who is empowered and embodied. For men without training or not doing the work, you must look like this big mountain of energy and power. You probably scared the shit out of them.
I was trying to find ways to flirt with younger men that invites them to elicit what they want.
Why do you want to do that? Do you think you should?
It’s not that I should. It’s just that there are some younger men who are super attractive and I’m curious.
Do you want just a nookie?
I want to have the experience of a young man my age who’s willing to stay anchored in a conversation and not talk to me one moment and then act like I don’t exist or not know how to engage with me the next. I want to feel like there is a man my age who can just be in it and not run away.
That’s a tough call for a 30-year-old guy because he lives in a society that doesn’t show him the way to find that. Especially now in the 30’s, guys are really lost. You’re asking a 30-year-old guy to find and be secure in himself, and guys don’t have that training these days.
Maybe it’s that I want to invite men my age into exploring that.
We could have a little Six Vulnerable Conversation contest to get Arielle some nookie from a 30-year-old guy.
That sounds like an interesting game. Let’s start with a flirtatious conversation. That’s so much fun. I want to invite people to flirt with me artfully. I’m turned on by that and just know that I might say no or I might make an adjustment but I’m curious.
Arielle, do pick up lines work?
If they’re being ironic. What will turn me on about a man using a pickup line is if he knows that the fact that he’s using a pickup line in itself is cliché. I find double layers of humor or being cliché for the purpose of being witty, I love that. That makes me lean in because I know a person likes to play with words and go into the deeper insinuations of things. I love insinuation. It’s one of my favorite ways to flirt.
A clever, ironical and witty pickup line has a high chance of success?
You have to be making fun of yourself at the same time?
I feel like I do that even when I don’t try.
When I was in Philadelphia, I was a bartender. I had a partner on Saturday night. She was beautiful. She would collect pickup lines because it was nonstop. It was Philadelphia in the ‘90s. She had a book where she wrote down all these pickup lines and she would collect all the good ones. Then she would torture the guy mercilessly because it was so flagrant. This is the one she liked the most. Some guy said to her, “Where’s your spacesuit?” She goes, “What?” He says, “Where is your spacesuit?” She goes, “What?” He said, “Where is your spacesuit because you’re out of this world.” If I saw you at a bar and wanted to strike up a conversation with you, what would be the best way?
Come up to me and ask a genuinely curious and insinuative question.
Do you have an example?
It’s more the energy of it. It’s acknowledging that there is attraction there and the energy of what you say and ask me a question that makes me dig down deep.
I was absolutely horrible in this in bars when I was younger. I was so full of fear. I was horrible at pickup lines.
It’s not stupidity but confidence and a willingness to express desire without throwing it all on me.
Pickup lines don’t work because they’re hackneyed in someone else’s. You’ve got to dig deep inside of yourself to make an authentic, interactive request for a connection.
How do you like women to flirt with you, Rob?
My favorite thing is intellectual play. I’m now 47 years old, happily engaged to the lovely Morgan and I’m in this place where it’s an intellectual. I had an experience where I just talked to a woman for hours. We were playing a game of chess but it was an emotional energetic chess and that was the most fun because it wasn’t so much a physical thing, it was a mental back and forth and she could keep up with me. That was super fun.
Especially since I’m engaging in the polyamorous, open relating world now, I love the feeling of knowing that desire and attraction is mutually present, whether it’s verbally acknowledged or not verbally acknowledged and allowing it to be in the ring and in the room without having to act on it immediately. There’s something that evokes the juices and it’s this arousing thing of knowing that it is present but not having to act on it. Especially as a woman, I want to know that I can flirt and play with a man and that my flirtation doesn’t mean that he’s immediately going to try and stick his cock in me. With one of my current lovers for example, we haven’t even had penetrative sex yet and it’s such an attractive thing to know that a man can be totally turned on and satisfied without needing to cum or needing to have his own form of release.
That goes back to the self-validating muscle. If a guy thinks he’s only successful if he does have some sexual experience, if that’s his goal-based outcome and a woman is not doing that, the guy will walk away from the interaction thinking he’s a failure. That’s what guys are taught. It’s the pursuit and the goal and the hunting and the notches on the belt. That’s how guys manage success. If a guy has it inside him, just to know that it’s the experience or it’s the game or it’s getting rejected really well, which is fun then you don’t demand from women some result. You actually offer play and in the play, there’s no specific outcome. That’s why I love flirting because I like to play. I like the intellectual pursuit. I’m not necessarily even looking for any outcome. I’m very aligned with my relationship goals. To ensure that I keep my integrity and keep my agreements, that means that I can play and flirt and bring all the energy back to my relationship, which is the most important thing. That’s my particular setup. I don’t need anything. A lot of guys maybe in my situation would be frustrated because of A, B, and C, but for me it’s just the opportunity to play.
