Almost 29 and eternally single, HELP!
January 9, 2009 12:13 AM   Subscribe

I turn 29 in a couple weeks and would like to be in a relationship. What can I do differently?

I've done a lot to improve myself over the last couple years: I workout regularly, (i'm a pretty muscular dude now), I'm much more assertive with women without being overbearing (which is difficult cause i'm a sensitive d00d), and I have worked on improving the inner me: ie more self-assured, more chill, etc,.

My problem is I've gone on lots of dates but can't get the women to be really interested in being 'with me'. Or they might initially be interested in me but after hanging out (lets say with a bunch of friends) when i try to ask her on a date she gets flaky, and 9 times out of 10 is also seeing some other dude .. and the other dude is her real interest.

I"m friendly, I cook, I work hard .. but sometimes i wonder if my quirks make me unattractive ... A girl i was recently pursing (who wants to be friends; cause she likes someone else), said i was sweet, intense, and rare.

Anyone else, ie guys on hear feel like unless your either mega wealthy, super hot, or really funny being with a women that your moderately attracted to is super hard?

one more story real quick. a girl at my work whose a bit older ame said i was 'sexy' and we dated a few times, this was the first girl in the last 10 years that showed interested in me that i was actually attracted to ; some would say that proves that you shouldn't 'pursue' girls and it will just happen. but i say BS; simply because that happened ONCE and unless i ask them out... it never happens.

In summary my questions:

- why is this so hard?
- what can i do differently without changing who i am ?
- why does it seem like moderately attractive females have it easier than moderately attractive males? or am i just biased cause i'm a guy?

And any general encouragement would be MUCH appreciated!
posted by learninguntilidie to Human Relations (97 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
this has been covered (for both genders) about a gazillion times on askme. my usual response still stands: finding a relationship is a crapshoot. you could be looking or not looking, it makes no absolutely no difference: the chances are the same either way. it will happen (or not) when it happens (or not). sorry i can't be more encouraging but i'm not gonna feed you a load of crap or patronize you about it. it's great that you've been working on yourself though. just keep on keeping on.
posted by violetk at 12:24 AM on January 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


I want to hear the answer to this too. My faith in humanity died when I pondered the same question myself. I would prefer to be wrong.
posted by Pseudology at 12:25 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've found that good things have happened when I do things, go places, and hang out with circles of friends that I haven't before.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:29 AM on January 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


"sweet, intense, and rare" = weird. You're trying too hard.
posted by ryanbryan at 1:02 AM on January 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


I will say you seem to be trying way too hard. If you look at all women as potential lovers that you will then "pursue", then they're just going to think you're a creep. You should probably tone it down and go about your business.

And if you've got a fedora, lose it.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:06 AM on January 9, 2009 [23 favorites]


but sometimes i wonder if my quirks make me unattractive

That depends on how quirky those quirks are. Maybe you are a little bit quirky, and it will take someone especially compatible to click with you. Or maybe you are out beyond quirky and into serious weirdo-land, and women are picking up on that and running far away. There simply isn't enough information here to even venture a guess.

I'd guess that there is at least one question every week that touches on this, in fact. Relationships (platonic and sexual both) are really hard to negotiate and navigate. If it were easy we'd all be living in the last five minutes of all the romantic comedies. But most of us spend more time screwing up than we do getting it right.

I don't know about that old debate about whether you should be actively looking or whether love will come to you when you least expect it. My guess is that the old cliche about chance favoring the prepared is true -- it may come when you least expect it, but that can only happen if you put yourself in positions where that can actually happen. From watching friends, I'd say that a very large proportion of people who claim to be "looking" are in fact doing everything possible to prevent things from happening.

So looking honestly at yourself, and at what you are doing, is a good starting point. How often are you asking people out? How about online dating? Have you asked friends -- or women you went on a date with, but who ended up being friends -- if they know why you aren't getting second dates? Are you maybe coming on way too strong? (A lot of people do this, and start looking kind of desperate even though they don't mean to.) Are you asking out women of a very narrow "type," and would you do better to expand the range of people you ask out?
posted by Forktine at 1:07 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


My dad gave me the best relationship advice...

"Be the person you want to marry."

Basically, identify traits that are attractive to you and assume them as your own. An easy example is if you want a girl who is independent, get super busy yourself. If you are always just sitting around waiting for her schedule to free up, she'll feel guilty and the relationship will ultimately never work out. That's just an example, but you get the idea... Beyond that, just go for and ask girls out. Be confident and realize there's a good chance you will get turned down but keep doing it anyway. Good luck!
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 1:19 AM on January 9, 2009 [54 favorites]


You are trying too hard, just chill. Actively "looking" signals possible problems for both men & women. You should just focus on expanding your circle of female friends without ever being overly nice or acting smitten. Drop the "sweet & intense" asap.

You know how being promoted often requires another job offer? Women will both trust you more for hanging out as friends and find you more attractive, if they see you hanging out with other women (or even kinda if with other men). Such social credit should easily replace "sweet & intense" for building initial trust.

I'm not sure "dates" are ever wise, way too much pressure & expectation unless both people "date" frequently. I think most young people today just occasionally make out with attractive friends, and then sort out if they are interested. Your female friends may also be too close to your age, which often disqualifies you.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:46 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Being called 'sweet' is the kiss of death. Boys can be sweet. Men not. Sorry, but that's how the (sexual) attraction thing works with women. That doesn't mean you should be a bastard, just move away from 'sweet'.
posted by Sitegeist at 2:10 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


P.S. Writing more conventionally with correct spelling, at 29, will widen your field significantly.
posted by Sitegeist at 2:15 AM on January 9, 2009 [29 favorites]


>why is this so hard?

"The course of true love never did run smooth"

> what can i do differently without changing who i am ?

Don't think of it as changing who you are. Think of it as becoming a more advanced version of yourself where you give full expression to qualities that, until now, you have been doing a poor job of selling to the outside world.

> why does it seem like moderately attractive females have it easier than moderately attractive
>males? or am i just biased cause i'm a guy?

Dude, trust me, it's not worth it comparing yourself with females. They have a whole 'nother set of issues to deal with.
posted by Kirklander at 2:19 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks all for the responses so far. To answer your questions and provide some more information I would say that I either don't try enough or I try too hard. It is very difficult to find that right balance. I mean you have to ask a girl out and show interest, right?

And of course i wouldn't describe myself as creepy, simply because i am very careful to not call or pester someone. I give people their space. Ie if a girl doesn't call me back; i don't persist.

I would say that I come across too nice; if that's creepy than so be it. But that's who I am. I care about others. I am a sensitive and compassionate person.

And forktine to answer your questions:
- How often do I ask women out? Well in the last year maybe 15 women?
- Online dating: tried that. very difficult; considering you meet them 'online' .
- My type? Well, I've been very successful with women that are much older than me or much heavier than me. But, quite honestly, my type is someone my age that I have a moderate attraction too (not looking for a model!)


- and lastly, to those that suggested i just be friends with women first, i've been a great friend to a number of women over the years. but when it begins as friends, they want it to stay as friends.
posted by learninguntilidie at 3:10 AM on January 9, 2009


Also, I would love someone to explain the 'how' for some of these great suggestions:

- How does a person that finds it 'natural' to be sweet to others, not be sweet?

Let me give you an example about this weekend ( New Years) :

I cooked for a bunch of people over at my house. Everyone was impressed, "I love a man that cooks" etc,. etc,. Then on Saturday we had another party. I heard the same thing. I liked one girl that was their both times. She seemed interested. Then yesterday, she went to the ER (she got a concussion), and i made her peanut butter balls (she loves PB). Today I call her and she didn't return my call. So now i'm thinking that she saw me as being desperate? BTW, in my mind I was just showing someone that I care.
posted by learninguntilidie at 3:19 AM on January 9, 2009


Boys can be sweet. Men not. Sorry, but that's how the (sexual) attraction thing works with women.

That's complete bullshit. It's 2009, and here at the All Women Want the Same Thing, Inc we even let men cry these days!
posted by DarlingBri at 3:21 AM on January 9, 2009 [41 favorites]


You need to be able to dance with words and emotion. That sounds lame, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. It requires tremendous empathy (taking her perspective), articulateness (being able to put into words your thoughts and feelings), and really quick thinking. You need to be goal oriented, too, always knowing what the next step is, while releasing any grasping at the outcome and not caring about success either way.

This book has a lot of unethical stuff in it, but it's the closest thing out there to what I mean:
http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Method-Beautiful-Women-Into/dp/0312360118

Also, you need to keeping growing as a person:
http://www.amazon.com/Integral-Life-Practice-21st-Century-Blueprint/dp/1590304675

Also, you need to be in a city, job, or campus where there are lots of women.

It will be hard to not meet women if you work on these things. I've been dating up a storm for years. I'm pretty good looking, but I'm excruciatingly quirky and introverted. Somehow, the cute, smart, kind girls just keep coming my way.

You need to know precisely what you want. You need to be able to talk and laugh with them in way that's meaningful to both you and her.
posted by zeek321 at 4:04 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


And you need to have just a touch of "arrogant dick" about you. But only when you've got all the other things handled, e.g. empathy. It's a delicate, but winning combination. :)
posted by zeek321 at 4:07 AM on January 9, 2009


Being called 'sweet' is the kiss of death. Boys can be sweet. Men not. Sorry, but that's how the (sexual) attraction thing works with women

Utter Bollocks! My boyfriend is incredibly sweet and definitely a man not a boy.

