When someone’s interest in us seems to fade, our default is to act out of fear. But when you find yourself in this situation, you have a lot more control over the outcome than you might think.
In today’s video, I’ll share with you the #1 reason why people pull away and a high-value way to respond to it.
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Does this sound like a familiar story to you? You meet someone and you feel something that maybe you haven’t felt in a while. You feel attracted, you feel connected, and the best part is they feel the same way. And then just as you’re allowing your hopes to run away with themselves, you’re beginning to think about what this could mean, you start to feel that person pull away. Their energy changes, maybe their communication becomes less consistent, maybe their responses to you get shorter, maybe they stopped saying some of the intense things that they were saying in the beginning, those things that stoked your hope in the first place, the things that got you all excited, they stopped saying.
It leaves us wondering what on earth went wrong when everything seemed to be going so right. Now, I want to talk about one of the potential reasons that it happened, that they went cold. And I also want to talk about the biggest mistake that we tend to make when this happens. People pull away oftentimes because they have sensed something in us that is trying too hard, that has made them too important too quickly. And one of the negative effects of this is that someone begins to feel that we’ve made up our minds about them and who they are and how valuable they should be in our lives before they’ve really earned it. And when we do that and when they sense that, our value goes down, because they ask themselves the question, why am I so important to this person so quickly? What’s going on with them that I have suddenly become so valuable in their life, even though A, they don’t know me that well, and B, I haven’t actually done that much for them?
It’s not like I’ve invested a ton into their life. So why am I suddenly so important? And when someone feels that and your value goes down, there’s that combination of your value has gone down to that person but you also now feel very intense to that person, and so they start to pull back. Now, onto the mistake that we often make when we feel someone pull away. Because we’ve made this person so important, what kicks in when they pull away is a fight instinct. I am going to fight for this. I’m going to go out my way to try to keep this because it’s really valuable and it’s really important. Now, why have we made it so valuable and so important?
Number one, a scarcity mindset. If we don’t meet anyone we like very often, if we feel like love is really elusive, then if we even get a taste of being with somebody, we’ll do anything to keep it. Number two, impatience. We want the result today. We don’t want to wait another year or five years or more. We want it today. So if it feels like it’s right in front of us, I’ll do anything I have to to keep it. And number three, low self-esteem. We don’t believe in our own value. This is a really interesting one because what happens when we find ourselves fighting for someone who is pulling away from us is by definition, we have devalued ourselves and overvalued them and what they bring to the table. Let’s try and experiment for a moment. Pause this video for a moment when I say this and just write down what it is you are attracted to in this person and be really honest about this.
Don’t write answers that sound good. Write the truth. What is it about this person that you are drawn to? Now, pay attention to your answer, because often the answers are very revealing about something that we are overvaluing. If you wrote down they’re really attractive, if you wrote down their confidence, the connection you feel with them, or if you had trouble writing something down because you’re like, “I guess it’s hard to explain. I just … I don’t know. There’s just something about them.” Pay very close attention to these things because none of them are qualities that make someone an amazing partner. I shared the stage not too long ago with my dear friend Dr. Ramani and she said anytime someone says to her, “There’s just something about him,” she starts to see alarm bells because as she describes it, that is the definition of a trauma bond.
You’re not actually attracted to them because they have wonderful relationship traits that would make them a great partner or do make them a great partner, you’re attracted to them because of some ethereal hard to put your finger on feeling that compels you to keep trying. What are the qualities that make someone a great partner? Kindness, empathy, compassion. They show up for me. They’re reliable. They’re consistent. They’re a great communicator. They’re honest, trustworthy. They’re a great teammate. They care about my day and the challenges in my life and want to support me in those. Those are the kinds of qualities that make for a great relationship, but those are rarely the things people describe when they say why they can’t get someone off their mind, why they’re so attracted to that person, why they decided they were the right person.
Remember, none of the things like charisma, confidence, boldness, sex appeal, connection even, the fact that we can talk about all sorts of different subjects, the fact that I just feel so good around them, none of those things are things that on their own could make a great relationship. They’re great, wonderful things to have, but none of them are the really, really valuable things that someone shows us when we realize, oh, this person will be an incredible teammate. And if you are willing to be all of those traits that do make you an incredible teammate, you are trustworthy, you are committed, you are loyal, you are communicative, you are consistent, you are generous, you are a great teammate, then what you have is worth its weight in gold. That’s the really rare stuff. That’s the stuff of true character that is so valuable. So why are you cheapening that and making so important these things that you think they have?
