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August 2010

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Relationship Coaching Institute

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Frankie Doiron
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Tara Kachaturoff
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Ask Our Coaches: 
Friends or more – what should I do?

"I'm concerned about ruining our friendship
should she not be interested ... "

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


Dear Coaches,

I've been friends for many years with a female work colleague. We've married other people, both divorced and she has a young child. Through it all, we've always been great friends and nothing more. Now that we're both single and have been for a while, I'd like to approach her and tell her I'd like to explore a relationship.

I'm concerned about ruining our friendship should she not be interested in one. What's the best way to approach this? I'd hate to ruin our friendship or make things awkward because it will forever change things between us once I bring up the topic. What should I do?

Rick from Richmond


Ann responds …

Many organizations have corporate policies that prohibit employees from dating each other. Be sure to start there. If you determine it is not going to get you into corporate hot water and before you approach the subject with your colleague, make sure you understand the implications, both professionally and personally, of dating someone at work.

Within companies, perception of favoritism, particularly if you work within the same department, can be intimidating to and create resentment with other workers. If there is any reporting relationship between both of you or if you share the same boss -- beware. This can be a recipe for disaster, particularly if the relationship does not work out.

Evaluate whether the risk is worth the reward. Be sure you have clarity on your requirements, values, and life vision. Begin examining her compatibility with you in those areas before approaching the subject. Being friends is great, however it takes more than friendship to sustain a relationship.

All that being said, the only way I know of to explore this option with your colleague is to simply ask her. Take her off the hook by stating that you realize it might not be a good idea professionally, indicating you don't want anything to ruin your friendship or your work relationship. If she says "no," at least you can remain friends. If she says "yes," good luck!

Ann Robbins | www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com | 954.561.4498


Murray responds …

You are describing a situation that many people struggle through. You are also characterizing a common assumption that separates friendship from intimate partnership/relationship. People often feel a challenge in handling and doing both. I appreciate your caution and ask you to consider these and other questions. What do you mean by friends? Some definitions can include a good acquaintance; others may include people who have been through conflict together and were able to grow from it. How would you personally handle a "let down" or disappointment? How would your friend handle it?

If you decide to talk to your friend, it may be important to discuss these questions in a fully conscious manner, and explore the nature of your friendship. Discuss with others and with your friend how you might handle both your emotions and your relationship with each other should things not work out. This can help you both make a conscious effort to be guided and grounded by your friendship.

Regardless of the outcome of your initial conversation or in exploring a deeper relationship, by emphasizing the importance of the friendship to you, you may ultimately help in creating a better ongoing friendship -- intimate partnership or not.

Murray Dabby | www.atlantarelationshipcoach.com | 404.633.3282


Marcy responds …

Friendships are based on honesty and connection. Since you have been friends for many years, you probably have these two characteristics as a foundation. Therefore, I would use the friendship you have as a springboard for bringing it to a higher level rather than use it as a deterrent or an obstacle.

There is a good chance you are considering asking her out because of hints both of you have either overtly or covertly illustrated to each other. One of you needs to take the risk to bring it to the forefront and this is your opportunity.

A good way to approach it is simply to ask her to go out for coffee, dinner, a movie, etc. If this is something you have not done before, she will know where you are coming from and will respond accordingly. If she is, indeed, not interested, she will respond with, "no" and you need to be prepared to accept it, let it go, and return to your friendship as it is – and it will still be there as it was before you addressed going out.

Marcy Rich | www.marcyrich.com | 602.573.6406


Randy responds …

She may be feeling the same thing as you (or she may not). You'll never know unless you take some action. If she is a truly good friend, and emotionally mature, then she will remain a friend whether or not you bring up this subject, provided you do so in a friendly, non-threatening way.

Does your fear about the potential demise of the friendship have to do with how you might react if she rejects you? Would such a rejection be hard for you to accept? Would you still be able to maintain the friendship?

"Slow motion" is the watchword in any relationship. I suggest you don't  start out asking if she wants "a relationship." Start by asking if she wants to go to a movie. Then ask if she wants to go for a picnic. Then ask if she wants to go dancing. Gradually build up a greater sense of togetherness without trying to label it or force it. You'll soon have your answer!

Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com


Lisa responds …

It sounds like the long-standing friendship with your colleague is special, so I understand why you'd like to preserve it. Changing the dynamic from platonic to romantic is typically a bell that can't be unrung.

Here are a few approaches to consider so you get the information you need to decide how to proceed. Put the notion of you two dating out there -- humorously. Be light and playful, and test her response.

If she gives you an eye roll and laughs you away dismissively, then leave your relationship as is. Offer to make her a meal or grab a drink together after work so you have quiet time to talk about life as a single person. Dig a little to find out if what she wants is in line with what you want. Remember, you're the chooser. If you're really confident about your rapport and trust that you can be completely honest with no fallout, ask directly if she ever thought what it would be like to date you.

Listen to your intuition and act accordingly. If you feel that undeniable and mutual charismatic draw of attraction and chemistry, then maybe there's room for your relationship to evolve from friends to more!

Lisa Manyoky | www.maverickinspired.com | 609.890.6645


Doris responds …

A sincere, lasting friendship is an essential component of a loving, healthy, enduring romantic relationship. Since you're worried about damaging your friendship if you use a direct approach, you can casually ask a curious question, "Have you ever wondered what it would be like if we were together?"

Pay attention to her energy and body language when she responds. You'll know if she's considered being involved with you and how she feels about the possibility. But, wait, let's back up just a bit. I know you value her friendship. It's also important to remember that friendship is very different than being with someone as a lover or a 24/7 mate.

Place one of your big toes into the shallow water before diving into the deep end. Pause to ponder. What do you like and dislike about how she entered, negotiated and exited previous relationships? Would you have wanted to be her partner?

If you're still interested after reflection, move your conversation to the next level with comments like, "Describe your ideal relationship." Be the chooser. A relationship coach can help you clarify what you bring to a relationship so you come from a position of confidence and clarity.

Doris Helge, Ph.D. | www.CoachingByDoris.com | 360.748.4365

Be a Successful Single -- First!

by Tara Kachaturoff

Finding a great date, which eventually leads to a great mate, starts with you. However, before you reach that point, it's important to be a successful single. Successful singles become successful couples.

Contrary to popular belief, your life doesn't miraculously improve when you're in a relationship. Can it? Of course it can. In fact, a relationship can provide all manner of opportunities which can help you grow and evolve -- and in ways that you might not otherwise if you were single. Some mistakenly believe that things are easier when you're a couple – perhaps some things are, yet some things aren't.

In fact, when you're part of a couple, things can be much more complicated. Now there are two of everything – two personalities, two life visions, two sets of values, ideals, and so on. There are more challenges and problems. It doesn't mean that these things are bad, there's just more of everything when there are two of you!

The real opportunity in finding and creating a successful relationship, however, stems from your success as a single person.

If you don't want double the trouble once you get into a relationship, spend some time understanding yourself -- finding out what makes you happy. It's time to start living a life you love so that you can connect with someone else who is doing the same thing.

Are you doing what makes you happy? Are you focusing on accomplishing goals which comprise your "big picture" vision for what you want for your life? Have you resolved or are you productively working towards resolving issues that may cause challenges in a future relationship? And, perhaps, most importantly, are you inspired and enjoying life to its fullest? If you can't enjoy your life while you're alone, you're not going to magically change that fact once you're a part of a couple.

Here are some tips to help you get started along the path to being a successful single …

Love yourself. You'll never be able to fully love or connect with another person unless you can love yourself as you are. This is a lifetime journey of personal exploration for 99% of us so don't become discouraged if you don't think you're not as far along the path as you hoped. Make self-acceptance a top priority and an ongoing one.

The more accepting you are of yourself, the more compassionate and understanding you'll be of others. The more you love yourself, the easier it will be to attract the right person to you.