@OP - yesterday she was in the ER with concussion and you're getting your knickers in a twist because she didn't return your call today? She's probably resting or having close family and friends hovering and pestering. Just because she hasn't called back yet doesn't mean she isn't interested in you. At least give her time to recover.
posted by missmagenta at 4:11 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Thanks zeek. I'll be reading anything that can help. BTW, how does a slow-thinker, think more quickly? I mean, i usually get myself into awkward and uncomfortable situations when i try to be funny or think off-the-cuff .
posted by learninguntilidie at 4:11 AM on January 9, 2009


oops... i should clarify missmagenta : it was a 'minor concussion' and she went on a date tonight. trust me, shes okay. ;) but good point nonetheless.
posted by learninguntilidie at 4:12 AM on January 9, 2009


Boys can be sweet. Men not. Sorry, but that's how the (sexual) attraction thing works with women.

Absolutely not the case...your real problem is being described as "intense", which can be a kind code word for "needy". When people think women like "cocky, arrogant guys"....what women really like is, "not clingy and needy." No one wants to be seen as a lifeline, someone who's supposed to make someone feel good, break their slump, reflect back that they're special, "appreciate them for everything they do", etc. Even your quasi-modesty over "low standards" is a turn-off....I don't want a guy who thinks I'm "just moderately attractive, so why won't she date me me me-- I'll settle for her to break my slump!"

Calling someone you don't know well the day after they get out of the EMERGENCY ROOM and getting a little huffy they didn't call back right away after you went through the trouble of making peanut butter balls? Kind of creepy.

Use your female friends to coach you through with regards to appropriate behavior the next time you find someone you like.
posted by availablelight at 4:44 AM on January 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


oops... i should clarify missmagenta : it was a 'minor concussion' and she went on a date tonight. trust me, shes okay. ;) but good point nonetheless.

On preview-- she still doesn't need an excuse to not call back immediately....especially if she has a "date tonight". Again, you probably don't mean this or even know how it's coming off, but feeling like you're entitled (i.e. they "should" have responded in a different way) to anything from another person you're not in some sort of strong relationship with (friendship, work, romance, family) is really not good.
posted by availablelight at 4:47 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


availablelight: thanks for the feedback. i've got a lot to learn. ;)
posted by learninguntilidie at 4:50 AM on January 9, 2009


Then yesterday, she went to the ER (she got a concussion), and i made her peanut butter balls (she loves PB). Today I call her and she didn't return my call. So now i'm thinking that she saw me as being desperate? BTW, in my mind I was just showing someone that I care.

So, were you making her the peanut butter balls because you care or because you were trying to get her to go out with you? Do you see the difference? Being nice isn't being nice if you expect something in return. That's what people mean by creepy.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:52 AM on January 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


i think jeffburdges and dunkadunc make good points: firstly break your routine to meet new people. when you expand your social circle that will include girls. secondly being seen out and about with girls is definitely a plus, it will let other girls know you're worth spending time with and will spark their interest.
other than that i think you're making a few key mistakes. you just met the girl with the PB balls? sending her something like that is way too soon. that's a mid-friendship sort of gesture. it may also seem like your honing in on a girl as a romantic interest as soon as you meet her. while this may what be you feel, you need to not make that apparent to the girl. she needs to decide how she feels about YOU, then after she sees you a few times at different social events or wherever, and you have a few things to talk about, she'll exhibit the friendly girly gestures that are (supposed to) show she's interested. then go from there.
posted by camdan at 4:53 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


hydropsyche: i understand your creepy point. but this is an example of where there are thousands of ways of interpreting peoples actions/motives. i made the pb balls to show her i cared; i wanted her to see i was a good guy. and yes i totally understand that i shouldn't expect anything, i would NEVER bring this up to someone in real life (i'm just communicating my thoughts). i think my biggest sin with with the balls was trying too hard ... which probably goes back to my obvious issues with insecurity. ;P
posted by learninguntilidie at 4:58 AM on January 9, 2009


Ok, there's sweet in the "I'm already in love with him and what he just did for me was really lovely" kind of way, and there's sweet in the "What he just did for me was kind yes, but unlooked for. Hope he finds a nice girl soon." kind of way.

Reading signs of interest is key.

posted by Sitegeist at 5:07 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm generally rather foreign to dating and am not generally interested in it, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I took a psychology of human sexuality class as a gen ed this semester. Combining this with my neuroscientific knowledge (I'm a neuroscience major three years into undergrad out of a five-year undergrad program, after which I'm going to get my PhD.), I can infer a few things.

1) Women are not generally attracted to people who do not know the proper use of punctuation and capitalization. You omitted a few commas and forgot to capitalize some Is. If you want to attract a certain caliber of woman, fix your mistakes.

2) You come on REALLY strongly. Peanut butter balls? You may be a bit desperate. Women do not like desperate.

3) If you are a slow thinker, people are going to catch on to that if they know you well enough. In some ways, you can probably learn to think faster, but you may want to talk to a psychologist about this. Does it just take you a while to think and be careful, or are you, uh, slow?

4) People are not 'females' and 'males', they are people. Women are people. Do you have any female friends you aren't interested in screwing?

5) Regarding 'friends', it's usually good to pursue women you'd be friends with. Long-term relationships, as far as I know, are built on things that do not involve inserting tab A in hole B.

6) Get the job you WANT. Follow your dreams. If you've put them off, get back on track.

7) Do some fun shit! Find activities in your area and do them.

8) Fun fact: make sure you smell good. People have an entire area of their CNS devoted to smell. They're called olfactory bulbs. Smell is the most salient sense we have, which means it stands out the most in our memory of a person.

9) No! No touch of 'arrogant dick'! Be confident, which does not mean being an asshole. This means being secure and also not following some social conventions. You will understand what I mean when you are confident.

10) Sexism is really stupid, even the more subtle stuff like assuming all women want the same things or calling a woman 'baby' or shit like that. Treat a woman with the same egalitarianism and maturity you treat a guy.
posted by kldickson at 5:14 AM on January 9, 2009 [12 favorites]


Kldickson:
4) People are not 'females' and 'males', they are people. Women are people. Do you have any female friends you aren't interested in screwing?

---> Oh, please. I know you don't know me so I'll take that statement with a grain of salt. Nowhere, in any of my posts, was I talking about screwing anyone.
posted by learninguntilidie at 5:25 AM on January 9, 2009


Based strictly on your post and answers, you have an air of desperate, emotional high maintenance about you.

See this part: Then yesterday, she went to the ER (she got a concussion), and i made her peanut butter balls (she loves PB). Today I call her and she didn't return my call. So now i'm thinking that she saw me as being desperate? BTW, in my mind I was just showing someone that I care.

That doesn't sound like you were just showing someone that you care. It sounds like you wanted something in return for making the peanut butter balls and loosely translated that means if ya'll were to date, every time you said "i love you," you'd want *something* in return and that just sounds emotionally draining. That and you sound desperate for attention. You called her *today* and she hasn't returned your call and now you're thinking "she sees you as desperate" ?! That's like the definition of desperate right there, but for reasons different than what you think. She just had a concussion, and you're worried about getting attention from her, really?! If you were a girl, I'd put you on "Definitely friends, nothing more and maybe not even friends" list if for being so drama filled over peanut butter balls. After all, this response does really jibe with "I give people their space. Ie if a girl doesn't call me back; i don't persist" You may not persist, but you're moping and nobody sane wants that.

You need to learn how to be genuinely nice without wanting things for being nice or to stop being nice.

Anyone else, ie guys on hear feel like unless your either mega wealthy, super hot, or really funny being with a women that your moderately attracted to is super hard?

I thought that when I was younger, but having discovered what I really want from an SO, I realize now that the world is awash with women that I would probably enjoy dating. That realization would make it pretty impossible to get hung up on any particular woman early in the dating stage.

Figure out what kind of woman you would to date, where they hang out and go for it. You say you're sensitive, so I'm betting you shouldn't be dating just on looks or a random 5 minute bar conversation, but rather talking to women to figure out their individual intellectual depth and trying for those who seem most interesting to you in that aspect.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:30 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


One thing that jumped out at me here is that you've been told you're "intense." As availablelight correctly says, it can be interpreted as "needy," and it's a major turn-off.

"Then yesterday, she went to the ER (she got a concussion), and i made her peanut butter balls (she loves PB). Today I call her and she didn't return my call. So now i'm thinking that she saw me as being desperate? BTW, in my mind I was just showing someone that I care."

There's a great example of "intense" right there. Ratchet your attention down a few notches. A brief "hope you're feeling better" text message or email was called for in this situation, not an afternoon in the kitchen followed with you hovering by the phone.

Based on the description you give of yourself, you seem like a great guy with a lot of terrific qualities. However, I think you need to chill out just a little.

I've dated my share of really wonderful people who have a lot of the same great qualities as you, but the ones that hover, are overly intense, or need constant validation are the ones I don't call back.
posted by _Mona_ at 5:34 AM on January 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


>> BTW, how does a slow-thinker, think more quickly?

Start slow, practice, think about what went well and what didn't, read, think, repeat. The most important thing is to practice, i.e. put yourself in social situations and try to put your best self forward, over and over again. (But don't try too hard, etc., etc.)

