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Why Dating Triggers The Issue of Fear of Rejection.

It is human nature to want acceptance and validation from the people we want to care about us. The thought of being criticized or falling short of someones expectations can cause insecurity and anxiety. This is especially true in the process of dating. The stronger the desire to meet someone to connect with, the scarier it becomes to face the reality of being rejected. Self-esteem plays a vital role in being able to manage rejection when it happens. Early life experiences play a part in how we view ourselves and how we manage how others view and treat us. The process of dating can bring unconscious negative feelings about ourselves to the surface.

Dating can trigger challenges in maintaining a positive self-esteem. If one’s self-esteem is healthy, rejection is disappointing, but not devastating. When self-esteem is low, dating can be a traumatic, dreaded experience. It is a process that at times results in people deciding not to choose to have a relationship with us or to even want another date. Rejection, when personalized, can make us think, “if that person didn’t like me , than no one will ever want me. There is something wrong with me.” This form of distorted thinking and personalization creates an intense fear of rejection and shame. This fear causes extreme levels of anxiety that lead to self-sabotaging patterns of behavior such as negative projecting, mind-reading, aggression, or people-pleasing. All of these patterns block one’s ability to be authentic with others and comfortable with who they are. A healthy person will sense when someone is trying too hard to please and will suspect either lying, insecurity, or low self-esteem. These behaviors aimed to please and gain acceptance will often lead to the dreaded rejection trying to be avoided.

The psychological core of the fear of rejection is low self-esteem. Whether the original damage came from abuse, neglect, a physical impairment, poor peer relations, etc., low self-esteem can cause one to believe they are flawed, unlovable, and destined to be rejected. Mind-reading what we believe another person is thinking is a common coping mechanism aimed to manage anxious feelings about rejection. It convinces us that once we know what the other person wants or expects, we can adjust our behavior and communication to meet their needs and diminish the chance of being rejected. By thinking this way, our own wants and needs get minimized. Another problem with mind reading, is that it is often not accurate. Once you engage in performing to please someone over being authentic, making a healthy, intimate connection becomes impossible.

Resolving the issues of insecurity and low-self esteem is essential to create positive outcomes in dating. This means conducting an honest examination of yourself, not only related to relationship functioning, but in all areas of your life. Self-understanding leads to making the kind of changes in ourselves that can improve outcomes in dating. It is also important to understand all the opportunities that dating presents. It is is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, to explore interests and gain experiences, and to develop skills in how to communicate with, care for, and show interest in another person. It is an opportunity to learn about what you want and need as a person, and what your boundaries are. It is also a chance to get in touch with feelings that occur when you are trying to get close to another person.

There is no guarantee that having strong self-esteem, good character, and great social skills will guarantee all your dating experiences will be positive or lead to the outcomes you want. People we meet on their own personal path to maturity, self-esteem, and self-awareness. However, if you know who you are, like yourself, and have strong communication skills, dating can become a fun, enlightening experience on the road to a lasting relationship.

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How To Think About Your Value In The Workforce If You Have Lost Your Job. Focusing On Your Skills, Not Your Last Job Title Will Open Your Mind To New Possibilities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have lost their jobs. Losing a job under any circumstance is a traumatic event. Unemployment creates tremendous financial concerns as well as challenges to one’s self-esteem. Increased stress level also follows the loss of a job and stress can greatly impair ones ability to effectively navigate the process of seeking new employment opportunities.

If the loss of income creates an acute financial crisis, it may be necessary to take a job out of your field or to accept a position that pays less than the job you lost. However, to avoid becoming depressed, you must remind yourself doing so is a temporary move to pay your bill’s while you look for a more satisfying job.

Jobs in certain fields are plentiful, so the probability of finding a job similar to the one you lost due to the coronavirus crisis might be optimistic. That’s great news especially if you were happy and fulfilled in your last job. It also eliminates the need to determine how your skills will transfer to different jobs and industries. However, certain industries have suffered extreme reductions in job opportunities since COVID-19. Thinking beyond your last job title will be crucial to create confidence and creativity in transferring the skills you have to new work environments.

