I keep getting rejected or ignored and want to quit trying to date
October 17, 2012 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I want to give up trying to date, I just keep getting rejected, can you guys help me stay motivated and not quit trying?

Hey guys, let me start of by saying that I know some of you guys will try to help me out by telling me to be more confident and take risks and try to deconstruct my personality based on my previous questions and what I'm writing here today and give me pointers on what I can do to improve myself.

I've just reached a point now that I am so frustrated with getting rejected over and over again that the thought of making more effort to just hear another no seems very unappealing and down right depressing.

I'm 26 years old, and I haven't been on a real date in a good solid two years since my last relationship broke off. A real date being something I didn't take out of desperation and desire to not be lonely but was attracted and enjoyed their company.

I have a good job, I'm not ugly, I've been told that I am very attractive and cute by at least ten different women in my life time maybe even more than ten.

But the past two years has just been a constant string of no's. I would say that 90% of my energy is spent trying to meet women online and it sucks to send out cute messages to 30 people and see that they get deleted. Over and over again it happens and you just start wondering:
1) Maybe I am not fit enough?
2) Maybe my race is a problem? (I'm Indian btw)
3) Maybe my messages are terrible?

All of the effort I've made to try and date online hasn't worked out.

So the past few months I've tried talking to girls at bars. I usually strike up a friendly conversation and joke around and make them laugh. I've gotten maybe 10 numbers from girls in the past three months. I had good solid conversation, making them laugh and I asked them questions about their life and their interests.

But all of those girls fell of at one point or another after my communication with them a few days latter and none of the ten girls made it to going out on a date with me.

This makes me wonder and ask, "whats wrong with me?" and on it goes with XYZ in my head.
1. Am I ugly?
2. Am I approaching the wrong people?
3. .............
4. .......................

The truth is that neither I or anyone out their on Ask meta filter can really give me a concrete answer because each woman is different and its hard to nail down that common issue that could be holding me back and especially if people who try to help don't know you like this website forum. I'm only bringing this up because I know people still want to help but usually these type of issues are hard to solve.

The reason that I wrote all of this out was to give you an idea of how I'm feeling right now. I've heard that dating is a numbers game. I work in financial sales, so I make cold calls and very strongly understand the concept of filling your pipeline with more prospects. I know that may sound cheesy or unromantic or unsexy but I'm just talking about it from a large scale perspective. I don't treat the women I talk to as women number 5, and I give her my full attention and interest and respect her uniqueness each and every time.

But the idea is that if you hear enough no's you are bound to get a yes. That if you only ask two women out in a year you are most likely not going to be on a date that year but if you ask 20 or 30 the chances go up.

The problem I'm having is just wanting to give up trying. I feel like I've tried so many times and I'm not getting anything from anyone. Its so tempting to throw my hands up and say forget this.

I also understand that relationships and dating are not everything and have a great live outside of trying to meet women.

The general advice is to stop looking for it and focus on yourself and I've done that as well. I've spent time in places with people enjoying myself and treating myself well. Working out, hanging with friends and not focusing on women and making sure my ducks are all in a row.

But there comes a time that you focus on yourself enough eventually you ask yourself, "okay, its nice being happy alone but I sure would like to share this with another person." Which I feel is natural, because technically you could focus on yourself for eternity and think you are becoming more attractive b tending to yourself but have it go on for years and not meet a soul.

I've just reached a point that I want to give up trying, and there is so much advice out there that tells you to try different things and I feel like I've given it my all and I still failed.

I know the best thing is to take a break and renew my spirits to feel re-energized. But even after that when I'm feeling better I still sit there and ponder "What is something I can do different this time around so I dont get rejected?" and the same things always come up from different sources, myself and my brain and others like friends and the internet:

1) Be more confident
2) Make more money
3) Workout and get fitter
4) Enjoy some new hobbies
5) Online Date and talk to girls at Bars/Activities/Groups etc.

Its the same advice that I've read last time and I've implemented it to some degree:

1) I am able to talk to girls at bars or other social places with more ease and less anxiety and not really get tongue tied
2) I have a good job in the financial sector making over 100K+
3) I workout often and I am not overweight but I dont have abs either
4) I play my guitar and enjoy listening to classic rock so much that I am kind of a trivia king of old bands from the 60's.
5) Tried all of this already, online dating and everything else.

I had my profile looked at my various people and forums for critique and posted full body shots and what not. But nobody bites.

I just dont see anything that could help me at this point and feel hopeless after trying all these things. I don't like to quit in life as I feel its a weakness and seals your fate to whatever you run away from, failure or fear. But I am close to just saying fuck it.

Any advice guys, people who have been in my shoes?
posted by curious-mind to Human Relations (83 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't mean to be overly critical, but are you sure that when you're talking to women you're not coming across as desperate? Because that's definitely the kind of the vibe I'm getting from the length of this question.
posted by lobbyist at 4:50 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

The only thing which I didn't see addressed in your question is - what are these women like who you are approaching? Are they all really hot women? Are there any who are more average looking women?

I bet I could write you a Craigslist ad that women would respond to, if you would like me to just MeMail me.
posted by cairdeas at 4:51 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Taking a break is not quitting. You're burnt out. It's ok. Take a few months off. You'll know when you are ready to try again.

Also, you're ok. Really. Finding the right person is really hard. You're clearly doing fine dating. Women talk to you. Give you their numbers. Tell you that you are cute. You're good. It's just hard and sometimes it comes down to luck. Take some time off. Reboot. And when you feel up to it, get back in the game.
posted by whoaali at 4:55 PM on October 17, 2012 [9 favorites]

I try really hard not to be desperate, and I know its a big turn off. When I am talking to one particular person, I don't feel like I need THEM right now nor care too much if THEY like me because there are so many people to talk to. So on a case by case basis I dont feel desperate and even act a little playful by making little jokes and being my usual self.

But after a while when you zoom out of just that one interaction you start to ask yourself all of this like "why isnt any of this working" but I dont think about that when I am talking to one person because its larger than that really. Thats what I think I am doing.

So no I dont think I give off a desperate vibe when I talk to them, but yes I am desperate now here after having tried so much and not gotten anything over a longer time frame
posted by curious-mind at 4:56 PM on October 17, 2012

The women I approach are from Id say not to sound sexist or objectifying but to use a number system from say a 6 to an 8.

I dont need the hottest woman in the world and usually "10's" have emotional issues because their life is so different from all the male attention they get. So I aim more realistically at 6-8 range. I myself have been told by guys and girls I am a 7.5 or an 8.

Usually in online dating white women dont respond to me and its hispanic or indian women that do. I dont care what race a person is but I guess it might play a factor based on this blog about how race affects you online that okcupid did.

Its just that there arent that many indian women to talk to online to begin with so I have to talk to white women who I am actually more attracted to anyway. I dont hold it against anyone that they might not date me because of my race because they are free to choose, but that doesnt mean its doesnt suck for me.
posted by curious-mind at 5:01 PM on October 17, 2012

Dude, what do you like doing? You say some stuff in your question about hanging with friends and focusing on yourself, but it sounds like you're mostly thinking about those activities in terms of how it'll help you get better at dating. That's counterproductive: right now you aren't going to enjoy things if you only couch them in terms of future dating success, because you don't seem to really like dating (by which I mean the going-out-and-trying-to-chat-up-attractive-strangers part, not the being-in-a-relationship-and-doing-stuff-together part), or at the very least are kind of burnt out on it at the moment.

And that's okay! A lot of people hate or get tired of the go-out-and-meet-datable people thing, especially if they've been doing it without a break for a few years. So take a break. Don't tell yourself it has to be forever, but don't pressure yourself back into dating within a few months either. Start doing things because you enjoy them, not because they distract you from thinking about dating or because you hope they'll make you more attractive to women. Just have a good time, you know? You deserve it, and it doesn't sound like you're having much of one by obsessing over your perceived dating failures (and believe me: two years without a relationship in your 20s is really not very long at all.)
posted by kagredon at 5:01 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Looking at your history, it looks like you've dated at least a couple women in the last year or two. What did you do to get dates with them?
posted by greta simone at 5:05 PM on October 17, 2012

A real date being something I didn't take out of desperation and desire to not be lonely but was attracted and enjoyed their company.

What's your mark for this? For me, I'm actually happy to go on second and third dates with guys (when I was single) as long as there were no red flags on the first date. I have a male friend who wants attraction--and sex!--on the first date. While I think attraction is very important, patience is a virtue.