Instead of witty, think "appropriate" maybe--right thing right time. Or focus on having fun, or focus on being nice, etc., and let things take care of themselves. No one little tip will do it, unfortunately.

This research-based book might be helpful, especially the parts on "bidding" which is about the rapid interactions between two people who are communicating:

http://www.amazon.com/Relationship-Cure-Strengthening-Marriage-Friendships/dp/0609809539

posted by zeek321 at 5:35 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Although I applaud your efforts to take a hard, honest look at yourself and how your actions may be contributing to your problem, I suspect that this forum isn't a good source of reliable information. (For example, good grammar/spelling isn't typically on women or men's list of top must-have traits in a mate.) I wonder if there is a woman you know (and this must be someone that you absolutely *are not* interested in, have never been interested in, and will not become interested in, so as to not corrupt results), to whom you can direct this question.

That said, one thing that might contribute to the general impression that you are "trying too hard" may be a result of some inaccurate reasoning, specifically, that a man must be "mega wealthy, super hot, or funny..." to attract women. I think most successful, attractive, wonderful women have had relationships with many men that are none of those 3 things. When you get to know a woman that you like, do you find yourself telling yourself that she'll eventually lose interest because you're not mega wealthy, super hot, or funny, and are therefore overcompensating by being super-sweet? Who knows, but I'd suggest that one thing you might try is to challenge your thinking when you find that happening, telling yourself instead that most women are happy to meet someone they like, are attracted to, that they enjoy talking to, etc, without needing a man to be a superhero.
posted by dreamphone at 5:43 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


This book has a lot of unethical stuff in it, but it's the closest thing out there to what I mean:
http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Method-Beautiful-Women-Into/dp/0312360118


omg, no on the pick-up artist type books.
posted by violetk at 5:45 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You sound like you're weird around girls. Go out more and interact with them. Yes, it'll be scary at first. Yes, you'll get rejected because girls will sense your weirdness. But, eventually, the weirdness will go away.

Seriously, dude, go read The Game. You'll thank me.
posted by mpls2 at 6:09 AM on January 9, 2009


Thank you dreamphone for your reply! I found it very insightful.

I'm sure I am not the only one who isn't entirely comfortable in their own skin; I think my inferiority complex goes up several notches around women. If I could be okay with me, I'm sure my desperate actions would go *poof* .
posted by learninguntilidie at 6:12 AM on January 9, 2009


i've got a lot to learn. ;)

And you've come to the right place.

One thing to learn is to slow down. There's no need to call someone every day, and you should have no expectation that someone will get back to you right away.

This should go both ways - if you've been out with someone a couple of times, and they've indicated that they want to do something "tonight", say, then make contact right away, otherwise take it easy, leave it a day or three. Build an active social life, so you're not hovering by the phone or keyboard, counting down the minutes til you'll let yourself get back to a girl. Really, truly be busy having fun with your friends, so you don't *need* to do something with some particular person - this isn't meant to be an artificial rule "I will not call for 96 hours" it's just about easing off a bit, giving a girl a bit of room, and doing other things.

For instance, I had a nice first date with a really lovely girl on Christmas eve (was meant to just be lunch, but ended up being 5 hours chatting in a nice bar), she sent me an email that she enjoyed herself (but it was already clear she'd had a nice time). I didn't really get back to her until NYE, but she was really keen to get together, so we arranged a picnic on NYD, and away we went again. (And it was boring, so I haven't asked her out since. Nothing ventured, nothing gained - but nothing invested, so no hearts broken or dreams dashed, or whatever.)

It's actually easier to do things with girls who you aren't completely taken by, in my experience. It's easier to take those risks (the initial approach, the first kiss, the proposition, all of those steps that seem scary when you're worried that it's "too soon" and "if this goes wrong, I'm going to wreck everything") when you like someone, but not to the point where you really care too much, so those dates - the ones that don't really go anywhere, are great practice for that magical wonderful girl that crops up from time to time - the one you immediately know something is special about. There are a bunch of them out there, but they only come along every couple of years in my experience. They're the really hard ones to deal with - the ones where you're intoxicated, infatuated - it doesn't sound like you've found one of those chestnuts yet. I'm sure you'll be back here when you do. They're scary.

You don't need to be in constant contact with someone, if they're interested, they're probably thinking about you anyway. If they're not interested, your hounding them isn't going to help anything, and your being a bit aloof when most guys pester them might be the difference between thinking nothing of you, and wondering why you haven't called or emailed or IMed.

So, ease up. Everything happens at the right time, there's no rush.

I think niceness is probably good (or it could be code for you being an insufferable little sop) but intensity isn't necessarily a good trait. It makes me think of stage magicians.

The phrase there's plenty of fish in the sea is COMPLETELY true, and they swim in schools. If one girl just wants to be your friend, then just be her friend. Be the best friend you can. And when she introduces you to a single friend of hers at a bar or party some time, and they talk about you later? She might "sell" you to that friend.

Or she might not, she might joke about your magician eyes - but so what, more friends is better than less friends.

I'm assuming you're really looking for someone you want a balanced, fair, genuine relationship with - not just someone that can provide you with regular access to a luke-warm hole - and if that's correct, then you have no choice but to be genuine, and just try to find people that you like. The more of them you meet the better your chances. Don't worry about the "friend zone" thing, it's better to be a trusted friend that slowly grows on someone, than a pestering little creep.

And lastly, listen. This thing about "heavy" girls. What if a big girl is the one that will make you deliriously happy? A lovely friendly chubby girl that's into you is a lovely friendly girl that's into you.
posted by The Monkey at 6:18 AM on January 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


hydropsyche: i understand your creepy point. but this is an example of where there are thousands of ways of interpreting peoples actions/motives. i made the pb balls to show her i cared; i wanted her to see i was a good guy.

I was not trying to tell you about how your motives might be interpreted, I was asking you what your motives actually were in giving her the peanut butter balls. And your answer should give you something to think about.

This woman has a concussion, on top of what ever else is going on in her life that you don't know about. Giving someone who is injured a gift to comfort them when they're down is nice. Sending over some food to an injured person so they don't have to cook or go out is nice. Sending someone a gift to show that you are nice is not actually nice.

Ask yourself this: if at those parties you had met a guy who you thought you could become good friends with, or a woman who you could be good friends with who was not a prospective romantic interest (whether because she was married, or gay, or you just weren't attracted to her), and then you found out that person was injured the next day, would you have sent a gift? Would you have expected that person to call you back the same day and thank you? If not, ask yourself why this situation is different from those?

You seem like you have a lot of potential, but you did ask for advice and it seems like trying to not be defensive but giving a little reflection on the responses you are getting here could really help you.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:25 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


You seem to have a touch of Nice Guy syndrome about you. It's difficult really to tell in the ask format (there's a fine but important difference between making peanut butter balls because you care and making peanut butter balls to show you care), but whether you do or not that entry is recommended reading.
posted by fidelity at 6:25 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


If it makes you feel any better, it's not really any easier for us. People can say what they want, but perfectly normal, attractive, lovely chicks have a hard time getting into relationships too. I would know...I mean, I'm an abnormal, horrible, hideous girl myself but I have some friends that are normal, attractive and lovely.

Btw, I don't think intensity is a relationship-killer. Plenty of people really like that kind of energy. It's just a matter of finding them ~ which is my biggest suggestion: exposure. Your changes of meeting a compatible girl go up proportionally to the new people you're out there meeting.
posted by kattyann at 6:26 AM on January 9, 2009


(i'm just communicating my thoughts)

You're probably doing this in life, too, without realizing it. Example: peanut butter balls and getting distraught when a call isn't returned the day after a friend you're interested in has a concussion. Your behavior indicates that you aren't "just being nice." You seem to expect something in return, and are upset that it didn't happen. I imagine you found out about her date while delivering the peanut butter balls? She probably didn't return your call for any or all of three reasons: 1) She was preparing for her date 2) She had other errands to complete, so she could then prepare for her date 3) You've already spoken that day, so calling so soon could be seen as pestering or worse.

I don't think "quirks" are a major problem. Everyone has them. The problem is when the quirkiness is severe enough to be described as "intense" and "rare". Wow. You must be coming on really strong. On my first date with my now-wife, I said a couple of really quirky/dorky things. First, I looked into her eyes and said "You have a really nicely shaped face." Later I told her she was "keen." Seriously. Who says these things? Despite those quirks(and many more we've learned about each other in the intervening years), we're happily married.

Finally, if you handle your IRL interpersonal relationships the way you're handling this thread, I can see how it would be off-putting. You need to relax a bit(read: a lot).
posted by owtytrof at 6:33 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


In sifting through some of the contradictory advice above, it's worth remembering that people are generally very poor judges of what they find attractive. Often this gets made in a way that seems rather misogynistic (ie., women say they find one thing attractive, when actually they find something else attractive) but that's only because the point usually gets made in the context of dating advice for heterosexual men. This may help in for example sorting out the disagreements over the meaning of the word "sweet", above, etc.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:36 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


"but you did ask for advice and it seems like trying to not be defensive but giving a little reflection on the responses you are getting here could really help you.'


