Chapter 33 Learning Objectives
Upon reading this chapter, the student should be able to:
- Distinguish feelings from each other – particularly feelings which have subtle or complex but nuanced differences, and the appropriate ways to respond to them, tend to become easier with experience and proper understanding of one’s past mistakes or and with reflections about how one wish one had handled the situation afterward.
Watch this video or scan the QR code to learn about dealing with relationship insecurity.
Having just recounted some of the problems that an inexperienced or unknowledgeable person might encounter regarding the physical or technical aspects of sex, I would now like to point out some other problems that seem to arise fairly commonly for inexperienced people, problems more of an emotional or social nature, some of which have a relationship to sex but others which do not.
(Let me first explain that “inexperienced” is not really quite the right word; “naive” or “unaware” is perhaps more accurate though each of these terms has a somewhat derogatory connotation I do not mean to imply. The reason “inexperienced” is inappropriate is that some people can be very understanding, aware, and knowledgeable with little experience, and some people gain little knowledge or wisdom no matter how much experience they have. The latter learn little from their experience. Age also seems to have little to do with this; many older people are inexperienced or unaware of these things. Some people have little knowledge about how to act concerning dating and friendship with the opposite sex, though they may have been married for years before becoming widowed or divorced. This may be particularly true for people who married the first person, or one of the first persons, they ever dated or loved; and even more particularly if their spouse then served as the only person of the opposite sex they allowed themselves to have any sort of friendship with.)
The following are in no particular order of significance:
1) A rather simple problem to solve, but one which unsolved causes difficulty, is the problem of how to refuse a particular date with a person you would like to go out with, but whose particular invitation at that time you cannot accept or would prefer not to. To turn down the invitation without appearing to reject them, first tell them you appreciate their asking (if you want to flatter them, tell them you are flattered they asked you) and that you would like to get to know them and to go out with them, but that you cannot go with them at that particular time or to that particular event. Suggest an alternative time and event if you can think of one for you to attend together, maybe even your treat. If you cannot think of such an alternative at the time, ask them later. This is particularly flattering and shows you really are sincere in wanting to see them though you will not be able to at the time or event they proposed. The occasion does not have to be something expensive or monumental. Often you can suggest going for a walk or for coffee or ice cream or meeting at the museum. The point is to show some interest in being with them and in getting to know them — the place or event you invite them to should facilitate your getting acquainted, or at least not hinder it. Extend a dinner invitation if you like. If they ask you out at a time you are free but for an event you would rather not attend (such as a movie you have already seen or a restaurant you used to frequent with an “ex”, that would stir memories you would rather forget) then simply suggest an alternative event, or simply ask them if they might not mind a different event (movie, restaurant, whatever). Or, if their heart was really set on that particular event, decline but issue your own invitation for some other event some other time. This seems to me a very natural and much less awkward way to communicate than to announce simply that you cannot go out because you already have plans. If you say the latter, they do not know whether to pursue asking you out some other time or not. More timid callers might not call back a second time, or the second time might be just as inconvenient, and only the most determined person would call after that.
2) Politely turning down a date with someone you do not want to go out with is probably a little more difficult, since it is not usually pleasant to hurt someone else’s feelings; and in some cases it is not prudent to anger someone who might be easily offended. In refusing an invitation, it is important to thank the person for asking at least. Sometimes an explanation for the refusal may be in order to help take some of the sting out of it, particularly if the refusal is based on something other than the personal qualities of the person asking you out. For example, you may have a friend away at college who is the only person you date. But if the reason would be offensive, or if you do not want to risk getting into a debate about why you should go out with them, sometimes it is simply better to give no explanation for your refusal. You simply say you are grateful they asked but you cannot or would rather not go out with them, and if they are then impolite enough to ask why not, you simply say you would rather not say. In some cases you may want to lie and say you cannot go out at that time, but that invites the possibility of being asked out again, and then it is perhaps even more difficult to say you would simply rather not.
I have been speaking here of turning down a polite request for a date. But some requests are impolite or are made impolitely; and there are any number of ways of turning those down — from a polite, unexcited “No thank you” as if you were simply refusing a piece of candy, to whatever you can think of at the time. On one television show, when a fat, self-centered, middle- aged man asked a gorgeous secretary to go out with him, saying his wife let him fool around a little on the side, the secretary just cooed to him, “But I wouldn’t want to share you; I would want all of you, if we started going out together,” which obviously was not what the fellow had in mind. “Sorry,” she said as she turned her back and sashayed away. On “Cheers” one night, when Carla asked Sam why he never asked her out though he was always “hitting on” anything else in skirts, he said “I just always thought you would be too much woman for me, Carla.” She thought that made sense.