An exercise that will help expand the perception you have of yourself as a worker is writing a skills set resume. Contrary to the traditional chronological style resume, a skills set resume highlights your capabilities and secondarily reports where you have worked to utilize those skills. The process of writing this resume builds self-esteem as it emphasizes your abilities and your value to potential employers. Examples of the skill based resume can be found online. Doing an inventory of skills you have practiced on prior jobs, volunteer experiences, in your hobbies or within your family situation you will help you discover you are capable of more than you ever realized.

While unemployed, take the time to imagine yourself in different jobs and developing new goals for retraining and further education for a new career or job. Finding a job or a new career takes research and patience, however, those actions lead to new opportunities and renewed confidence in yourself and future career goals.

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In Addition To Feeling Fearful and Sad, Feeling Angry About The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Normal and Understandable. Suffering Through Extreme Deprivation and Uncertainty Feels Similar To Being Abused.

It may be difficult for some to understand the anger and blame many feel about the Coronavirus epidemic in this country. If you grew up in a family with competent, loving parents who made you feel safe, you might be feeling satisfied with how elected officials are managing the crisis. You might trust they could not have known this disease was coming and that it would kill so many people. However, for people who grew up in a dysfunctional family with parents who were not competent at protecting and taking care of them, the pandemic and mandate for social isolation trigger flashbacks of abuse and neglect and cause suppressed anger to surface. Some who may have had other difficult childhood experiences unrelated to dysfunctional parenting may also be feeling angry during this traumatic epidemic.

Many people are becoming aware of how angry they feel about the conditions we are living under due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. To better understand an analysis of the widespread anger so many Americans are feeling, it will help not focus on who you voted for in the last election and who you plan to vote for in 2020. Setting aside political preference will allow for a humanistic attitude towards understanding why so many people are not only fearful but also furious about the scope of this ravaging epidemic.


Just like children expect their parents to be competent to protect them and take care of their needs, Americans hope elected officials have the knowledge and competence to keep them safe from predictable, catastrophic events. Because of the current infection and death rate from the disease, many people are having a hard time trusting those in power. The existence of the coronavirus is not the fault of any world leader. However, what many people share with me in therapy, is they believe they were lied to about the severity of the disease and that it was definitely coming to the United States. In addition to feeling lied to, people report feeling shocked that our country does not have enough supplies in stock for all citizens to protect themselves from infection. Another source of anxiety and anger is the inadequate access to testing. It is common to become angry when we are scared.


An analogy would be if a parent had three children, and one of them got sick, would that parent go to the pharmacy and buy medicine for only the sick child? The correct judgment and action by a competent parent in that situation would be to buy enough supplies for every child and adult in the household. Additionally, if no one is sick in a family, a responsible parent would know that someone could become ill and contagious and they would stock the home with medicine for everyone. Projecting the worst-case scenario in a situation like protecting the health of a family is not negative thinking. Instead, it is a logical, protective, and compassionate approach to being in a position of responsible preparedness.

Parents who suffer from addiction, depression, personality/character issues, and other afflictions do not have the maturity or capacity to appropriately care for and protect their children. Parents with mental health or character issues are also often abusive. The effects of this early trauma stemming from a lack of protection and nurturing creates the child’s initial experience of anxiety, depression, lack of trust, and the need to feel in control. A pandemic the magnitude of COVID-19 is an intense experience of feeling out of control and needing to feel protected by the people who have the power. The level of infection and death from the virus is making it difficult for many to feel trust in the people with the power.

The anger many feel towards officials in power is based on a belief that maybe the threat to the public health was downplayed for political reasons, making the public vulnerable to harm. Such a belief fuels anger and anger needs to be expressed to avoid depression and other forms of emotional harm to the self. Anger and hurt are related feelings. When we hang on to anger, we feel like a victim.

To avoid becoming trapped in toxic anger, it is vital to release it, not judge it, and assert control where you have it. Practicing social distancing, wearing protective gear, staying in contact with people, being productive, setting goals and making plans for when this epidemic ends will help reduce anger and anxiety and increase hope and self-determination.

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The Emotional Affects of The Stay-at-Home Experience During The CoronaVirus Crisis.

In addition to the threat to our physical health, The Covid-19 epidemic is presenting a danger to the mental health of everyone forced to practice extreme social distancing. Those who are already dealing with managing chronic mental health issues such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, addiction, and autism may find maintaining the isolation and restrictions are causing an increase in their symptoms. However, we are all human, and the stress of trying to understand and stop the spread of this virus is creating emotional challenges for everyone.