What I would love, which I just think that would make flirtation so much better, is that beneath the desire to have sex, there was a desire to feel a connection with this person. It’s like the idea of, “Can you be my brother before you’re my lover?” It makes me sad and it makes me trust men less if I feel like they want to have sex with me but wouldn’t want to have any type of connection outside of the sex. I haven’t so much experienced that over the past few years because I’ve been so committed to radical intimacy and creating deeply intimate relationships. In college, I just remember that flirtation was so terrifying because if the flirtation didn’t go well, I’d be avoided for the rest of the four years. It’s a shame to me.
First, guys want intimacy more than sex. We advertise that we want sex but underneath it, truly what they’re really looking for is deep connection, intimacy and validation from a woman. What we’ve been taught is that sex is the penultimate form of intimacy and validation. That’s the miscue. Those college guys did want to be connected to you but they played the card of sex because that’s all they knew. When you denied them or rejected them or didn’t show any interest, then they thought, “She doesn’t want to be my friend.” The next generation is going to be much better at this particular thing.
My college thesis was on how we use text messaging as a way to avoid intimacy. I think it could go either way because so many millennials are utilizing disconnected forms of communication in order to convey personal and vulnerable truths. In a way, I feel like it makes it easier for us to be able to avoid the intimacy that vulnerability facilitates.
Guys really want to be intimate. We want to be connected to a woman. I’m rewriting this essay that I did. I had a good friend of mine, Robin Rinaldi, who helped me edit. She said men’s desire is to be connected to the feminine. We’re so stuck in our masculine that we want to be connected to the feminine and we think sex is the direction for it. To your point, another way to flirt with you is to lead with friendship and play. For all those 30-year-olds who are going to play the Arielle flirting game campaign, lead with friendship. Lead with showing up.
Lead with friendship and I want to feel the possibility there. I want to feel the attraction.
Guys have to lead with that. The third part is vulnerable. The hard thing for guys is that we’re so taught that if we show vulnerability, we’re weak. If we show vulnerability and we’re rejected, it means something about us that we often lead with the catcall or lead with the drive-by flirting or the text messages. It’s true. Text messaging is perfect with drive-by flirting. You just drop the flirt and move on. It’s because we’re scared to lead with vulnerability and be rejected.
I don’t really know how to help in those circumstances because I want to help men feel more comfortable in being vulnerable and I don’t want to have to teach them. How can women invite men to feel more comfortable being vulnerable?
Continue to tell them that it’s okay to be vulnerable. Counteract, reeducate them. Tell your stories. Say, “This is what worked for me in the past or this is what turns me on.” Do talks with crazy guys about how to be vulnerable. It’s all about reeducation. I was reeducated. This has been the eighteen years and the four years of being numb and dumb. It’s been a total reeducation of how to flirt and be vulnerable with women. It’s humongous and it was challenging because I had to go against all those stories that I grew up with.
It’s so interesting being on this because I’m feeling so seen. The dating and the flirtation process is a very vulnerable one. I just need to name that because I’m having this conversation and realizing I’m getting hit in all these little places.
There are a lot of lonely people out there too. That’s the hardest part for me. I live a blessed life. I have always been surrounded by people. I met Morgan at the perfect time and developed this relationship that I’m so grateful for. There are so many lonely people out there. I was in a gas station somewhere buying a bottle of water and this young guy came in, 30, 35 years old. He was like, “I’m watching the Dodgers game. It’s me and my dog watching the Dodgers game.” I was like, “Come to my house.” There are a lot of lonely people out there and it’s getting worse.
The sad thing is the toolkit that we’re given to help ourselves in those situation, we’re literally told that the last thing you want to do is be yourself. When it comes to winning at dating, winning at flirtation, probably 90% of the general population is walking around the belief of, “I need to change who I am in order to be attractive to this person.” What I’ve found over and over again is that in any moment where I’m feeling insecure and I know that I’m with someone who desires to connect with me, if I’m with someone who isn’t an ally, I’m probably not going to be vulnerable. If I’m with someone where they have consciously made a choice to spend time with me because they want to get to know me more, in those moments where I’m feeling insecure, what I’ve found the simplest thing to do to create more intimacy is say like, “I’m feeling nervous right now.” Naming the experience and taking down the mask that we’re trying to wear to act like we have it all figured out, in my experience has been one of the most connective things.
