Warning! This episode uses more colorful language than usual. So if your kids are nearby, make sure to avert their eyes from the screen…
Damona is a big believer that vulnerability is the key to true connection. But as we know, at times it can be difficult to let others in and to know when to give a f*ck about what they say. (A swear word in the intro?? Oh yeah, you better believe it’s that kind of episode.)
This week, Damona is chatting with behavior scientist and lifestyle design coach Gianna Biscontini, the author of the new book F*ckless: A Guide to Wild, Unencumbered Freedoms. They’ll be discussing how vulnerability can lead to emotional depth and better opportunities for connection.
DATING DISH (2:00)
Scientifically speaking, what does it actually mean to click with someone?:
Inc Magazine recently came out with an article tackling the science behind the feeling of “clicking” with someone. The article uses a new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which researchers out of Dartmouth, used 322 conversations between strangers to get a sense of how participants rated their level of connection with each other (i.e. how much they clicked). The researchers made a point to pay attention to the gaps between responses in the conversation. And after all their observation, a clear pattern emerged – the quicker the response times during the conversation, the more the two parties reported feeling like they clicked.
The researchers also looked at the conversations from an outsider’s perspective. They edited the videos to make it look as though there were shorter response times between participants. As a result of the editing, the observers actually rated the conversational partners as being more closely connected.
On average, there’s about a quarter of a second gap between turns during a regular conversation. But when people felt like they were finishing each other’s sentences and really clicking, they closed that gap. So basically, clicking with someone comes down to how much the conversation flows without long pauses or awkward brakes.
Although this article gives us a window into how we naturally think, Damona highlights two of the key flirting tools she teaches clients that actually involve slowing the pace of the conversation down. “Whether or not you can close that quarter of a second gap in a conversation does not actually relate to long term compatibility. So I’ve actually encouraged you on the show before to take more time to allow more of the pauses, and not be in such a rush to fill the pause.”
Damona recommends seeing what happens if you allow the pause to happen, which also takes the pressure off of yourself to be witty, charming and quick with your answers. The second tip Damona gives is to pay attention to that person’s speaking pattern. “One thing that happens when you’re connecting with someone, when you’re really actually connecting with someone, is you start to naturally mimic their body language, their intonation, their inflection, their pacing.” She continues that attempting to speed up the natural flow of conversation could actually signal to the other person that you’re not on the same page as them. Instead, try to match their pacing rather than trying to change it for the both of you. Prioritize the full body context of the other person, not just how quick and witty they are. Because if we continue to search for for that witty or rapid delivery, we may end up missing that juicy, deeper level connection.
Ready to click with your person? Let Damona help you redesign your dating profile with the Profile Starter Kit to get you online easily and on to your dating success story. Get yours for free HERE!
GIANNA BISCONTINI (9:04)
Damona sits down with lifestyle design coach and Board-Certified Behavior Analyst Gianna Biscontini! She is the author of F*ckless: A Guide to Wild, Unencumbered Freedoms – which will be released on May 17th!
Gianna has been featured in publications such as Forbes Magazine, and she has a roster of A-list clients including Christina Schwarzenegger and Simon Sinek (you know, the Start With Why guy).
(9:04) Choose what you care about:
Jumping right into her book title, Damona asks Gianna – what does it really mean to be f***less? Gianna responds that it’s not whether you care or not (i.e. whether you give a f***), it’s what you care about. “F***s are our opinions, beliefs, expectations, fears, or advice from other people that don’t belong to you. All of us carry some level of other people’s bullshit, whether it’s from our parents who love us very much, whether it’s from a professor who was working out some anger through us, society, the entertainment industry, whatever. We’re given these messages, and we take them on as if they are true for us. And then you hit your 20’s, your 30’s, your 40’s, your 50;s. And you go, ‘Oh shit, that’s actually not true for me.’”
Damona brings up the point that although it can be overwhelming nowadays (especially for women) to be told what we’re supposed to care about, there also exists the reality that we’re in a much broader place of choice than many of our ancestors. So there really is a responsibility to be mindful of choosing what you care about. Gianna recounts times in her life where she had no choice but to stay in an unhappy relationship because she couldn’t afford to live on her own. And that the reality of women who are financially independent is quite different, because their choices are led by their wants, not their needs.
“In the book, I ask questions like – Is this a good time for you to be in a relationship? What are the stories that you’ve been told as a woman about being in a relationship? What do you think being in a relationship and having a partner will do for you? What might it hold you back from? …I think that with some thoughtful inquiry, we can tease apart the needs from the wants, and the stories that are just f***s that aren’t true for us, and the things that we truly believe in.”