Wearing protective gear and keeping appropriate physical distance from others when you go outside the home is essential and can provide a much-needed sense of control to protect yourself from infection. Going outside the home within your state’s guidelines also offers the opportunity to receive much-needed sunlight, fresh air, and exercise, all of which support emotional well-being.

If you live with others, setting the boundaries you need to avoid feeling resentful or claustrophobic is essential. The honeymoon period of hanging out together 24/7 might be ending soon, if it hasn’t already. Before you become angry or stressed out by forced closeness, consider setting reasonable boundaries with your family or roommates. Stay in touch with your feelings and communicate the limits or changes you need to keep the rules of engagement positive for everyone. It is a challenge to do this, because personality types differ, as do intimacy and communication needs. However, it can be accomplished with a healthy balance between the ” I matter” vs. “They matter” mentality.


Whether you live alone or with others, some coping strategies to lessen the emotional strain are;

  1. Stay connected to people by text, email, face-time, social media platforms, and phone calls throughout the day.
  2. Express your feelings about the restrictions being imposed to fight the spread of the virus. Share what strategies you are using to cope. Ask others how they are getting by to get ideas for yourself. Also talk about other topics unrelated to Covid- 19. Doing so reminds us that despite the changes we are experiencing, other aspects of life are still happening, and they are still essential to acknowledge and value.
  3. Ask for help if you need it. Knowing there are still ways people can be there for you helps lower anxiety.
  4. If you take medication, make sure you continue to stay consistent with taking it as prescribed.
  5. Do not watch the news all day. Watch enough to be informed. Too much exposure to repetitive, concerning information can be overwhelming and cause heightened anxiety. Watch a comedy, read or view intellectually challenging material, watch tv shows from your childhood, etc.
  6. If you are in therapy, stay in contact with your therapist. The emotional support is crucial, and the continuation of your prior therapy goals are still relevant to pursue. If your therapist is unavailable and you need immediate support, call a local mental health hotline. In a mental health crisis, go to the nearest emergency room.
  7. Create a routine to help structure your day. Include time for projects related to your home, your work, creativity, hobbies, and exercise. Do not stay in pajamas all day.
  8. Try out new activities for challenges to your brain.
  9. Start a journal to record your experience of social isolation. Write about fears, losses, and discoveries during the epidemic. Include writing about your goals for when this crisis is over.
  10. Offer help to someone. Becoming too self-absorbed heightens anxiety. Helping others gives purpose and raises self-esteem.
  11. Remember this crisis will be resolved. Information on how to stop the spread of the virus and how to treat those infected is occurring daily. The medical experts are making headway. We will get through this difficult time by working together. The result with be a renewed appreciation for each other and all that life has to offer.
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6 Destructive Styles of Marriage

Certain styles of marriage cause the most conflict and unhappiness for couples. Once a marriage gets to the point where both people feel miserably unhappy, it becomes crucial to figure out what is wrong with the relationship. This level of unhappiness signals it is time to either try to fix the problems or end the marriage.

Many of these destructive patterns result from common problems such as low self-esteem, incompatibility, poor communication skills, emotional problems or substance abuse. The ability to solve these problems determines whether a marriage can ever become healthy and happy. Identifying the pattern that your relationship falls into is a start to understanding the work that needs to happen.

If the patterns don’t involve mental illness or substance abuse, then poor communication skills, difficulty with stress management, low self-esteem or unresolved emotional issues from childhood could be the cause. Each of these problems can be solved if both partners take responsibility for their part in the conflicts in the relationship.

If a couple can identify the negative pattern their relationship is in, there is a chance to solve their problems.  It is also important for people to realize and accept when a relationship is not going to work and to be able to end it.

#1 The Abusive Marriage

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The most common forms of abuse fall into three categories: 1) verbal, 2) physical and 3) emotional. It might seemobvious to someone who is not in an abusive marriage that the solution would be to leave the relationship. However, many people who are victims of abuse, as well as those who perpetrate abuse, stay in the marriage because they freeze in fear and confusion.

Drama and clearly defined roles tend to solidify this kind of marriage. It may seem easier to stay in the marriage to avoid the shame of telling friends and family what has been going on. The fear of starting over again with someone new or of being alone is sometimes more daunting than putting up with the abuse.