Learn how to be comfortable being alone – yes, all by yourself. Alone does not mean lonely. If you don't like your own company, why would anyone else? Unfortunately, this is a serious problem in our society where many are driven to endless distraction so they never have to spend a quiet moment with themselves. It's important to be able to enjoy alone time. You need time to disconnect from the outer world in order to reconnect with your heart, feelings, emotions, and most importantly, to your thoughts about what you truly want for yourself and from life.

Keep in mind that any future mate won't and can't be there for you 24/7. You wouldn't want that anyway. You need to find inner peace with being alone and enjoying your own company. The more you can do that, the more attractive you'll be to a potential mate.

Get your life in order. Handle mental, emotional and other issues. If you're stuck, enlist the help you need to move forward. There's no badge of honor for being stuck, unhappy or overwhelmed.

You need to take full responsibility for where you find yourself today, just as much as you need to take responsibility for where you'll be in the future. After all, where you are today is the result of all the decisions that you've made up and until this point in time. Think about how empowering it is to know that tomorrow will be the result of what you do today.

Being a successful single takes effort. And, the efforts you put forth will be rewarded with a life that is yours to cherish. When you invest in yourself, others will want to do the same. Open yourself to attracting the right person to you by taking time to know yourself better. Be a successful single now, so you can be part of a successful couple later.

Copyright ©2010 by Tara Kachaturoff. All rights reserved in all media.

Tara Kachaturoff is a RCI Master Certified Coach for Singles. Since 2003, she has coached hundreds of single men and women to create better dating relationships thru her onsite and teleseminar courses. www.RelationshipPlanning.com

Clearing Limiting Beliefs:
Let Go of Mind Viruses to Find Love

by Michelle E. Vásquez

What you tell yourself about yourself determines your success in every area of your life. In your search for true love, it is absolutely essential that you examine your beliefs. These beliefs, many of which began in childhood, have grown secretly in your subconscious mind for so long that you take them for granted. You believe they are hard, cold facts, and not beliefs that someone else imposed on you when you were too young to understand.

One such belief that most people have is "I'm not good enough." This belief of "I'm not good enough" is reinforced with other beliefs such as:

• I'm too fat/thin
• I'm too short/tall
• I'm too messed up in the head
• I'm too shy
• I'm too unsuccessful
• I'm too smart/dumb

These beliefs limit your ability to find happiness and success in love. They are mind viruses. Viruses are hard to get rid of. They are even harder to get rid of when you accept them as "the Gospel Truth."

The belief that "I'm not good enough" is particularly destructive because it affects every area of your life. When it comes to relationships, allowing this insidious mind virus to grow keeps you from finding an appropriate life partner. In essence, you have told yourself that you do not deserve to find a good partner.

How can you attract the one for you if you believe you don't deserve it? Would you like to get clear about this belief and begin the process of cleaning out the viruses of your mind? Great! Start by reflecting on these questions about this particular belief:

• When did you first get the idea that you weren't good enough?
• Who said it to you? (or)
• What event convinced you that you weren't good enough?
• How old were you?
• How did you change the way you thought and behaved once you began to believe you weren't good enough?
• What did you avoid doing once you were convinced you weren't good enough?

Take your time and answer these questions honestly and thoroughly. Talk with people you trust about your answers. If you are working with a therapist or a coach, take your notes to your next session and discuss what you learned about yourself.

When you drag this limiting belief into the harsh light of day, it becomes harder for it to thrive. Of course, that is just the first step. Your next step is to write a positive statement to negate this belief, something like, "Of course I am good enough!" Then practice saying this at least twice a day for 30 days.

Congratulations on a great start! If you want to do more work getting rid of these beliefs so you can find true love, relationship coaching can help you make your new beliefs stick.

Copyright ©2010 by Michelle E. Vásquez. All Rights Reserved for all media.

Michelle Vasquez Michelle E. Vásquez, MS, LPC, is a RCI Relationship Coach who helps singles and couples attract the life they want and create the relationships that bring them joy. She specializes in working with couples who are experiencing relationship difficulties as well as with singles who want to find the love of their life. Bilingual, English and Spanish speaking.
www.trueloverelationshipcoaching.com 714.717.5744  

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Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, Conscious Dating Newsletter for Singles Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
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