(13:40) Being chosen:
At times we may silence ourselves and our opinions because we want to ensure the happiness and comfort of those around us by avoiding confrontation and anger. Damona says that most of us would rather be liked and be likeable (which may not even be conscious). Gianna describes how this applies to one of the “f***s” she addresses in her book, called “be chosen.” Gianna grew up constantly envying the endless freedom bestowed upon boys. To her observation, they got to make mistakes and sleep around, while girls’ lives tended to orbit around them. “Men do the choosing and women are chosen, and so we have to just really be mindful about these stories and understand that we have the power to change them.”
In terms of dating, Gianna notes how much she used to base her decisions on the approval of men. For instance, she would hold back on going on larger adventures on her own because she wanted her life choices to be compatible with whoever she might date in the future. She says she was doing two things wrong. “Number one, I was making the wild assumption that there would be someone in the future to begin with. And number two, I was already orbiting around someone in my future that didn’t even exist.”
After choosing to leave her marriage, Gianna spent the whole of 2020 and 2021 committed to being single and following that experience (which ended up being really easy, thanks to the global pandemmy). “Dating is all about choosing and not choosing, and getting to know each other. And sometimes you date for a couple of weeks and you say, ‘No, I’m good. This isn’t for me.’ And sometimes you just, you know, Sunk Cost Fallacy. You just keep choosing because you already invested so much time and energy, which is a whole other thing.”
(19:00) There is no destination to be reached:
Damona reads the quote from Gianna’s website, “Life is not linear. It’s filled with events that require us to restore, calibrate, and head back out into the world with clarity.” Damona describes coming to the recent conclusion in her life that there is no actual destination to be reached because as soon as you get to one destination, another appears or there’s something more to be learned.
Gianna jumps in, “You know, you’re talking about mindfulness. It’s that Buddhist concept of non-attachment. How many times have you said, ‘Okay, here’s the plan. And this is what’s going to happen. And I’m going to control it. And I’m gonna go through steps one through five, and then this will be the result.’ And it alerts something in the universe, and it comes in with a wrecking ball, like ‘Oh, that’s precious that you’re trying to plan when you’re gonna get married.’ … We have to just be in that place of mindfulness, live from within, and be open to the things that are around us.” Being present is all that we can really control, which involves checking in with yourself and asking clarifying questions – who am I? What are my values? How am I serving myself? How am I building and designing this life?
(21:23) What should we give a f*** about?:
Gianna speaks to one of the other f***s in her book, called “be everything.” Just as it describes, this is trying to be everything to everyone all the time, and letting what you want take a backseat. “When we hesitate and when we stall, and when we want something, but reel it back in, that’s a moment where we have to go, ‘Oh, I’m living on someone else’s terms.’ …And so when women start to try and be everything to everyone, the first question is why? Second question, where did that story come from? The real work comes in actually behaving differently and dropping the fact that you have to be liked, that everyone has to pat you on the back and reward you and validate you for everything that you do.”
Gianna adds that letting go of what others think shouldn’t come from a place of disrespect. She says that we can learn to hear the opinions of others, and give their opinions back with grace by saying “I can see why you want that for me. But that just doesn’t work for me right now.”
(23:25) Reframing success:
Damona is a big fan of dating apps, but she recognizes that they come with many micro choices. She believes that we have to reframe our relationship with the “rejection” that shows up on dating apps. “People will say to me, Gianna, ‘I tried the dating apps. They didn’t work for me. You know, I only went out with somebody for three months and then it didn’t work.’ No, no, it did work. It did work for that time. And it worked until it didn’t.” It’s all about our perception of success.
Gianna brings up a great question, which seems obvious but gets overlooked: are you on dating apps to be validated, or are you looking for a partner? “We have two needs as people. We have the need to show up in the world as our truest, most authentic self. And, we need to do that in a world or a friend group or a family or a society that accepts it, and loves it, because of who we are… You’re curating a group of people. You’re curating friends, you’re curating who you’re dating, and you’re teaching yourself what’s important to you and what you’ll accept. And that takes, unfortunately, a really long time.”
Look out for Gianna’s book F*ckless: A Guide to Wild, Unencumbered Freedoms, on shelves May 17th – order your copy HERE!
And be sure to follow her on all the socials @giannabiscontini.
DEAR DAMONA (27:36)
- Email from Ginny – What do you think of a guy who tells me before a phone conversation or date, that if I’m someone who waits 3-6 dates before a sleepover we’re not a match? I think he was hiding something, which became obvious after a while. He claimed he wanted to take things slow and that he wanted a long term relationship, like I did, but then pressured me to answer how many dates till we sleep together. I told him ‘you are putting the cart before the horse, as we haven’t even met yet. Besides, taking things slow means not discussing this in the first conversation.’ He was evasive about other things, like he told me he worked for a large well known company, which shall remain nameless. I felt he was very opinionated, almost belligerent. When I told him I was open minded, he asked what that meant. Well, I guess you’re not then. I think he was using a burner phone too. Questionable!
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