Global Trends Review #1: Commitment Phobia

My current role as a strategy manager requires me to monitor and analyze global trends in order to be able to come out with appropriate business responses and solutions. Our work life often tends to spill into our personal life and I have to admit that I am guilty of letting this spill happen to me as well.

Recent conversations with one of my closest female friends, gave me the push to share one of these personal trends I have been observing in the past few years and attempt suggesting some strategic solutions. I would call it commitment phobia.

Disclaimer: This post reflects my personal opinions and experiences. Just as with any other global trend, it is a generalization based on a non-exhaustive set of data, which mayor may not apply to other individuals’ lives and / or be aligned to their observed realities. Please keep this in mind when reading the following lines.

Background:

We, young, well-educated and successful professionals live in a bi-polar world with numerous interactions, distractions and other forms of stimuli. Every single day, we multi-task, come up with new ideas, seek new forms of entertainment and get bored every other second. We have short-term goals, we are critical of ourselves and others, and we have no patience for failures. This phenomenon is applicable to men and women alike.

The Woman Approach:

We, women, set ourselves ambitious goals of career, free-time optimization (hobbies, clothes, sports, save-the-world, etc.,) and marriage to the love of our lives and all by the age of 30.

The Man Approach:

Men also set similar goals but with slight modifications: career, free-time optimization (hobbies, clothes gadgets, sports, save-the-world, etc.,), conquering numerous women, by the age of 35. Then marriage to a genius supermodelthe love of our lives and all by the age of 3040.

The Results:

Total disconnect for which both sides are to blame.

We, women, expect too much, then we project these expectations to the men who, in turn, perceive the need to perform to those expectations. Since there is a clear asymmetry of information, of course, the men also grotesquely inflate those perceived expectations (as it is human nature to exaggerate uncertain reality). This phenomenon can be classified under a concept I learned in business school called – Cognitive Dissonance. They then address this created anxiety through a very simple conflict free solution: block the root cause -i.e. the woman.

Specific examples (can attest from the woman side):

1.  You had a wonderful evening together, at the end of which he told you he had a great time. Then he never calls again. You try reaching him and all efforts are futile, or met with a cold response.

2. You hear through the grapevine that he is interested  and you try to make the first step. The response, shockingly enough, is lukewarm.

3. Any type of suggestive text messaging stream that suddenly dies out.

4. He makes promises or daydreams out loud about your future together, but as soon as you start showing interest in the ideas, he disappears like the earth has swallowed him.

5. I have many more. Please contact me separately if you like masochism.

My suggested Solutions:

For women:

1. Stop caring about what he thinks or wants and start thinking about what you care and want.

2. I really don’t like the concept of “He is just not that into you” because it kind of provokes the insecurity-ridden question “What is wrong with me?!” I think a better concept is: “It’s not you, it’s him.” This is a much healthier and productive approach. If you are a smart girl and you follow step 1, and still, he does not acknowledge your worth, the loss is all his.

3. Get a life: Make awesome friends, do interesting things and finds sources and outlets of creativity. Happy and fun people tend to attract other happy and fun people (aside from some basic dose of leeches which is unavoidable). If this doesn’t work, rewind, get another life and restart once again.

I am not saying that the above suggestions will land you the man you want, or any man at all. The point is that one should focus on what makes one happy now and not expect this happiness to come from an outside source only. Just as with any strategic analysis, sometimes it doesn’t matter who caused the global disruption but what matters is what are you going to do next?

For men:

1. If we are interested in you at present, it does not mean we want to spend the rest of our lives (or even just one year of it) with you.

2. Our flexibility does not imply a weakness of character.

3. Sometimes, a simple response of: “Thank you for your time and effort, however, I have decided to pursue other candidates/opportunities.” can make a lot of difference and show simple respect for the other person who also chose to share her precious time with you.

4. The perfect woman does not exist. Get over it.

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3 thoughts on “Global Trends Review #1: Commitment Phobia

  1. bravo, kiddo — this is deep 🙂
    you probably meant “Stop caring about what he thinks or wants, and **start** thinking about what you care and want”? totally agree — men start wonder what’s so important you would rather do instead of hanging out with them, and they try to become that #1 activity for you 🙂

    Like

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