The Dating Corollary: The Awkward Proposal Moment

Originally posted 2015-05-21 08:16:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

As mentioned in the introduction (and you read the introduction, right? No? Go read it over here), in the first follow up (and you read that one too, right? No? Go read it over here), and then with counter-offers covered over here, and break up netiquette over here, we’re going to chat about some of the similarities between the wild world of dating, looking for a job, hiring someone, and just networking in general.

Because there are a lot of them.

And none so hard to figure out how to handle, or recover from, as The Awkward Proposal…

As any good fan of The Big Bang Theory knows (and if you’re not, just stop reading…I can’t talk to you) in any relationship, there comes a time when one person is more invested than the other.

It just happens.

It’s awkward as all hell…but it happens.

And not that either person is wrong…or right…it’s just the way things happen to work out.

It’s also unfortunately nearly impossible to recover from, too.

Because this whole series of articles is all about the similarities between dating, networking, and a job search, let’s put this into the context of work.

Let’s say you’ve been a consultant on a contract some place for a while.  Maybe you’ve been there for six months, maybe for a year or two…maybe you’ve even been floating around there for five years or more.  It’s gotten to the point where people are stunned to find out you’re a contractor, because everyone just assumed that you’d been there for so long you just had to be an employee.

But you’re not.

And then comes that fateful day…it’s probably not in a fancy restaurant with mood lighting and a string quartet in the background…no, it’s probably someone’s office, or a conference room, or as you’re walking back from a meeting…but the principle is the same.

They pop the question: “How would you feel about us hiring you in?”

Now, just like in your personal life…reactions can vary greatly at this moment.

Maybe it’s all you could ever hope for.  They have everything you’ve ever looked for in a partner – the right challenges, the right fit, they make you happy day to day, and you feel fulfilled.

But we’re not here to talk about that.  Because that’s easy.  You accept their proposal, and you begin living your life of seeing the exact same person every day for the rest of your (working) life.  Well, at least until a break up happens, but we’ve already covered that.

We’re here to talk about what happens when you’re just not there in the relationship yet.

Maybe you’re just not ready to settle down.

Maybe you’ve just been kind of going through the motions.

Maybe you’re the textbook example of The Recliner Syndrome.

Whatever the reasons…you’re just not in the same place in this relationship as they are, and so you’ve got some hard decisions to make.  And the bad news is…you have to make them quickly.

See, just like a marriage proposal, this situation really shouldn’t catch you completely off guard.  I mean, honestly people…we’ve all seen the videos on Youtube of marriage proposals gone horribly wrong…and those people were morons.  You don’t blindside someone with a huge commitment.  Hopefully there have been conversations leading up to that moment where the other party is at least somewhat aware that this situation might pop up…hell, maybe you’ve been waiting for them to pop the question since your second week in and you’re already pissed off it’s taken them this long to ask you…

…but again, we’re not here for that.  Because your life is easy.

We’re here for the hard part.

We’re here for the girl who finds herself at center court during a Boston Celtics game wearing a blindfold sitting in a chair…and when the blindfold is taken off, finds herself confronted with the sight of her dumbass boyfriend with a ring and an entire stadium full of pressure.

We’re here for you, Penny…when dorky, geeky (but let’s be clear: “well meaning yet clueless”) Leonard proposes out of nowhere in bed one night.

Because once that question gets asked, you had damned well better be able to think on your feet, because you’re standing on the edge of a cliff.

Whether you know it or not…whether you like it or not…doesn’t matter.

That’s where you are.

The way you handle yourself in the next five to ten seconds is going to dictate how painful this is going to be for you.

Is this what you want?  Is this who you want to see every day?  Is giving up your “out” of “I’m not really here on a permanent basis” going to freak out out completely?  Is this who you want to commit to?

Let’s be clear here – there’s no going back.

This isn’t a casual thing any more.  The other person has said “I want you to be here, and I want us to be exclusive”…this is for keeps.

If someone random asks you out and you turn them down, it’s no harm, no foul.  There’s no emotional investment there.

If someone you’ve been friends with for years asks you out…there’s risk involved.  You have some emotional involvement, and saying no could cost you that friend.

If someone you’ve been in a relationship with for years pops the question and you say “no”…well, remember what we said about counter offers?

The clock is ticking here, too.

Once you’ve said “no”, you can’t just go back to the way things were.  People are involved, which means emotions are involved.  “Why won’t this person commit to me?”, “Why aren’t I enough for them?”, “What can someone else offer that I can’t?” …all valid questions, all happening the minute you decline.

And so you’d better start working on your exit strategy, because now that they’ve made it known that they want someone in that role full time…if it’s not going to be you, you can be damned sure that they’re going to find someone who wants to shack up with them for the long haul.

Sure…they’ll probably choke back the anger for a while.  Sure, they’ll probably still be friendly enough with you.  Sure, they’ll probably still try to keep up appearances that all is well.

But it’s not.

They’re looking for their next relationship…so you’d better be looking for yours as well.

Agree?  Had a different experience?  Chime in using the comments section below.

That’s all for this time folks.  Go read something else:

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