At first, I regarded this little bit of small talk as maybe something significant. Then, I remembered something from "Intimate Connections," by you guessed it, Dr. David Burns. In one chapter he cautions the reader not to glom onto the first person that shows an interest in them. He says something about how,"you regard some small morsel of attention as the whole banquet, and you react accordingly." He encourges the reader to play the field, because clinging to the first person who comes along and seeing them exclusively will likely get the reader a rejection, and they'll feel worse than before.
I remember reading this right after I began a long campaign to quit smoking in 2002, and remember thinking, "You can do that?" All therapists ever talk about is, "Relationship, relationship, relationship," ad naseum. In 2007 I told a therapist about this woman I went on dates with, and how I was not interested in a relationship at the time. Not a few minutes later he says, "You should tell her you're interested in a relationship..." as if what I'd just said went in on ear and out the other. Great, she was the first person who'd shown any interest in me in quite some time- the first person to come along, in effect- so I'm obliged to vie for a relationship with her.
The first copy of "Intimate Connections" that I bought cost less than ten dollars. Therapists these days cost upwards of $150 per session. Comparison shop, why don't we; this book provided a valuable bit of advice that seemed to go totally against the grain of what the therapy industry routinely hands out to shy, lonely people who desperately want some guidance. Dr. Burns would probably have beeen burned as a heretic in an earlier age, and he is the one who is right.
The chapter continues, "But Dr. Burns, I just want to meet that one special someone and settle down." Burns says patients said this to him all the time, and he said that it was just not realistic; that one would have to date aroung quite a bit before they were likely to meet someone they could live a while with.
Even though I have not had the success that the author trumpets about for his most succesful patients, I've tried to keep those principals in mind. I was on a date about this time last year and my companion said something interesting to me. She smirked as if she was being really clever and said, "I don't compete for men." I remembered her saying this to me over the phone, she said it again on this date, and that was our last date. I could hear her smirking when she said it over the phone, too,
Pardon me, miss. While it's true that women are not exactly beating a path to my door to go out with me, you are in competition for my attention: You are in direct competition with a meaningful life that I've built up and enjoy as a single person, and that kind of arrogance won't cut it.