Also, if you've already written your date off, then do both of you a favor and don't go on the date at all.

1) Maybe I am not fit enough?

Depends on your date. Some women care, some don't. (And there are hot women in both categories.) As you probably already know, confidence is the real issue. (And hygiene.)

2) Maybe my race is a problem? (I'm Indian btw)

Assuming you're in the US (though it may apply elsewhere), I've always heard that it's more difficult for ethnic men to get dates. (Being an ethnic woman who has been on dates with all ethnicities of men, I can't comment much on this.) But even if it were so, it does not change the fact that it's still a numbers game. And it's not like you can change your ethnicity (nor should feel like you have to) so I would just not worry about this.

3) Maybe my messages are terrible?

Probably. I've received a lot of "not terrible" first messages on OKC and elsewhere. But just because it's not terrible doesn't mean it's interesting. Your message needs to make the woman have a reason to respond to you. (Not just giving her no reason to not respond to you.)

Lastly, it's okay to take breaks. Regroup. Focus on yourself. Blah blah blah, you know the drill.
posted by ethidda at 5:06 PM on October 17, 2012

Looking at your previous AskMes it seems that you're obsessing over dating and social life at large. It must be very difficult hanging out with women when you're in this mindset because every interaction could potentially end up as yet another fail (which it isn't). Add the fact that you seem like the analytical type of person who might be prone to overthinking stuff and I can understand why you feel like giving up.

How often do you genuinely feel relaxed and yourself when dating? If you were yourself to 100%, do you feel that more or fewer women would be attracted to you?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:09 PM on October 17, 2012

Don't try to be interesting, be interested. Pick something and become super interested in it. Not "I have to share my knowledge of this with other people" interested, but "I want to absorb everything I can" interested.

It helps, of course, if this is social. Trail building, Habitat for Humanity, that sort of thing come immediately to mind, but I hesitate to even mention those because that's kind of limiting. For me, becoming a professional whitewater guide helped my confidence a hell of a lot. Maybe it's local politics. Maybe it's cycling.

I offer up those examples because they're being interested in something that others are likely to be interested in, but it goes further than that. I have a friend who's now pushing the top edge of middle-age. He's balding, has a paunch. Hasn't always been that way, but for as long as I've known him he's been unable to walk out of a restaurant without some cute young waitress chasing him out with her phone number on a napkin. Literally.

Why? Because when he looks at a woman and asks a question as mundane as "what are you studying?", he completely cares. Every ounce of his attention hangs on that answer, and he is fascinated by the fact that she's a second year psych major. Or whatever. And then, yeah, he's interested in a lot of things, so there's always something in common to talk about: from literature to poetry to ping pong.

Be interested, don't try to be interesting.
posted by straw at 5:13 PM on October 17, 2012 [16 favorites]

It's unappealing that you say you are more attracted to white women than Indian women/other nonwhite women. This is a product of a culture that shines a light on whiteness as an ultimate ideal of beauty, where a lot of people think it is some sort of inborn preference. It's not.

This isn't saying you HAVE to date an Indian woman, or nonwhite woman, but be more open minded. Date people you think otherwise might think are too dark, too fat, too tall, whatever.

It's weird to say you're frustrated that white women don't write you when you don't want to write to nonwhite women as much.
posted by sweetkid at 5:15 PM on October 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

To answer kagredon's questions:
1) No I don't like the trying to chat up strangers part its still semi stressful and not something that I feel 100% at ease with like talking to a good ole friend.

2) What do I like doing, honestly its hiking, camping, going shooting, driving my car really fast down a quiet highway or composing new licks on my guitar. Its usually solitary activities, I like and going to museums and reading all the little descriptions of who painted what and trying to figure out what the painter is saying. When I'm with others I like just being with a bunch of friends and drinking and being silly that could be playing pool or sitting in a room. I spend lots of time with my dog at home, and my younger brother, watching him play video games and watching movies with him.

3) Yeah I do obsess about out it because I feel I havent cracked the "system" as to get this part of my life handled. My career I have, I know what I am doing and I understand how to get ahead, I cracked that a long time ago. But this dating thing has alluded me for so long.

4) Yes I am in the US, I live in long island NY and used to live in Queens. I was born and raised here
posted by curious-mind at 5:18 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe I can give you guys a better idea of what I've changed about myself. I usually feel like I am not hiding who I am when I talk to people. I take the joe bidden approach and say whatever pops into my head as I have found I am most spontaneous when you are not filtering what you are trying to say. Jokes just pop into your head, questions that are intriguing pop into your head automatically when you care less about the consequences.

For example I approached a woman in a bar who looked like kate middleton and I walked over to her and said "I'm sure you get this alot but you look like someone really famous, like kate middleton" and she started laughing. I then asked her the basics and made intersting talk and she said she lived in harlem and I said thats a sketchy part of town or it can be. And I just touched her arm a bit and said, you've got some small guns lady its not gonna cut it if you're gonna keep living there and she just gave me this really flirty look right into my eyes and smiled. I then said let me buy you a drink and I bought on for her, my friends were leaving so I got her number and siad Id call her.

Also no I dont have to date white women, I dont prefer one race over another to a very large degree, its just white women attract me more but that doesnt mean all white women. There are some indian women that I find way more attractive than white women. And yes how can I be a hypocrite and not message other races and complain about white women not responding to me. So I am fair and send messages to all races
posted by curious-mind at 5:24 PM on October 17, 2012

What's your accent like? For unknown reasons, the indian accent is not considered one of the sexy ones. Luckily, accents are changeable.
posted by w0mbat at 5:29 PM on October 17, 2012

OP has said they live in Long Island, so doubt he has an Indian accent. Plus a blanket comment about Indian accents isn't helpful.
posted by sweetkid at 5:32 PM on October 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

Can you focus more on the numbers? As a sales guy I'm sure you've heard the rule of '100 noes to get 1 yes'. Have you asked 100 people out yet? If not, you are still ahead. The best sales advice I ever got was to say 'thank you' sincerely to ever person who gives you a no, because now you are 1 count closer to that yes.
posted by bq at 5:34 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nope, no accent. I went to a very italian catholic high school and you can say I even have a little brooklyn accent in me like "fogedabout it" jk.

Yeah, I've heard of that before and also to imagine that you're digging away and your job is to separate the gold from the dirt, its always there just how much you want to dig will give you what you earn.

But as a financial sales guy, I struggled at first for about three months but I got the hang of it and now I can sell a muni bond with a 4 1/2 percent tax free interest rate all day to somebody looking for some extra income in a low yield high inflation market. Hehe some technical jargon.

But with women, I've been sucking since ever and I havent gotten a smooth system or rhythm going where I can find myself a date in a reasonable fashion like other men.

The success in my career motivated me to try even harder but with women its just feels like taking a beating over and over again makes you want to quit
posted by curious-mind at 5:41 PM on October 17, 2012

What are your messages like? Do you reference something in their profile?

The winning message is has few typos, is 2-4 sentences, clearly read my profile and has things in common with me, is polite, and links back to a strong profile that actually tells me something about the guy without over-sharing.
posted by bunderful at 5:42 PM on October 17, 2012

I'll even upload a picture of myself so you guys can look at me and tell me if me thinking an 8 is foolish and maybe the women here can tell me I am not an 8.

Maybe someone will say lower your standards dude. Who knows
posted by curious-mind at 5:42 PM on October 17, 2012

For example this one woman who deleted my email in her profile she listed how she hated spiders. So I worked off that and said:

"I hate spiders as well, even loathe them haha. Maybe its their icky web that gets all over you or just the tentacles but yuck. What other animal life forms are you adverse to, I hope its not humans too?"


"Hey there officer, nice halloween costume, did you make any citizens arrests?" (she had a pic with a officer costume.


"Hey there you seem really sweet, what about philosophy gets you excited?"


"I really liked your smile, now I have to talk to you some more :)"
posted by curious-mind at 5:49 PM on October 17, 2012

For example I approached a woman in a bar who looked like kate middleton and I walked over to her and said "I'm sure you get this alot but you look like someone really famous, like kate middleton" and she started laughing. I then asked her the basics and made intersting talk and she said she lived in harlem and I said thats a sketchy part of town or it can be. And I just touched her arm a bit and said, you've got some small guns lady its not gonna cut it if you're gonna keep living there and she just gave me this really flirty look right into my eyes and smiled. I then said let me buy you a drink and I bought on for her, my friends were leaving so I got her number and siad Id call her.