---> Your right. I will stop being defensive. I'm learning a lot by just reading/rereading everyone's responses.
posted by learninguntilidie at 6:37 AM on January 9, 2009


"If it makes you feel any better, it's not really any easier for us. People can say what they want, but perfectly normal, attractive, lovely chicks have a hard time getting into relationships too. I would know...I mean, I'm an abnormal, horrible, hideous girl myself but I have some friends that are normal, attractive and lovely."

Katyann: What an irrational thing to say about yourself, no one is horrible and hideous (unless of course your in prison and writing this). What is "normal" anyway?
posted by learninguntilidie at 6:42 AM on January 9, 2009


It's been covered above, but my 2p anyway.

You remind me a lot of people I knew at university - nice men, intelligent men, not terribly socially adept, slightly broken. All really, really wanted a girlfriend - which is fine, I've had times when I've really wanted a boyfriend. The trouble is, you sound like you want a girlfriend so much that who the girl actually is isn't as important. That's bad at twenty-one. It's catastrophic at twenty-nine.

Think about what you want. What do you want from a girl? Are there things you like, or do you just want anyone? are you prepared to wait around for people who you're not that interested in to call you back, or are you a better person thaN that?

And it's a cliche, but it's easier to Find Someone when you're not actively searching. When me and my SO got together, on paper I wasn't anyone's ideal girlfriend, and neither of us were looking to meet someone, but things just happened, and to our continuing mutual delight. I've been far less happy when I've deliberately looked for someone to date.
posted by mippy at 6:43 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


And please, stay WELL AWAY from pick-up artist bullshit. Nothing is guaranteed to give you a Creepy Guy vibe faster.
posted by mippy at 6:44 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only thing I can add here: Don't try to be funny. Usually that doesn't work. If you aren't witty, don't try to be the funny guy, because you'll just end up being the weird guy that tries to retell the joke he saw a comedian do on TV and totally blow it. Nobody wants to hang out with that guy. If you are capable of recognizing when things are funny and laughing about it, great, you have a sense of humor, and that is enough. You needn't be the one making everyone else laugh.

Not everyone finds the perfect match early in life. I have a lot of friends who didn't meet the love of their life until well after college. Don't pressure yourself to find the perfect person by a specific time. It will just make you more unhappy, and you'll come off as more needy and desperate, and that isn't going to help.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:50 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can only suggest that you listen intensely. And don't listen for clues, for some self-serving hint, for something you can capitalize on... just LISTEN. Visualize what she is saying. Expect nothing in return. Don't think you're going to develop an absolute formula that'll make you a hit with all ladies. That's borderline sexist (ok, maybe entirely sexist) and anyone with a brain will find this unattractive. Don't attempt to fix 100% of yourself just to find a girlfriend. Focus on a few of your shortcomings but do it for your own self development. Lastly, while the GQ physique reflects a healthy lifestyle, etc. I've found this ends up being an bonus point, not a necessary criteria.
posted by ezekieldas at 6:50 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


My post Post Comment comment: mippy really drops the bomb with "The trouble is, you sound like you want a girlfriend so much that who the girl actually is isn't as important." And that's not a direct, accusational, purely mean and critical observation solely for the m/f relationship --this is crucial relationship advice overall. It's imperative to see what's self serving, self seeking in all areas of your life.

I think "catastrophic at twenty-nine" is a bit alarmist but the point is the behavior must be flagged and monitored early on or, with age, one just gets carried away with it.

It has taken many of us well over a decade to grow beyond many of these collegiate shortcomings. The point is you recognize it and work on it.
posted by ezekieldas at 7:03 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are you Mr. Nice Guy because you're a genuinely kind and sincere human being who delights in spreading joy and smiles to the world? I doubt it. I've met a ton of people in my life and I've only met maybe a few truly kind and sincere people who did things for others regardless of the outcome. Based on the odds I'm going to guess that you're not one of them. You know where that puts you Mr. Nice guy? That puts you in the category of people who do nice things for other people because they either 1) want stuff from them or 2) are desperate for acceptance. That's a pretty bad combination if you're trying to pick up women. Needy/Desperate is possible the biggest turn off in the dating sphere. It's the direct opposite of Independent/Confident.

So where am I going with this, Mr. Nice Guy? I'm going here: figure out what area or areas of your life are leading to the lack of confidence that turns you into the Nice Guy. Then fix them.

There is nothing wrong with being kind and polite to your fellow man, by the way... but women are attracted to the kind of guy that is kind and polite because he's confident and powerful... thus being kind and polite is a gesture of good will... not a desperate bid for attention and love.

Oh and one more bit of advice: By any estimate the human race in it's current form is over 10,000 years old. For more than 99 percent of that span women were completely dependent on men for physical security. That biological impetus didn't go away when women entered the workforce in the last 100 years. No matter how nice of a guy you think you are or how great of a cook or a comedian or a lover or a whatever you think you are... if you can't make a woman feel safe (however she defines "safe") you'll never have a chance with her. All the nice things I do for my wife... all the spoiling, and she is spoiled mightily, doesn't amount to anything compared to the knowledge she has that I would beat a hundred men to death with a god damn rock to protect her from harm.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 7:04 AM on January 9, 2009 [15 favorites]


Ezekieldas --

I've been realizing how selfish I have been in all of this. I now am asking myself, "How can I truly LISTEN if I am mostly concerned with what the person thinks of me? How can I say I care if my motives are self-centered?" And yes mippy's comment is very true.
posted by learninguntilidie at 7:11 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


You sound similar to the guys I've been rejecting for the past couple of years.

I find that people who really want a relationship with me seem to really want the relationship and not a relationship with me. They're so intent on trying to get me to like them that they haven't spent any time trying to get to know me.

For example, I went on a date this past week with a guy who went above and beyond to make sure I felt comfortable meeting him (I'm new to online dating), but also didn't listen to anything I told him during our conversation. I had to state my religion three times in the conversation -- and even when I tried to explain my viewpoint, it instead became a way for him to say how much he hates mega-churches because he knows that'll go over well with a liberal. I would have felt far more included if he had actually let me talk about my religious views, or if he hadn't asked multiple times. He also didn't listen on other things, but that was the most glaring example.

That's only one example, but I'm sure he went home and counted out exactly what he did to make me feel special. But those things did not overcome the major drawback that he didn't really want to get to know me. He wanted to date me without having a really clear sense of who I am.

So out of that, my advice to you is to really listen to women. Ask questions. When you sense that there is something she is passionate about, ask more questions about that. The benefit of asking questions is that it gives her the weight of the conversation and will mask any fears you have of being slow.

Be interested in the woman you want to date. Not just interested in having a date.

Also, I agree with the above about the creepiness in the concussion story. If you were genuinely concerned with how she was, that's fine. However, to do something out of a desire for it to go somewhere is creepy.

(PS: Spelling and punctuation do matter in online dating. I tend to delete guys who don't take the time to learn the difference between "you're" and "your." A few errors are fine, but for me proper spelling and grammar indicate a level of maturity and attention to detail. However, if you aren't meeting people online, then it doesn't matter as much.)
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:16 AM on January 9, 2009 [17 favorites]


A lot of the advice upthread talks about learning to listen, and I imagine you're thinking to yourself, "but I'm a great listener!" Based on how frequently you come back to the thread to add your own two cents, I'll assign you some homework. Learn to listen but not respond in some way that steers it back to you. Sure, this thread is about you, but I recognize the impulse from my own habits. It's all there in JustKeepSwimming's comment, stop looking for a relationship and start getting to know people.

As a happily married man that is always being called sweet, I don't think it's any kiss of death. The trick is, I'm not just compassionate to women, but to everyone. How I acted around all our friends said way more about who I was than how I acted while getting to know Mrs. Advicepig.

This is what people mean by "you find love when you're not looking for it."
posted by advicepig at 7:35 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nthing very much that you sound like you want a relationship and don't much care about who it's with. This sucks, I think most of us have been there.

When I was in college, I ended a five year relationship. The next week a friend asked me out and proceeded to be a Nice Guy. He took me on dates, opened doors, gave flowers, asked questions and listened thoughtfully, made me dinner--and completely refused to notice that we were not compatible with each other, that I wanted some freedom after a five year relationship, and that I was telling him in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways that he was coming on too strong. He wanted to get married--not just a relationship, he wanted MARRIAGE--and he built me into someone I wasn't because he thought I was a means to that end. It didn't go well and damaged our friendship a lot. In the ensuing five years, he's had the exact same experience with two other women. He is always determined to be married within two years, and he's so focused on that goal that he's checking off the woman's qualities on a list, but not seeing if they're really compatible.

My boyfriend right now does NOT fit the list I would have written before we met. But he matches me better than anyone else I've ever been with. We share a sense of humor and a lot of interests. We met at a book club, something we participated in for fun and friendship but not with the intent of Meeting Someone. He's a Nice Guy but not because it's a means to an end. He just is. He's in a relationship with me for ME, not just to have a girlfriend.

Nowhere in your post or responses do you say much about what kind of girl you would like to meet. You don't say that you hang out in places where those types of girls are, just that you hang out with friends. Perhaps it's time to widen your circle. What's your own interest that you would like someone to share with you? You'll probably meet both friends and potential girlfriends at events or meetings or classes or SOMETHING for that interest. And when you meet such people, evaluate them for their own individual selves, not how good they would look (physically or metaphorically) on your arm.