That’s the counterintuitive thing. Our buddy, Ken Blackman, likes to say, “The most attractive thing about a man is truly who he is.” We put on those facades and the peacock and the hats and the bows and the fancy outfits and we try to act like someone we’re not. You might pick up a lady and have a night of sex but that’s not what you truly want. You want someone to know you. You want to be intimate. When we get into a relationship, what do we do? We hide parts of ourselves. 30, 60, 90 days, we’re so tight, we’re so contracted about the truth and then after 90 days, when we hooked them, we finally start to reveal who we are because we’re so afraid of being rejected for our truest intimate parts. That’s the cancer of society. That’s my thesis is like, “How do you live unhidden? How do you live bold? How do you have faith that if you’re truly who you are, you’ll magnetize and attract the right people into your field?”
Not just the right people but the right experiences, the right opportunities. It’s everything. One question you put that I love which feels perfect here is, “Is there such a thing as too much vulnerability?” I think that there is and it has to do to me with the intention behind why you’re sharing and how much you’re sharing. I know for myself, back in my serial monogamy days, I would use radical vulnerability as just like, “I’m going to share everything about myself that I can as a way to force this person to fall in love with me by thinking that the more that this person knows about me all at once, the deeper our relationship is.” It wasn’t coming from a place of like, “Why am I sharing this? Am I attuned to the connection that I’m having with this person or am I dumping and spilling because I have such a desire to have a relationship with someone that maybe if I share all of who I am, they’ll want to be with me?” I feel like it’s similar to how I engage in sex for all of my college experience which was, “I want a man to fall in love with me, so I’m going to have sex with him.” Making the assumption that if I have sex with a man, that means that we’re in a relationship or it means that it changes everything. It was such a point of suffering for me for so much of my younger twenties because it’s the worst case scenario you can set yourself up with. You want to fall in love so bad and in order to do that, you try and reveal all of yourself all at once. Then when I felt rejected it was like, “It must be me because all I did was share everything about me.”
I think that comes down to what we talked about with flirting, it’s paying attention. When you over-share or are over-vulnerable, it means you’re not paying attention to your listener. It takes a lot of attention. Here are some kinds of scarcity in it as well. It’s like, “I have to get this out. Hot potato, hot potato. I have to get this out. If I don’t, it means X, Y and Z.” With me and Morgan, we know we have a lifetime together and it’s so much fun to share at a pace that both of us can listen. We both have very big appetites for each other’s evolution and to hear about it. It just takes paying attention. Sometimes I’m like, “I’m tired. I just want to watch a movie,” and she knows that. The point is to pay attention, pay attention, pay attention.
Similar to what you were speaking to as a man flirting, one of the best skills you’ve cultivated is to know your excellence, know your amazingness. It’s been similar for me. The more that I have connected to the fact that I’m an incredibly magnetic, powerful, rich, dynamic, intelligent, beautiful woman, the more I’ve found turned on in pacing, and allowing myself to trust in the enfoldment and trust in my magnetism enough that what I am offering, that the man who is connecting with me is going to continue to step forward. One of the biggest conversations that I had with female coaching clients and women around attraction is that women have been so conditioned and cultured to associate finding their Prince Charming with the most important thing that it becomes the fixation. It can be this thing of, “If I just give all of myself, how could they say no?” Instead it’s a perspective shift where we invite the man to take steps towards us as opposed to feeling that we need to put ourselves entirely in their reality. The conversation that I keep having over and over with women is like, “I lose connection to myself and I jump into this person’s world and then it all falls apart.”
My words for that is just to be matched. If a man isn’t showing up, don’t show up. Let him go. If you have a certain bar, a certain standard, your bottom lines of what you need for a man to show up and then you show up and they don’t show up, you can learn that this guy maybe doesn’t want to show up or maybe doesn’t have the capacity to show up. Then you can educate them like, “I’m noticing I’m showing up and you’re not showing up. I don’t feel your presence. I don’t feel your attention. When I text you, it takes a day to get back. I have certain things I need to know that you’re present with me. Do you want to do that?” He’ll be like, “I want to do that.” If you give him another chance and he doesn’t show, then just be like, “This is the second time. I’m just not feeling you. If this relationship doesn’t work for you, that’s fine.” That’s where most women are like, “I’ve got to grasp. I’m afraid of being alone. I invested six months in this relationship and so I’m willing to accept the good,” where good is the enemy of great. People accept mediocrity rather than setting the standard of what they need to feel met in a relationship. The greatest gift women have given to me is be like, “This isn’t working for me for X, Y and Z.” Sometimes I’m like, “I’m not really interested. Thanks. That was fun.” Other times I’m like, “I’m so grateful that you educated me on what you need.” It happens with Morgan all the time. She’s constantly surprising me on new things she needs. I’m so happy when she tells it to me because I’m like, “I didn’t know that. Let’s play and let’s adjust and let’s find this out so I can go deeper and deeper.” That education is so priceless.