I'm hesitant to say this because I was there and didn't see how it went off, so maybe this isn't the problem and it wouldn't be good to swing the pendulum back too far in the other direction.

But your description of how you approached this woman sounds like a bit too much, and a bit overbearing. It sounds almost like powering through a list of "steps:" 1. Opening line 2. Ask basics 3. Touch her 4. Buy drink 5. Get number.

It doesn't really sound like a give and take at all, it sounds like you were really propelling it towards the goal of getting her number is what I'm saying.
posted by cairdeas at 5:53 PM on October 17, 2012 [14 favorites]

I'm gonna reiterate a couple points for emphasis:

1. If you find yourself attracted only to white women, or really only to white women, you may be devaluing the gorgeous ladies that come from your own ethnic background and buying in to a really shitty and stupid belief system perpetuated by a really shitty and stupid marketing scheme courtesy of everyone's favorite world order: white privilege. Check yourself on this and stop focusing on contacting all races equally or whatever. Be attracted to a person. Period.

2. You do sound a bit desperate, and though I have a feeling you're usually pretty solid when it comes to approach, I wonder if your follow through is where things collapse, like maybe that's the stage where you seem desperate and that's the big turn off for a lot of ladies. What strikes me as desperate about you is a) how tremendously attentive you are to this thread, b) the fact that almost all of your questions on this site thus far are about dating but are questions based on some decidedly warped views on relationships and how to act around other people, and c) the fact that it really seems like this is a part of your life that has consumed you. You're just going overboard. Stop. It's honestly kind of gross. Be more interested in you, in improving you and your life, and learning about the rest of the world than dating.

Per your most recent follow up... For me, "Hey there, you seem really sweet" is one of the creepiest things that somebody could say as a pick up line. It comes off as infantalizing and paternalistic, like you're not seeing the woman you're talking to for who they are, but what they could be for you. I will let other folks here weigh in on that though as I could be seeing your approach through my own lens and that lens is pretty strict when it comes to come-ons.

/initial thoughts.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:56 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, what other feedback do you want from us on this? Are you ready for tough love or are you hoping more for moral support esque stuff?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:01 PM on October 17, 2012

Thanks cairdeas, yeah maybe in that case it could feel like a series of steps but I never usually have a series of steps in my head. I let it flow and say whatever pops into my head and try and play off what the other person says to me. I think steps actually slow you down when the other person reacts in a way that doesnt fit your "model" per say.

I never thought anything was wrong with "hey there you seem really sweet" other than just a simple compliment and nothing deeper like giving paternalistic vibes or w/e I think thats reading too much into something that is a often said.

I also addressed the whole being interested in my life part and I understand where people are coming from on that but after a while it gets old.

Yes tough love please
posted by curious-mind at 6:07 PM on October 17, 2012

Like right now I had seven women who I messaged view my profile and then not respond to me. I can only conclude that its my looks and that even a subpar message from an attractive fellow would elicit a response.

I sent these seven women this message

"Hey you have a great smile, now I have to talk to you some more?"
posted by curious-mind at 6:11 PM on October 17, 2012

Do you have friends who are women? Do you engage in work/hobby/social activities where you relate to women as people? Do you hang out with women who you are specifically not trying to date?
posted by hydropsyche at 6:13 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

For example I approached a woman in a bar who looked like kate middleton and I walked over to her and said "I'm sure you get this alot but you look like someone really famous, like kate middleton" and she started laughing. I then asked her the basics and made intersting talk and she said she lived in harlem and I said thats a sketchy part of town or it can be. And I just touched her arm a bit and said, you've got some small guns lady its not gonna cut it if you're gonna keep living there and she just gave me this really flirty look right into my eyes and smiled. I then said let me buy you a drink and I bought on for her, my friends were leaving so I got her number and siad Id call her.

I think it's great you're getting out there and introducing yourself to women, but this approach as stated could be improved. Approaching someone to talk about their looks isn't really all that engaging. So she looks like a celebrity, so what? She either hears it all the time and it's not a "compliment" anymore, just a fact, or she never hears it and you're just some drunk guy in a bar (she thinks). And then to tell her the place where she lives is sketchy? How is she supposed to respond to that? It might be better to use open-ended questions like, "Oh, Harlem- how do you like living there?" Let her tell you whether she finds it "sketchy" or not. Maybe she doesn't and found that offensive (I probably would, FWIW; not to the point that I'd be mad but it would turn me off if a guy trying to hit on me insulted my neighborhood).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:16 PM on October 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

Since you're from a sales background, maybe you come on too strong? The other party needs to meet you halfway.

I'm female and "sweet" and "nice smile" are usually my signals for spam messages to delete (I get hit on FB even though I have my profile set to private, but I do have my real picture on, which means random hit ons...). You have to be more specific about how you engage people, which will allow them to remember you as "hey, that cool guy" rather than just "that guy who was hitting on me". I'm pretty geeky, so I've managed to meet guys because I make a random reference that most people wouldn't get, but they do, and they remember me as "Hey, that girl with the same favourite obscure video game/band/sci-fi author/opinion of X as me!"

I second the "be interested" part. People love to be listened to. Don't try to structure the interaction too much, just get them to talk about themselves.
posted by Hawk V at 6:16 PM on October 17, 2012

Why are hiking, camping or shooting solitary activities? No, seriously. I find these things are all much more fun with other people. Furthermore, they can help you meet more people! Have you tried joining a meetup? And going regularly even though the first two or three times you didn't really enjoy all the people who showed up? Because sometimes usually there is a person who only makes it out once a month, or some of the people take a while to warm up. Or one of the guys has a cousin who lives a little too far away to come to the meetup regularly, but he'd introduce you if you are a classy guy.

As for the initial contact, if a guy touches me before I've given any solid signals of interest, that is an absolute dealbreaker. Doubly Infinitely more so if this is coupled with comments about my strength/ability to care for myself. Maybe she is an expert shot? A sniper? A black belt in karate? Maybe her family has lived in that neighborhood for a hundred years and why should she think it's sketchy, she sold her girl scout cookies at every door. If you insulted my neighborhood it wouldn't be an instant deal breaker, but it would not win you any points.

The messages you have listed here are so much like every other message I get, that I would just flip past them and not even read your profile. Making jokes about things I don't like is a no-go, focusing on an image of me rather than the content of my profile (what I like, what I say I am looking for...but then, I'm not the type to put a picture of myself up in a costume), telling me that I seem "sweet" or any other traditionally female, limiting descriptor. I am generous and patient and kindhearted and courageous and fairly smart. But I would absolutely not describe myself as sweet, and following that up by one short question about philosophy doesn't lessen the triteness of sweet. Further, telling me you "have to talk to me" is more...possessive than I'm willing to tolerate.

On preview:
I also addressed the whole being interested in my life part and I understand where people are coming from on that but after a while it gets old.
I can tell when I'm on a date with a guy who isn't actually interested in his own life. One of the big clues is that he's not actually interested in my life. He's interested in where the next joke will fit in, how he can make an excuse to touch me, and saying whatever comes to mind without editing.

And this comment:
I sent these seven women this message

"Hey you have a great smile, now I have to talk to you some more?"
And somehow they could tell that you had sent that other message to [some number] of other women.

How could they tell? They got six very similar messages from other guys today and half again as many from guys saying "hey. Hey! I messaged you like three days ago and haven't heard back. Why don't you respond? I'm a perfectly nice guy and you're missing out! Fine, be that way you stupid [expletive]"

Not even kidding. The guys who send messages that show an appreciation of us as people, rather than as owners of cute smiles are more likely to get responses. Taking a shotgun approach marks you as at least one of the following:
  • lazy
  • creepy
  • impatient
  • uninterested in me as a person Combining that with something about how you "have to" talk to us makes it an instant delete. And you want to know why I'm looking at the profile of a guy who sends me such a message? To see if there are any clues in your profile about that behavior so I have an idea of what to avoid in the rare instance I am initiating conversation.

posted by bilabial at 6:21 PM on October 17, 2012 [25 favorites]

"Hey you have a great smile, now I have to talk to you some more"

Oh honey, that's basically the OkCupid equivalent of "nice shoes, wanna fuck?"

