Yeah, I’m sure You’ve noticed it too… it was the first of November when I saw those words on one of my social media feeds.
For those who don’t know the origin… “Black Friday” is the first Friday after thanksgiving that marks the official beginning to the full-fledged Christmas shopping season. Traditionally it was the first day of the year where most retail store ledgers would go “out of the red” and show black marking a time of profit. The ubiquitous sales were a cleverly designed ploy to encourage this trend of spending and get people into the shopping mindset and a push to clear out less popular stock (even if it was at a loss) because people would consider the higher ticket and more profitable items since “we’re already here and they have it in stock”.
Every year however this keeps creeping up a little earlier as do the Christmas decorations around retail stores. Why? Because many businesses are getting increasingly desperate for your holiday spending dollars particularly as consumers at all levels pull back on their spending a little more every year.
If I’m all about relationships why would I be talking about this trend? Because there are thee lessons this can teach us about relationships.
#1 Desperation Spells Doom
We are animals and have instincts. Despite how much we try to repress or deny that fact we can sense fear and desperation even if we can’t articulate it as such. Many of the “Black Friday Specials” especially the early ones can have an “ick” factor about hem that is remarkably similar to a bad date. We feel it on a primal level when we perceive that the intent is not genuinely aligned with our interests.
What does this mean in the dating world? Avoid the “ick” by being 100%, completely authentic; by both knowing what You offer, are looking for and that you’re meeting them where they are to discover where you both align. Mind games, manipulation and drama are for chumps and not a winning approach.
#2 We All Love a Bargain
It may sound silly but getting a bargain makes us feel good. In the brain a big bargain has all the same neurological markers as our ancient ancestors got from a successful hunt. We ventured out from our caves (even if we do so virtually) and found a worthy and valuable prize and hunted it down and best of all we did this while minimizing our losses. That’s amazing!
Here’s something else that’s true neurologically… what we gain through strife, struggle and loss we value that much more. We are hard wired to avoid loss before we seek gain. This is doubly true if we “settle” for something lesser.
What does this mean for dating? Well, for starters, know what you value and what’s important. Be clear and vivid about exactly what that looks like and accept nothing less. On the same token is is critical that you understand that this will take patience and effort, it might even “suck” for a little while and that’s part of finding someone that can’t live without rather than the bargain offered.
#3 You Don’t Need to Follow the Script
Black Friday was made to hype up the shopping season. This is a script that’s meant to drive consumerism which while still alive and well is changing for a number of reasons which I’ll not get into here because I could rant a one hundred page thesis on it. I can and will say that people and families by and large are re-evaluating priorities and how their resources are allocated; some by necessity but many because “stuff” has become more disposable and we tend to prefer something small and meaningful rather than “stuff for stuff’s sake”.
So how does this apply to relationships? Relationships have changed drastically in the past 40 years. The old script of the nuclear family with the kids, and house with the white picket fence is no longer viable. We’re told a lot about what a conventional relationship looks like and what’s “normal”. Things like moving in together, everything should be fifty-fifty, and other such “conventional wisdom” is all claptrap. Talk together, find out what works for both of you. Align expectations, make sure that those directly involved feel heard, respected and valued and make your own script.
Beyond the Hype
Dating doesn’t have to suck and relationships don’t have to be hard and yes, women and men really do need each other because we all need connection. You can choose to follow the script, conform, fit in but I rather doubt if you’re reading this far that’s worked particularly well so far (or you know and like me). There’s another option available… it takes guts to get out there and be open and unapologetically authentic. To defy “conventional wisdom” and seemingly risk everything can feel tough but when you find your people and reap the rewards of that choice, it gives you the power to write your own script and be all the happier for it.
Richard Strother is also The Widower’s Wingman. After losing his best friend and wife in October of 2018 after 20 years together Richard decided to find a new path that put all the best of his skills to use. After finding the most incredible relationship and helping several others do the same he started The Widower’s Wingman to continue helping men who’ve lost find their amazing and life altering relationships.