Are you a nice guy (or girl) tired of not getting your needs met and feeling unlovable?
In this post, my buddy Tom Woodfin interviews expert author Dr. Robert Glover in this part 2 interview.
Learn how to get your needs met and set up boundaries to let love in, to be in the reality of your situation, and to break through your social anxiety challenges and more.
It’s time to bring your A game and show up for your life and for yourself!
Here are some things you’ll learn:
Tom: …what do you think is the relationship between boundaries something like compassion, if you have a good strong boundaries, it’s almost like the opposite of neediness I’m able to give without… I would say compassion is a definition of I’m able to give without needing anything in return.
It’s like I’m just pouring good energy outwards and there seems to be a lot of power in that as well. It seems like there’s almost like a personal power to be enjoyed from that level of compassion I suppose.
Or that level of being able to hold your own boundaries and know what’s okay and what’s not okay and who you are.
I don’t know if there is a question to come from that.
Dr. Robert Glover: I have two answers to go to your non question.
Tom: Okay, all right, great.
Dr. Robert Glover: I’m a pro at this. I’m a pro at giving answers.
Let’s kind of put boundaries over here for a minute and coming back up just a little bit to something you said that I wanted to say something more about it. It goes back to what we’re talking about to the not needy.
And then we’ll come back to the boundaries because I agree with what you’re saying about them.
Another piece that I’ve really been looking at a lot just recently in my own life personally but also seeing it with other people and a lot of it goes back to this piece I was talking about the cooperative reciprocal systems is that a lot of us to rip off an old country song go looking for love in all the wrong places.
Because we’re mistaken what love is. Without going way off field of trying to define love, most of us get mistaken about what is love and usually the mistakes we make about what is love usually go back to our childhood, go back to our family of the inadequate ways that our parents loved us.
Now, remember going back to Scott Pecks’ definition of world less traveled, the way that parents instill a sense of lovableness in a child is by being attentive, responding to their needs and timely judicious, and I add, consistent ways.
That is what makes a child feel lovable and valued. Now Pecks says this, and I agree with this I’ve been a marriage and family therapist for over thirty years, I’ve worked with a lot of families, I have raised kids.
For example, you can tell a child I love you thousand times a day and if their needs are not met in a timely, judicious, and consistent way the words will mean nothing, they will not feel loved.
You can tell your child, oh, you are so amazing, you’re so great, you’re so special. You can tell them that a thousand times a day, but if their needs are not met in this timely, consistent judicial way, they’re not going to feel loved.
The words and the feelings won’t connect.
What I think happens is we go out looking for love and we get mistaken what it is.
We think somebody wanting to have sex with us is love or somebody wanting to tell us their problems is love. These are true for nice guys because I know I thought if a woman wanted to tell me her problems, I was valuable. I’m special or if she wants to have sex with me, I was special.
Then I came to find out no, women will tell their problems to anybody and a woman might have sex with me has nothing to do with my lovableness.
We might go looking for appreciation or affection or validation or success or I have a great body or make a lot of money. Thinking all of these things translate into love but they don’t. They don’t fill the bucket in any consistent way, but we think they should, which means we just got to keep trying to do those things that will make us feel lovable.
Losing weight will never make another person love you more but doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman he’d say well I just lose weight and get in good shape and I’ll be more loved. No, you don’t get any more loved by losing weight.
If I just get that promotion or I just make enough money if I drive nice enough car, I’ll get more love. I just listened to enough women talk about their problems or enough people want to have sex with me then I’ll feel loved.
But then you find out you don’t, right?
So, my sense is going back to these us consciously creating these cooperative reciprocal systems that once we start doing that, we can actually start asking what are some of the basic needs and wants that I have.
It’s not about love it’s about basic needs and wants. For example, you mentioned sex and affection. Well, okay, what can I do to increase the frequency that I have sex or what can I do to put myself in a situation to receive physical affection?
We actually start asking ourselves those questions and taking steps that will help make that happen. But if we just focus on if I just get laid then everything will be okay, and it actually never works that way.
The more we’re filling up all those buckets and not mistaking affection for love or sex for love but if we’re consistently meeting our needs in a way that feels valuable, we don’t get so dependent on needing the sex or need any affection.
But another piece and this is part of the boundary piece that will segue into is that if we never invite affectionate people into our life, we’re not going to feel much affection. If we never invite people who like sex and like having sex with us into our life, we’re not going to get more sex.
It sounds well maybe simple logical but as a nice guy I spent most of my adult life inviting women into my life who didn’t like sex and trying to get them to want to have sex with me.