Be more specific. Don't try so hard to be cute or flirty or coy or whatever.
posted by AV at 6:22 PM on October 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

I actually think you should stop trying to date. Not permanently, but for a while. Take dating off the table for, say, six months. You can talk to people who seem interesting, and do things that you like, without this pressure making it impossible for you to enjoy anything that isn't moving you toward a relationship. Then, in six months, give it another go. You may find that, like many problems, walking away for a while will help you succeed.
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:25 PM on October 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

Alright, tough love.

You seem pretty shallow. Yeah, it's nice that you make good money and that you're decently in shape and that you like a certain type of music that other people often like. But dude, I could care less about that kind of stuff because if who you are at your foundation sucks, all that stuff is just worthless. What is there at the core of you? What do you do to make the world a better place? What do you do that makes you a worthwhile person to be around? What causes are you committed to? How do you improve your community in ways that go beyond being a law-abiding citizen? How do you demonstrate to others that you have good morals or interests that go beyond the basic music-sports-movies-etc stuff that doesn't provide a relationship with much more than stuff you have in common? If you haven't done anything in the past few years to improve your mind or your skill sets beyond what you need for work, you're honestly probably pretty dull, and that's coming across in your pick up lines.

It really seems like you only focus on looks and superficial stuff like what you think is someone's personality and what a person's interest are, and you don't even take the time to tighten up your writing by including proper punctuation, spelling, or grammar. The fact that you actually just sent out a mass message to a bunch of women that was utterly the exact same thing every time shows me you're not contacting these women because you genuinely like them -- you're contacting them because you think casting out a bunch of lines is eventually going to get you a bite. That's not cool, and it's not getting you what you want. You're not marketing yourself well. You can do better.

I think your first step should be getting out of bars and gyms and other places where pick-up options can often be pretty shallow. What kind of woman do you honestly want to be around? Think about what qualities she has and what those qualities reflect about you. It's possible that what you actually want isn't part of the population you're going through right now. So, take the time to broaden your horizons. Go travel. Go see a lot of shows, or read a lot of books. Invest in the things that interest you and develop yourself as a person. Then, try not to talk about yourself unless explicitly asked. Just be interested in the other person beyond their looks and the superficial stuff. In fact, I think you should just start making friends that are girls and focus on expanding your social group from purely a platonic level. That might get you some practice with connecting to straight women in general, and in turn, that could move you forward when you stop obsessing about dating and just start talking to women you find interesting and appealing (which is gonna be crucial here; no more goal-based interactions for you, man.)

And FWIW, I just used your "You seem pretty sweet" pick up line of a few of MY girlfriends and they all gave me this look and said "That was the weakest line you've ever used on me." (I regularly hit on my best friends. It's cool. Their boyfriends don't mind.)
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:26 PM on October 17, 2012 [34 favorites]

FWIW, my friend is 6'5", makes more money than you, models on the side, and was a former US national team rower. Guess what? He still has 'trouble' with women. It's tough for everyone, men AND women. You aren't special in that regard -- nobody is, really. What you fixate on as 'trouble' or 'failure' here is just part and parcel of normal human interaction and I think you would gain a lot from reframing your experience in those terms.

Also, maybe you need to recalibrate your expectations somewhat. Don't expect to get relationship (is that what you want?) out of a bar -- in my experience, it just doesn't really happen. Try getting involved in activities where you're gonna have something in common by default and there aren't all sorts of salacious subtexts lurking in the background.
posted by un petit cadeau at 6:27 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

It kind of seems like you are just asking out a bunch of women who you deem physically attractive enough for your standards without really caring about anything else, just because you really, really, want a date. Women sense that and it's not so attractive.

I'm not sure I agree with previous comments about dating being a "numbers game" and to work it "like a salesmen". that's kind of a turn off to me and most women don't really want to be targeted that way. I think you should relax, focus on other interests, and ask out women that you really like, in more ways than just their appearance. Maybe you can work on getting to know women in real life (not just at bars). so that you can tell when you really have a connections.
posted by bearette at 6:30 PM on October 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

Good heavens... no. No no no - you are being totally sleezy. The way you talk about it sounds like work... and you're working far too hard. Relax. "Give up" as such... just do your thing and be patient.

I had a handful of boyfriends in my early 20's (never really had any trouble getting one if I wanted one), and got married at 26 (four years ago, still very happy). I have never "dated", I don't think, by your definition. Boyfriends were 1) friend in high school 2)taking the same swing class I was in - asked me out after several months as my dance partner 3) friend of a friend 4) old/close friend 5) craigslist find (total fluke - DO NOT bank on this) 6) asked for my number in a bookbinding store (this yielded one date - nice, but boring...and notice we were both pursuing a hobby, not at a bar "looking" for someone) and 7) current husband... worked for same company overseas and were friends for months first.... we HIKED Mt. Fuji together for our first "date". Just do stuff you like.

"Hey you have a great smile, now I have to talk to you some more?"
This would never work on me, ever... and "have to" no, you don't *have to* talk to me more! MAY I talk to you some more? Also, it's like "hey, I paid you a compliment, now I get something!" - very tit-for-tat. Not good. Write enough that they have something to respond to... quality, not quantity. But then, neither would chatting me up in a bar/club (I rarely go anyway) or any number of other "dating" things. I hate dating - it sucks. It's like interviewing.

I guess it depends on what your goal is (do you want to get laid, or get married?), and what kind woman you want to end up with.

People here are giving you VERY good advice. Good luck.
posted by jrobin276 at 6:34 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Look at how you're dominating the conversation in this thread. I bet you do the same thing in person. Stop. Just stop and listen and think deeply about what people are telling you here.

Most women are not going to respond positively to a random guy approaching them in a bar and saying whatever pops into his head. I think the Kate Middleton/guns comment was creepy and you shouldn't expect that line to succeed most of the time. If that's who you are, fine, but recognize that your potential audience is small and that you're wasting your energy with that kind of approach most of the time. Your online message is the same- generic, random, and it doesn't attempt to establish any kind of compatibility with you and the particular person in question.

Looking at your previous questions I'm guessing that you're an introverted guy who is overcompensating big time for his former shyness by going for quantity and faking extroversion. That may get you one or two dates or a random hookup. If you want more than that you need to focus on quality over quantity. Yes it is a numbers game to some extent, but in sales do you expect the same results cold calling as you do working off a list of carefully researched potential clients? No. So why are you expecting that with women? Do your research, slow your roll, think about who you're compatible with and how you're likely to find her. Let the conversation develop the same way as it does with a new friend.

This is your rule of thumb: do not ask a woman on a date again unless you have a specific thing about her you can name that interests you, something that is not a physical trait. Does she also like camping, shooting, guitar? Is she funny, does she understand your background or work in your industry? Your energy will be much better spent that way. You will identify fewer prospective dates but you will stand a much better chance of a "yes" each time.
posted by slow graffiti at 6:38 PM on October 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

Also no I dont have to date white women, I dont prefer one race over another to a very large degree, its just white women attract me more but that doesnt mean all white women. There are some indian women that I find way more attractive than white women. And yes how can I be a hypocrite and not message other races and complain about white women not responding to me. So I am fair and send messages to all races

Here's a bit of advice from an Indian woman: I have dated Indian men who clearly, obviously, preferred white women, but were willing to (temporarily) settle for me because, well, they couldn't get a (conventionally attractive) white woman. They didn't have to say it out loud-- when you can't keep your eyes off the blonde on the other side of the room, other women notice that. And when you talk about white women like they are some kind of prize, but you clearly don't value women of your own race as much, that gets noticed, too.

No one wants to feel like they are second best or being settled for. When I get that vibe from a guy, I run in the opposite direction.
posted by rhymeswithcheery at 6:47 PM on October 17, 2012 [13 favorites]

First - stop reading pickup artist literature.

And I just touched her arm a bit and said, you've got some small guns lady its not gonna cut it if you're gonna keep living there and she just gave me this really flirty look right into my eyes and smiled.

Every woman our age in NYC knows exactly what this move is -- it doesn't endear you to them.

Next - stop complimenting women on their looks. Of course you think they're attractive; you wouldn't be sending them okcupid messages if you didn't. Its best to find something in their profile to comment about and respond to that, but even sending them a non-sequitur is better than "Hey cutie ;-)"
posted by modernserf at 7:00 PM on October 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

You sound more like you're shopping for accessories, than trying to meet people with whom you are compatible, and I bet it shows.
posted by thylacinthine at 7:20 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

First, I want to say thank you to you guys for these responses. Very well thought out and clearly people are trying to help me and I appreciate that.

