Hey Dude, Don’t Make It Bad (Relationship Advice From Paul McCartney)
I was working in my favorite coffee shop yesterday and “Hey, Jude” came on over the sound-system.
I got a little shiver of reverie, remembering my older sister playing that record on a vinyl 45 when I was a kid…
Anyway, as I sat listening, I got caught up in the power of the message for anyone looking to meet and attract a great girl (or guy, for that matter), or get more out of their romantic relationships.
I did a quick Google and here’s the fun fast facts:
Paul McCartney wrote the song for Julian Lennon when John and his mom were in the middle of their divorce and John was spending a lot of time with his new woman, Yoko Ono.
But maybe just because it was Paul McCartney, instead of being a song about divorce, it’s… a love song. McCartney is definitely on my team.
So, at risk of being sued by Sir Paul for plagiarism, here are some of the lyrics to “Hey, Jude” that you ought to pay attention to…
Don’t be afraid. You were made to go out and get her.
Every young man needs to hear this over and over again until he’s an old man… and then he needs to keep hearing it.
Nearly every man I talk to, whether he hasn’t had his first kiss, or he’s struggling to come back from his third divorce, struggles with fears around approaching that woman who he is most attracted to or crazy about. And his fears either prevent him from approaching at all, or make him act like a complete hose-bag as he tries to cover up his nervousness or just pretends to be someone he’s not… hoping that whoever he is pretending to be is what she is looking for.
But that woman you are crazy about… she would LOVE to meet a man who is crazy about her! And particularly a man who is crazy about her who isn’t afraid of her, or trying to pretend to be someone else.
To put it in my own words: Women are ON YOUR SIDE. Stop treating them like someone you have to trick.
You were made to go out and get her. Really.
The minute you let her under your skin, then you begin to make it better.
Fear drives men (and equally women!) to hold people they are really attracted to at arms length.
We don’t trust them, we don’t trust ourselves, and instead of really being open to letting them emotionally impact us, we keep a hard shell over ourselves. This shell persists for some couples right through their entire marriage.
We pretend we know who they are (and the reasons they wouldn’t like us if they really knew who we are). Most of the time we even BELIEVE what we pretend we know about them. We “project” about 3x more than we actually LISTEN.
Let her (him) under your skin. Listen and feel for who they really are past their attractiveness or their insecurity or their “social persona”. The minute you do, you’ll begin to make it better.
And anytime you feel the pain, hey [dude], refrain. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.
Most of the pain you feel about how untrustworthy men/women are, about how the man/woman you are most interested in doesn’t feel the same way about you, about how hard it is to communicate with your husband/wife, is really about you “managing uncertainty.”
The truth is that life is completely unpredictable, but we think if we “feel the pain in advance,” (of rejection or disappointment or jealousy, etc), then we have a measure of control that is comforting. We like to think about our struggles and our obstacles more than we think about our victories and adventures.
We try to carry the world upon our shoulders… but you can’t. It’s pointless, and it hurts us and the ones we love.
And while I probably can’t convince you in the space of a blog post (get one of my programs!), I promise you, you really can learn to just drop that weight. In other words, when you feel the pain, you really can refrain.
Put another way: Commit to living with an open heart.
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool, by making his world a little bit colder.
I could tear up thinking about how many people screw up their lives by thinking they need to play it cool, play these games, obsess over how long to wait to send a text, feign disinterest, or pretend they are okay when they really, truly aren’t.
You know what, the world is cold enough. Nobody needs more people playing it cool. Especially with your partner if you are in a relationship.
Remember to let her into your heart. Then you can start to make it better.
I don’t really think Sir Paul needs my help in explaining that one.
If you stop and think about the advice you’d like to give your best friend’s son when he’s going through a hard time, I think you’ll agree that this stuff is hard to beat.
And if you think about what about it might have meant to you, if your dad’s best friend went out of his way to write this down for you, and then got his other buddies together and record it for you… and then, along with your dad, all 4 of them went crazy at the end of the song jamming out to, “…na-na-na NA-na-na-na NA-na-na-na…,” yelling your name, you might even tear up yourself.
Here’s another “Google fun fact” I learned about “Hey Jude”:
The record executives, noting that the song ran more than 7 minutes (because of all of that “na-na-ing”) said, “Nobody is going to listen to a song that long!”
John Lennon replied, “They will… if it’s us.”