Good luck to you.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:39 AM on January 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was going to ask you if you were a Nice Guy (TM), but then you fessed up to. . . well, part of it. I applaud you for asking people on dates and not being this sort. Actually, that calls for big applause, because a lot of people get stuck there. I link to it in earnest.

I used to think being called "sweet" or "cute" was the kiss of death. And depending on the person, it sometimes was - a gentle, if misguided, attempt to signal romantic disinterest. (Being told that you'll "make some girl very happy one day" is almost universally the kiss of death, though.) For a while, I was convinced that it meant that I was comfortable and unthreatening and not regarded as dateable. But I think what people react to when you're saccharine is that you seem false. You have to be a jerk sometimes because, um, people are sometimes jerks. People who are never jerks are either singular folks or working an angle.

Brandon Blatcher and availablelight gave probably the best answer - you come off, here in this very toneless medium, as feeling entitled and "wanting things for being nice." I imagine that it's a stronger impression in person. Making the concussion girl food is a nice "sorry about your head trauma" gesture. Bringing her food on the same day is strange given you're an acquaintance, and calling her the next day and thinking she would probably call you back just hollers "agenda." As JustKeepSwimming said, "They're so intent on trying to get me to like them that they haven't spent any time trying to get to know me."

As for feeling good about yourself, well, if you're intense and rare, those are cool things. Just don't be intense about women you just met. You feel uncomfortable in your own skin, and I feel for you - I've been there, and go back sometimes for a visit. If you try to prove how likeable you are to people, though, it'll be off-putting. What most everybody here is trying to tell you is to just relax and enjoy yourself when you're around women. It's hard to do that if your brain is seeing them as a pursuit and not a person.

Oh, and flirt (some). Trying too hard doesn't fly there, and it's pretty easy to tell how somebody's responding.
posted by averyoldworld at 7:40 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


One way to think about this that might help is that most people have a reasonably functioning feedback mechanism. If I act a certain way (bake heart-shaped cookies for my new friend, say) that produces a certain result (she requests a restraining order, say), I learn from that and alter my behavior.

In your case, this natural feedback mechanism isn't working. Maybe it was never great (and there have been some great posts on AskMe by people with Aspergers and other conditions explaining how that kind of malfunction works from the inside), or maybe it's there but you are getting into such convoluted and unhelpful cycles of overthinking and self-absorption that you are breaking the normal feedback look, I don't know. But the point is that if you know that there should be a feedback loop going on, you can add it in consciously.

That said, though, it's equally important to remember that everyone is different. One person will find misspellings and casual grammar infuriating, and another will see it as the essence of witty charm. One person will find the peanutbutter balls creepy, and someone else will swoon. So be very wary of "women are like X and only want men like Y" kind of generalizations. But even so, it's hard to think of a downside to learning to chill out and act more comfortable in your own skin.

How often do I ask women out? Well in the last year maybe 15 women?

Dude, that's only 1.25 dates per month, assuming that they all said yes, which I don't think they did. If you think of relationships as a numbers game, you aren't making those numbers work for you. The world is full of smart, pretty, and interesting single women. You shouldn't be that creepy guy who indiscriminately asks out everyone with a vagina, but you should make sure you are meeting new people every week (ideally, every day, but life gets in the way sometimes). You want to be meeting people, socializing, enjoying those friendly interactions, and looking for that very slight mutual spark of interest that opens the door to dating and more.

Nowhere, in any of my posts, was I talking about screwing anyone.

Uh, you are asking about dating and relationships, no? Which commonly lead to humping? Yes? So if your sole focus when interacting with women is "will she date me?" then yes, you are getting too fixated on the end goal at the expense of the process.
posted by Forktine at 7:57 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


First off, I actually think your responses so far show an uncommon willingness to consider criticism honestly. Some of the comments have said very true things that can be very hard to hear, and though there's a hint of defensiveness here and there, overall you seem unusually open to them. So that's a damn good start.

I would say that I come across too nice

I have to warn you to be very careful with this line of thinking, because it tends to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm always hesitant to link to Nice Guy discussions on feminism blogs (as fidelity did), just because I think they'd sound a little overwhelming to someone unfamiliar to the phenomenon, especially to those who are inclined toward being a Nice Guy. But here's the thing--as soon as you start thinking about how you are nice, and girls should like you for it, but girls like other, less nice guys instead, because of horribly superficial reasons...you've become the exact not-so-nice guy that girls do not want to go out with for that reason alone. Because that's not a nice thing to think about people.

There's an element of chemistry to these things. I think that sometimes guys think about it a bit too logically, to the point that it limits their understanding of why things don't work out, which sometimes lead to misogynistic thoughts, and that's no good for anyone. What I mean by logical is that they think, if I just do and be the things that women say they want, then logically, women should want me. But what's missing is the chemistry, and that can't be quantified.

Sometimes, you can like someone alright or even a lot, think they're good-looking, but you're just...not feeling it. You say that "no one is horrible and hideous," which shows a pretty healthy attitude toward physical beauty--as in, you get that most people have their good points, even superficially--but presumably you haven't wanted to date all the people you've met. I bet there have even been a few girls that have had a crush on you (whether you knew it or not) but you didn't reciprocate. Not because there was anything wrong with them, or because you had unrealistic expectations about wealth, beauty, or humor, but because you just didn't feel a strong attraction and/or rapport. When you strike out with a woman, think of those girls, and try to realize that it's just one of those things.

mega wealthy, super hot, or really funny

I just want to point out that these things matter, but aren't objective. My husband makes about the same as me, sometimes less, and I don't make much. If he were a deadbeat loser, I probably never would have met him let alone wanted to date him, but he didn't have to be mega wealthy, just able to support himself. I find him extremely attractive--some of my friends also find him hot, others would not give him a second look, seriously. And he and I laugh a lot together (one of the most important things, I think), but he is far from the life of the party in any objective sense.

So that's just to say that just because women find some things important in a partner doesn't mean they're shallow, and doesn't mean they'll only accept the epitome of those traits (or even that such a thing exists). To think of women as shallow in that sense will not help you, and to express any thoughts like that will make you very unattractive to women. So do your best to give people the benefit of the doubt there, and if those thoughts do creep in, do your utmost to make sure you don't even imply them to women, and hope they pass quickly.

Finally I think the best thing to do is just carry on. Focus on living the life you'd want to live regardless of whether you had a partner, while staying open to meeting new people to date. Ask out maybe a few less girls, but keep asking out girls you like. Have a little more understanding when people don't meet your expectations--I owe an email to a friend right now, no one's perfect. I think as long as you're not unnecessarily closing people off, you'll meet someone and you'll really like each other. And chances are you'll find each other a lot more than moderately attractive.
posted by lampoil at 8:01 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think everyone here is being really judgmental and harsh.

Look, dating is a numbers game. Keep trying.

I wouldn't give up on online dating. I don't know what you mean by "it's online". Maybe you need to get to know people better before you know if you're attracted to them? That's what dating is for, though. It's not a commitment right away, it's a "hey, I think you're cute, let's get to know each other in the context of a romantic relationship."

For what it's worth, I think the peanut butter balls are cute, but next time tell her you want to buy her a meal, so that you can spend more time with her one-on-one.

Wait, you say, that's not what a friend would do--a friend would give generously without expectation of return. Well, maybe, but you're not really wanting to be friends, you're wanting a romantic relationship.

On that note, I wouldn't try to be friends with people and THEN date them. I would make it immediately clear that you want to date them. It's a lot easier to go from a casual date to friendship than it is to go from friendship to a casual date.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:01 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Take a long, long look at what it is you want a relationship to provide you. Be honest with yourself. Then, write down the list of the things you want a relationship to give you.

Then, go out and get those things yourself. Don't wait for the relationship to provide them to you.

You will then be swamped with women.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:02 AM on January 9, 2009 [23 favorites]


Anyone else, ie guys on hear feel like unless your either mega wealthy, super hot, or really funny being with a women that your moderately attracted to is super hard?

Okay, so. I have no idea if this is going to help you at all, but the superficial overtones and general grammatical funkiness of your question strongly remind me of my experience with the joke dating profile I created a few years ago, into which I crammed every single online-dating cliche and pet peeve I could think of.

My fake profile gets messages from guys regularly; much more often than my real profile ever did. At the same time, the quality of the messages sent to my fake profile is much, much lower. The subject line is almost invariably "hi" or "hey" and the messages themselves are not much more than "hi yourr cute i think we should talk." And that's it. No questions, no insight on the writer's personality, no incentives to continue the conversation, no proofreading. Not a very interesting introduction at all.

How this could apply you is twofold: first, what you're looking for and what you claim to have to offer seems awfully surfacey. Good relationships are generally not built on money or looks or age or muscles. Instead of focusing on these things, figure out what your "type" is on the inside, and go for people you find interesting in addition to, or instead of, just attractive.

Secondly, if your online dating profile and messages are written like your question here, that's almost certainly why you haven't had much luck in that milieu. If you're willing to polish up your prose a bit, I'd encourage you to try again. One stray comma won't make or break a first impression, but your written profile is the way you present yourself. Think of your writing as the clothing you'd wear on a first date: you want to feel comfortable and authentic in it, but you still want it to look good. There are quite a few good threads on this topic in the AskMe archives.