I grew up in a family that was amazingly non affectionate. My mother just turned 84, my father’s been dead for ten years and my mother is probably the least affectionate human being I know. I try to be around her as much as I can I live a couple thousand miles away, but she had a stroke back in November, so I try to visit her fairly frequently. I give her hugs all the time. I tell her I love her all the time.
I send her text messages and say I love you. I send her little hearts and I get such a kick out of my wife because my wife who is the most affectionate human being I’ve ever met will even acknowledge you’re your mother isn’t very affectionate. Your mother doesn’t but she said but I watch every time you hug your mother; she loves it and every time you say I love you to your mother she says I love you back.
And so, I just let go of any covert contract and I just give affection freely to my very non affectionate mother. Just know that okay, what I did is because that felt normal when I was a younger person to be around non affectionate people is that I tended to recreate that in my life and then wonder why nobody ever was affectionate with me.
Well, I kept inviting people into my life or not who weren’t particularly affectionate and when I decided that okay, I like affection, I like people like to hold hands and kiss and say I love you and hug and be affectionate then all of a sudden I started inviting those people into my life.
And as I said my wife is the most affectionate human being I know. It’s just her language of love to receive and express physical affection and it’s like I’m in heaven because I love it as well. But I had to invite somebody into my life that was actually physically affectionate. If I kept inviting people like my mother into my life, I’d keep thinking what’s wrong with me? How come nobody wants to be with me?
But it has nothing to do with my lovableness. So, we’ll go back fill your bucket up with all these resources and invite people into your life who want to give to you in the way that you want to receive and then work on whatever issues you have around receiving. Which I’ve had to do as well because I’m not a very good receiver and may it make me anxious or feel guilty when people do nice things for me. I’ve had to consciously work on that.
Tom: Right. Is that something that touches the kind of the unworthiness core like I don’t deserve this kind of love, all this kind of affection. It’s like maybe I really want it and I really crave it but then when I get close to it and I start say all these walls shoot up. Like maybe I’m not worthy of this kind of affection or worthy of getting even the things that I want?
Dr. Robert Glover: Well, there could be a lot of layers to it, I think. A worthiness is one. If not, so much the card I play emotionally. I think my cards around something like that getting my needs met or more like oh, if you give to me I’ll owe you something.
Or if I have needs that makes me to look much like my father who was a self-centered ass and I don’t want to be a self-centered ass, I’ll try not to have needs.
So, I got value out of being needless and want less so now because I don’t have needs and wants you should value me because I’m not the self-centered ass. So, it’s not so much for me that I feel worthless that is proof I know for a lot of people.
We all have our own stories they get played out, but we have to address those stories.
For example, in therapy years ago when I realized okay, I’m not a very good receiver and I gave you a couple examples of a couple practices that I worked on. One is probably 20 years ago when I was in my second marriage and that’s when I started working on my nice guy issues.
I was to give her the whole covert contract I was given gifts and nice things to my wife. I remember one year I gave her a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day, and she didn’t seem to have strong response to it one way or another. And I asked her what did you like the teddy bear?
And she said well, did you get that for me or get it for you? Did you give it to me for me or for you? I had to think about it well, I did put a lot of time into it I looked and searched for the perfect teddy bear, I thought you really loved it you’d really be appreciative of me and I said I guess it probably was much more for me than it was for you.
And she goes well trust that hose as that needy hose and because of that needy hose I just needed her to love it and appreciate it because I worked so hard to find the perfect teddy bear.
And she said so because of that I don’t know, I can’t really feel anything about it.
We were in like a therapy group at the time a couple’s therapy group, so we talked about that and out of that process I made a decision to go on a giving moratorium. For one year I talked about this with my then wife, for one year I did not give her any gifts at all. No surprises, no Mother’s Day cards, no birthday gifts, no Christmas, nothing. And every time I had the impulse to like to buy her something or give her something or do something for her. I had to buy myself something or do something for me or give myself something.
That may sound like a crazy assignment, but it transformed me in that then my giving became much more loving injudicious not just caretaking like love me, love me, love me because I gave you all this great stuff. It started filling my own bucket up. I am one of my own cooperative reciprocal systems. I take charge of filling my bucket up. If I need something, I get it. That helped me practice receiving by actually giving to me rather than given to others.
Another experience I had one as I got divorced in like 2003 and start dating. I dated a woman for a while. I met her because she sold me shoes. She worked in a nice department store. We started dating she came over to my apartment one day and I’d done some laundry and left my clean clothes out on my couch and she just walked in the door and just started folding my laundry. I said wait, wait, wait, you don’t need to fold my laundry stop. She goes I actually like folding clothes, I’m really good at it. She was, remember, I work in retail fashion sales, I fold clothes all the time. She says I’m good.
