Advice on what to expect from Cape Town Embrace Connectors and mothers/caregivers

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We asked Julie Mentor (from Cape Town Embrace) about the common expectations that Connectors experience when they first reach out to others. This is what she said:

“You don’t know the other person, you don’t know his/her likes or dislikes, and you really don’t know if you’ll have anything in common. You keep thinking about how different the two of you might be. What will you talk about? Where should you meet? What will s/he think of me? What will I think of her?

So the first concern (and expectation) is that you will experience awkwardness.

And yes, the beginning of a new relationship is often uncomfortable and awkward! There’s no getting away from this. Particularly in a context where so much has been done to keep people apart. But by bringing a cake or something else to eat and share, you immediately open a door and there’s a feeling of ‘let’s enjoy this together’. Meeting in a warm and welcoming public space, like a library, at the same time that some of your friends are also having their first meetings can go a long way in boosting your courage and confidence – particularly the first time around.

The second expectation is around difference – how will we find common ground?

To the surprise of many people, this often dissipates quite quickly and people find out: there’s always common ground! When this happens, it opens up the next question, and the next, and the next…The key is to listen well. And to ask the kind questions – the one’s that let the other person show their best self.

The third expectation is that this relationship has to work.

No, it doesn’t! If it does, that’s great. And it may well be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. But there are many ways in which the first (and subsequent) meetings could turn out. There needs to be space for all of these possibilities. Including the possibility that you just might not click! Or that your relationship is powerful and true for six months – and then it’s over.

As hard as it is, the fewer expectations or preconceived ideas, the better. Or at least, being open to having these expectations changed.”