I have a feeling you are a pretty darn interesting and likeable guy and my impression of you is somewhat incomplete, in which case (1) that's cool and I apologize if this advice is irrelevant (2) see, that's why you need to improve your written communication style. There's also a ton of excellent advice both here and in previous threads that will help you, and I suggest you listen to it, even the harsh stuff -- though probably not the Mystery Method stuff.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:10 AM on January 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Once again, Forktine is speaking directly from my brain.

The only useful thing I can add is don't worry about being 29 or 30 and alone or whatever. That's just a recipe for a union with someone similarly desperate and a subsequent miserable existence. If you like a woman, ask her on a date right away, before the peanut butter balls. There's nothing wrong with making plain your desire (not like on a T-shirt, but, I mean there's no reason to hide your sexual interests by pretending to be 12). Taking initiative and building momentum is 99% of successful dating skills, even sometimes beyond the point of reason. Anyway, there's no goal to dating, it is an art, to be practiced for its own sweaty sake.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:17 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know you've been told not to do this, but go read some pickup material. Please. There is a GOLD MINE worth of material about what "nice guys" do that turn women off. That is what you need to read. For all the slime and creepiness and sleaziness that comes out of the pickup community, there is a lot of useful information about there about what nice guys do wrong with women. Sometimes just reading that stuff is enough for guys to make the changes they need without becoming "pickup artists."

Please don't go out and try to pick up girls using their materials after reading it. Not yet, anyway. But read the introductory material and keep a checklist of everything you do that is bad, and why. We can't tell you what you're doing wrong, but I think if you keep an open mind you can probably self-diagnose a lot of it once you know what you're looking for.
posted by PFL at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth has the best advice. Ultimately, you have your own company for life, so work on making it the best it can be. And doing this is very attractive.
posted by mippy at 8:35 AM on January 9, 2009


Relax: a much higher percentage of people have relationships than have almost anything else good: looks, money, education, intelligence, charm. It's a low hurdle no matter how it might sometimes look.

Be honest with yourself: whatever else good you are, you are not and never will be "chill" and women whom you honestly recognize want chill above all else ... are not for you. (But see above concerning why this should not be a matter for despair; I'd bet the non-chill must be 90% of the happily-married.)

Follow Zeek321's advice: be in places where there are many and diverse women. Even if you're meeting new people you are clearly meeting the same kinds of people under pretty similar social circumstances -- and that needs to be shaken up.
posted by MattD at 8:38 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've found that increasing your sense of wellbeing and overall happiness does a lot for having more satisfying relationships.

I mean, just work more on feeling good about yourself and your life.

When you've got a lot going on and you're busy and thinking about all the cool things you're working on, it's easier to give less importance to the girl who didn't call you back, and you'll notice other people more interested in getting close to you.

Having a great life doesn't take away the desire to have someone special in it - but it no longer becomes painful.

It becomes - "Wow! This activity is really cool, I love doing it... oh yeah, this would be fun to share with someone special, too... " (matter-of-fact tone, not sad or resigned;)

Also, I find that how I feel about every new man in my life is different. Some people I find attractive and fun, but I know they are not what I want for a relationship, and ... sometimes its the other way around... ! My point is just to be open to what naturally develops between you and another woman. People will surprise you, and you may surprise youself - but only if you really "let" things happen.

Give yourself what you need, in terms of self love, approval, a fun life, etc and you won't feel the need to try to push things or force things.

Good luck!! Have fun!!!
posted by Locochona at 8:39 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


How do I change my negative 'beliefs' of never feeling good enough, and thus, doomed to feel 'unworthy' of love? (Which is only magnified by someone I have actual interest in) ...
posted by learninguntilidie at 8:41 AM on January 9, 2009


I have to chime in on the "intense" characterization too. I went out a few times with a guy who started out really charming and fun and once he realized he liked me, he turned into Intense Guy---no other way to describe it. The way he looked at me, the way he talked....intense, intense, intense. I am not sure if intense=needy. Probably. But it made me very uncomfortable and I told him so a few times. But it made no difference and I had to let Intense Guy go. Too much too soon.

Just be careful of the signals you put out there. You do seem like a good guy but stop trying so hard. The PB Balls were a very nice gesture, really, but if I had just met someone and they did this right away, it would be a "too much too soon" red flag. You mentioned above that you did this to show her that you are a nice guy. That's the problem... don't try to show her (or anyone else) how nice a guy you are...just BE the nice guy you are and the right woman will see it.

I know it is hard, but just be yourself and you will find the right person. I second being friends with someone first. My SO and I have been happily together for a year, but we were friends for nearly 7 years before we started dating. He never had to try to show me who he is as I already knew. And he is extremely sweet, quirky, gentle, sensitive and exceedingly rare. He is not mega-wealthy or a stand up comic. And I would not want him any other way.

The relationships you want to be in are those that allow you to be your own, true self.
posted by murrey at 8:49 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


How do I change my negative 'beliefs' of never feeling good enough, and thus, doomed to feel 'unworthy' of love? (Which is only magnified by someone I have actual interest in) ...

DTMFA? Circumcise your obese declawed cat? Nope, it's the other metafilter standby: therapy!

I'm joking around there, but honestly that's how most people I know have dealt with negative feelings, unhelpful behaviors, and other issues similar to yours. Sometimes the therapy gets supplemented with medication, sometimes not, but either way the therapist is the person to start having this conversation with.

I think it's important to realize that no matter how good your intentions, you can't simply wake up one day and magically "fix" yourself -- it's a long and slow process, and almost always requires help. It's not an indication of weakness, or an acknowledgment that you are "damaged" or anything like that. It's just a way of accessing professional help, the same way you see a doctor if you sprain your knee.
posted by Forktine at 8:49 AM on January 9, 2009


Fortine ---

I am not opposed to that. In fact, I have used a therapist. Ultimately, the advice I often received was related to my inactivity, they encouraged me to go out there and meet women. I'm assuming that I need some positive experiences to help kick out some of the dysfunctional beliefs?
posted by learninguntilidie at 9:13 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Framing a question the way you've framed it, as someone who's desperate to make a relationship happen right now, is just asking for tons of answer saying, "Just relax and live life and let things happen on their own." I think sondrialiac has it right.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:13 AM on January 9, 2009


Therapy is expensive though. Just getting active in your own life is not. Actually, turning 30 helped. Once I turned 30 it was like, "Oh, I don't have to be all hip and dignified now do I? I am irreparably old. Time to do some yoga and drink appletinis and shit! Woohoo!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:17 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


What is 'chill' and should I worry if I am not it?

learnin' - the positive experiences aren't to be found in pursuit of love. Seriously, do you want your personality to be That Guy Who Wants To Date?
posted by mippy at 9:20 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


A few more things:

Control for process, not for outcome. The problem with all the pickup books is that they control for outcome and not for process. They, like you, are looking to get something. When you don't get it, you will be frustrated and make the cycle worse.

Instead, control for process. In other words, you should try to learn to enjoy the process of meeting women, flirting, and dating. There's a lot of fun in there. Right now its a holy terror because if you don't get the girl, the entire process is a failure. Frankly, it appears you don't even want to date at all, you just want a girlfriend. Its a little like wanting to win the superbowl without learning how to play football.

Learn to enjoy just chatting with sexually attractive members of the opposite sex. The best way to do this is to vow not to ask anyone out for six months and to also vow to talk with as many attractive women as you can in that period. Stick with that vow. Allow yourself to only go on dates when a girl asks you out for the next six months.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:34 AM on January 9, 2009 [11 favorites]


Um yeah, I've been in therapy for the past year.

One of the many revelations I had was when I was talking about some person I loved/wanted, and all of the sweet kind things I had done for that person, and how understanding, cool, tolerant, patient, flexible, kind, accepting, ETC I had been for that person...

and my therapist asked my when was the last time I had treated myself that way and I was like what... ??? And it hit me. Omigod. I was never that wonderful to myself.

And that's one thing... you could ponder. All the love and attention you have to share, that you are trying to thrust upon someone else... give it to yourself first. You deserve it!!! Really, you do.

And yeah, therapy. But maybe find a therapist who doesn't give you advice. The solutions should come from yourself, one way or another.
posted by Locochona at 9:38 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


I couldn't help but think of this comic about being a "nice guy". Maybe helpful?
posted by qwip at 9:42 AM on January 9, 2009


I think you need a wingman......Look out for that friend of yours who is just amazing with women...hang out with him from now on...see what he does....tell him what you do.....note his reaction when you tell him how much you are dying to have a relationship.....have a camera....it will probably be priceless....
posted by The1andonly at 10:09 AM on January 9, 2009


Ultimately, the advice I often received was related to my inactivity, they encouraged me to go out there and meet women. I'm assuming that I need some positive experiences to help kick out some of the dysfunctional beliefs?

...It may depend on why you told the therapist you were IN therapy, if this makes sense.

If you came to a therapist and your complaint was, "I can't seem to get a girlfriend," they may have thought, "Oh, okay, he's just shy" and that's why they were encouraging you to get out and do things. But maybe if instead you go to a therapist and say "no, actaully, the REAL problem is I have a negative self-script," then the therapist may say, "Ohhhh, okay, that's a DIFFERENT thing, then," and would treat you differently.