And I said okay, okay, wait a minute. She wants to give, it makes her feel good, I need a practice receiving so I let her fold my laundry. And so, after that consciously every time I did laundry, I left the clean clothes out on the couch knowing there’s a gift to her and as a challenge to me. That was hard to do actually. It was hard to leave the clothes out kind of like okay, my clothes are here, fold them out. And she never like why do you do this?
She liked doing it. She said I won’t put them away, but I’ll leave them in little stacks here like on your couch or your bed. I said that’s okay, I won’t put them away either because every time I see those stacks, I feel loved and I did. I felt loved but I had to let her do that. If I didn’t let her do it I wouldn’t get that sense of mm-hmm, that feels good when I look at those little stacks of neatly folded clothes. That was her expressing love for me.
Tom: And it’s the kind of love that she’s expressing that she feels good to do. Because the kind of expression you’re talking about before and I think this is an important distinction to make is that when you saw when you bought the teddy bear it’s like that your way of expressing love but you needed something in return for it.
Just like you did it because hey this is great, and I can give this, and I want to do, and I don’t really care if she likes it or not. Like I really, really want the validation or approval. Whereas the girl folding the clothes is like she just loves folding clothes and wants to show her affection that way and she’s not looking complimentary or anything like that.
Dr. Robert Glover: And as you see the difference. One’s a covert contract one isn’t. One’s freely given with no strings attached one has lots of strings attached. The point is if we want to experience love we have to practice receiving.
We have to practice letting people in, letting people love us which we can segue then into boundaries. Which is a great subject and I did not even know what a boundary was till I was in my 30s in my second marriage and already had a PhD in marriage and family therapy before I’d ever heard the term boundary and I mentioned that when I started working in therapy, going to therapy to figure out why me being a nice guy didn’t make my wife appreciate me more.
The very first session I went to with a therapist I worked with for a while, very first session she taught me about boundaries.
She put a little string out on the ground started talking about personal space and how boundaries work. It’s like man did she like just know I needed that or does she do that with like every client person for the first session? But I did need it.
And what I tell people around boundaries – personal boundaries aren’t about trying to get anybody else to be different, they’re about getting us to be different.
And healthy boundaries actually invite other people into higher consciousness, they’re not just a matter of saying stop or don’t do that or whatever.
The most important piece for me that I teach people around boundaries is it boundaries for what allow people to get close to us.
Now for example, I tell people I’ll come back to give an illustration of that. I tell people you’re an adult. You get to be the decider of who comes into your space what they get to do while they’re in your space, how long they get to stay, when it’s time for them to leave.
You are as an adult the gatekeeper of your space. That’s what adults do.
Children don’t do that because they’re little and everybody else is bigger, so the big people get to do whatever they want to the little people. Since we were all little people at one time, we grow up being boundaryless because nobody ever taught us you can say no, you can say stop, you can say here’s what I want.
And because if it wasn’t what the big people wanted, they’d say shut up or spank you or smack you or ignore you and do what they want, and you do. Whatever. When we get to be adults, we have to learn to set boundaries.
Now I tell people boundaries are like if you’re driving in your car, you’re on a highway they are the stoplights, the stop signs, the yield signs, the speed limits, the lines or the markers on the road. They are the things that allow a lot of cars to coexist in close proximity without crashing into each other all the time. Boundaries are a good thing. They help they help manage how people can coexist with each other.
For example, boundaries are what allow people to get close to us.
Because if you think about it if you don’t have boundaries if you have no consciousness of personal boundaries, your choices are either let people come in and do whatever they want to you, which could be abusive or they might use you or hurt you, or you’ve got to build really big walls to keep them away from you, or you have to become really unavailable and socially isolated.
Basic three choices. Let people hurt you, build big walls and don’t anybody get close to you or be socially isolated. Those your choices.
But boundaries allow people to get close to you because you can decide yeah, those people I don’t want them so close to me but this person I do. This person they can get really close to me. I’ll get naked with this person or I’ll reveal myself to this person but even with this person I’m not going to let them hurt me or scold me or be critical of me or shame me.
If they do all I need to say to them hey, no, you don’t get to shame me or you don’t get to be critical of me or if you keep doing that you won’t get to hang around me or even like okay, I’ve hung around this person for a little while now I need some space. I need my own time. I need to go hang out some other people. I need to go work.
You can say okay, it’s time for me. That is us using our boundaries to direct traffic to where we can let people close, let them in, we can move closer, move further, we have groups of people around us, one person, we can be alone all of those things.
And there’s a fluidity to it that you don’t have if you’re just letting everybody come in and abuse you or if you just have a big wall built up or if you’re just isolating yourself and avoiding people all together. It may take a lifetime to really get good at setting them.
