Why Being “Half-Committed” Makes You Miserable

Yesterday I was talking with one of my private coaching clients about a challenge he’s facing.

He recently moved into a new, larger house…

And, since the move…

His girlfriend (who is Colombian) has been inviting her family over to stay with them constantly.

Now my client loves his girlfriend and her family…

And he truly admires the fact that family is so important to them…

But when her family is constantly coming over unannounced…

And staying for weeks at a time…

It’s disruptive to his workflow and rhythm.

The good news…

Is that in the past, my client would have let this situation lead to a big fight with his significant other…

But because of our work together…

He recognized what was happening, and was able to communicate his feelings with her…

And while she didn’t understand where he was coming from (to her, family is EVERYTHING)…

She was at least able to appreciate what he was saying…

And she agreed to communicate with him so that he knows in advance when her family is going to be visiting…

Along with when they’ll be leaving.

It’s a great start…

But my client was still having anxiety…

Because, as he explained to me…

When his girlfriend’s family is in town…

He seems to always get “dragged” into things.

For example – they’ll say they want to just go grab a quick dinner…

But then, before he knows it…

Dinner has turned into walking around downtown, going to a Latin club, and dancing until 3 am in the morning.

This happens pretty often…

But hey, what can the guy do, right?

The answer is, actually a LOT.  

You see, here’s what I explained to my client:

The problem isn’t his girlfriend and her cousins/aunts/sisters/whoever turning a “quick dinner” into an all-night salsa party…

The problem is that he KNOWS in advance this is going to happen…

Yet he still tells himself that this “should” be a quick bite…

Then gets pissed off or resentful when it’s not.

That’s on him, not her.

And because he’s creating a state of cognitive dissonance in his mind…

He’s creating this conflict between his ideal and the reality.

Reality tends to win…

So by going into these situations with unrealistic expectations…

All my client is doing is saying “hey, I want to be disappointed”…

Then, sure enough, he is…

And it leads to completely unnecessary conflicts and feelings of stress.

Here’s how he can fix this…

 

The “magic bullet” to all of my client’s issues is one simple thing…

Commitment.

You see…

My client needs to be 100% committed to anything he’s doing in life…

But right now, he’s not.

Instead, when my client goes out to dinner with his girlfriend and her family…

He’s half-committed…

Because he’s saying “okay” to eating…

But he’s saying “no” to what will inevitably come after.

As a result of this, he feels anxious the whole time…

And I imagine that this is the conversation going on inside his head:

“I really hope it’s just dinner this time. Are they going to want to go dancing again? I told myself I was going to work later tonight, but if they go dancing I’m not going to get that work done. Why does she always do this to me?”

That’s the self-talk of a half-committed man…

And it’s inherently stressful, right?

What my client needs to do instead…

Is be 100% committed not just to dinner, but to spending the entire night with his girlfriend and her family.

That way, before they’ve even left his house…

He’s already fully accepted that he may not come home until 3 am in the morning…

He knows that he’s not going to get any more work done later that night…

And he’s completely fine with that fact.

Maybe this sounds simple – but it’s a game-changer…

Because now my client can actually enjoy this time with his significant other…

Instead of being “half-present,” with his mind preoccupied by all of the other things he should be doing.

Does that make sense?

Now, there’s one more important part to this as well…

Which is that this 100% commitment thing goes both ways.

There are going to be times when my client has to get a project done…

Or where he really needs some alone time to recharge.

In those cases, he should just tell his GF that he’s going to skip on going out with her and her family…

And then he should 100% commit to that decision, rather than feel guilty about not joining them.

As I explained to my client…

If he presents this to his significant other in the right way…

It should actually strengthen their relationship too…

Because what he’s essentially telling her is:

“When we’re together, I want to be fully and 100% present. I don’t want to be distracted or irritable. You may have noticed that I am this way sometimes, and I’m making a commitment to change that. I’m really excited for this, because it’s going to lead to us spending much higher quality time together, and having a lot more fun!

On the other side though, there are certain times where I really need to work. Or where, honestly, I really just need some downtime so I can recharge. In those cases, and when I make that decision, I just want you to respect that as well. Especially because when I do say “no” to going out with you and your family, it’s so that in the future, when I say “yes” I am able to be 100% present and all-in on this quality time.”

I’m pretty sure his girlfriend is going to understand where he’s coming from…

Because now, the way we’ve reframed this is that it’s no longer all about “him”…

It’s about their relationship.

And so, when he does tell her he wants downtime, or says no…

He’s not being selfish or unfun in his girlfriend’s eyes…

He’s making an investment in THEM.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for this morning…

But hopefully you guys find this as interesting as I do.

– SPG

P.S. I warned y’all I’m long winded. I’d love to tell you I’ll be less verbose in the future… But that’s something I simply can’t commit too 😛

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