3) It is easy to mistake another person’s genuine (humanitarian) concern for you for their being in love with you; and you might respond inappropriately. Romantic love often involves concern for the loved one’s well-being, but such concern does not always entail romantic love. There are many kind people who care about the well-being of others without having romantic or any other particular attraction for them. This may be particularly true of some sympathetic teachers, counselors, doctors, nurses, attorneys, police, paramedics or others who you meet while you are facing some particular problem. Also, people who have gone through certain bad experiences themselves often like to help others weather them more readily than they themselves did facing them alone. Not everyone who cares about you is in love with you. Not everyone who shows a concerned interest in your needs you to be attracted to them in return,nor embarrassingly avoided if you are not attracted to them.
4) Even if another person does love you, that does not mean you have to develop romantic feelings toward them, or shun them or feel embarrassed or guilty if you do not. Not all love is reciprocal, and there is no particular reason it should be. Sometimes it is painful for one with a crush, infatuation, attraction, or loving feelings not to have them returned; and sometimes it is difficult to understand how such feelings, being felt so passionately and intensely by one, cannot be perceived or returned by the other. But sometimes it is sufficient for one simply to have and to express such feelings for another without demanding they be returned. If they are returned, that is icing on the cake. One should not ever feel pressured to return love; love is not the kind of thing that can properly be demanded. Feelings of attraction cannot necessarily be conjured up on command. One may or may not hope that one’s love or one’s romantic attraction will be returned;but ethically one cannot demand that it will be. And psychologically, such demands may most likely be self-defeating anyway, unless the subject or object of such demands has some consuming desire to be possessed or enslaved by someone else.
5) Inexperienced people often mistake other sorts of feelings or attractions toward someone for feelings of romance toward that person. This is particularly easy to have happen to you when it is the first time any feelings of attraction toward another have been awakened in you. It is also easy if such feelings are awakened so infrequently that you cannot distinguish them very easily.
Now although it may be impossible to know why you are attracted to a particular person, I think it is important to know how, or in what way, you are attracted to them. It is important because it can help prevent hurt feelings, damaged egos, or worse in some cases, and because it often helps simply to prevent misunderstandings. For example, take the case of a college or high school counselor or a teacher who is very concerned about the well- being of his or her students, and who pays special attention at some point to a particular student who seems to be having some sort of problems that are affecting his or her work. Such concern may spark a feeling of gratitude in the student, and that coupled with perhaps some sort of feelings of respect or awe for the teacher or counselor’s demonstrated abilities, maturity, etc., may lead the student to feel he or she (romantically) loves the counselor or teacher; or the special attention may lead the student to believe the teacher or counselor has some special attraction for him or her.
Now if the student mistakes the teacher’s concern for attraction or mistakes his or her own gratitude for attraction, he or she may get into a situation, which, unless the teacher or counselor is perceptive enough to recognize and capable enough to deal with sympathetically, could lead to real problems. The student might act in ways that could lead to embarrassment for the student and the teacher. Or they might have an affair, which if based only on gratitude and awe on the one side, and on sexual attraction on the other side (or on temporary emotional needs or feelings of both), is more likely than not doomed to failure and disaster.
This is not to argue that affairs between (college) students and teachers are always or usually doomed to fail disastrously or that they are always wrong. There are many very mature students, and in a small class in daily contact with a sharp teacher, the two are certainly bound to notice each others’ better qualities. Many successful and happy marriages have grown out of student-teacher romances (or out of romances between teachers and their former students, in cases where they, perhaps prudently, waited until after the course was over to date). But whether they wait until after the course is over to date or not, the basic problem is still the same (though at least waiting until after a course is over eliminates the course grade from being a potential source of problems) — the problem of their relationship being a satisfactory or successful one if it is based on temporary needs or feelings, or on feelings that are mistaken for more appropriate ones to base such a relationship on. Relationships based on mistaken ideas about what each others’ actions mean or imply, or about what each others’ intentions or feelings or desires are, or about what the relationship means to both of you, are relationships that are especially fragile. And this is even more so when the conditions that occasion such feelings or desires are probably temporary. Romances that arise in somewhat traumatic circumstances, like at college before exams or in war before hazardous duty, have a particular vulnerability when those traumatic circumstances end. Any relationship may change or sustain damage when surrounding circumstances change for one or both partners; and the more dramatic the change in surrounding circumstances, the more likely the change in the relationship. Experience can help you understand though (1) which circumstances are ones that induce temporary feelings of attraction in you and others, and (2) what sorts of actions and responses are more appropriate and more likely to be in line with which sorts of feelings. Experience can help you learn what sorts of feelings you have, and how to distinguish them from each other.