I’m still learning how to get how to set them well after 25 years of practicing, but they are beautiful in that they do let people get close to you and let you feel safe enough to be vulnerable and open with people.
Tom: That’s interesting. That kind of takes me to a metaphor I heard once of something like the kids can play in the playground because they have a wall around the playground. It’s like the safe zone, it’s the container that they can go in and just do whatever they want and they know that the outside isn’t going to come in consumed and swallow them.
Dr. Robert Glover: I think I’ve heard that same metaphor and I love it. I don’t know if any of these examples you hear is accurate but there’s a playground with a fence around it and the kids played in the entire playground, right up next to the fence, there was a busy highway out there, people walking by but they felt safe. And somebody thought well kids don’t need fences. Fences are bad for kids.
So, somebody came and took the fence down on the playground and then the kids all played really close to each other in the middle of the playground and never ventured out. Whether that’s a true story I was a preacher for eight years and so I preachers tell lots of stories that may or may not be true, but they make a point.
People do feel safe when we have boundaries.
A lot of times working with nice guys when I talk about boundaries nice guys say this fear of if I said a boundary with my girlfriend or my wife or my mother then they’re going to have this big negative reaction. They might but often they don’t and sometimes they push against it or resist it a little bit because it’s new, it’s unexpected and once they get used to it, they go oh, yeah, that does make sense.
I shouldn’t just drop in unannounced or I shouldn’t tell him he’s a worthless excuse for a human being. Maybe I should stop doing that and sometimes people do just keep pushing through them and I call them professional boundary invaders.
My advice is if over time you start setting clear, loving, conscious-inducing boundaries and people like keep attacking you like you’re doing something wrong like you’re victimizing them for having a boundary this is no, stop. I suggest you don’t hang around those people. That’s part of setting boundaries as well.
It is deciding there’s certain people on this planet that don’t make your life better and you hang around them. Unfortunately, sometimes those people are mom or dad or a sibling or a person you’re married to but sometimes it is better to get away from those people.
Tom: Yeah, well, it’s interesting that this thought about boundaries because I think one of the things, the way we’re talking I can relate you very much to the dynamic between order and chaos or something like that.
Where on the outside of the fence there is all kinds of chaos and on then there’s a little bit of order that kind of keeps it neat and tidy. One of the things that you tend to find with people who have good boundaries and strong boundaries is that they just feel solid.
It’s like you know where you stand with them, there’s not this kind of amorphous like am I safe here? If I push down here do I have something to stand on? It’s just like maybe that’s where this feeling of compassion can emanate from them or you just feel a sense of, I don’t know, that there’s some sense of solidarity or like that they’re honest, they’re truthful.
I think this is something that nice guys typically struggle with quite a lot because of the shame and fear and if I do this, if I set these boundaries maybe I’m not going to be loved in the way that I want to be loved. Something like that.
Dr. Robert Glover: I think it’s a really good analysis on your part that having those boundaries, having our reciprocal systems, valuing ourselves, taking good care of ourselves really opens us up to love more deeply to have greater compassion.
For example, I hear this frequently when people find out I’ve written a book called “No more Mr. Nice Guy”, I teach men to be not nice people.
But you actually seem like a nice guy, you seem like a decent human being and I said yes, I would hope that that is your impression of me is that I’m a decent human being. I hope that is you just experiencing me having a conversation or walking the planet that your impression is this person is a decent human being.
And of course, the distinction I make between that and the nice guy goes back to the nice guys covert contracts to in stocks exchange was giving to get, to his trying to be something he’s not, to be loved, to hiding things about him. That’s the Nice Guy in capital letters. Capital N, capital G.
But I would hope that doing what I call “Nice Guy” recovery will make you more loving, more compassionate, more open, more approachable, more generous and just improve who you are. I am not even using that word because about two years ago my publisher said we want to put out an updated version of “No more Mr. Nice Guy” and they said you want to you want to revise it or add anything?
I said no, not really, I’ll just write some more books and I said but let’s just like clean it up, clean up any typos, anything. I’ll write a new dedication and how about I write a foreword for it. And so, on the foreword I wrote about what I’ve learned in the last 15 years. Welcomed my own personal life and working with nice guys.
I concluded the foreword that really something that I saw even more clearly when I wrote the book 20 years ago that recovering from the nice guy syndrome is not becoming a different person, it’s not about becoming a better person, it’s not about becoming a more lovable person, it’s about becoming more you.
It’s about by discovering you, embracing you, loving you. Putting you out there to the world warts and all, imperfections and all, human frailties and all and loving every, every bit of yourself.
