Human emotions are fragile and unless you understand when to act on someone’s emotions, you’ll not only fail to light the flame, but may destroy even the little spark that was there in the beginning.
Just like in any dance, timing is everything, even more important than moves or steps. Knowing the right time to act is not merely a matter of deciding what particular moment to make a move, rather it’s knowing how to draw out corresponding emotions from others.
Similar to how a dancer or musician will feel when his or her timing is off, your “timing” is off (too soon, or too late) when:
1. You find it hard to find common points of interest, whether personal or professional.
2. You are overwhelmed, confused, and anxious most of the time.
3. The other person is not showing genuine interest in trying to make a connection.
4. You feel that the other person is somehow holding back.
5. You feel like you are hitting your head on a dead wall.
5. Your relationship is plagued with “communication problems”, and no matter what you try, nothing works.
6. The other person tells you something is missing.
7. They suddenly break up with you when you thought all was going well.
When this happens, the common mistake many men and women make is dismiss how the other person feels and/or give some sort of advice or “small talk”. This creates even more disconnection.
The best course is:
1) Stop the noise in your head and listen to the silence in your heart. By this I mean stop trying to make this about something other than what it is. If you feel something is off, it is.
2) Listen not only to what is being said but also what is not being said. The same way we pick up the change of emotions in a musician’s song, the moment when one emotion changes to another cannot be so easily seen with physiological eyes (like observing body language), but by making genuine effort to become emotionally “one” with that person. Therapists and counselors do this all the time, and many of us do it when we are not focused on trying to create an impression, manipulate someone or play down what is happening.
For example, if the other person is talking about something that makes them sad, many of us will try to cheer them up and by so doing we are dismissing their sadness and/or playing it down. But if we are trying to emotionally connect with them, we will find ourselves feeling sad too. Their emotions become our emotions and their feelings our feelings, and our response will reflect the fact that we genuinely “know” how they feel because we are also feeling it in that same moment.
It’s “I feel you” that makes the other person feel emotionally connected to us. And the people we feel emotionally connected to are the people we are attracted to and want to be around. We don’t want to let them go because we think we may never experience that level of connection with someone else.