And it can teach you to recognize all this in others to some extent as well. And it is my belief that one should also look out for the other person in a relationship as well as for oneself. One must help an inexperienced person deal with an infatuation or crush or with an unwarranted or potentially damaging sexual or other kind of attraction if one can. One should not just dismiss it or take unfair advantage of it or ignore it if there is some better way to deal with it to help the other person understand himself or herself better. Such concern and help, when it is possible and successful, also helps make for much more rewarding and long-lasting relationships (including friendships) generally too.
The kind of mistaken notions of affection or attraction I am writing about here do not always have to be between an older and younger person. When I was in high school and was very shy and socially insecure, if a girl so much as said hello to me and introduced herself, I was easily flattered and smitten. In our still often double standard society, I still frequently have a flattered tingle of excitement when a female takes the initiative and introduces herself to me in a kind and polite manner, since that alone seems to be a sign of her being interested in me.
And when I was in college there was a reversal of this sort of thing. At the time that I went to school many people had the idea that a guy should try to “snow” a girl; that is, really impress her in some way, dazzle her, or sweep her off her feet so that she would make out with him or sleep with him. But I generally wanted to get to know a girl, not snow her. I wanted us to like each other, if we were going to, for what we were, not for what we pretended to be. Unfortunately, with all the other fellows running around trying to be dazzling, but instead being only transparently superficial, my attempts to carry on an actually meaningful conversation, was so impressive to many girls that it ended up doing the snow job I was trying to avoid. That was sometimes frightening and disappointing when I was not feeling so impressive or was not ready for them to have a crush on me and did not know how to cope with it. This was all the more compounded when I felt lonely and deep down really wanted to be liked for any reason. Then I was not sure whether I was “using” sincerity as a trick or whether I really was sincere, or what.
And kindness or concern are not the only qualities that people of any age might find attracting. As in the teacher-student case, it may be some sort of intellectual attraction or intellectually satisfying stimulation that creates the bond. It may be some sort of physical beauty, or type of personality, or the way someone treats children or other adults, or any of a whole range of possibilities. In the movie The Electric Horseman, part of the appeal about Sonny was his concern for the ill-treated horse. I have seen divorced women uninterested in dating anyone become absolutely smitten over men they had not previously met who were nice to their children on the playground. Non-physical good traits tend to make their owners particularly appealing when others around them do not have them. A cheerful, industrious person may be attracting when otherwise surrounded by sluggish malcontents; a conscientious person among those generally irresponsible; someone sensitive in the midst of brutes or egotists. Pablo Casals is said to have spent most of his time around businessmen because he said they wanted to talk with him about music — his love — whereas musicians only wanted to talk about money.
6) Part of the reason it is easy to mistake any sort of attraction for all sorts of attraction or for love or romantic attraction is that our society still seems to stress the false notion that there is one and only one “right” person for each of us, one person that is made for us and we for them.
“Somewhere there waiteth in this world of ours For one lone soul another lonely soul, Each choosing each through all the weary hours, And meeting strangely at one sudden goal, Then blend they, like green leaves with golden flowers, Into one beautiful and perfect whole; And life’s long night is ended, and the way Lies open onward to eternal day.” — Edwin Arnold (cited in Roberts, 1940, p. 464)
If this were true, it would be amazing that we would ever meet the “right” person, let alone meet them in the high school or college or church we attend or the neighborhood where we were reared or that they would be the child of one of our parents’ friends.