I would hope that as people are doing the nice-guy recovery it’s not like in ironically when I was shopping the book to get it published 25 years ago. A lot of publishing company said oh, we like the book but our marketing department says men won’t buy a self-help book. Especially one that tells them they’re kind of a loser. And I said you don’t know. The men I work with really do want to be good people. That’s why they’re trying hard to be good because they want to be good people.
Unfortunately, is coming from a paradigm that says I’m flawed and broken and unlovable so I got to be good. A lot of nice guys when they first get the book, they go oh, yeah, I get to being a nice guy doesn’t work now if I become an integrated male then I’ll be loved.
It takes a little while to realize no, let’s just work at being ourselves, let’s just work at being who we are.
Not everybody’s going to like us. It’s still going to be our job to make sure we get our needs met, we’re not going to have a smooth problem-free life but if we can learn to like us and love us and just present that person to the world, that person is going to be trustworthy, that person’s going to be authentic, that person’s going to be honest, that person is going to be generous, that person is going to be open to love and giving of love and that’s a beautiful person.
Tom: Yeah, this is the kind of people we need more of in the world.
You talk a little bit in the book about nice guys not fulfilling their potential and it sounds like what you’re talking about then is like there’s a potential “you” that you could be and if you work through this stuff you could be more “you” which is kind of what you’re here to be anyway and you can get rid of all the stuff that’s not “you” and all the stuff that’s come fold of you back in “you” being essentially you or the most “you” that you could be is kind of like fulfilling your potential.
Dr. Robert Glover: Yeah, when I wrote the book the last chapter in the book kind of hits on that and that was actually after my agent who took the book on and said I really like it, I think it needs one more chapter so he added that last chapter.
Then actually while the book was in process about to be published, it was published by Barnes & Noble who at that time was tried to publish books now, they don’t even sell books because they just went bankrupt and got bought out but anyway, back then they were the big deal.
They had me write a class. They said we want you to write a class an eight-week online class based on “No more Mr. Nice Guy” but don’t just rehash it and do an application of it and then you can teach it online on their online university.
The book was about to come out, I was working on developing this class and I still teach it to this day called “Nice Guys don’t finish last, they rot in middle management”.
The premise is that nice guys are often good at being good because we’re pretty conscientious and we want approval.
We do often well enough but we don’t usually like exceed and just flourish and blossom because of a number of things.
Seeking people’s approval. People don’t usually accomplish great things while they’re playing to the crowd. They accomplish great things when they’re true to themselves and they bring their A-game.
Our fear of risk of looking foolish, making a mistake, doing the wrong thing, that can get in the way. That need for external validation, our caretaking when we’re constantly tending to everybody else and not focusing on our passion or purpose.
A lot of it just comes down to its really scary to live up to your full potential. This is scary, it’s kind of rare air. Nice guys tend to want to keep doing what feels safe and familiar.
Doing this Nice Guy work and I’m still doing this and I’m still seeing it this in my own life like I say it 63, I’m watching my life continued to blossom and flourish as I get out of my own way, as I start just creating what’s true to my heart and my inspiration.
I see my life keep getting better. I’m writing more books, financially I’m doing better, I seem to have more love in my life, I have lots of great adventures, I’ve lots of blessings in my life. I think a lot of that comes because I’ve let them in number one and number two, I’ve been bringing my A-game.
I’ve faced a lot of fears and I created a discipline for myself and the support system that supports me and holds me accountable for living up to my potential. It’s a commitment I’ve made that I’m not going to let my fears and my self-limiting beliefs and my anxieties kind of subvert me for making a difference in the world.
I know that “No more Mr. Nice Guy” has made a huge difference in the world. I know that that many thousands of people have had changed lives because of it.
And I’ve got more books in me that need written. Well, one of my fear gets in the way that I never write another book. Okay, that’s fine, but when I recognize that I’m here perhaps with a purpose or passion, we’re metaphysical about all of that but I seem to have a certain gift and ability and if I’m not using that and just bringing my A-game to that, I’m cheating me, I’m cheating my family, I’m cheating the world.
Tom: It’s going to consume you and eat you from the inside.
Dr. Robert Glover: Yeah, it will and I couldn’t be happier doing what I’m doing. I get up, I write, I have my connections, I have all my reciprocal cooperative systems that bless my life. I teach, I do seminars, I do what I love and I think it makes a difference.
I would be cheating the world if I wasn’t fully embracing and doing what I love and why I’m put here to do.
Tom: Well, the thing that you mentioned about rarefied air and like being fully you and bringing full of you to the world it’s a scary thing. I think people are very much afraid of anything that very well-used maximal like it’s not the darkness but it’s the light inside of you that you’re afraid of. Something like that.
