· By Case Kenny
How to respond to love bombing
If you've spent any time on the internet in the past week you've probably heard about West Elm Caleb.
He's the 20-something year old guy in New York who's been put on blast for his pattern of love bombing women and then ghosting them.
It’s when someone leads with over-the-top compliments, declarations and comments waaaaay too early in a relationship. This person overwhelms you with feel-good declaration of compatibility and likability as a means to push their agenda and pressure you into returning the sentiment.
Why do people do this?
I think there are two motivations behind love bombing.
First. Someone love bombs because they are intentionally trying to manipulate you. They’re intentionally using your humanness against you.
They know exactly what they’re doing and they’re doing it because they have their own agenda and they want you onboard ASAP… no questioning… no what ifs… no patience.
Second. Someone love bombs because they think someone else will if they don't.
They love bomb because they don’t think they're enough without it. They don’t think you'll like them, love them or trust them without over-the-top declarations and compliments. They love bomb because they are incredibly insecure.
Regardless of WHY someone does it, love bombing means the same thing.
Love bombing is a mask for something.
Love bombing is a mask for intention. It’s a mask for someone who wants something quick and easy but wants you to think it’s the opposite. It’s a mask for insecurity.
Anyone who meets you and within an inappropriately short amount of time is talking about your connection together, the way you understand each other, your future together, how connected they feel to you… that is likely not genuine.
It's a mask for their own insecurity and they're doing it because they think they need to do to get you to trust and like them.
Or it's a mask for straight up manipulation. They want you to feel you owe them something back.
Here is how I rationalize love bombing and what our response to it should be.
Someone who is genuine, compassionate and who has done inner work… they’re not going to love bomb because they themselves are going to want to wait to see if they actually like you.
Just like you… they have learned from their past mistakes and they don’t want to just jump right into something. Just like you... they are looking for signs of compatibility. Just like you... they want to see if you have actual compatibility together.
To be clear, I 100% believe in love at first sight. I believe in that spark. I believe two people can meet and know this is it. Absolutely!
But use the same standard you hold yourself to as the standard for someone else - you practice patience and a desire for a two-way street.
Someone who is intentional, honest and who has learned from their past is NOT going to love bomb - for the same reasons you wouldn't love bomb.
You want to make sure you actually like someone before you commit to them. You want to make sure you're not acting out of pressure or guilt.
The most powerful mentality you can possess in dating is holding them to the same standard you hold yourself to.
If YOU wouldn’t jump to over-the-top conclusions and declarations about your compatibility with someone else, shouldn’t the same be true about your person?
- YOU are centered and patient and confident in yourself, right?
- YOU wouldn’t want someone to feel they owed you something because you showered them with compliments, right?
- YOU wouldn’t want someone to date you because you emotionally bullied them into liking you, right? Hold them to that same standard. You deserve a love that is unforced and unrushed. Your person will practice patience... just as you do.
Your person will want to make sure they actually like you… just as you do. Your person will want to see if YOU have any red flags about you… just as you do.
Think about your own example - you should expect a similar degree of centeredness from anyone you date.
You should expect patience and intention and honesty from that person. You should expect them to wonder if they like you before jumping to conclusions… in the same way you wonder if you like them.
Believe in love at first sight. Believe in knowing you found your soulmate the moment you first meet them.
But... Hold others to the same standard you hold yourself to.
YOU don’t wear a mask in dating. YOU don’t act out insecurity or manipulation.
Come back to your example, your journey, your resolve and your honesty... and expect the same of someone else who wants to be part of your life.