In an abusive relationship, control is often the motivator. The abusive person aims to beat down and scare their partner in order to feel less insecure about being abandoned or outshined. Abusers can admit their faults and present as sympathetic figures who are sorry for their bad behavior. The victim of abuse can feel guilty and forgive the abuser. This marriage continues in a cycle of blame, drama, and enmeshment that binds the partners together in their shame and confusion. 

Unresolved emotional issues and substance abuse are also causes of this pattern, and denial keeps change from occurring. The physical and mental health of both partners suffer. If both people don’t agree to get professional help to break the destructive cycle of their relationship, both partners are at risk for lifelong damage. These marriages need to end.

#2 The Cold Marriage

Picture a married couple in their home avoiding eye contact and responding to each other with indifference. Imagine this couple not asking each other about their day and showing little interest when they share information about their lives. People who live in such an atmosphere experience profound feelings of hurt, resentment, loneliness, and depression. Imagine no sexual contact and limited displays of affection over time.

Some relationships start out cold. The individuals are often shy or selfish. They may have grown up in a cold family, or they may never have had much heat between them from the beginning. Becoming cold can happen over time and begin to feel normal. It can feel quiet and peaceful to some who don’t care about connecting more intimately. But for the majority of people, living in a cold marriage is emotional torture.

The quiet can feel hostile. It can also feel lonely and confusing. Many ponder if their partner is angry at them. They also wonder if their coldness means that they are not in love with their partner anymore. Chronic emotional isolation and not getting needs met leads to depression, battered self-esteem and disdain for one’s partner.

Cold relationships struggle with a pattern of under-communicating, so issues never get fully explored, and emotions remain muted or undiscovered. If resentment is at the root of the coldness, the relationship is doomed unless someone opens up, expresses their feelings, and tries to resolve, understand, and forgive the issues driving the coldness. Living in this environment is emotionally damaging. A “cold marriage” should be ended, not indefinitely endured.

#3 The Competitive, Combative Marriage

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A competitive relationship is the atmospheric opposite of a cold relationship. It is highly verbal, full of conflict, and dominated by a “win/lose” dynamic. If the relationship is not combative, competitiveness can add to the attraction and passion between partners. It can feel spirited and exciting and highlight admirable traits that appear ambitious and socially rewarding.

However, when a healthy competition turns into a dynamic in which partners need to win and control every aspect of the relationship, then the marriage becomes toxic. When partners diminish each other to deal with their insecurities, the marriage becomes a battleground, not a union based on friendship and mutual respect.

Healthy competitiveness sounds like, “I want to try this my way instead of your way. Let’s see how it goes.” Combative competitiveness sounds like, “I think my way is better; you never come up with ideas that make sense.” The first declares strong self-support for an idea and an openness to being either right or wrong. The second creates an “I am better than you” narrative and an implied decision that the other person’s opinion is not good enough to be considered. In the second scenario, the negative competitor sets up a dynamic in which their partner will have to fight back to defend their integrity or intelligence.

This marriage becomes a competition for control and power and a fight for personal autonomy and integrity. The environment in this kind of marriage is hostile, sad and ultimately erects emotional and physical walls that destroy emotional and physical intimacy.

Many people involved in this negative, competitive pattern will argue that they do not mean to put their partner down. Rather they believe but that they are “right” most of the time. No one is right all the time. Learning how to communicate strong opinions without becoming controlling or condescending is a crucial skill in an intimate relationship. When you care about your spouse, you don’t want them to feel put down and in need of trying to “win” to defend their worth. These marriages need help to discover whatever personal or dynamic issues are driving competitiveness. Without a change in these patterns, these competitive relationships remain damaging to both partners.

#4 The Overly-close (Enmeshed) Marriage

On the surface, a “two peas in a pod” couple seem to have a wonderful, fulfilling marriage. They seem to experience romantic bliss, finish each other’s sentences, and see the world almost through the same set of eyes. But often, these unions go wrong precisely from too much closeness. These marriages can lead to partners feeling like they have a noose or leash around their necks. The sign that this relationship is becoming awful is when one or both people begin to feel personally stifled, isolated from their friends and families, and resentful.