In your book there was another one of these lines I was like oh, God. And I think it was the nice guys are wimps and this is something I really tried to kind of counter my whole life so just a brief bit about my history. I grew up and I felt very soft when I was young. I didn’t feel like I was strong or brave or anything like that. As I grew up then I moved into mixed martial arts and I started doing kickboxing and things like that because I wanted to try to overcome this and feel my strength, feel more power and be tougher than my demons that I was fighting inside my head.
Well, physically it kind of worked out okay but still inside there was this feeling of like I’m really afraid of conflicts, I’m really afraid of confrontation and physical stuff now I’m getting to the point where I could maybe handle it a bit better but still inside the things that terrified me were not being approved of these kinds of things.
Reading this line of nice guys was another one of those ones where I had to come back to a second time like yeah, okay, just absorb that, receive it, let it naturally do its work, it’s okay, it’s okay to kind of do that.
Dr. Robert Glover: And what if we could actually even just accept that?
Because I know at least one place in the book. I said this was years and years and years ago I still remember there’s I described a scene in the book with my second wife Elizabeth was with when I wrote the book. We’d had this big fight. I remember we were like it in the bathroom off our master bedroom and she went off on me which she had a tendency to do and called me all kinds of things including a wimp.
She left and she came back, I remember I stayed in the bathroom I was kind of crying and watching. As she walked back in and she did something that she almost never did in fourteen years of marriage. She apologized and she said I’m sorry for saying those things and for calling you a wimp. And I just looked at her I said actually that was the most honest thing that you said. I said yeah, I’m in here crying my eyes out so I think maybe you were right. I can be a wimp.
I’m like you, I don’t like conflict. I think probably the last two or three relationships I’ve been in with women as my mother got to know them, my mother seemed to like to reveal things about me as a child and she’s told all these women. Bobby never did like conflict and I thought well, who the fuck does?
No, I don’t like conflict. Why? Can’t we just talk about it and get it done? Why we have this conflict?
And because my dad was pretty confrontational and my mother always kind of walked on eggshells to make him happy and I did as a kid too. No, I’m not digging the conflict, I’m not a fighter by nature, I’m not an alpha personality.
My wife bless her heart grew up in eight of ten kids in poverty in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her dad was an alcoholic, her older sister beat her literally regularly until she was like 16 and told her if you ever do it again, I’ll beat the shit out of you. She had to fight with neighbor kids, she’s been violated and molested and just tough. She’s a tough cookie. She had to be tough.
She goes to exercise class every day, she’s a gym rat, she does Muay Thai, she’s a lefty. I won’t start a fight with her. In every way conceivable she’s tougher than me and I tell her in some ways she’s my role model for where the places I need to toughen up and I’d be willing to have a conflict and stand up for myself and deal with things.
But she also says I’m her role model for teaching her how to be calmer and more patient and more open-hearted. I love her for the ways that she is but she kind of doesn’t like the fact that she has to be so tough.
She loves me for being this this kinder gentler type person and I’m saying I should be tougher.
How about if we just accept? Okay, this is how I am. I might be kind of a wimp. Can I love that about me? Can I love that part of me that whether or not have conflict? Can I love that part about me that doesn’t go looking for a fight? Can I love that part about me? They would still stand up and go to the floor for anybody that threatened my family?
I would. But I would try to find some other solution first – that’s me. We can love all parts about ourselves even those parts that might have a negative connotation like being a wimp and I know I can stand up.
Tom: There’s a few things that I’m thinking about that. One, I’m always wondering though when you were talking about the kind of the needs and the wants and getting nice guys to identify their feelings because a lot of times that kind of touch with their feelings. I wonder do you use any kind of linguistic structures?
Like nonviolent communication is good at helping people to identify what they’re feeling and what their needs are that are kind of driving these feelings and also it doesn’t. It’s kind of like promotes a consciousness that doesn’t necessarily label things as like this guy is a wimp or these guys are good and these guys bad.
And then once you’ve kind of arrived at that consciousness then it’s like yes, it’s fine to be a wimp because it’s just a word. What is really happening underneath is that I’m feeling afraid and I have needs for security and support or safety or something like that. I was wondering if you use any kind.
Dr. Robert Glover: I really honestly just came into contact with nonviolent communication. I’d like heard of it at times in the past that’s really only been last couple years that I really kind of had it explained to me more in depth and I like it as a communication style. I think words can be really important and how we use them.
For example, what I typically do when I’m working with people, I tell them to pay attention to their emotionally laden language. That has a charge to it.
For example, a guy says well, she shot me down. Well, no, she had low interest in going out with you. She said “no” to your request to go on a date. She didn’t shoot you down but your language of she shot you down all of a sudden take on this real emotional world of itself.
Oftentimes in therapy and in groups when I’m working with people that have this tendency to use a lot of emotionally laden language and buy into it as if it is the story, it is reality.