The old saying to a jilted lover that there are plenty of other fish in the sea, though somewhat of a cold way to put it, contains some wisdom. There are probably any number of people whom we could love and be loved by and live with happily. Further there are even many more people whom we could be attracted to in any number of ways, including romantically. Yet until one realizes this is true, generally by having met such people and having had many and different attractions, it is hard to believe that your first (or most recent) attraction (of whatever sort) is not necessarily “the real thing,” “real love”. Hence, any attraction may seem to be feelings of love. To the inexperienced person looking for some one and only one special person, the first person who is special to them in any way will appear to be the “one and only”. Until you find there are many people you can enjoy and who are good for you, it is often hard to believe that this first (or most recent) person who is kind to you or good for you or who makes you happy is not the only one who can do so. To a young or inexperienced person or to a lonely person, any kindness may seem monumental and be viewed out of all proportions. Likewise to a recently divorced person who was not treated very well by their spouse. But there are many who are kind and many who are a joy; and it is not fair to you or to others to think that anyone who shows concern or causes joy therefore gives or requires love, and that no one else deserves any of your attention.
Now unfortunately, though there are many kind and understanding people, at this point in history there are probably many more who are not. Hence, the good ones really do stand out. When I was an academic counselor for freshman and sophomore college students, there were some kids who needed extra time or extra concern in developing their programs, either from the beginning or once they had run into problems that should have been prevented from the beginning. Invariably after some of us spent the required time and effort to get everything straightened out, we would be thanked by appreciative students who then usually remarked that the other counselors they had seen had not taken the interest in them. We were always gratified they were appreciative of our efforts (even though it was our job), but we were simultaneously disappointed that not all the other counselors took similar pains with those students as they should have. We liked to be appreciated and perceived in a good way, but not because we were just doing what we were supposed to be doing while some of the other counselors were not.
And I know how impressive good treatment and obvious concern can be to a young person (or anyone) accustomed to bad or indifferent treatment. When I was a freshman in high school, one day I felt weak and ill while in algebra class, but I did not want to interrupt class to find out what I was supposed to do to be able to leave school or call home. I continued to listen to the teacher, but I had put my head down on my arm on the desk. Pretty soon the teacher stopped talking and came over to me. I was certain he was going to think I was bored and acting rudely, and that he would have some lecturing comments. Instead he just gently put his hand on my arm and asked softly whether I was all right. When I said I did not feel very well, he told me to go to the school office and who to see. Very few teachers would have behaved that way; I was very grateful. Later that year when I scored highest from our school on the algebra portion of the state standardized exams, I was more pleased that I had done it for him, than I was for myself. Previously some of the other algebra teachers had been given more recognition; he deserved more on the basis of both his excellent teaching ability and his concern for his students. I was glad to see my accomplishment helped provide it for him.
It is wonderful there are such people, yet it is a shame they stand out so toweringly just because so many others are simply not so kind, concerned, or aware. Still, there are plenty of good people; one can find them if only one has the patience and perseverance to keep looking. They are not so rare that one has to fall in love with the first person who meaningfully treats them well.
And the more friends and loves or crushes one has, the more one sees how much joy and affection there can be from, and toward, others; and the less likely one is to mistake one sort of attraction for another or to expect or demand more from a relationship than it is likely to be able to give. And the less one is likely to be hurt when one finds out some particular relationship cannot be as full or as perfect or as all- encompassing as one might have hoped it would be.
One can accept that relationship for what it is worth, not reject it for what it cannot be. And one can know there can be other good, perhaps better, fuller, or richer relationships. There can at least be plenty of good ones, even if it is hard to find some of the great ones, or some one “perfect” one.
7) There is a kind of case that seems to arise frequently enough so as not to be unusual, in which a sexual experience is almost doomed to be dissatisfying from the start. This is the kind of case where someone decides to try kissing or petting or intercourse, or whatever, either for the first time or with some particular (type of) person for the first time, not because they are passionately aroused or sexually attracted to that person, but only because they want to see what the experience is like. Good sex, though, generally is not the kind of thing one can have while one is trying to be a detached observer, so to speak outside of one’s skin. If you have sex just to see what it is like, it generally will not be very good. Generally some sort of passion or at least even some non- specific or undirected sexual arousal (e.g., horniness) is required for the experience to be a good or great one. It is difficult, if not impossible, to experience the joy of sex, if instead of being involved in the experience, one is sitting back waiting for the joy to happen. It is not unlike trying to pay attention to a speaker by concentrating on paying attention to him, rather than by simply listening to him and perhaps thinking about what he is saying. It is almost impossible to pay attention to someone’s words when you are thinking about paying attention. Or it is something like trying to see if you can forget about a certain pain by thinking about other things, when you keep checking to see if you have been successful. As long as you keep checking, you will still be thinking about the pain and still be aware of it then.