In the overly-close couple, people lose sight of who they are as an individual. This dynamic results in a lack of self-actualization. A healthy person will want their need for individuality to emerge. The under-development of each partner will threaten the fragile security of the too-close couple. Couples that enmesh in this way start out feeling that they don’t need to be close to other people. They believe that creating distance from friends and family members makes their bond special, stronger and more secure. This style of marriage struggles with 1) immaturity, 2) insecurities in one or both partners and 3) a lack of understanding of how to set healthy personal boundaries.

Eventually, this type of relationship becomes combative and lonely. At least one partner will begin to miss their friends and family, and the diverse experiences of life that include other people. The person will begin to realize that they are not setting personal goals or achieving the goals that they may have had before they entered the marriage. The closeness that once felt like love begins to feel like a stifling form of emotional abuse and selfishness. Unless these partners deal with their issues, this awful union will create constant conflict and depression. This marriage should end set each partner free to be themselves.

#5 The Parallel/Disconnected Marriage

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(c) Can Stock Photo / diego_cervo

This kind of marriage is more subtle in its awfulness but is still a deeply unhappy existence. In the parallel/disconnected pattern, there is a lack of connection and a deficiency of varied and shared emotional experiences that result in loneliness, anger, and depression. A healthy level of parallelism can make room for couples to miss each other. A healthy self-other dynamic maintains healthy chemistry. 

However, if too much of a parallel pattern exists, couples become less aware of each other and become emotional strangers. These couples may continue to engage in shared activities and yet still not feel close. They often go for a long time, not wanting to include each other in certain parts of their lives that involve other people and new interests. Recapturing an attachment to each other can seem impossible.

There are various causes of becoming a parallel couple. Early life experiences of abuse or abandonment can cause a sense of personal insecurity and fear of getting close to another person. As a child, keeping emotional or physical distance from parents or others who have hurt you becomes a normal coping mechanism.

Such a pattern can affect how one relates later in life to an intimate partner. This kind of distance can feel normal coming from such a background. This dynamic between spouses will cause more distance than connection due to the difficulty of managing the fear of abandonment or abuse. Disconnection can also be a sign that partners are not compatible in areas that are important in a long-term relationship.

The parallel pattern can also develop due to unresolved resentments and hurts within the marriage. These negative emotions become justifications for keeping a distance from one’s partner, protecting oneself, or as revenge for being unfairly or disrespectfully treated. Over time, a parallel dynamic encourages the partners to seek new experiences and other people to be close with, to the exclusion of each other.

These separate experiences will begin to fulfill certain needs that can reduce the desire or interest in reconnecting. Feeling chronically lonely, bored or angry within a parallel relationship is awful. Leaving is preferable to settling for so much less than you want.

#6 The Dishonest Marriage

The saying, “nobody likes a liar” could not be truer than when talking about marriage. By definition, intimacy involves an open, honest, and mutual sharing of feelings, wants, needs, and thoughts. Most people think of a happy marriage as having those qualities. It is a place where you can be yourself, express yourself and trust your partner. The worst part of a dishonest marriage is that one or both partners cannot trust the other and do not feel secure, respected or close to each other.

People develop a habit of lying for many reasons. It can be a form of control. Lying can make someone feel that they can influence outcomes that protect them from conflict. The liar seeks to feel powerful, smart and, protected from judgment or abandonment. By not sharing the truth about what they are doing or thinking, the liar remains less vulnerable and less intimate. Lying can also be a sign of shame. The shame-based liar fears that being honest will cause their partner not to respect them or stay with them, so lying becomes a justification for avoiding rejection.

A habit of lying can also be a way to retaliate when one feels wronged. By lying, one pushes the other away and feels superior and in control of the relationship. Over time, partners can sense dishonesty. They sense the distance and notice the inconsistencies in communication and behavior. Whether the lying is about something significant or insignificant, lying destroys the foundation needed for a healthy partnership.

When the source of the dishonesty revealed, the dishonest partner can change their behavior and take responsibility for lying. These marriages can heal and recover. But without targeted work on why lying has become a part of the marriage, these marriages become combative, abusive, depressing and lonely. Such a marriage can be awful enough to warrant a divorce, despite the loss of what might have been.

healthy relationship is as healthy as each partner in it. Unresolved personal issues will create patterns that will cause a relationship to fall into one of these awful patterns. Improving self-awareness is crucial for a relationship to succeed. It takes courage to leave a bad relationship, but doing so makes it possible for a happier one to follow.