I’ll do a little exercise with them and I’ll say okay, I’m going to have you tell me the story of this emotional event usually which they’re feeling kind of negative or done to or victimized. I’m going to have you maybe tell it to me in two ways.
The first way is I’m going to have you tell it to me as an editorial. You’re going to editorialize this story. A lot of emotionally laden language. Well, this situation, this guy was being a real jerk and he went off on this other person. Editorialize the hell out of it. Read whatever intent or motive into it you want.
Then after telling the story with all the emotional language I said now tell it to me like a news reporter. Give me the facts. The who, the what, the where, the we’re in the house without intention, speculation, motive, just what can be observable in the situation. Well, a guy was walking down the street and he turned around and punched a guy. That’s it, that’s all you know.
That’s a lot different story than all the speculation and everything. Or would bring it to the dating scenario, the editorial is Robert bought this woman drinks and he was trying to impress her and he listened to her tell her stories and she seemed really interested in him and she touched his arm a lot and
Robert was thinking how great it would be maybe if she was his girlfriend and he thought she was really sexy and he was doing his best to impress her and this and that and then when he finally did ask her out she shot him down and she walked away from him and he left standing there looking like a fool. Or the news story is Robert met a woman at a bar, drank a couple drinks together, he asked her out, she said no.
Tom: Nobody died.
Dr. Robert Glover: Nobody had died, nobody had died, nobody got shot, killed, nobody had drink thrown in their face, she said no. I tell you what. Life gets a lot easier.
Somebody told me recently the way they like to say it is, give me the news, not the weather, don’t get me the weather report. We cut out the weather report just stick to the news. Yeah, it should happen in life, it isn’t always as we wanted and it doesn’t always go the way we want but it’s usually not nearly as dramatic as we turn it into be when we make it as being about ourselves.
Robert met a woman in the bar, bought her a couple drinks, he asked her for her phone number she said no and Robert continued to have a good night. It doesn’t have to be this big drama thing.
I agree with you. Language can be really important and if we can learn to drop the drama from our language we can communicate more clearly.
I know an experience just recently a few weeks ago as I said my mother had a stroke a few months ago and then had actually gone back in the hospital for a different reason. This is about a month ago. And I thought I’m worried about her, when she does reply to my messages says she’s weak, she’s not sleeping well. I thought I’m going to go up and just pay her a visit. I told my wife about my thoughts and my plans and she thought that was a good idea and so I flew up from Porto to where I live up to Seattle to spend six-seven days with my mom. And I was glad I went. I think she needs someone to check on her refrigerator was empty.
She wasn’t doing very good care of herself.
We went for a lot of walks, I put a lot of food in her fridge and by the time I left she was a much better shape. But while I was gone my wife seemed really cool towards me. We usually send a lot of text messages but her messages were fairly unaffectionate and flat.
I’m not going to use any emotionally-laden words but I can tell she was distant and something was bothering her. And I watched my tendency to make a story out of that. All I did is I just kept repeating to myself, “My wife is not feeling sufficiently loved by me”.
I didn’t make it into a story this or that or she was projecting her stuff or I didn’t do anything wrong. Nothing. I might want to at times and every time my mind wanted to create a dramatic story about my wife seeming distant while I was gone, I just repeated to myself, “My wife is not feeling sufficiently loved by me”.
When I got back home and we were able to have a conversation about it I said it seemed that you were not feel sufficiently loved by me. And she then told me two things that made her feel not sufficiently loved.
I acknowledged both of them that I could see why that would make her feel not sufficiently loved and I said I will try to be more attentive to those things in the future. And after a week of her seeming distant but me not reacting and just asking okay, you seem to not feel sufficiently loved.
She told me two things I had listened, I acknowledged and we got through it like in 15 minutes. It’s all it took and then from there on out she was amazingly her affectionate self and close and physical and hugging and kissing and saying sweet things. It’s just like that because I didn’t turn it into a dramatic story. I forced myself to keep it simple.
Tom: Yeah, it sounds like we can get addicted to the drama because it’s something interesting that’s happening. Maybe there’s not enough kind of interesting or fulfilling things in her life that are happening and so you create these kinds of drama so you can just so something’s happening so it’s not boring.
Yeah, it really sounds like once you break that down or kind of kick that addiction and you just use language in a way that is that you’re in a better relationship with reality instead of what’s going on in your head, it’s like you can actually get down to what’s happening and it’s not such a big deal after all.
Dr. Robert Glover: It amazed me how quickly we got through it and how quickly she wanted to feel close to me again. That she wanted to open up to her feelings. Yeah, it kind of blew me away like wow, it’s that easy? If I can manage my storytelling and projections and start drama a little better maybe we get through stuff a lot quicker. This is a work in progress.