It took me such a long time to get to a place where I could believe that if a man wasn’t showing up, it didn’t mean that it was something I was doing wrong.
That’s a trick women play on themselves. That’s the bear trap that their feet are stuck in. That’s the benefit of me at 47. At 30, I was totally clueless, numb and dumb and didn’t understand my self-validation. That’s been the journey I’ve been on. Now, it makes me a better friend. It makes me a better partner. It makes me a better business coach. From a business point of view, if I’m selling because I’m worried about you getting the deal so I can pay my rent, then I’m going to do everything I can and sacrifice my integrity to get the gig. If I have the rent covered and I can sell from you from surplus or non-attachment, that’s the best place to be. Sometimes in business, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. You could be forthright about that or do a sale or something. If we’re trying to hide that part of ourselves, where we’re selling something to pay the rent, that will come across.
I’ve been facilitating a lot of coed intimacy groups and the focus is, “How do we create a new baseline for intimacy?” That means we are embodying a depth of intimacy that when we walk around, people can feel it and we invite people into our level of intimacy, our level of depth. Let’s say that you and I are flirting, Rob. Let’s make you a good guy and me the bad guy. You’re the deep person and me the not deep person. Let’s say that I’m insecure in myself or insecure with intimacy and you flirt with me in a way we are holding a certain depth. We’re like, “I can really connect with you here in a way that feels super nourishing and yet slightly terrifying because I’m being seen.” In that moment, because I have the discomfort, I pop out of that. That can look like a variety of different things. It can look at me walking away from you or saying something sarcastic or getting mad. Something that if you weren’t secure in the depth that you are holding, you could take it personally or you could jump out of intimacy also.
The thing that I want to speak to is especially when we’re cultivating new depths of intimacy and creating a new baseline for ourselves, there’s this courageous act that we can take of holding the depth even when a person wants to jump out of it. If we shake and falter when this person jumps out and the intimacy is lost, this person has no trust that the intimacy was there in the first place. If we can hold this baseline even when the person gets uncomfortable and stays steady that they see that it’s still there, then we’re giving this person the opportunity to sink back in to a deeper layer with us. It requires courage. If I was inviting the people to do one thing, it would be to take the courageous action of allowing yourself to be intimate and vulnerable and stay there even if another person gets uncomfortable and wants to jump away. It is a practice holding this new level of intimacy and vulnerability. The only way we get comfortable in it is by letting ourselves feel not met there but continuing to walk that path.
If I was flirting with you and I knew you were a runner, then I could flirt with you and instead of trying to contain you, I would actually increase the size of the playing field so you could run around and I would just be there waiting, “How’s it going? How are you doing?” and then wait for you to come back. That’s a master player. If I am not feeling comfortable and confident in myself and grasping for the runner, then the game won’t go anywhere.
It makes me think of our friend, Nicole Daedone, who once said to me, “Thinking of it is like putting out a saucer of milk for the cat. There’s this nourishment there, the cat doesn’t even have to come into the house or knock but it just knows that it’s sitting there and that they can come and drink the sweetness without feeling they’re attached or required to stay.”
We’re leaving the saucer of milk out for the world. We have the Arielle flirting campaign possibility and then we have an upcoming show which is Masculine, Feminine and Integrity. Thank you so much for being on this dialogue with me. It’s truly awesome. I like how this is going.
I do too. It’s letting me look at how I can be even more vulnerable on camera with confronting. Thank you for making me uncomfortable.
That’s my pleasure. I absolutely love making you uncomfortable.
Thank you so much for joining us. You can go to TuffLove.Live/Six. I’ll be back next week for a show on Masculine, Feminine and Integrity. Thank you so much.
About Arielle Brown
Arielle is a Relationship Expert & Intimacy Educator. She specializes in helping people to create deeper connection and intimacy their relationships and greater community. In her private coaching work with singles and couples, she helps people create or revitalize relationships that are authentic to the needs, values and desires of each person. Her group facilitation and workshops focus on cultivating deeper levels of intimacy with others through conscious communication, energetic attunement and sensory awareness of the body. Learn more at www.ariellebrown.com.