Originally Published at http://www.youversusyou.net/6-destructive-styles-of-marriage/

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How We Think Affects How We Feel, And How We Feel Affects How We Behave. Understanding The Concepts of Cognitive Therapy Can Help Alleviate Depression, Anxiety and Low Self- Esteem.

Our brains are constantly processing. We are continuosly analyzing, judging, predicting and computing information taken in by our senses. When information is processed factually and neutrally, our emotions stay relatively stable. However, when negative styles of thinking occur, an increase in depressed and anxious feelings result. Such emotions will increase self-defeating patterns of behaviors.

Some of the most common thought distortions that cause anxiety or depression are; catastrophizing, futurizing, mindreading, personalizing and magnification .

For example, thoughts that predict failure cause anxiety. Anxiety causes behaviors that can sabotage preferred outcomes in a variety of situations. For instance, if prior to walking into a job interview you thought, ” I am sure my resume is awful and I have no chance at being hired”, you would probably be nervous and not perform well in the interview.

Common psychological issues that cause distorted thinking are low self esteem, past or present trauma, depression and excessive stress. When ones thinking is influenced by these conditions, perceptions lean in a negative direction. Resolving these psychological issues makes it possible to maintain optimistic attitudes, accurate observations, and self-confidence.

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How Codependency Patterns Can Ruin Relationships

A general definition for codependency is, ” a pattern of over- focusing on another person to the neglect and detriment of the self.” To fully understand this concept, you have to understand what is meant by ” over- focusing.” There is an obsessional quality to over- focusing. When one obsesses, an imbalance in the self/other dynamic occurs. Anxiety or exhaustion are common symptoms of this imbalance. Maintaining your own life while trying to manage, control or fix someone else’s life is a drain of time and energy.

In certain life situations, codependency naturally occurs and is normal and helpful. For example, when you are in the early stages of dating someone that you really like, it is normal to obsess and direct a lot of activity and attention towards that person. In the situation where someone is ill or going through a crisis, it is normal to prioritize their needs over yours.

However, under normal conditions such as a friendship, family or romantic relationship, finding a balance between the needs of another person, yourself and the relationship is an important skill to develop. Being successful at attaining this balance says that you have self-esteem and have developed skills related to self awareness, communication and intimacy. Learning to set boundaries that create healthy separateness in relationships is essential in achieving recovery from codependency.

People with codependency often experience resentment, lack of fulfillment, and depression and yet still feel compelled to enmesh with people in order to feel purpose, identity and emotional stability. Stopping codependent functioning is simple in concept, however navigating the emotions necessary to achieve breaking the pattern is harder and more complex.

In upcoming posts, understanding the origin of codependence and how to transition to healthy bonding will be explored.

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Giving Too Information Much Too Soon-

Knowing what to talk about in the early stages of dating can be challenging. The anxiety that one might feel about awkward silences can cause lapses into styles of communication that can make the date go in the wrong direction. The “interviewing for a spouse mode” or the “information dump” are common communication patterns that can derail a potentially successful date.

Asking questions is an aspect of normal conversation when you are trying to get to know someone. However, certain questions are more appropriate than others and too many questions feels like an interview rather than a comfortable social exchange. Asking questions that encourage the sharing of information that is too personal is a big mistake. It can result in the person shutting down, getting defensive or sharing more than appropriate.

The person who feels pressured by excessive questioning and as a result discloses too much information too soon, will feel vulnerable and embarrassed.The person receiving the information can potentially be confused or overwhelmed about how to respond. If one minute ago your date was technically a stranger, and now you know that they grew up being abused or are a member of a different political party than you are, the attraction or connection that was beginning to form can be destroyed.

In place of telling your whole life story, it’s safer to talk about interests, work, the activity of the date you are on, school experiences, current events or surface family facts. Talking about past relationships, family problems, or sensitive medical information in the early stages of dating can change the atmosphere from fun and interesting to one that is too serious and potentially off-putting.

Read more specifics in “The Ten Foolish Dating Mistakes That Men and Women Make” or in the article “The Honesty Dilemma In Early Dating”, http://www.rebeccasperbermft.com.