Either way, the emphasis is still on taking care of your own self for your own self's sake. And that's all you can do about it. Suddenly having a great girlfriend wouldn't magically make your self-doubt go away (it didn't make my ex's self doubt go away, for one).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do I change my negative 'beliefs' of never feeling good enough, and thus, doomed to feel 'unworthy' of love? (Which is only magnified by someone I have actual interest in) ...

you have identified this as an unhelpful pattern, so you can work on changing it. the next time you find yourself feeling this way, remind yourself consciously that you are good enough and that you deserve having friends as well as that one special person. if you do this often enough it will affect your baseline self-esteem positively. look up cognitive behavioural therapy for something a bit more involved.

also, you might consider hitting up a geekier demographic. they tend to value sweet and intense more than the mainstream.
posted by sid at 10:31 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anecdote: It used to bother me to no end that I was perennially single, to the point where I'm pretty sure I was one of those 'nice guys' who might get women's sympathy but never their respect. At some point along the line, I just stopped giving a shit about whether I was single or not, followed my interests, and learned to be happy with myself and honest with other people.

I'm still single but I know I'm much better prepared should something happen.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:34 AM on January 9, 2009


The best advice I can give is to pick one girl at a time. There have been times where I've been aggressively wooed and would have dated the guy if I thought he actually liked me. But people talk and if you're willing (and trying!) to turn any and every female of your acquaintance into something more, then everyone is going to know about it. Let a girl know you like her, and give her some time to get used to the idea of seeing you in a different light before you move on to the next one.
posted by moxiedoll at 10:34 AM on January 9, 2009


Ironmouth has it. Stop looking for fulfillment externally. Fill yourself up internally. Ironically, this is when you'll attract the most people to you - friends, coworkers, and potential partners all.
posted by twiki at 10:35 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Therapy, combined with trying to make your own life happier without a woman in it, might help. Not needing to cling and grab at the first one you get. I couldn't help but notice that the women you had "success" with were ones you didn't seem to want/find attractive.

Yeah, some of this is setting off the "watch it, you're a NiceGuyTM" buzzers with me because I have been reading this thread, but hey, if you listen to this MeFi thread, you might not be a lost cause. The #1 thing you have to remember is, just because you are "nice" does not entitle you to get the lady of your choice or any lady at all. (For that matter, being a jerk doesn't either.) Just because you did something for her does not mean she is going to put out. This especially doesn't go over well when she didn't ask you to do it in the first place. "Gee, now I get to feel like I owe you sex because you gave me cookies and I met you yesterday. Gee, thanks. I feel ...like shit about you now, actually." is not gonna be a selling point for you. You're trying to make her feel good and now she feels The Pressure to be with you, now now. And that does not make her feel good about you. It makes her wonder if you're going to be needy/clingy, or even a stalker, and that's scary for chicks. You need to take a step back, make some female friends-only, and ask them how to act. Don't do stuff that will make a girl feel obligated to you when she has barely met you.

And bottom line really does boil down to, no matter who you are, to some degree it's just gonna be based on luck and stumbling across someone at the right time. You can't force this shit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:38 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh...when words like "sweet, intense, and rare" are what I reach for in the arsenal, we've got ourselves sitch-y-ation.

I dunno. I'm just a girl. But when I say that stuff, it's code for Back The Fuck Off with a side order of I'm Scared To Piss You Off Too Much Because I'm Afraid I'll Find You Outside My House A La Lloyd Dobler After You've Boiled My Rabbit.

Let's take these one by one:
1. "Intense"
You do not ever want to be called this unless you work for NASA or are in an international chess tourney. Intense is, as mentioned repeatedly upthread, making the woman The Center of Your Universe. While that might sound "nice," it's not. Men I refer to as "intense" are guys who have nothing else, really nothing, going on but making sure I'm "happy." And it does not make me happy to know a man's entire day and/or sense of happiness is based on me and what I do and whether I call or not and whether I was enraptured by the peanut butter balls. That's because I sure as shit will disappoint you sometimes, not because I'm an asshole, but because I'm fallible and human and quite frankly, no one on this earth is going to like all facets of me (hell, I don't even like all facets of me).

Having my own personal Happiness Valet is not a kindness, it's needy and insensitive to my independence. Being overly focused on a woman puts a tremendous amount of pressure on her and will invariably end in disappointment. Sounds like there's a touch of that going on here (indicated by the classic "I'm such a nice guy but can't find a girlfriend" stance; this is a very common phrase amongst Happiness Valets).

The phrase "get a life" comes to mind here and I mean that in a constructive sense, not a mean spirited one. Do things that are not enmeshed with your search for a woman. For example, do you work out or cook as a hobby for you and only you? Or is it just part of the "I want to find someone" angle? Because it's mighty important to show up in a relationship with your own interests, hobbies, plans, and goals. "Intense" usually means the guy is latching onto mine and that irritates the crap out of me. If I wanted to date myself, I'd, uh, do it. But I'm looking for someone to complement, not mimic. So I'd recommend thinking about what you have in your life that intrigues YOU and only you; ensure you have personal components that are separate from your mating strategy.

2. "Sweet"
When this word shows up with "intense," it often means you're indeed doing "nice" things for women, but they're not welcomed by the recipient. It's hard to tell someone to stop doing "nice" things, e.g., making you peanut butter balls, etc. On the surface, that looks like a kind thing to do, but your kind things have price tags. They're boomerangs you're putting out there. This makes women very uncomfortable. Think about it: women are often being pursued via gifts/dinners and the underlying message is often that we "owe" something. Well, we don't. And we don't like being put in that position and we become resentful (read: we then avoid you).

3. "Rare"
Sometimes it's good to be un-rare, e.g., to be typical. The typical guy: takes things slow, gives you your space, isn't troubled by your lack of phone call at the very wee-est, earliest stages of a male-female friendship, doesn't do things to make the woman feel beholden. That's typical. That's standard early-in-the-process behavior. You are not behaving in that manner, which does, in fact, make you rare. So. Maybe the key here is to be a bit more typical in your responses to women.

You have a lot of great advice on this thread. Overall, STOP trying to live your life for other people, which is the sense I'm gettin' here. Stop trying to pigeonhole yourself into what you think women want. We come in all shapes, size, and varieties and there's no magic formula. It's not as simple as "I cook and am nice and work out so women should dig me." Focus on developing what you ARE and not what you think you should be (buff, wealthy, funny, etc).
posted by December at 10:51 AM on January 9, 2009 [20 favorites]


I don't disagree with a lot of the great advice that has been given above--particularly the bits about needing to modify the mindset you seem to be stuck in where any girl will do so long as you finally get a girlfriend.

How do I change my negative 'beliefs' of never feeling good enough, and thus, doomed to feel 'unworthy' of love? (Which is only magnified by someone I have actual interest in) ...

Therapy will probably help. There's another thing you can do in conjunction with the therapy, and I'm guessing people haven't suggested it because you're a dude and we rarely give this advice to dudes (even though it's often given to women, and is really good advice). It seems like a big part of what might be creating your desperate mindset is that you are, indeed, desperately lonely and desiring of companionship, and the more you focus on that the emptier your life feels and the worse you feel about yourself. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be in a relationship, but you should realize that the desire hasn't sprung 100% naturally from the depths of your pure soul--I can almost guarantee that you are also internalizing a relentless and enormously powerful cultural message that people (all people! no matter what!) are happier and more fulfilled when partnered, and that 30 is some magic age by which you're supposed to settle down and start a "family." Most of us recognize that women get fed this message and it can make them start to feel defective for being single, but I think men get it too--it's just not recognized because it can be a little less explicit. (But just as schlocky! Go rent The Family Man with Nicolas Cage if you don't believe me. Actually, given my advice below, don't.)

I think you'd probably start to feel a little less lonely and "less-than"--which is probably contributing at least a bit to your own sense of yourself as not good enough for anyone to date--by consciously becoming aware of the impact of this cultural message on you, and staying away from it for a bit. Take a 30-day diet from "how awesome is love!" cultural messages in any and all media, and see if that makes any difference in the intensity of the loneliness you feel. Heck, make your next AskMe question all about what the best movies, books, and television shows are that are all about single people and the awesome things they've done (Walden, maybe?), or all the great movies and TV shows to watch that don't talk at all about HOW! GREAT! IT! IS! to be partnered (perhaps now is a good time to catch up on The X-Files?). Right now, all the stuff you passively take in as entertainment is probably making you feel emptier and emptier, and that's something you can start fixing today, as a first step towards all the things people are talking about above.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:47 AM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


"You know how being promoted often requires another job offer? Women will both trust you more for hanging out as friends and find you more attractive, if they see you hanging out with other women (or even kinda if with other men). Such social credit should easily replace "sweet & intense" for building initial trust."


hmm....no. That would be a creepfest.

I know few women who dream of going on a date with her ideal man + his whole harem.

You can't earn someone's trust if you are going out with other women all the time and "building your circle of female friends". That is what actually makes people NOT trust you and think you are some sort of womanizer. More guys should strive to be genuinely nice and friendly unless they want to be disposable. You may worry about being friendzone'd but it is much easier to be on the same playing field than trying to manipulate someone's trust. Being good looking does help, and so does confidence, but manipulation is not a good way to start a real relationship if that is the goal.