I reread the whole post a few times to make sure I grasped all of the concepts and I discovered some pretty interesting things.

1) You guys are right, that I don't really place enough weight on whether or not me and this person I am messaging or approaching have anything in common besides my physical attraction to her.

I've always believed that it doesn't really matter what you liked or what you studied or what games you played, music you like etc. That male-female attraction is purely built through banter and witty back and forth interactions creating positive sexual tension. I really believe, that finding out that you hiked the same mountain as me, will not make you like me more or vice verse. But if I can make you laugh about something that you are wearing, or something that you said, then it creates positive emotion that goes beyond commonalities of interest.

2) I see that my 'lines' and my 'approaches' have been "ripped" apart, and that's what I was hoping for. I never realized how something as simple as "now I have to talk to you" could be interpreted as possessiveness or that saying you had a cute smile was similar to asking for sex. I feel a little frustrated at myself that for some reason I needed other people to tell me that there was something wrong with what I was saying. Left on my own I would have kept on thinking I was saying the right thing. So I feel frustrated because I don't really know where I can learn what the right things to say are. It seems that the women at least really pick apart every word and attach lots of meaning behind it, looking at each word through many different shades and tones. I am more off the cuff and try not to think before I speak too much as it stunts creativity and the spontaneity of the moment.

For example I have a friend at work who likes to joke around and we were talking about politics and he mentioned to me how he thinks Hilary should run for president and how he would vote for her he said " She doesn't take shit from anyone, I wouldn't be surprised if she lifted her dress and she had a shaft, she might just have a pair of balls on her" It made me laugh quite a bit. Even though it may be a bit crude for people, I have found that not really analyzing what I say before I speak has made it easier to make small talk with folks.

But now I'm questioning that because it seems women really pick apart every word in a guys lines and it needs to be crafted in a bullet proof fashion, it cant be its too much of this and too little of that.

3) I do believe that clubs and bars and online dating are less than ideal places to meet people. I guess real bonds are formed over time when something that interests two people brings them together. In that way common interests unite people and it gives people a chance to then build a relationship through more contact. So taking that into consideration I should do things that interest me, and go to places and events that interest me and I will find people there who are interested in the same things, giving us common ground to talk to each other. I really liked the rule of thumb idea to shift my focus from physical attraction being the only thing that gets me to message a woman or talk to her and try and find something about her that I can connect with other than appearance.

4) I will take a break from dating and just focus on having fun. I am banging my head against a wall and not getting anywhere.
posted by curious-mind at 8:00 PM on October 17, 2012

But now I'm questioning that because it seems women really pick apart every word in a guys lines and it needs to be crafted in a bullet proof fashion, it cant be its too much of this and too little of that.

No, no lines, no crafting, no strategies. When a dude thinks this way, it is painfully obvious. I don't often say things like "you know what women want?" but, you know what women want? To be engaged in conversation like a normal human being. You're not programming a computer with strict syntax for input. You are talking to a person. There shouldn't be any rehearsal for this, and if there is, it is seriously holding you back. Lines get picked apart because they are lines and inherently disingenuous and trying to hide an agenda. Your problem isn't that your lines aren't good enough, it is the you're relying on them at all.
posted by griphus at 8:19 PM on October 17, 2012 [22 favorites]

Also, every time you reach a conclusion the begins with "it seems that women..." stop yourself and try to figure out why you're generalizing across a gender, why you are wrong (and you are wrong, otherwise you'd be more succesful at this) and how to change your preconceptions to match what is actually going on.
posted by griphus at 8:22 PM on October 17, 2012 [12 favorites]

But I don't use lines which I what I've been trying to say. I say whatever pops into my head and things that were being picked apart like:

"Hey you have a really sweet smile now I have to talk to you"


"Hey I'm sure you get this all the time but you really look like....."

These were things that just popped into my head at that second and I went with it.

I never stopped to think about what the fine details really meant. I didnt get these "lines" from anywhere but my own head.

Now it seems I have to try hard not to say the "wrong" thing
posted by curious-mind at 8:24 PM on October 17, 2012

Stop saying what just pops into your head until you're sure that it doesn't make you sound like an ass.

You might try some meditation and perhaps meditate on empathy, on being in someone (an "attractive" woman's) shoes. You may be surprised.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 8:28 PM on October 17, 2012

[OP, you've got to ease off on the threadsitting for now and let people answer your question and don't make it so much into a chat session. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:30 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

When the first thing that comes out of your mouth is about someone's appearance, you're practically asking them to write you off as shallow. Would you greet a woman by saying "hey there, sexy"? I hope not. But just because you're being less crass about it doesn't make the "I am a stranger and here is what I think about your looks" sentiment any more appealing.
posted by griphus at 8:31 PM on October 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

Maybe take a look at the Gottman Institute blog. They do actual research on relationships. Focus on long term solidity instead of just "getting dates" and finding a girlfriend. Prepare yourself instead with the skills you need to build a solid relationship.

Thinking back on your shot gun approach to messaging women, I want to add that knowing what you want and deciding what is (or might be) compatible for you is a better place to start than trying to get a date.

Questions you might ask yourself:
  • What does a successful relationship look like to you?
    • equitable sharing of chores?
    • lots of hot sex?
    • fun dates?

  • What kind of home do you want?
    • House?
    • Apartment?
    • Lavish?
    • Yard?
    • Pets?
    • Meals?

  • What kind of social life do you want?
  • What kind of partner do you want?
    • An attractive trophy who might not be very bright?
    • A brilliant career woman?
    • An intellectual heavy weight to discuss philosophical problems?
    • Someone in finance who can relate to the stress of your job?
    • A stay at home mother for your kids? (how many kids)
    • An artist?
  • What are the foundations of a healthy relationship? another spoiler, research shows it's these three:
    • trust
    • respect
    • friendship
On preview: that comment about Hillary possibly having "a shaft" is incredibly sexist and funny because it says "a powerful and brave woman cannot actually be a woman. Must actually be a man." If this makes you genuinely laugh, please investigate the ways you feel about women. Because that sentiment that smart, aggressive women are someone "not really women" is...not attractive.

Man, on another preview:
But I don't use lines
This is absolutely not true. That these phrases "just popped into your head" indicates that they are lines. You did not use a shred of energy to create them. They appeared from cliche and attached themselves to the profiles of seven women. Not a single thing in their profiles inspired you enough to create something. The fact that they are about appearances guaranteed that they are lines. Again, nothing about the women, just about their looks. Would you ever try to make male friends by saying "you look so buff/handsome/great hair?" I would bet a dollar that you wouldn't. If you have a tendency to use the same tactic with every woman, it might be a good idea to consider that variety might be the answer. Women are not a monolith. And yet we hear these lines all the time. They are lines. Trust me.

And yes. You absolutely do have to try harder. A guy who is coasting through the early stages of a relationship is probably going to coast through all the other parts of a relationship. While this is not 100% true, it's true enough that avoiding the signs of it is worthwhile.
posted by bilabial at 8:40 PM on October 17, 2012 [25 favorites]

"Hey you have a really sweet smile.....etc" just happened to pop in your head for seven different women? That's not off the cuff even remotely, and agreed that the first comment being about someone's appearance reads as "I see you only as a sex object" which might be okay with the occasional person, but if you are looking for a legitimate date it won't be. Here's a message that I got on OKC from a guy that I might not have otherwise taken note of:

"I think you're awesome. And I think we'd have a lot of fun together. I would like to do all of those things you like to do with you. [I wrote a list of casual things I like to do including places I like to go, activities I enjoy, etc]. That list made me smile again and again.
In particular, a few of the things I think we should enjoy together, though there are quite a few...super long walks, Joss Whedon and checking out small/strange exhibits [things I included in my list].
My name is [name].
I am a good person to have around.

Now, had he written "cute smile...blahblahblah" I would have been like, 'this guy didn't even read my profile, he's a douchbag, etc'. Even if he were super-duper hot and a billionaire. But he wrote a nice, non-sexual, personal message that showed he was obviously into ME and not just my photos or whatever. So we have a date on Friday.

Being a nominally attractive woman in NYC, I do get lots and lots of messages. I only respond to men who actually seem to have an interest in me as a person. And I don't just mean you should pick out a few bullet points from her profile. I mean, engage her in a conversation like you would a stranger (that you aren't even attracted to) in the DMV line or something. I have gotten notes that are "Oh I see you like music and nature. You're hot. Let's get together" that I don't even respond to, because Oh how awfully generic even if he does seem to have read my profile, if just barely.

