As a life coach and as a single woman, I am often asked this question: What is the one thing I can do to improve my dating life and relationships? I usually ask a question in return: What do you think it is?
The answers range from be more present to be more patient, and while all of those are wonderful elements that contribute to a happy and healthy relationship, the answer I’m looking for is: Follow Through. Do what you say you are going to do.
If I had to name one reason I see so many fledgling relationships fail, it is this: lack of follow through.
This is, of course, assuming that the baseline for any dating relationship has been achieved: mutual attraction, affection, and respect. If those magical and alchemistic elements are present then, my friend, the most important thing you can do is to follow through. Call when you say you’re going to call. Text when you say you’re going to text. Communicate about expectations. Be in integrity, be in alignment, deliver on promises. And pay attention to whether your new love interest is doing the same.
The beginning of any relationship sets a critical tone for its continuance. We teach people how to treat us. If you’re okay with being put “on the back burner,” then fine, it’s okay that he didn’t call, once again, when he said he was going to do so. If you’re okay with being last on her list, then fine, it’s okay that she, once again, cancelled your lunch at the last second.
Relationships should feel good, should add value to one another’s life, not detract. The next time you’re newly dating someone, if you observe a lack of follow through, stop and get curious. How do you feel about this? Do you still feel respected/cherished by this person? Or last on their list? If an explanation or apology is offered, does it make sense to you, or do you feel manipulated? Pay attention to your gut instinct. We ignore our intuition at our peril.
If you are showing up with integrity and alignment in your relationships, then it’s reasonable and healthy to expect the same respect in return. I’m not advocating being inflexible or showcasing a lack of compassion—people make mistakes, life happens, things can get messy and tough. But, if you’re seeing a repeated pattern in someone’s behavior toward you, and they aren’t owning that behavior and making amends, then it might be time to gently take your leave.
Think of it this way: Would you stay in a business relationship or partnership with someone who habitually didn’t follow through on what they said they were going to do? Successful executives treat their clients, partners and vendors with courtesy and respect. Is your love interest worth any less? Or, to put the shoe on the other foot, are you worth any less?
You are valuable; you are worth being made a priority. Seek and celebrate the best in those around you, appreciate the beauty that is this life, and delight will surely find you. And when it does, do your bit and follow through.
Certified Professional Coach Kate Buckley is committed to facilitating personal growth and systemic transformation. An intuitive and deep listener, she specializes in helping both individuals and organizations reframe their stories in order to reclaim their life—creating meaningful strategies to transform circumstances in order to thrive!