One of the things I’ve come across more than anything in my career is people who overvalue someone that they have a great time with. I want you to think about it in a business context for a moment. I may really enjoy being around somebody, spending time with them, chatting with them, having a night out with them, but none of those things mean that person would be a great partner in business, if I wanted to build a business with someone. Well, a relationship, a romantic relationship is like a company. It’s a company of two. And just because someone is great company, it doesn’t mean they can make a great company. Just because someone is great company, it doesn’t mean they can make a great company. Someone can be wonderful to hang out with, but can they build an amazing relationship with you?
If they’re pulling away, we already know that’s not a good sign of someone who can actually build something with you. So the appropriate response, by the way, when we feel someone pulling away is to become less certain of them. The appropriate response is to say, “Oh, you are backing off, I feel you getting colder, I feel you pulling away, that’s making me reevaluate how right you are for me. That’s making me start to allocate more time and energy to other things in my life. That’s making me think, ‘Well, maybe it is time to start dating other people if you’re in that place.'” Someone else’s uncertainty about you is not an indication of your lack of value. Someone’s uncertainty should be an indication of their lack of value to you, because one of the greatest things you can have in a partner is someone who is certain about you.
Look, should you be willing to fight for someone? Yes, but here’s the right context for fighting for someone. When there is a hurdle that the two of you need to get over to be together despite wanting to be together. Romeo and Juliet wanted to be together, but they were from different houses and there was a politics around them being together. That was a hurdle that they both mutually wanted to get over. It wasn’t Romeo saying, “I’ll fight for Juliet even though she’s not sure about me.” Ask yourself, if you’re playing Romeo and Juliet with someone and the hurdle is their uncertainty. Because if it is, why are you fighting for this person? The only person worth having in life is a person who values what we have to give. And the great irony is that they won’t value what we have to give if we don’t put a high price on it ourselves. If we feel someone pulling away and instead of going, “Oh, you seem to not see my value, that makes you less valuable to me.”
If instead of doing that, we feel someone pulling away and go, “No, I’ll fight for you.” Then what they start to feel is, “Oh, this person’s willing to fight for me even when I’m not trying, even when I’m pulling away. Firstly, that feels very intense now, and secondly, what does that say about their value? What does that say about who they are and their confidence?” What we need to do is show someone that there are real stakes. There are real consequences to you not being sure about me. I may have been trying before, I may have been showing you my best and showing you what I was capable of, but the moment you start taking that for granted, the moment you start showing me that you’re not sure about me, you become less worthy of all of this effort I’m giving you right now.
You become less worthy of all of these wonderful things that I have to offer someone, which by the way are an incredible gift. You start making me question if you’re the person that I want to give that to. And if you really can see, oh, there’s consequences to me not trying, there’s consequences to me not being sure about you, then my value to you starts going up. What someone needs to realize from us is yes, I find you sexy. Yes, I love being around you. You turn me on. I find you fun. I find you exciting. I enjoy your company, but none of that is more important than what’s right for me. I may be attracted to you, but I am far more attracted to the life I want for myself. When I’m coaching people, it’s not just about telling them you need to be less intense. It’s about solving the deeper issue of why we are being intense. Being too intense is often a byproduct of overvaluing somebody else and what they bring to the table and undervaluing ourselves and what we bring to the table.
Now, look, I’m not saying that this person is a terrible person. It may just be someone who hasn’t had a fair shot at seeing your value yet, partly because in the process you didn’t value yourself. But whether your goal is to move on from this person or to finally have them see your value, the answer is the same. It’s taking big bold moves in your life to become strong and confident in a way that either allows them to see it and become newly attracted to it or allows you to move on and find the love you actually deserve with someone who’s right for you. And I have a way that you can do this. It’s a free video training at MoveOnStrong.com that shows you exactly how to build back that strength to be the most confident you after a difficult time like this where someone has either rejected you or gone cold or started to pull away. Go to MoveOnStrong.com and I’ll show you how to build that confidence again. I’ll see you over there.