Key: start a conversation. Like a real conversation. Obviously if you are writing a girl on OKC, then she knows you're attracted to her, so don't even mention it in a message. Engage her like you would someone of your own sex or someone you aren't attracted to. She is a person. Treat her as such.

And don't blame your race; I think that's a cop out. I, as a white woman, have responded to (and dated some) men of every single race, assuming their messages were well thought-out and they seemed like someone who's company I might enjoy or who I might have something in common with.

So stop thinking about women as a group, who you can tackle with a strategy, because that will never ever ever work in the long run. Stop being a shallow desperate dude and just be a real person with something to offer other than superficial qualities.
posted by greta simone at 8:50 PM on October 17, 2012

Like right now I had seven women who I messaged view my profile and then not respond to me. I can only conclude that its my looks and that even a subpar message from an attractive fellow would elicit a response.

Don't do this.

Maybe for some of them it is your looks. Maybe there's something else in your profile they didn't like. Maybe it was the way you phrased your message. Maybe they recently met someone else and want to see where it's going with that guy, first. Maybe a big project came up at work and they're putting off dating for a little bit until that clears. Maybe one or more of them actually really liked you, and is obsessing right now over the reply she's about to send back.

The point is you can't know, and it's both unproductive and frankly kind of icky and sexist to throw out this kind of nonsense. Guys who make blanket statements about women being shallow throw up serious red flags in the eyes of every woman I know, and for good reason. I get that you're frustrated. Really. But you're losing perspective.
posted by kagredon at 8:50 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

I believe people gave you this answer to one of your previous questions, but - it would probably really help you to move into the city if at all possible. Being on LI makes dating so much harder - there are fewer girls your age on LI, and girls in the city are less likely to want to date a guy on LI.

(I also agree with others above who said that dating just sucks and sometimes you'll go through long periods of being single and that's how it is for most people, unfortunately.)
posted by whitelily at 8:51 PM on October 17, 2012

Oh, and yeah, I live in Brooklyn, and even dating a guy in Queens or uptown parts of Manhattan seems daunting, but not out of the question. Jersey and LI are pretty much out of the question unless he seems like he's perfect in all other respects.
posted by greta simone at 8:54 PM on October 17, 2012

But now I'm questioning that because it seems women really pick apart every word in a guys lines and it needs to be crafted in a bullet proof fashion, it cant be its too much of this and too little of that.

Don't use lines. Make conversation. Your words aren't some magical number-getting lure, they're a representation of you as a human being. How do you talk to men -- or how do you want men to talk to you? Talk to women EXACTLY LIKE THAT.

Some of the "lines" that people I've dated have opened conversations with me with include:

* "God, I fucking hate Republicans."
* "You know, I love this song, but for the longest time I had Billy Idol and Billy Joel confused, and I just couldn't figure out why this guy could play piano so well and yet chose to play guitar so badly."
* "Hey! You! Can you settle a dispute for us? Is white chocolate more evil than dark chocolate, or the other way around?"
* "Dammit. Do you have an icosahedral die I can borrow?" (I married this one!)
* "I have that exact same skirt!"
* "Can anyone here help me debug this perl script?"

In other words, they weren't "finely crafted, bulletproof lines." They were conversations. They didn't approach me as a date, they approached me as a person.
posted by KathrynT at 8:56 PM on October 17, 2012 [33 favorites]

One last thing: talking about your job -- especially a job in finance -- in any context outside of answering "what do you do?" or relating an amusing anecdote (that one doesn't need to understand your job to find amusing) is a bad move. Mentioning your salary is worse.
posted by griphus at 8:58 PM on October 17, 2012

1. Don't say what pops into your head. At present, the stuff that pops into your head is shallow, misogynistic, and above all else lazy and stereotypical.
2. If you laughed at the Hilary Clinton Probably Has a Dick Joke, please consider that you accept a lot of false, misogynistic crap as truth and that you will never get anywhere meaningful with those kind of attitudes in your back pocket.
3. Dudes that make jokes about women aren't good role models. Ditch the one that told you that joke and start finding friends that genuinely treat women and other people with respect.
4. "I didnt get these "lines" from anywhere but my own head." is BS. Unless you don't watch movies or listen to music made in the last century, you didn't come up with this stuff on your own. The things you say are the things you've seen other guys use in sitcoms and other media and THINK they work because the appear to work in the fantasy realm that is film and television. Make a conscious effort to never say them ever again.
5. LOOK at the two lines you just fed back to all of us again. They're about appearances. You are defending your shallow behavior! You gotta accept that this is bad news!
6. Stop making blanket statements about women. You don't know all of us. You're not qualified to speak about all of us as if you do. Consider carefully why you make blanket statements; it makes you look like you're using the stereotypes you've internalized about women as a way to blame women for your own shortcomings which further undermines your desire to make connections with said women.

There are, thankfully, other ways to get someone's attention. When I was on OKC, one guy wrote me and said, "Hey! I'm (his name). I came across your profile and noticed we have a lot in common, and funnily enough I actually happen to work for (really bitchin' media company) which makes a lot of your favorite (movies, games, etc). I'm a pretty big (gamer, nerd, etc) myself and I'd love to hear your thoughts about (the movie/game that I am obsessed with). We had a lot of fun making (the movie/game that I am obsessed with) and it'd be great to talk about it with someone that loves it as much as you do. :)" He ended up going on to date somebody else, but man, I loved talking to him. My ex boyfriend, who I also met on OKC? He seemed interested in me at first, but then I went back and looked at all our convos and they were actually mostly about him. So don't do that. Putting, for example, "A little more about me... I like..." like he did somewhere in your first message to somebody reveals your narcissism. Narcissism is yucky. Do you see how inviting that first message was, though? "Hi, we have something in common, I'd love to hear more about you, what do you say?" No comments about my looks, no weird pick ups, just a really straightforward hello. It was refreshing, it really was.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2012 [8 favorites]

For what it's worth I don't respond to guys on okcupid who I find very attractive because they send me a quasi sexual message. And I mean very attractive. Like I audibly sigh that such a hot guy is so bleh.

Most women realize that if the first thing out of a guy's mouth is about your appearance that is really all they are interested in. Really make any other small talk. This is a big red flag for most women.
posted by whoaali at 9:12 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

That male-female attraction is purely built through banter and witty back and forth interactions creating positive sexual tension. I really believe, that finding out that you hiked the same mountain as me, will not make you like me more or vice verse. But if I can make you laugh about something that you are wearing, or something that you said, then it creates positive emotion that goes beyond commonalities of interest.

You know, maybe this is how attraction is built for some people, but it's definitely not how it works for everyone. Speaking personally, I've never become interested in/fallen in love with someone due to witty banter. I've also never become interested in someone based on finding them funny.

The last 3 times I developed a raging crush on someone, one of which turned into a very long relationship, it was for the same exact set of reasons all three times: I thought they were really, really smart; we had lots of substantive things to talk about and were interested in a lot of the same topics (this is totally different from witty banter); they had specific personal qualities that I really admire; AND I found them physically attractive.

And of course, I can just be physically attracted to someone without falling in love with them, but in that case, it's pretty much just their physical appearance that's going to do it. How funny they are doesn't make a difference, for me.

Now, obviously this is just me, but I think it might help for you to see if you can find out from any women you happen to be friends with, what they say sparks attraction for them. It might not be what you are assuming.
posted by cairdeas at 9:13 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

It seems that the women at least really pick apart every word and attach lots of meaning behind it, looking at each word through many different shades and tones. I am more off the cuff and try not to think before I speak too much as it stunts creativity and the spontaneity of the moment.

I believe you when you say you mean what you say, that these things aren't "lines" to you.

I also think that you're not aware of how much the culture you hang out in affects you. If I heard a girlfriend tell me that some guy said those lines to her, I'd ask her if she met him at a club. Your reflexive responses indicate club and bar culture, because that's where you spend your free time and that's where you've been learning how to interact with women. Think about it; if you hang out long enough with people who say "dude" and "hella" often enough, you'll catch yourself saying those things too. Where do you think slang and memes come from? Why should it be any different with the off-the-cuff things you say to women? You hear, "Hey you have a great smile" often enough, you'll start to say it too.

