What is "hardballing"?
"Hardballing" is a term to explain when you tell someone all of your expectations upfront before you even go out on a first date. That way, you don't waste your time and can weed out anyone who may not be as serious about a relationship as you are.
Susan Winter, bestselling author and relationship expert of “Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache,” describes it as a "no-compromise method of maintaining boundaries and romantic goals."
Why is it good to "hardball" someone?
According to Winter, "hardballing" can be helpful to give the other person a "clear and definite vision" for your potential future together. It also tells you "exactly what you're getting" when you choose to date someone.
“Imagine the years of your life you wouldn’t have wasted hoping that somebody would eventually learn to like you enough to be into a relationship with you or dating in the hopes that once they fall in love with you, then they might want to marry you,” Winter said. “And then once they marry you that they may want children. There are so many contingencies in place. I think it’s better to be very honest.”
How exactly do you “hardball” someone?
It's always best to be as clear as possible. That way, there's no room for misinterpretation.
"When the individual is clear about why they're dating and what they want from a partner, it's very important to be upfront about that. The problem that we have nowadays is vagueness. This is what's creating 'situationships' and 'friends with benefits,' and people hanging on in the hopes that something more will develop," Winter said.
What type of language should you use when you "hardball" someone?
While you don't want to hurt your date's feelings, "hardballing" is all about making sure they know exactly what you mean when you outline your plans for the future. A great way to do this is to use "clear cut, thoughtful, tactful and diplomatic language."
Winter shared an example of a woman who may be concerned about her fertility timeline.
"I know that this may seem odd, but I need to tell you, I want to have a family and as a female, I have a timeline in which to do that so I don’t have the luxury to date a guy for fun," she said as an example. "I'm not an anxious attacher. I'm not neurotic. I'm not insecure. I'm a woman who would like to have a natural biological family and I can only allow myself to enter relationships with a partner who wants the same thing."
What should you do if someone "hardballs" you?
"If it totally hits you by surprise and they didn't say it with great finesse, but you like the person, I would say, 'Wow, thanks for being honest. Let me think about that. May I ask you a couple more questions?'" Winter said. "So I think you have the right to consider it and you certainly have the right to ask detailed questions because now it's on the table."
Is “hardballing” too harsh?
It may seem so at first glance, Winter noted.
“But it’s truthful. And my preference is always to know the truth," she said. "It’s not what you tell me that’s going to hurt me, it’s what you lead me to believe that’s not going to happen that will break my heart. So I’m in favor of honesty to alleviate unnecessary heartbreak."