“While it should not be used in interpersonal relationships, the basic premise of defensive driving is to assume to worse in others. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.”
In other words, everyone on the road is a moron except you.
This, Hubby knows.
But also…everyone in the dating world is guilty until proven innocent.
And this, mom knows.
I submit to you “Exhibit A”, the Defensive Driving Course I had to take at work this week, and from whence the above quote cometh:
Immediately, I understood that this was much bigger than ensuring that employees of this fine city demonstrate model behavior behind the wheel of city vehicles.
This course presented as a training tool for defensive driving is actually spot on for Defensive Dating and interpersonal relationship strategies! I plagiarized, if you will, from an unwitting yet brilliant driving instructor.
It’s not his fault.
I will now exchange the concepts of “driving” and “dating” with reckless abandon.
Having five children between the ages of sixteen and twenty-six demands a constant repetition of Proper Mindset Strategies for those about to drive or date.
The youngsters are anticipating zero traffic in downtown LA at 5pm on a Tuesday.
This is not the Proper Mindset.
“People constantly make assumptions about others while driving.” Per Exhibit B.
“Assume the worse.” Per Exhibit A.
Just because you are driving next to a Prius, one cannot assume that said Prius will keep up with the flow of traffic and stay in it’s lane. One must prepare for the possibility that the Prius will come from a totally dysfunctional family, swerve into every pub you pass, have a fondness for jazz, and keep a spider monkey in the trunk. It happens.
And you need to Anticipate it.
When approaching a dating situation, do not develop a fixed stare. He chose that tie on purpose. Probably.
Maintain your personal space and stay aware of your surroundings using peripheral vision to monitor distractions like other pretty girls, or notice your ex is sitting across the way, throwing peanuts at your head.
“An acute sense of hearing is an important skill for daters. There are many sounds that are intended to alert a dater to possible hazards, and not hearing these sounds can have tragic consequences.” Per Exhibit E.
If your date sighs heavily between the salad and main course in the fancy restaurant, you have been alerted to incoming boredom, drama, or confession. Pay attention.
If you hear the words, “Nothing”, “Whatever”, “Wow”, or “Fine”, go into high alert. Put out orange cones. Slow to a stop safely off the road and wait for the explosion to pass.
Never text and date.
You will be locked up in the doghouse faster than you can say, “But honey, I heard everything you just said!”
You have choices as a dater.
Dating on a familiar route and steering clear of challenges is obviously not one of them. No one wants to date a boring dater.
On the other hand, always leave room for an out. We present Exhibit G:
Following your date too closely is another bad strategy. No one likes being tailgated. She is going to drive independently and erratically and no, you’d better not ask if she’s impaired by hormones or attempt to take her keys.
Give space to the vehicles around you and allow enough time to respond to a sudden stop or maneuver. Go golfing with the boys once in a while, for heaven’s sake.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the definitive test question of the Driving, er, Dating, Course, proving that the Course itself was a litmus for whether it was passed with pleasant surprise or failed with bitter disappointment:
Are we really choosing between a mindset and a seatbelt?
Lesson 1: Assume the worse in others.
I had my suspicions about this Course all along.