We’re all familiar with the whole concept behind “hot buttons”. Usually, when the topic comes up in conversation it’s in the context of complete exasperation. Some people really just know how to set us off…and the craziest part is that it’s typically the people we know best.
If you grew up with siblings, that was likely your initiation into this whole reality…whether your buttons were being pressed or you were doing the pressing.
Personally, I was the oldest of three by five and seven years respectively. Geez, did my kid brother and sister ever know exactly how to make me mad.
And given the fact that they generally got away with their shenanigans while I got blamed for whatever mayhem ensued made things all that much worse for me and hilarious for them.
Yep…they knew exactly what buttons to push in order to get the desired (i.e. highly entertaining) results.
Fortunately, we all grew up without dismembering each other and get along very well nowadays. Nevertheless, just this morning someone posted my brothers 2nd grade class pic on Facebook and I couldn’t restrain from commenting on how much he looked like “Spritle” from Speed Racer (which he did).
Man, he used to really dislike when people told him that. I’m smiling as I write about it.
But anyway…the reason I bring up the topic du jour, of course, has to do with our non-platonic relationships with MOTOS (members of the opposite sex).
I don’t know about you, but man…I’d need at least both hands to count how many ex-girlfriends I’ve had who really knew how to press every single one of my “hot buttons”.
Fortunately, I’ve matured enough nowadays that it’s slightly more difficult to get me to fall for it than it used to be.
But WOW…back in the day it was a different story.
Here’s the big question, though. Why in the world did I put up with it?
To be completely honest, in certain situations I think I actually liked it.
Man, there was this certain little blondie I dated in college who had a knack for needing something or changing plans RIGHT when everything seemed to be all set.
For example, we’d go through the drive through on the way to the beach and just as we made a right turn out of the place she’d invariably announce, “Oh no…I forgot to get [ketchup/napkins/tacos/a freakin’ straw]!”
She’d do this every. Single. Time.
Eventually I learned to triple-check that she had everything she needed before driving away, but it was to no avail.
Man did that ever frustrate the bejeebers outta me. But then she’d just giggle.
And I was all the more crazy about her.
In cases like that, I’m not sure if the hot-button pressing is always a conscious action, but I really think it has a lot to do with presenting a challenge rather than being so “easy going” about everything.
As is well-documented, being a “challenge” makes the heart grow fonder. So unabashedly pressing relatively innocent “hot buttons” like Blondie used to do is a rather innocuous (if obnoxious) way to play hard-to-get.
I can only hope that my staying glued to televisions for an extra minute or two while leaving restaurants has had a similarly endearing effect on just about every woman I’ve ever known.
Who am I kidding? But hey…don’t blame me for the simple fact that big games tend to end in the Central Time Zone precisely around the time dinner is finished.
Now granted, so far this has been a fun, light-hearted conversation. But I do believe there’s a dark side to all this.
Sometimes we tend to press “hot buttons” on purpose…deliberately to ruin our significant other’s moment, if not their entire day.
For example, if we do something deliberately to cause pain or consternation that’s far from innocent. If the point is simply to foment ill will and/or to make the other person (or both of you) suffer, then that points to serious relationship problems.
Being a bit of a “challenge” is one thing. Passive aggression designed to bring someone else down a notch is another.
Sometimes “hot buttons” get pushed because one partner is jealous of the other. Other times one partner is so broken that any semblance of happiness signals a need to throw a wrench in the works.
Latent resentment over anything and/or everything is also a major factor, as is any indication that there’s a double-standard at play.
Meanwhile, some people tend to feel powerless in life and therefore get off on lording things over other people…especially their boyfriends or girlfriends.
Heck, we may start pressing all sorts of buttons on the dashboard specifically because we get some sort of prurient kick out of seeing someone squirm who we allegedly “love”.
All of these examples, of course, are NOT innocent. They’re dysfunctional, insidious relationship killers.
So what’s a dude to make of all this?
Well, first of all know your own “hot buttons”. If you need to list them out on paper, do so. Essentially, what you’re looking for here is any personal pet peeve that another person could theoretically instigate.
The first line of defense against them is unwiring them from having any effect on you whatsoever.
Remain calm, cool and collected whenever the alarm sounds that your buttons are being tampered with. That will eliminate much of the “joy” of pressing them for the other person.
Next, become a master at discerning what a woman’s intentions are.
Is she just being playful or challenging you? Or does this chick have legitimate issues?
And finally, monitor your own tendencies to press other people’s “hot buttons”. Which ones do you look for in others and can’t wait to push? What’s driving your desire to do that?
You know, it’s really something…where we are on this issue tends to be a direct indicator of whether we’re in a good relationship or a poisonous one, doesn’t it?
So what about you? What are your hot-buttons? Which ones do you find yourself pressing in others?