Four ways to make love work with a laidback lad
There’s something very attractive about a laidback man – all mellow, all chill, all the time.
Especially if you’re a Type-A personality: the contrast to your own frantic pace can be quite alluring. But it can be equal parts infuriating when you’re trying to get things off the ground.
Procrastination is a major trait of being laidback, which isn’t great when you’re waiting for things to get done. Comic JJ Whitehead knows this only too well. Talking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, the funny man says he struggles to work to deadlines.
“I can't even set my own deadlines. I can't reach my own deadlines,” he said. “I want to be my own boss, yet I can't boss myself around. I just keep pushing back my own deadlines.”
He admitted that he thrives on the last-minute pressure this procrastination produces – a major trait of a Type B personality.
“Unless I feel the pressure of having to have it done, I don't do the work in advance, which even goes back to college days… I'm never pre-prepared,” he said, revealing that he thinks this is what makes him a great comic.
Lynette Evans, Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist at The Listening Helper believes that this is definitely a male trait. “I work with couples in therapy and I have found that it is more common for men rather than women to procrastinate,” she explains.
“Procrastinators often tend to leave things until the last minute when given a deadline, and even then they do not get stressed by the deadline, which can infuriate others even more, especially if they are of the highly organised personality type.”
Laidback - or just not into you?
Mellow types are also accused of being a little bit too casual in their approach to life, which can be deemed as sloppiness or not caring by other less laidback souls.
JJ’s mate comedian Ed Byrne explained on White Wine Question Time that this attitude is why JJ is still a single man. “He's a nice boy, but he has a very relaxed attitude to relationships,” he told podcast host Kate Thornton.
“He’ll say, ‘I was supposed to go on a date, and I forgot’ and he would just let it go. Then he'd show you a picture of the girl he was supposed to be on a date with and she's gorgeous and she's a lawyer for, like, the UN.”
“He's like, 'Something else will come along'. Yeah, because those incredible take-the-eyes-out-of-your-head, high-powered-job-having women are just ten to the dozen” laughed Ed.
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This can be a major problem with dating a laidback bloke – is he chilled or just not into you?
Dating and relationship coach Sami Wunder, www.samiwunder.com, says that it’s easy to identify when a man is into you.
“He will step up, call, take action and set up a date to see you. This won’t be a one-time thing, it will be consistent,” explains Wunder.
“This is also true for the so-called chilled out men. My husband is very chilled out and not an extrovert and yet when we met, he stepped up and asked me out within a day. When a man wants you, it’s easy to see it in his actions.”
So is there a way to date Mr Laidback without causing you too much pain? Yes, but it means understanding it won’t always be plain sailing.
1. Enter into the relationship with your eyes open
“I don't think there is anyone who I would advise never to date a laidback personality,” says Evans. “Anyone entering into a relationship with such a person should have their eyes open to the challenges that it brings: sometimes those challenges can bring out the best in you, sometimes they can bring out the worst.”
Basically a relationship with a laidback guy is either something that’s going to work with your personality or isn’t and it’s probably best to try and work that out in the early days.
2. Set boundaries
There is a strong chance your mellow guy may well forget he’s got another meeting on the same day he’s arranged to see you. He may also be a little bit rubbish with time-keeping.
Setting boundaries at the start of a relationship can help.
“Communication and expectation-setting with men is key in early dating,” explains dating guru Wunder. “Let a man know that you prefer two days advance notice for the plan. Most men plan last-minute dates, not to annoy the woman but because they’re laidback in their attitude and yes, life is busy for everyone!
“I teach my clients to give men the benefit of the doubt once, but if it happens again to communicate this in a straight-forward manner: ‘Hey, this is the second time you've cancelled. I am not available for a third one!’ In other words, proudly own your standards and boundaries. In fact, being this upfront will often make men step up much faster than you imagined”
3. Help them see the impact of their actions
With a some encouragement, many laidback men can be persuaded to be a little more on the case.
“Conflict between procrastinators and others often occurs because what is important to procrastinator is not necessarily a priority to their partners and vice versa,” Evans explains.
“I have found in practice that it is extremely difficult to change their personality type, but it is possible to help them gain a new perspective by looking at the impact of their actions from another person's viewpoint.”
Once you’ve got them to understand your point of view, it’s important to give them the tools to help them fit into your less laidback lifestyle.
Evans says:”‘If they want to change their procrastinating ways, it is about encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions, help them learn the consequences of those actions, and give them practical solutions – such as timetabling, reminder alarms, rewards – to help encourage and empower them to make change.”
Sounds a bit like having a toddler but if your other half is driving you crazy, anything’s worth a try, eh?
4. Let his chilled-out demeanour rub off on you
Just as you can help him improve his laidback attitude, why not take a leaf out of his book and be less manic?
“There is obviously a reason people are attracted to one another, and sometimes we are attracted to people who have qualities that we ourselves would like to have,” says Evans.
“I think that lowering your expectations or making them less mellow is not necessarily the key here, but establishing a common ground between your two personality types where you both draw on the best traits of each other's personalities, and allow your relationship dynamic to flourish and each of you to be the best version of yourselves.”
Stop scheduling all your weekends plans three months in advance. Stop worrying about working all the time. Stop stressing about why no-one has liked your recent Instagram post. We only get one life, so take a leaf out of your laidback fella’s book and stop to smell those roses.
JJ Whitehead and Ed Byrne discuss relationships, the flaws that all comedians have and why they love the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tune in on iTunes or Spotify now.