Cathy: I have a question for you. People like to feel special and you have a great product on jealousy. If there’s just two people it’s pretty easy in general to focus and make sure that someone feels special if you want to. It’s not that hard. When you start getting more than two people, it can be more challenging to balance it. So it doesn’t have to be even romantic, it could be just as a friend I’ve gone with couples in a car and growing up, the person that rode in the front seat passenger seat of the car was the special one.
Cathy: Exactly. So in my family that was what was special, and if you ride with couples often the two of them will sit in the front and you sit in the back. And that always made me feel kind of unspecial. So how do you balance specialness needs when you have more than two people?
Reid: That’s a really good question. Well, you could yell shotgun. But somebody’s partner might not really like that. By the laws of shotgun you can say, “Hey, I yelled shotgun, so you have to sit in the back now.”
Cathy: Yeah, but then it doesn’t occur to me that they’re feeling unspecial, it means that I’m–
Reid: Well, that’s their problem.
Cathy: Thank you.
Reid: Yeah, just do it like that.
Cathy: Always fight for the front seat and you have no problem.
Reid: Yeah. For yourself, find out what other ways that you could feel special. The big thing on the jealousy product that you’re talking about on my website is — often it’s a thing around fairness and equalness, like what’s fair isn’t always what’s equal. And people have different needs around that. So if you’re not feeling special, but things are fair, or you feel like things are equal, sometimes it’s not really about feeling special. There may be other things and you’re just labeling it special.
Cathy: Right. To some people sitting in the front seat isn’t a big deal. It just how I was acculturated and–
Reid: –but for some people it’s like you got to ride in the front seat going there, what’s fair is I get to ride in the front seat coming back. And then if I don’t get that need met then somehow there’s favoritism involved.
Cathy: Right, and I solve that by just driving everywhere, but that wasn’t a very good solution all the time.
Reid: No, not always. I think the main thing about specialness is asking yourself what are you trying to have reassurance on? What would make you feel valued, which can be a great question, other than specialness, and another thing to look at is what are your love languages, because if you’re feeling unspecial and they can show you in your way for receiving love languages — if you haven’t read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, please read that.
Cathy: It’s a great book.
Reid: If they can show that they care in a love language that lands on you for receiving, that will often have you feeling loved, which is very much what most people are looking for to feel special. Most people — most grownups — aren’t really looking for proof that I am more important than the person in the front seat.
Cathy: No, it’s not more important than, for me, at least, it was feeling valued as part of the group.
Reid: Sure. So asking yourself what could you ask for that would have you feel more valued?
Cathy: And part of it is just speaking up and saying, “Hey, I’m noticing that I’m not feeling as special because I’m not getting to ride in the front, and maybe it’s a silly thing, but it’s something that I’m noticing about myself.”
Reid: Yeah. Sometimes it’s also, “I’m feeling forgotten.”
Reid: Like, “I’m in the back seat for this two hour trip and neither one of you have talked to me.” So, “I don’t feel special” might also be this kind of, “I’m not feeling included” or like I’m feeling forgotten. If you’re worried about making somebody feel special, think of ways that you can include them, and that will often make them feel special in the way that you’re taking the thoughtfulness to include them, they don’t feel alone, they don’t feel exiled or jettisoned.
Everyone’s different. For me, personally, I am horrible on the phone. That Jimmy Buffet song, If the Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me, that’s me. I care about you, but I will never call you. So if you’re somebody who feels special when your friends call you, I am a horrible friend. I will never do that. And this is where the love languages can be really useful. But you can — if I know other ways that make you feel special that work for me, I will often — I’ll try to remember them, but I’ll often try to implement them so that I’m making you feel included and special and thought of, or loved, in ways that work for me, that I also know happen to work for you.
Reid: But the phone call thing, I’ve ended friendships over it because it made people in my life so upset. And I’m like, “Not only am I not interested in getting better at that, that’s just not how I do it.” It’s not about that I don’t care about you, because I think in some ways those love languages really do work really well, it’s just not my default way of showing, so I’m just going to tell you ahead of time, “I’m never going to call.” And if that doesn’t work for you, then we should really—
Cathy: –it’s not a good match.
Reid: Yeah. So, in some ways, like, I’ll bring it back around. If riding in the front seat is the best way and the only way, for the most part, for you to feel special, then you be the friend who’s like, “Well, Cathy always has to ride in the front seat, I don’t know, but we love her.” And then you get that handled and then life is better. So sometimes it’s not about having this big breakthrough epiphany, it’s just about being like, “You know what guys? I’m a raving lunatic.”
Cathy: And sometimes I need to ride in the front seat.
Reid: “And moody unless I ride in the front seat.” And you just be that, and then hang out with people who are like, “Oh, okay.”
Cathy: Yeah, thank you.
Reid: You’re welcome.
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