The flipside is that the culture the attractive woman you're trying to talk to is in affects her the same way. Over a period of years, she sees hundreds of guys come up to her and her girlfriends at a club or a bar and say "Hey, you have a great smile, we should talk more". Since the scene at bars and clubs values hookups, the men there are more likely to, well, be sleazy. What does it mean to be sleazy? They could be lying about their marital status. They could be lying about the STDs they have. They could be really nasty about taking no for an answer. They could turn into stalkers. And the thing is, society's reaction to a woman who suffers these consequences is often "Well, what'd you expect, you met him at a bar." or "What do you expect, he's one of those skeezy club dudes. What were you thinking?" Society makes it her fault for being there in the first place. Society says that it won't back a woman up if she suffers the fallout. So, over time, she's learned to be wary and to equate "Hey you have a great smile, we should talk more" with "Potentially disastrous situation, avoid!". So it isn't so much that women are picking apart every word as it is that the women have learned not to trust the lines you use. You learned those lines from the culture you hang out in and they unfortunately trigger a lot of distrust in women. That's just how it is. I'm sorry.

If you want to learn how to be your off-the-cuff self while not scaring women away, I think you need to stop going to bars and clubs for a while. Find a different social scene. Volunteer for a cause you care about, or join a co-ed sports league. Maybe join an improv club, or take up salsa. Expose yourself to lots of different perspectives. Tamp down that instinct to turn away or dismiss anyone different. Good luck. What you want isn't easy.
posted by rhythm and booze at 10:16 PM on October 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

A few points, expressed frankly (which echo some responses upthread):

1. On OkC, most of the messages I received commented on some aspect of my physical person. I never messaged any of these fellows back. Not a single one. If a man is messaging me, I can assume he finds me attractive. Commenting on what in particular he finds attractive about my body, before he even knows me, feels presumptuous and crass and overly familiar and objectifying. Don't do this. Also, don't use cheesy lines. You don't need a line, or something catchy or clever: you need an honest message that resonates with something meaningful to her.

2. You concentrate far too much on your physical appearance, and that of your potential girlfriend. The numeric quantification is frankly ridiculous. Some of the men whom I have found most intensely sexually attractive would probably not be considered particularly conventionally attractive. Assuming that the rejections you are receiving are due to your physical appearance (or race) is an easy way to offload blame onto something you can't control, but this not very productive, and I think is probably largely inaccurate. Things that I find very sexually attractive are a man's intelligence, character, confidence, moral courage, and sense of curiosity and mental play; when some special combination of these things align, they suffuse a man's body for me with a very physical attractiveness. Obviously I don't know what you look like, but I would be extremely surprised if the top thing that would help you would be more trips to the gym.

3. One key thing that makes a man endearing and dateable, from my perspective, is seeing him passionate about something - especially something that I also find very meaningful. Someone who is genuinely interested in people, and in me - not because he thinks that if he can just say the right code, it will act as a sort of "Open Sesame" on my vagina, but someone who is honestly profoundly interested in the conversation we are having at that particular moment, without an ulterior motive.

4. Also crucial is someone who loves his life, and who is invested in who he is and what he does, not someone who is looking for a girlfriend to "complete" him. If he's looking for a girlfriend - some woman, any woman - his interest is very generic, and he's not really interested in me in particular, which is not at all personalizing or flattering. From your post, I tend to think that if, instead of looking for dates, you became the sort of person that you would find fascinating to spend time with, you would give off far less of an air of desperation-cum-boredom. Don't work to attract women in general: think about what sort of woman you'd like to be in a relationship with - really think specifically - and then develop those aspects of yourself that would attract such a woman, and craft your approach to appeal to those few women who might really be a good match.

5. You would probably benefit from reading up on Nice Guys. From the way in which you're focusing on physical appearance to the exclusion of all other qualities, and ranking on a numeric system, and the Hillary joke above, you're coming across as a bit misogynistic and objectifying. Ethics aside, entitled misogyny is extremely off-putting to most women, and entrenching yourself further into this kind of sensibility will really not help you out in getting dates (c.f. this recent example).
posted by UniversityNomad at 10:28 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I agree with everyone that you should take a breather from dating and just focus on making more female friends in general. And banter isn't the route to a date necessarily, it's not a ritual that everyone likes to partake in. Common interests don't determine long-term compatibility, but they do increase the odds of having better conversations in the short-term. So focus on having good conversations, not banter.

As a woman, I also agree on not making comments about people's appearances. It's not really a conversation I can go on, you know?
E.g Approacher: "You have nice hair."
Approachee: "Er, thanks?"
Approacher: "Sorry to butt in, but I overhead you talking about Project Eternity."
Approachee: "Oh yeah, did you pledge too?"
Approacher: "Yep. You?"
Aproachee: "Yeah! I'm getting an NPC named after me!"

I think the only time a comment about appearances is positive is when it doesn't come from a place of "I think you're attractive", but "I appreciate your style and have this common interest". E.g. "Nice oxfords." "Thanks!" "Did you get them at Certain Consignment Store? I think I have a pair of oxfords from there too."

So even if there's no chemistry or no phone numbers are exchanged, at least you had a great conversation out of it regardless of what happened! And you become more memorable.
posted by Hawk V at 10:36 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, I think it's worth noting that it's often extremely difficult for both men and women to find a relationship that is deeply fulfilling and long-term, at least in my experience. I'm a reasonably attractive woman in my mid- to late-twenties, and despite having a fair number of men hit on me pretty regularly, this attention has had no bearing on my ability to find a long-term and deeply fulfilling relationship. I wouldn't idealize the experience of others in this regard, or assume that it's more rosy-tinted than yours. It's a long slog for many people, with a lot of rejection and sheer chance involved. For me, recognizing the degree to which I don't have complete control over the entire process has made me a whole lot more zen about it.
posted by UniversityNomad at 10:37 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I literally have NEVER responded to "nice smile." No matter how cute the dude is. Because it's unoriginal and form-letter-y. Do you know how many "nice smile"s women get on OKC? A LOT. Retire that old chestnut.

You know what, though? EVERYONE gets burned out on online dating. It's exhausting! It can be fun, but the fun can wear off pretty fast, too. It's totally TOTALLY okay for you to take some time off and just get back to a place where you don't feel discouraged. You're allowed to take a break from it for a bit. Take some time and get your head in order. OKC isn't going anywhere.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 10:41 PM on October 17, 2012

Burn the words "women are people" into your brain and proceed accordingly.
posted by heyjude at 10:58 PM on October 17, 2012 [8 favorites]

It seems that the women at least really pick apart every word and attach lots of meaning behind it, looking at each word through many different shades and tones.

That's not what's happening here. Women do not need to pick apart your words - the sentiments behind your words are quite obvious, no analysis or interpretation needed. You've shown no interest in these women as people, beyond what they look like or what they're wearing. That immediately tells women that you are shallow and just trying to get a piece of ass. Do you see how this is not flattering?

I've always believed that it doesn't really matter what you liked or what you studied or what games you played, music you like etc. That male-female attraction is purely built through banter and witty back and forth interactions creating positive sexual tension.

I am more off the cuff and try not to think before I speak too much as it stunts creativity and the spontaneity of the moment.

Your lines aren't as creative or witty as you think. Every woman on the dating scene has had identical lines tossed her way a hundred times. Your spontaneous and off-the-cuff jokes read as really forced, and there's no bigger turnoff than a guy who thinks he's so hilarious and charming, when he's really, really not.

Also, the Hilary Clinton has a dick joke? Extremely juvenile and misogynist, and it speaks volumes that this is the joke you picked to illustrate your philosophy on relating to others. Consider whether you may have unhelpful beliefs about gender roles that are preventing you from making meaningful connections with women.

I think it would do you a world of good to take a break from dating. Instead of looking at women as potential dates, look at them as potential friends. You might be surprised at what you find attractive in the opposite sex when you start seeing beneath women's physical appearances. Almost none of the men I've been attracted to have been conventionally very good-looking.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:12 PM on October 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'd like to echo the sentiment that many people are attracted to others who aren't conventionally attractive. I think so much of physical attractiveness for me is actually *natural scent*. Pheromones do a lot of the work. It's not really something you can change, so I think it's the least of your concerns.
posted by Hawk V at 11:26 PM on October 17, 2012

Oh, and definitely cut out the teasing. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you said about making women laugh about something they're wearing, but making fun of a woman's outfit is textbook "negging," right out of the Pick Up Artist's Handbook. Also see here.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:33 PM on October 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

[General note: I know OP asked for "tough love," but let's please keep things productive and constructive to someone who is asking for help and open to new ideas, and avoid rants/venting about the general issue.]
posted by taz at 11:48 PM on October 17, 2012

Yeah, take a break from it. There is no doubt stuff you can do to improve your chances, but I think a vacation from this thing that is grinding you down - getting out of this mental groove - would be a big one.

