#57 I'm afraid to ask a white girl out / No space for her to choose
Carolyn: There’s this girl in my office. She’s white and I’m black. We get along at social events with the office and I so badly want to ask her out. But, I’m afraid of not just the rejection but the emotional effects of being rejected because I’m black.--Washington D.C.
Hi Washington D.C.: Then let’s assume any rejection will be personality-based. If she doesn’t like you, it’s your personality. If she doesn’t like your skin color, it’s hers. —Carolyn
Hi I'm Black: Great letter. Many will get value from reading it. Several things come to mind:
1) There’s a distinction between asking and presenting an ultimatum. You use the word “ask” but in truth you are coming from ultimatum. There is no space for her to choose. "Space" as in (absence of any pressure or expectation, huh? huh? please say yes). To “ask” another, for anything, you must create in your mind that it’s perfectly OK, (actually it must be more than OK, it must be equally perfect) that they say no. To do this it must be your idea that they say no for some, as yet unknown, brilliant reason. It's tricky because you must also have the intention for them to say yes. In this way you are cause for either outcome, rather than setting it up to be a disappointed victim. You must say to yourself, [Wow, a no would be equally great because I could stay home and get some laundry done.] Else you present them with an unconscious ultimatum. This pattern of yours began something like this: “Dad, can I use the car?” But what got communicated nonverbally is: [...and if you say "no" I’m going to be upset, disappointed, hurt, etc. I’m going to pout and run my con on you. I’m going to try and make you feel uncomfortable, guilty, or upset for saying no]. In other words, you must create a safe space for the person to choose; else it’s a covert manipulation, a con, which will eventually have undesirable consequences.* In dating, the consequences sometimes don’t appear until the divorce process, when a woman experiences the accumulated unconscious anger of having run her con of setting you up to con her into going out on the first date. A considerable number of divorced women would never have initiated the first conversation, their intuitions, based upon their first impression, their instinct, was that he would not be compatible and therefore not worth the long embarrassing trip across the gym floor. It could be said that in one fleeting glance they started, had, and completed their relationship; they chose not to walk across the floor. Instead they unconsciously conned him and accepted his initiation and ended up marrying someone they have no experience of having chosen.
2) Unbeknownst to you, you are carrying around some uncomplimentary baggage. Black or not, such baggage communicates insecurity, it most likely will beget an equally insecure woman, (read: one whom you can con at first, but later you will come to disrespect because she can be conned). That is to say, what you believe you want is a powerful complete woman, one who attracts an equally powerful whole and complete man. You on the other hand are dragging around incompletes, stuff about your blackness, that serve as a barrier to open, honest, and spontaneous communication. Notice the fear you have in simply approaching her with the truth? “I’ve been wanting to ask you out but I have all sorts of considerations floating around in my mind. This,… and this …. And, I’m afraid that… and I have the fear that,… and, etc. etc.", until you have communicated all your thoughts. Once communicated they will disappear and a whole new set of considerations will take their place. The thought you withhold (don't share verbally) will be the beginning of the end of the expansion of the relationship.
3) I’m inclined to suspect that you’re addicted to invalidation, to invalidating and to being invalidated. A conscious person knows when they are in the presence of someone who likes them equally well. She would have given you very clear, yes, very clear, signs that she was/is open for developing the relationship. If you have to guess the mutual attraction you're looking for ain't there. One of the characteristics of a great male lover is that he has mastered creating space for the woman to initiate, when, and what she wants. When a woman decides she wants you, she’ll make it work. If you con a woman who would never have asked you out to go out you’ll only know that your con worked. You won't know for sure if she went out with you on a mercy date, perhaps as a good citizen to assure you and herself that she's not prejudiced. Your ideal partner will choose you. Why do you think girls make you walk all the way across the gym floor for a dance? It assures them they are with someone who likes them enough to choose to be uncomfortable, one who is willing to confront fear, in taking the first long step. The stud-muffin you saw in school who had more girls than he could handle was preoccupied with success, service, grades, sports, not dating. What attracts a woman is a man who doesn’t need a woman, one who is committed to service.
You’d do well to use The Clearing Process and empty your mind of all the stuff, all the considerations, you have about blacks and whites and race. The whole truth, the stuff you don’t allow yourself to tell anyone because you’re afraid you’ll come across as racist, sexist, and condescending—it's not an accident that you chose the word, "girl" instead of woman. Had she written, "There's this black boy in our office.... " I suspect you'd feel somewhat slighted. It's both condescending and invalidating.
I recommend that you get the full cooperation and support of your parents by getting absolutely clear if they would totally support whomever you choose. Again, "ask" if you intend to get the truth. Sometimes a child will bring home someone the parents would not consciously choose simply to unconsciously teach his/her parents a lesson in bigotry/racism. It's a covert communication of disrespect. Dumping such an unwanted problem on ones parents is not a loving gesture. There is a way to address racism within the family but as with any path to enlightenment you have to choose to experience pain, aloneness, arrogance, self-righteousness, doubt, etc.
Thank you, Gabby
* Quite often when you ask and get a "No" it reveals to your mind (the thought pops up when you ask yourself what the "No" might be about) that you have an out integrity, an incomplete, something that needs to be cleaned up—a lie, theft, broken agreement, etc. To increase your chances of getting "Yes's" commit yourself to operating from integrity. I say "quite often" because a "No" can also simply be a no, or, a reminder about the pitfalls of attachment.