I am not saying sex cannot be good while at the same time you realize that it is good. And I am not saying that one cannot experiment with new techniques, fantasies, or partners and have it turn out well. I am only saying it cannot be very good, or generally will not be very good, if instead of getting involved and feeling passionate at the time, one is only an unimpassioned observer. Good sex generally requires some sort of passion, or state of arousal at some point; good sex is generally not, if ever, just the result of certain physical acts or manipulations.
One girl I know had been dating two fellows and had been having a certain amount of sexual activity with both, but was still a virgin. She finally simply decided one day that she was not going to be a virgin any longer, and rationally decided which of the two fellows she was going to have intercourse with. She went to see him with the intent of having intercourse, and while with him she realized it just was not going to be any good that way. She decided against it. She waited till she was in a less clinical and more passionate mood to have intercourse; and when that time came, it turned out to be with the other guy.
Many people lose their virginity just to see what intercourse is like; and when doing it for that reason, it generally is not very good. Likewise many divorced people, particularly those who did not date very much or have much sexual activity before they were married, tend to sleep with someone they have no particular interest in, just to see what it is like to sleep with someone other than their former spouse. It then is usually not a very rewarding experience.
And this is true of other kinds of sexual experiences as well. One girl at college overheard some of her girlfriends talking about masturbating and how great it was. She had never known about it before and had never had the desire to touch herself arise naturally. So she decided to try it; she showered, put on some nice perfume, put on some soft music in her room, lit some candles, laid down on her bed and began to caress herself. It was futile. To anyone who knew about such things, it would have been a good bet it would be futile. There is a difference between arousing yourself sexually when you are interested in doing so and trying to see whether or not you can arouse yourself sexually when you are not in the mood but only acting as a “scientist” doing “research”.
There would be fewer damaged egos and less self-doubt about one’s ability to experience the joys of sex if people only realized ahead of time that trying sex to see what it is like, without having any real passionate interest in it at the time, is almost predictably courting an unfulfilling and dissatisfying experience. Sexual enjoyment, like any other pleasure or happiness, is not generally an end that can be successfully sought just by itself; it is the side effect of fulfilling or trying to fulfill some particular desire; without the desire or passion first, the pleasure will usually also not appear.
Now one may (and one should) decide rationally that sex of a certain sort or with a certain person would be all right. The point though is not to participate then just because one has made that determination, but to use that moral determination as an umbrella to cover the time when enough passion arises that one wants to have sex of that sort or with that person. Then there is at least a better chance it will be satisfying.
8) There is a difference between sexual flirting and non-sexual flirting. Some people like to flirt but without intending anything of an actual sexual nature by it. Sometimes such flirting simply indicates a certain amount of benevolent, good-natured, and flattering (potential) interest but with no intention to try to pursue that interest (often for a good reason, like being married to someone else), just the intention to make it known. Sometimes flirts are just teases, trying to make others squirm or get aroused with no chance of satisfaction. Sometimes flirting is just fun, a kind of intellectual activity with a bit of harmless passion guiding it and motivating it. When two such flirts get together and flirt with each other, it can be a lot of mutual harmless fun. But the point is to know when someone is flirting sexually and when they are flirting non- sexually (and to know whether they are being malicious like a tease, or simply being very genuine and friendly). Sometimes you can tell by the manner of the flirting, or where it is done (in front of others — those in front of whom it would not be done if it were meant sexually), but often you can tell only by knowing the character or values of the person doing the flirting. For example, you might know a particular person would never even think about having an extra-marital affair, or would never really seriously consider pre-marital sex (with you), so if you see them flirting (with you) the chances are pretty good they mean it non-sexually. Sometimes two people can tell it is non-sexual because they keep flirting with each other without either one making any sort of move to go further, even under conducive circumstances and even when the flirting has opened up a perfect and obvious next step if either of them actually wanted to take it. Sometimes there is just simply a gleam in the eye or a gleeful playfulness of a sort that is very difficult to describe, that lets you each know you are just having fun or maybe even a harmless fantasy about (intimately enjoying) each other and simply meaning it as an unspoken compliment, gesture of appreciation, or kind playfulness.
Of course, there is a fairly thin line between sexual and non-sexual flirting, and it can always be stepped over. But there is a difference between the two, and one should realize at least that not all flirting is an invitation to a sexual liaison. And as long as non-sexual flirting stays non- sexual, then, when it is not malicious, it can be a delightful, harmless, emotionally and psychologically stimulating, and often gratifying, interplay between two people.
