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There’s A Difference; Pay Attention

The following blog post will share summarized stories of different personal experiences. They are left intentionally vague to protect identities and respect anonymity. In no way, shape, or form is this designed to “put someone on blast” but rather it is a gift to my younger self, who wasn’t always good at recognizing red flags and who often found herself in less-than-ideal situations as a result.

I once went on a dinner date with someone who was curt and rude to the server. They snapped at the waiter for attention and had an issue in almost every interaction with the employees.

On the other hand, I once went to the same restaurant with the same date twice in one month. Not only did our server remember us, but they were happy to see us back as the person I was with treated them with genuine kindness.

There’s a difference; pay attention.

I once told someone, after two casual dates, that I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship and I wanted to be as upfront about that as possible. They left me a very angry voicemail and insisted that I “learn from this before leading someone on again.”

On the other hand, I once shared a similar sentiment with another person who encouraged me to take whatever time and space I needed for myself, regardless of whether that meant they were included in the future picture.

There’s a difference; pay attention.

I once was asked out by way of getting drinks at a bar. When I told them I didn’t drink, they immediately asked why and then proceeded to tell me that they thought they’d be able to talk me into drinking. It seemed it would be funny if they were the first person I drank with. And they wondered what kind of drunk I would be.

On the other hand, another person asked me out for drinks and when I said the same thing, they said “no problem” and suggested a coffee shop instead.

There’s a difference; pay attention.

I have been very fortunate to spend time with some absolutely incredible partners. And I am grateful for every single one of them. I have also experienced the exact opposite. And in situations with the latter, I’ve often found myself reflecting back on all the warning signs I chose to ignore in the early stages of “falling in love.”

With distance and a clear head, I find myself frustrated by what becomes painfully obvious. Why would you tolerate that? How could you let someone speak to you like that? What made you ignore that giant red flag?

And, while perhaps good questions for a heartsick indie band songwriter, this kind of inner dialogue usually just makes me feel lousy. Because the answer to all of them is basically that falling in love can make us a little extra rosey. What I mean to say is, a core value of mine tells me to deeply honor every person I meet… to expect good intentions from them… to believe in a friendly universe. And that is never something I would regret or something I’d wish to change about myself. To do so feels disingenuous and unproductive.

And at the same time, I do wish I could tell my younger self not only to pay attention, but also to trust myself. Because the thing is, I (and you) do notice how they listen and speak and move through their day. You are aware of how they talk to strangers, to family, to friends, and to you. You understand that you shouldn’t accept anger as an excuse.

And if you’ve been paying attention. And if you’ve noticed the difference. Then the only thing left to do is trust yourself. Recognize what you will and won’t stand for in a relationship—both intimate and platonic. Know where you draw the line and then adamantly refuse to accept less. Pay attention; you’ll notice the difference. I promise it’s something worth waiting for.

Love always,



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