Now you’ve done it. You went off and did something crazy – asked a girl out, made it through a final interview for a big job, sacked up and asked your boss for a raise – and it’s being seriously considered. The girl said she got back into town the following week and would text you. Your interview went well, and they said they’d get back to you by next Friday. Your boss agreed that you should get paid more for your efforts and is going to talk to his boss before the end of the week.
And now you’re checking your texts and e-mails every six seconds waiting for the final answer because you’re freaking out inside.
Before we discuss how to cope with this admittedly stressful situation, let’s focus on the positives. First off, congratulations – you want something in life. You’re not just wandering through the days, passion about nothing. Secondly, congratulations – you’re doing something about it. You’re not just sitting in the corner pining over someone or wishing for something to magically happen; you’re going out there and taking action. Take a moment to give yourself some respect for being a stone cold killer.
All right, now that I’ve pointed out where things are going well, it’s that time where we focus on what’s not going well: You’re stressing out about something you don’t have control over, and it’s causing you to obsess. To begin with, this reaction is normal. I mean, it’s all a bit helpless, isn’t it? You want something, you’ve done everything you can, and now it’s out of your hands. You can’t do anything to influence the outcome in a positive way, but you want to be doing something, so you end up checking your phone way too often or worse, you start following up too soon and begin to undermine your efforts.
Don’t be Follows-Up-Too-Soon-And-Too-Often Guy. Instead, be one of these guys who learned how to cope with these stressful, impatience-inducing situations:
This guy doesn’t get his hopes up unnecessarily. He doesn’t parse out some week-old text message from a girl and use it to fuel false hope for another month. He doesn’t overanalyze the way that she said she’d let him know if she was available on Friday. As a result, he stays pretty level about things. That’s because he only judges a person by their actions, not their words.
Sure, we’ve all heard that actions speak louder than words, but do any of us live by this advice? Hardly. We hear some glimmer of hope and then allow that to carry more weight than all the actions (or lack of action) a girl has taken that show much more clearly that she isn’t interested. If you want a quick dose of reality, throw out everything anyone has ever said to you and just focus on the actions. Were they there for you when it mattered? Did they show up when they say they would, or did they cancel? Ignore the reasons or the excuses and just focus on the actions.
Actions-Not-Words Guy doesn’t get ruffled by this sort of incongruity because he never put stock in the words to begin with.
My fiancée is an actress. She goes on auditions frequently, but here’s the thing with acting: a lot of times, you don’t get the part. It’s like baseball; even the best hitters make an out most of the time. As a result, when she gets back from an audition, it’s her mindset to just let it go. As much as she wants each role, it’s just not realistic to expect to get every single one.
By making the assumption that she didn’t get the role, she can move on with her life. Either she gets the role, in which case, hooray. Or, she doesn’t get it, which sucks, but no harm, no foul, because she already let it go. Either way, she spared herself from having to go through that anxious period of waiting to hear one way or another.
You can apply this mindset to your own life. Whether it’s dating or your career, once it’s out of your hands, let it go.
Want to know one of the very best ways to deal with this uneasy feeling? Have multiple options. Worried whether you’ll get that one job? How about if you have four more interviews lined up?
While theoretically, you still don’t have control over those other options either, it helps create the illusion of control and choice. In a very real sense, it’s also a numbers game. If you only have one good prospect, your chances are all right, but if you have five, your chances are much better that you at least get one offer. Plus, if you’re having trouble sitting still and waiting to hear back, here’s something you can do that is actually productive.
Leave-It-All-On-The-Field Guy is the best. His mentality is, “I did a great job. I went all-out. Whether I get it or not, I did everything I possibly could and have no regrets.”
Leave-It-All-On-The-Field Guy sleeps like a baby because he made an important distinction. Even if he doesn’t get the result he wants, he feels like he deserves it. As a result, his happiness isn’t tied to the desired result as much as someone else would be. He’s on a totally different level. Leave-It-All-On-The-Field Guy is like the Yoda of this group. If possible, do your very best to be Leave-It-All-On-The-Field Guy.
When all else fails, just distract yourself so you aren’t checking your phone every five seconds. That could mean passive things like seeing a movie or grabbing a beer and watching the game. Even better, try to do something active like playing sports or rock climbing – something that demands your undivided attention. That way, your mind can’t wander and start to worry.
So, that’s it. Here are a few ways to deal next time you’re waiting on a big answer. When things are out of your control, just take a moment to remind yourself that you can control how you cope.