9) Trust plays a large part in the confidence of many inexperienced people to do or try things without self- consciousness or embarrassment. As one gains in experience or maturity, one tends to learn there are fewer things one needs to be embarrassed about, since few people expect anyone to be perfect or even good at everything or to always look good in every situation. Surely there will still sometimes be embarrassments and surely people will not feel secure around those they actually and reasonably distrust; but they will feel more secure around strangers and feel less unwarranted embarrassment. The sayings that “no one can make a fool out of you without your consent” and “you are the only one that can make a fool out of you” seem to have more meaning as you grow in experience, maturity, and confidence.
You learn that unforeseeable and unpreventable mistakes are not anything to be ashamed of and that anyone can make them. Some children, adolescents, and adults hate to be different, even when there is no good reason or possibility to conform; but one can outgrow this by finding those areas in which one is good and in which others may not be quite so adept. Or by realizing that irrational, and often stupid, opinions about things are not more important just because they are someone else’s or because they are currently popular.
I grew up with naturally curly hair in a family that did not have naturally curly hair and at a time when no one wanted to have curly hair. My parents and others tried to get my hair to be straight by brushing it and I was told that if it did not stay straight and in place, and without being frizzy, it was because I was lazy and not combing or brushing it enough. I believed all that, and my hair was a constant source of embarrassment until one day I decided I would simply wear it curly instead of futilely trying to make it go straight. Shortly after that, curly hair became fashionable, and I now get a bittersweet chuckle out of how envious people are of my hair and how much money they spend trying to get theirs to look the way mine does naturally.
Other people may be shy about other physical characteristics or be hesitant to try out new things because they fear they will look silly or be laughed at or thought incompetent. Being around someone they trust is then important for them to be willing to try and to succeed. This becomes less important as one gains in experience and confidence. One can easily see that in sexual matters as well, it can be important then for one who is inexperienced to have a partner one feels comfortable with and who one feels will not think them a fool for perhaps not knowing very much. Likewise romantic and other social matters as well. This need for a specific feeling of trust, however, I think tends to disappear as one gains knowledge and confidence and as one learns that mistakes and ignorance in a given area are hardly earth- shattering flaws or signs of irremediable character flaws. One begins not so much to actively trust more people but to be indifferent to ignorant opinions and to actively distrust fewer people without their first giving you a reason to feel them untrustworthy or unkind. One becomes more comfortable with oneself and with others who give you no specific reason to be suspicious of them.
(I actually think that justified self-confidence and at least some indifference to ignorant prejudice can make people be more attractive to others. Photographers see all kinds of attractive people who feel themselves unattractive, and who, without the proper encouragement by the photographer, would actually look unattractive in their portraits, instead of showing up as attractive as the photographer sees they can be. In the sixties, when movie heroines began to look like plain Janes instead of glamorous stars, when the heroine would first appear on screen I used to think I would not like the movie because it starred some ordinary or ugly person. But if the actress was good, by the end of the film I would not only think she was beautiful, but would go out and for the first time be enchanted with other girls who looked like that.
If you look at photographs of stars from the past, often there is nothing that would indicate they would have any particular appeal to anyone, even though you might know they were the rage to emulate in their time. If you can see a newsreel or film of them, you see their appeal comes from their presence and magnetic personality and that somehow that appeal is transferred to their appearance. Except for people who already look like other admired people, I suspect most people’s appearance and glamorous physical attractiveness depends more on their confidence and character and presentation than on their actual physical characteristics. Photographers are well aware that even the most striking and stunning people often have self- doubts about their appearance or find themselves unattractive. It is the people, even otherwise average looking people, who can rise above that self- doubt, I suspect, and be comfortable with themselves who will be the people who others find attractive and try to emulate.)
- Being inexperienced will lead to normal mistakes, but not all mistakes can be prevented and one needs to learn from mistakes, not consider them indelible character flaws that render one worthless or signify one is.
- Relationships based on mistaken ideas about what each others’ actions mean or imply, or about what each others’ intentions or feelings or desires are, or about what the relationship means to both of you, are relationships that are especially fragile
- Justified self-confidence and, some indifference to ignorant prejudice, can make people be more attractive to others.
Chapter Review Questions
- Question: What is important to note about sexual flirting and non-sexual flirting?
- Question: What should be remembered about unforeseeable mistakes?