Trust is the same thing, just with different actions. I trust a driver not to kill me in a car. I trust my male friends not to try to make out with me or try to manipulate me into being interested in them by 'building circle of female friends'. Frankly I don't care how many female friends he tries to show off in front of me, it does not make me any more interested or think he's cooler or more trustworthy. Earning 'social credit' by manipulation does not really work unless everyone in your group is superficial. It's not geniune, and most people do not really care about who you know or the quantity of people you know in the long term, unless it has to do with billionaires or jobs (if even that).
posted by johannahdeschanel at 12:00 PM on January 9, 2009


Let's hash this out from the perspective of a woman:

The girl you made these peanut butter balls for got a mild concussion, then had a date the next day that she went on as planned. Between the two events, you gave her (or left her) these treats.

Either that was a nice thing you did as a friend, or it's a nice thing you did since you want to date her. If it's the first, then might have come off as a slightly needy friend since you immediately called to check in for recognition. Or maybe she seldom checks her voicemail, who knows, since it hasn't even been a couple days. If she assumes you did it because you want to date, then she has a motivation to give you space -- not everyone talks to several people per day that they date, or dates multiple people at the same time, and so on.

It's hard to get past, but life isn't transactional. If she's down, and you do something to cheer her up, it doesn't mean she has to respond and carry on the chain.
posted by mikeh at 12:01 PM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know how being promoted often requires another job offer?

To contradict jeffburdges here, I was recently in a meeting with a hiring manager to review resumes and we ended up talking about how when people approach with another job offer in the hopes of getting a reaction, it's just as easy to let them go because most of the time someone manipulating you into a raise is staying for the wrong reason. The same can apply to relationships -- you're pursuing it for the wrong reason if seeing you happy elsewhere is what it takes to give someone perspective.
posted by mikeh at 12:04 PM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


mikeh, I doubt competition has any bearing on either situation. It's merely that socially competent people are better mates and you demonstrate social competence to strangers when they see you interacting well with your friends. (Yes, my analogy was a big stretch since we're talking about wholly different timeframes. Some related stuff happens in initial hiring too, which seems closer, but that doesn't get as negative an emotional reaction.)
posted by jeffburdges at 12:28 PM on January 9, 2009


Personally, I think that you're overall on the right track, and you just have to keep being social, and wait for it to happen.
posted by Citrus at 12:44 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sure, you may be a better friend/mate/employee/human being if you are socially competent but as long as your motives do not include creating competition, which is difficult not to do when you are broadening the circle of friends of the opposite sex. I never found 'playing games' to be very efficient with romance. People should just be themselves. If they are as awesome as they seem, it will really show and social credit becomes unnecessary for establishing initial trust. You can not depend on a whole clique of friends to earn your trust for you. If you pretend you are happier with others, you will just look like you are happier with others. You'll be fine if you are nice and friendly but not desparate. It's a simple laid back process.
posted by johannahdeschanel at 12:54 PM on January 9, 2009


I would recommend watching Groundhog Day w/Bill Murray and reading "The Happy Hypocrite" by Max Beerbohm.

Right now you strike me as someone like Bill Murray toward the beginning of the film (o.k., more conventionally nice and less funny--tho' I'm sensing some of his ill-disguised rage in you). He's collecting his list of what would make Andie MacDowell's character like him, you can see him checking it off--but it's just stuff, and he keeps screwing up because it's really not about her. It is not until he let's go of that and starts really looking outside himself and paying attention to others, learning new things, helping folks just to help them, not for kudos, that he becomes a human being and finds his life moving on.

The huge flaw I find in that movie is that the changed Bill Murray probably wouldn't/shouldn't have ended up with MacDowell as her character is so one-dimensional (run off with the piano teacher, Bill!).

Your self-talk of "I'm not worthy..." etc. is really just narcissism--it's still just all about you. When you start thinking that way, look outside yourself: what can you do in that moment that will make the World or your world better? It can be as small as picking up a stray piece of garbage off the sidewalk--see, you're not such a bad person after all.
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:20 PM on January 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's merely that socially competent people are better mates

I don't think wanting to be a 'better mate' is the solution for this chap.
posted by mippy at 2:19 PM on January 9, 2009


Also, the fact that overweight/older women do like you isn't a sign that you are unworthy. What's happened is that you've decided that they cannot provide you with those things that you want from a relationship. So they don't feel you are asking them for that and lo and behold, they are attracted to you! That's a good sign. It means that you are basically attractive. Meditate on that.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:24 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I initially wrote this I had no idea how brutally honest and constructive this would be. I dare say people in "real life" would never have been this detailed or opinionated. To be clear, I never knew some of these things until now. I could blame it on a hundred things but ultimately it's my responsibility. Yes, I am narcissistic. Yes, I depend on others for acceptance. Yes, I never really thought about what I wanted in a mate. At this point, I have to start at the fundamentals. I have to start doing good for goods sake. I have to build a base of good friends. I need to get involved in activities that will boost my confidence.

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Your individual experiences and perspectives will go far in helping me improve. I will work to become a better me, after all, the world needs fewer "Nice guys".

P.S. As I was writing this an old friend from college called, he was truly a good guy, that baked for others "Just cause". We're going to hang together with some other people tomorrow so I'll be able to start working on being less narcissistic with them.
posted by learninguntilidie at 4:32 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't read all the responses, so I apologize if someone else has already covered this:

I'm going to propose that you aren't picky enough. Your type is = moderately attractive and around your age. Wow doesn't get much less picky than that. Nothing sends off alarm bells more in my head than when a guy who barely knows me (or hell knows nothing about me) asks me out. Pursuing girls you haven't even gotten to know at all based on only the slimmest amount of physical attraction tells that girl that either you are a player, desperate, or have no standards or hey all of the above. Bottom line it isn't a compliment to be asked out by a guy who will date anyone who is even vaguely physically attractive. And the vast majority of women in their 20's and 30's are at least kind of attractive.

I'm sorry if this came off as harsh, don't take it too personally. Most people (especially the interesting ones) find it hard to find the *one*. But I feel that I know several guys similar to you: nice, interesting, attractive, desperate for a girlfriend. They crush after everyone. They turn everything into a date. They are *nice* but in a way that makes you hesitant to accept their nice gesture because you question the motivation behind it. They are good guys and great friends, but at the end of the day I wouldn't date them because they just really really want a girlfriend, they don't really want me. I hope that makes sense.
posted by whoaali at 5:00 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I actually think your responses so far show an uncommon willingness to consider criticism honestly. Some of the comments have said very true things that can be very hard to hear, and though there's a hint of defensiveness here and there, overall you seem unusually open to them. So that's a damn good start.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Highlighted for emphasis.

Don't underestimate the value of the qualities you have demonstrated in this thread. Many people lash out at others or "shoot the messenger" when given frank advice that brings them face to face with something they don't like about themselves (if they even have the self-awareness to acknowledge it at all). Often they don't realize how much this kind of behavior alienates others, and thereby perpetuates their loneliness. Instead of engaging in a bit of introspection, learning, and growth, they play the martyr or blame others for not recognizing how "nice" they are and rewarding them with dates, sex, or attention.

You, on the other hand, displayed a good measure of patience as you waded through a long thread full of personal advice on your dating habits, self-image, spelling, grammar, and much more - some of which came across to you as too harsh or critical, even if ultimately constructive. When it was suggested that you were crossing the line into defensiveness, you accepted responsibility and backed down gracefully.

You have thanked people for their advice, and shown willingness to take the advice to heart. You have openly admitted you have a lot to learn, and owned up to having self-centered motives. That takes self-awareness, courage, honesty and humility.

In short, I think the behavior and genuineness you've displayed in this thread is exemplary (and very attractive, too!) Keep up the good work on yourself. Being able to hear difficult things without shutting down or flying off the handle is a useful relationship skill.

Paradoxical, isn't it, that being comfortable with who you are alone is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a good relationship? But very, very true.

You've received some great advice above. You may indeed have a lot to learn, but if you are able to function in your daily life with the kind of emotional courage you displayed in this thread, I think you will find your relationships (romantic and otherwise) much enriched.

Good luck, and I hope you find what you seek.
posted by velvet winter at 8:32 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


@learninguntilidie: "When I initially wrote this I had no idea how brutally honest and constructive this would be"

I'm impressed you've taken the brutal advice so constructively. Change is hard. Most people -never- change in their entire lives short of something horribly tragic.

Since my previous advice was of the dead-to-the-point brutal kind... I'll offer a little more, less harsh advice.

I dated a lot of women... but it wasn't until I stopped caring about dating and relationships and decided to invest in myself that I met my wife and hit it off perfectly. I was busy studying martial arts, working, going to school, finishing up my degree, spending all my free time on self improving and enjoyable things... and when I was most pleased with myself and my life, I met my wife. People are attracted to confidence and happiness... and when you're doing the things you love and know you're improving your life... it's not a far step to becoming happy and confident.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 4:28 PM on January 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If it's any encouragement to you notice how many responses you've gotten and how many favorites the many responses have received...and realize that's because the issues you are looking at are/have been very common to many...that's why so many people are responding, reading, and favoriting.

And my two cents, echoing many similar ones, I guess, is that people are fascinating...and if you ever get to the point of really finding them so (not acting as if you find them so), you will get joy out of your interactions, and hence bring joy TO your interactions. And a girl may just find YOU.

Blessings!
posted by mumstheword at 2:27 PM on February 7, 2009


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