Tom: There’s so many more things I would love to talk to you about here. I think we are probably running over by a little bit and I want to kind of make an effort to respect your time there even though I also want to kind of pick your brains about so many more things.
Dr. Robert Glover: Well, we can do this again.
Tom: Yeah, well, I would like that. I still have about say 60% of the questions that I never even caught it and spinning off of the things that you were talking about so I was super interesting. Do have any final thoughts or final words to say on anything any messages you like to send? I know you just got a new book out and I just found out today. I thought that was quite interesting.
Dr. Robert Glover: Thank you, thank you for plugging that. If your people are listening to this, if they’re interested in anything we’ve talked about sure, check out “No more Mr. Nice Guy” and my new book just came out this month. It is available right now, it’s an E-book on Amazon – “Dating Essentials for Men”. It came to be written exactly the same way “No more Mr. Nice Guy” did.
I got divorced in my late 40s 16-17 years ago I didn’t know how to date. I had to learn how to date and I tried to approach it by being authentic and real and myself and just learning to let me this filled up me attract good people to me. It’s kind of a different concept to what a lot of the dating advice is out there for men. Yeah, check out “Dating essentials for men”, “No more Mr. Nice Guy”. Come find my website just go to drglover.com or datingessentialsformen.com. Go around both of them and see if anything looks interesting.
Tom: Pretty of good material. Is there anything finally that you would say quickly to…? I almost forgot the word. I’m doing a podcast for socially anxious people, is anything that quickly you would say?
Dr. Robert Glover: Should we give them away before we wrap up?
Tom: We talked about “No more Mr. Nice Guy” stuff. If there’s anything you’d like to say to them?
Dr. Robert Glover: Let me just say one thing. Two things. I’ll say two things. I am by nature an emotional introvert. I didn’t know that for most of my life. I get recharged in isolation spending a long time but I do like being around people but I get overwhelmed and tired easily in crowds. I actually do better stand up on the stage talking to an audience than I do in small groups and parties mainly because of the control factor. I’m more in control when I’m up on the stage.
I guess the point I want to make is that most people I’ve worked with a lot of people especially where I work around a dating concept. I worked with a lot of people who identify as being socially anxious, introverted and they’re not necessarily the same thing. It’s kind of like one piece that I see with people that identify in this way it almost becomes like their burden to bear, kind of like their identity, almost their mask.
Well, I’m socially anxious therefore… Fill in the blank.
I’m introverted therefore… Fill in the blank.
Kind of like well, because I’ve got this thing, I can’t really be expected to do these other things like talk to people or go to parties or walk up and introduce myself to someone or whatever. I don’t want to minimize it because it’s real but the point is everybody has to challenge themselves in life. Maybe some people have more challenges than other. Maybe I don’t have as many challenges as another person. Somebody maybe is in a wheelchair or has something else going on.
Everybody has challenges. So, instead of saying “Well, because I have this thing, I can’t”, maybe say “Okay, I have this thing and it’s a challenge and I can, I can try it, I can work at”. Everybody has to lean in to their challenge. Everybody.
If they really want to be themselves and have what they want in life and live up to their potential has to get out of their comfort zone and feel uncomfortable or anxious periodically. Everybody. And so, the people said, “Well, I’ve got this thing or I’ve got that thing”.
Okay, all right, you do, I’m a wimp by the way, I’ve got that thing and I still have to challenge myself. I still have to deal with conflict sometimes even though it makes me pretty anxious but I still have to. So, I would say don’t let how you’ve identified yourself be you. It’s just a piece, it’s just a thing. Don’t let it be you.
Get out of your comfort zone anyway. And then the second piece I’ll add is don’t do it alone.
Anything we try to do alone can be a lot more difficult, a lot more challenging. Surround yourself with good people. Get a coach, get a therapist, get a wing buddy or wingman, get a buddy, go to a 12-step program, go to meet up, take a Dale Carnegie course. Don’t try to do it alone, go connect with other people and practice these life skills with other people.
And maybe with people who are a little bit further ahead than you and they can teach you what they’ve learned along the way. Don’t try to figure it out alone. That’s way too much work, go and get help.
Tom: Yeah, powerful words there. Well, it’s been an absolute privilege for me to speak with you today. Thank you so much. You’ve definitely affected my life in massively positive ways that you are unaware of and thousands, maybe millions of people out there as well. So, thank you so much Robert Glover for being on the podcast today. It’s been a real pleasure.
Dr. Robert Glover: Thank you for the invitation. I had a great time and I look forward to doing it again.
Tom: Excellent, me too.
Dr. Robert Glover: All right, take care.