So with the reboot of ABC’s Rosanne, which is awesome by the way, I’ve been watching old episodes, reliving some old laughs. I caught an episode today about the time Jackie was dating a man, he fell in love with her, and Roseanne gave her a hard time for being such a wet noodle.
For those of you who are not familiar, check it out here! But anyway, Jackie is the younger sister of the matriarch and she is perpetually full of self doubt, a need to fit in, and a people pleaser. So when this man shows an interest in her, naturally she wants to make sure she pleases him. She agrees to all his suggestions, lets him make date choices…you get the idea.
Now, I was watching this with my 13 year old son. I saw this as an opportunity to talk to him about being true to himself, since ya know, that’s kinda important to me. So first, I asked him if he had any idea what it felt like to fall in love. Of course, he replied, “how would I know”, so I told him a few things: butterflies in the stomach, thinking of that person all the time, and that feeling that you’ll do anything to make that person happy. Of course I mentioned that sometimes we insecure-folk tend to try to please the new love interest (or connection interest) by foregoing our own preferences in favor of theirs, which we saw in the show. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t all bad, just an opportunity for discussion).
Anyway, Rosanne speaks up and calls Jackie out on her lack of opinions, Jackie is hurt and angry, and they distance themselves from each other. Ultimately, it all works out, but I thought it important to talk with my son about being true to who he is, and encouraging his future connections (possible girlfriends and friends alike) to express their opinions and preferences. Just because a relationship is new, and there is still fear of rejection, or insecurities about maintaining that persons interest (because of course when you like someone, you want to connect, but not knowing them well yet, it can be scary to be yourself).
So anyway, be who you are. Be brave and true, and respectful, but be honest. It’s alright to say, “Sorry, but I’d rather not go to that restaurant,” or “I would like to go hiking today, how about you?” And in return, be open to occasions that this new person in your life expresses distaste for an idea you have or an affinity for something you can’t stand. And I know it’s scary and requires confidence to be yourself, but try it! You never know where you’ll find a kindred spirit!
*And one more thing: it’s ok to say to that new person, “you’re important to me” or “thanks for being a good friend” or “I enjoyed our outing together”. Often times, we are afraid to put ourselves out there (again, I’m referring to us insecure-folk). Sometimes, when people say things like this, it can be a little too warm and fuzzy for people, but it’s worth the risk. When the other person knows how you feel, you create a more solid and true connection that will stand up to any bumps in the road ahead.