Whenever we meet someone new, in any environment, we are not really meeting the REAL person. We are meeting their ‘representative’.
Definition: A person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others.
In the case of sales, business and the hospitality industry, the representative would be the ‘front of house’ person who meets, greets and makes everyone feel relaxed and welcome. Their aim is to set a good impression. No one wants bad publicity as its bad for business.
When we attend a job interview we make a special effort to appear well groomed, polite, interesting, intelligent and respectful, because we want the job. We behave in a similar way when we are introduced to new neighbours, our best friends parents, our bank manager or tutor. We show the very best of ourselves, in order to make a good impression, which then leads to us getting our own needs met.
This is no different when we go on a first date or embark on a new relationship. The tangible side of this is clear to see, we may buy new clothes, get a hair cut, wear our best and most expensive cologne but underneath all of that we are also behaving in a way that may be very different to who we truly are on a day to day basis.
It could be that you are not very good with timekeeping or returning phone calls, but in those initial stages you make a special effort to do so because you are still in ‘representative’ mode. Maybe you get serious bouts of road rage, but when your new date is sitting next to you in the car and someone cuts you up, instead of your usual reaction you just brake gently and say nothing. You may hate watching sport on TV but you want to impress this person so you sit through hours of their favourite sporting events because you get to be in their company, and you know they will appreciate this and be impressed that you enjoy doing the same things.
If we look at this on an even deeper level, we are also testing and hopefully establishing personal boundaries.
This is why, when a client calls me and asks me if the person they just met has long term potential, my response will almost always be to remind them that until they are at least 3 – 6 months into a relationship, they will not know who they are really dealing with and may actually find that long term is not even what they want from this person. The same thing also applies in regard to how this person feels about them and what they want.
When we enter into new relationships we all make choices based on what we are seeing AT THAT TIME. So you may both enter into a relationship thinking and feeling that this person is exactly what you are seeking in a partner and that you could happily spend the rest of your life with them. You may make promises, plan events, and speak of your long term future together. Just remember that the person you are dealing with in these early days is the representative, the best that this person can be, but it takes a lot of effort to always be on your best behaviour and sooner or later this energy will slip and you will be left with the real person. Also remember that what they are seeing is YOUR representative. Its only when you get to know one another better and you both reveal your true self to one another, that you can really assess if they are who you thought they were, and if they are someone who is compatible with you.
So if you are in a new relationship, enjoy this time of excitement, see it as a wonderful opportunity to assess POTENTIAL but try not to invest your heart or make attachments to the long term outcome. See this as a time to EXPLORE if you BOTH WANT a long term outcome! That means also paying close attention to the behaviour of the other person and being willing to face the fact that perhaps they are not as invested as they appeared to be when you met them.
Whatever you do, please do not fall into the trap of spending years trying to get back to how it was in the first few months. That was when you were dealing with the representative and while he / she may make the odd cameo appearance, (often after a fight or break up), they cannot sustain that energy all the time and will never be around on a full time permanent basis.
Most sessions take place on Skype, this can be audio with or without webcam (your choice) or written text which you can save for future reference. If you would prefer to speak on the phone I have a UK landline which you can call. If you are overseas you may want to buy a calling card to reduce the cost of the call.
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