Taking Responsibility vs. Allocating Blame

One of our dating consultants came to me looking slightly flustered.

I asked her, “What’s wrong?”

Apparently one lady member insisted that her last date should not be counted as a date. The reason being… the guy whom she went out with claimed that the reason he joined Lunch Actually is purely to widen his social circle and not to settle down. And this is in conflict with her reason, as she wants to be in a relationship to settle down in the near future.

Note: We are not a marriage aid bureau. Hence, members join us for various reasons – (1) to be in a relationship to settle down, (2) to widen their social circle, (3) a little bit of both. To be fair to our members, we will not match (1) with (2) as they have differing expectations, unless of course it is a truly wonderful match, and it’s worth taking the risk.

So anyway, to be fair to this lady member, I checked for the guy’s objective. And his objective is actually (1). Which means, he shares the same objective as her.

What does that mean?

Well, there are a few conclusions we can probably draw. (1) He was not honest when telling us about his objectives. (2) He was just making conversation. (3) He was not romantically interested in her, and did not want to lead her on, hence putting her down gently.

Since none of his previous dates have complaint during the feedback that he was not sincere in his objectives. Hence, we can probably strike out (1).

This puts us in a very difficult situation. Should we tell her that maybe he was doing a (3)? How would she react to it?

Isn’t it interesting that we almost NEVER take responsibility for our own actions / behaviours if there’s someone we can conveniently allocate the blame to?

“Well, since the date was arranged my by dating agency… it is their fault that they did not pre-screen the date properly.”

Couldn’t it be…

“Why did he say that? Is that a hint that he is probably not interested in me? Let’s see how I can increase my appeal or improve my attractiveness quotient.”

It is so easy to blame. But when we blame, we are actually taking on a burden. We are not freeing ourselves. Because when we blame, we render ourselves helpless. We are saying that there’s nothing we can do to change the situation.

And the truth is, by taking responsibility, no matter how big or small it is, we are empowering ourselves. We are saying, “Hey! I can actually make changes!” And by doing that, we are letting go of a heavy burden.

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But of course, it’s easier said than done.

However, as they say, it’s all a matter of perspectives. To everything that happens, there is more than one way to look at it. And there is more than one way to approach the situation.

Back to the story of the lady member… you know what is the most ironic thing? The guy actually had a great time at the date. He actually gave the match a pretty high rating. Hence, maybe… he said what he said because of (2)… he was just making conversation.

And maybe, just maybe… the lady just read too much into it.

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12 Comments

  1. heh – what a communication breakdown during a date!

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  2. Hi S-
    Yeah, just one of those things I guess…
    So how have you been? Long time no see! 🙂

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  3. Oh man! I would really hate to be in your shoes when confronted with that kind of problem. Hope everything turned out well. 🙂

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  4. Hahah 🙂

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  5. Hi Rudy-
    Yeah, tell me about it… 🙂 But it’s all in a day’s work…

    Hi Nick,
    Thanks for dropping by. 🙂 Hope to see you here more often.

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  6. Tulip /

    I don’t understand why some people have to ask such obvious/sensitive qs during the first date. Most of the time, as Asians, we will not be so forthcoming so as not to be misunderstood as “desperate”. It’s good to start off as friends first ‘cos it’s “non-threatening” and allow both parties to simply enjoy each other company without the “stress” of thinking that you might misleading someone if one appears to be too “friendly”. And of course, if anyone who is willing to go for a date and has even taken the brave step to sign up with a dating agency then the chance of him/her to have the idea to settle down is high, isn’t it?Anyway,I think date should be an enjoyable moment of discovering new friendship and if possible let it blossoms into deeper relationship in time to come. The more you hasten the process, it will only jeopardize a possible good friendship which might lead to lifetime partnership!

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  7. Hi Tulip-

    Well said! 🙂 It’s true… first dates should always be an avenue to explore, and not a time for ‘sensitive questions’. And as you say, who knows? Starting off as friends, it can eventually lead to a lifetime partnership! 🙂

    Hope to see you here more often!

    Sincerely,
    Violet

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  8. erm..the lady seems bit too ‘hurry’, she seems react over sensitive towards a first date. She might set too high expectation, date always can turn out good or bad but beyond our control. But again, why the guy told a white lie then?
    hm…first date should comes as mutual way, give 1st good impression to each other, in order to develop the friendship, then take one step at one, follow the flow to see the relationship to blossom. It the first date doesn’t work out as per expectation, should look at the points what’s going wrong for improvement, or look forward another better one to come along.
    hardly to believe love in first sight..
    do believe that every relationship should start from basic, make a friend first then if there’s a room for developing then go ahead.
    perhaps she is bit desperate to settle down,yet the guy doesn’t hit the point yet. She might need a ‘slow cooker’. LOL
    take it easy…lady..:)

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  9. Hi JC
    I guess it’s not easy sometimes for the lady too. As she is out to look for a serious relationship. As you say, I think it is true that we should always take things one step at a time and see how it develops 🙂

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  10. Tulip /

    Think about it, it’s not entirely the lady’s fault of popping out the question too early (though her intention might just be looking for a serious relationship) or the guy for showing some reservations. Society has made it in such a way that we want instant answers for everything — including relationship… a lady friend of mine who was on the first date had the same encounter before when the guy actually ‘interrogated’ her past history of relationships and what she’s looking for in her future partner! Don’t you think it’s a bit too rush to discuss that on the first date!While some can be very pragmatic and think that dating is like doing a business—wanting an instant answer or having a checklist to see if the date is ‘compatible’ to be their ‘business partner’ instead of life partner!
    Think in the end, sensitivity and tactfulness are important so as to make the date a memorable one.

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  11. Hi Tulip,
    Haha! I like the way you said it-“… think that dating is like doing a business”! 🙂 But it’s true, in today’s fast-moving society, we are so used to instant answers and instant results. So sometimes, it is inevitable that people go into first dates armed with a list of questions or expectations.

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  12. Violet,
    Lol! It happens to both genders.
    This reminds me of my first date. He turned up for the date and guessed what was the first 3 comments he made?
    1. The dating agency is really expensive!
    2. Guess what? I was with the for 1 year already and there was no date list until recently. They have forgotten to activate my account!
    3. We take this chance to make friends only right?
    I was stunned on the spot. In my mind I was thinking:
    1. I know they are not cheap but are you going to make sure I serve all your purpose?
    2. If there's no respond, shouldn't you check with the agency and not wait for a year?
    3. Okay~ no need to lay your cards so explicitly. I'm not forcing you to marry me…
    Anyway, though we still meet up for dinner and lunch after that, it eventually did not realise into anything positive. Guess I have low ROI value. ;))

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