Continue to do the kind of activities and social things that get you hooked into wider communities and can accidentally lead to finding someone, but only do things because you want to do those things - you need to be able to go home afterwards feeling happy that you had a good time, not regretting that no dating came of it.

Make friends. Girls, guys, doesn't matter, just people that you have good times with. Grow a full social life without dating, always going out with friends, doing stuff. Friends have friends that you'll meet. Maybe someday one of those will click with you, it doesn't matter, that's not the point. Have a full and fulfilling life, without the worries of dating, relax, bloom.

You get one life, you've got to enjoy it with or without a girlfriend, and right now, you're not enjoying your precious days because of the focus on dating. Focus on enjoying life again. Gaining a girlfriend won't get you these days back. Enjoy life first. Date second.
posted by anonymisc at 12:13 AM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding/thirding not hitting on women right away. Talk to them like they're just potential friends.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:55 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm going to talk about race.. living in a largely Indian neighborhood for a long time, Indian guys I knew who dated in a Western sense found that white women would not think they were serious because they assumed the Indian guy would eventually marry an Indian woman. As a well off Indian guy you may be running into this.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:14 AM on October 18, 2012

Don't just say "whatever pops into your head". Man, if I just said what pops into my head, I'd be telling most of the people I meet that I think they're a loudmouth, shallow, smart-arse, insecure, shy, psycopathic.... whatever. First impressions count, but only to a point. There is much more about any person, be they a customer, friend, family, potential partner, than whatever it is that first pops into your head. You have to think about what you say to people. Each and every one of them is a person with a number of years of experiences under their belt that you have no way of comprehending on first impressions.
posted by Diag at 4:35 AM on October 18, 2012

I'm female and I always hate guys that look at every single women as a potential date, they creep me out. I can see it in their eyes and in the way they act. They always get friendly way too soon, and they appear very desparate.

The person you want to spend the rest of your life with should also be your best friend. I suggest focusing on making friends that are women, and stop actively looking for dates. Spend 6 months to a year building female friendships, don't even consider dating them, and see where you relationships with them go. By doing this, actually kill two birds with one stone because not only will you have a chance at finding a date, but you will also learn how to better act around women.
posted by nikkorizz at 5:54 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you probably have some real dating issues, and as this site has discussed before, being on Long Island isn't helping you. The type of women you're going for also probably isn't helping you. If you really enjoy activities like hiking, camping, and shooting, find someone who's also into that sort of stuff, rather than the first attractive girl you meet at a bar or on match.com.

But, I think, your mindset right now is that you're really burnt out on dating. You need a break. So, take one. Tell yourself you won't date for three months. Three months compared to your entire life is not that long! And it's not quitting, it's not consigning yourself to a life alone, it's not anything you seem to be afraid it might be. It's just a much needed break to pause and mentally refresh. Maybe that's not something that's emphasized in your family or culture, but it's something that all people need in all aspects of life from time to time. It's a vacation, basically. Your attitude right now seems like it's probably toxic, both to you and to your dating, and you need a break to re-set.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:44 AM on October 18, 2012

You're getting lots of good replies about your attitude towards women, and I want to make a slightly different observation.

You talk about needing to be more fit or to make more money or to be better at pick-up-lines or a different race in order to attract women. But you simultaneously express contempt for women for whom those would be deciding factors. Ultimately, in a lover or a partner, you want someone who wants you for what you want to be wanted for. This is a major reason your "oh you're so cute" lines are not working -- even if we believe them, people don't want to be wanted for our looks. You don't seem to want to be wanted for your superficial qualities, either.

So think hard about what you want to be wanted for. What do you want people to find fuckable about you? What do you want them to find lovable about you? What do you want them to perceive such that they will want a long term relationship with you?

This isn't just the "self-esteem and confidence" advice, though that advice is good. It's actually sort of the "how to stay motivated" advice you initially asked for. I think that once you realize that you don't want to be wanted for your ability to pick up "8's" at the local bar, you'll stop wasting your energy on that. As has been mentioned above, getting away from bar culture will be good for you.

On-line dating may be a numbers game, but I think most dating is not. Many of us have never really dated at all. Once you stop exhausting yourself with numbers, you will have more energy to take advantage of serendipitous connection with someone who values you for what you want to be valued for.

And finally. . . if you want an outdoorsy partner, why are you looking for her in bars? Why aren't you looking for her in outing clubs? Why are you setting yourself up to fail?
posted by endless_forms at 6:58 AM on October 18, 2012 [16 favorites]

Just thought I'd add a bit of encouragement to go with the tough love others are giving.

When I was your age, I had had less dating success and experience than you have had. It took a long time to find the woman who was right for me. Today I've been happily married to a wonderful woman for the last eight years. Sometimes you just have to be patient.

By the way - I didn't pick her up at a bar by commenting on her physical beauty. I met her as a friend of a friend and started talking to her as a person about matters of mutual interest. Within a very short time it was sufficiently obvious that we belonged together that all our friends announced that we were destined to be a couple.
posted by tdismukes at 7:58 AM on October 18, 2012

Who are you? Do you know yourself very well? Do you like yourself? Do you love yourself?

Do you really, truly honestly know what you want?

I think honesty, openness and confidence are keys. You dont have to be perfect or great or even all that good, just... you.
posted by Jacen at 10:08 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also here to say that taking a break is a good thing. Figure out what you like in women (other than physical attraction), what you want in a partner. Listen to people. Once you stop trying to impress someone or get dates, you allow yourself to genuinely get to know them, understand them.
I agree with These Birds of a Feather so much! Go figure out what you like, what makes you worthwhile other than job and looks. Pick up some hobbies, work for some causes. There is nothing less attractive than someone who "needs" you, you being a total stranger. It's insulting, in a, "buddy, you don't know a thing about me yet you expect me to enter your life and fill some huge gap?". Fill your own gap. The right person doesn't need completing and she'll deserve someone complete as well. Figure out what makes you happy in life. Nothing more attractive than someone truly content with their lives.
Good luck!
posted by Neekee at 10:13 AM on October 18, 2012

I feel I havent cracked the "system" as to get this part of my life handled.

Well, exactly. There's no "system." You don't "crack" other people like a puzzle box. Maybe think about what it's like when someone wants to be friends with you...? Why do you want to be friends with that other person? What makes someone appealing to you in a non-romantic context? Then think about how to apply that in your own life. Practice being a good friend. Romantic relationships are just relationships — with someone you're really really excited to be best friends with.
posted by amoeba at 10:48 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

It seems like you are getting some of your ideas about relationships and 'picking women up' from romantic comedies. Romantic comedies are not very accurate, especially on these topics.
posted by goethean at 11:31 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Look, here's your problem- you are just looking for "a girlfriend". Not one particular person, not a particular type of person, but somebody who is "attractive enough".

So imagine I get a message from guy A saying "you've got a lovely smile, I have to talk to you some more." And the same day I get a message from guy B who says "Hi, I can't believe you also love X book series! Have you read this other series by the same writer?"

Who do you think I'm going to respond to? Guy A could be writing to anybody, and his girlfriend could BE anybody. Guy B obviously would like to hang out with ME, not because I've reached some minimum level of attractiveness, but because of WHO I am.

When I was looking for a boyfriend, I didn't care about money or looks particularly. I wanted a guy who shared my wacky, dark, and sometimes ridiculous sense of humour. I wanted someone I could read books with, and discuss science with, and play two player video games with.

If you don't know what you are looking for in a girlfriend, she'll know that there's nothing special about her that makes you want her. So why should she want to date you? You don't want "her" in particular you just want someone. And that's a massive, massive turnoff. So take a break, figure out what you actually want in a partner, and start treating women as human beings.

Also the next time you speak to any woman, the first thought in your head should be "I cannot assume anything about this person just because she's female." And that includes that said woman would/should automatically appreciate being told she's attractive.
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2012 [9 favorites]

Here's an idea: Next time you're at a bar on messaging women online don't just say whatever comes to your mind. Think before you speak, and only say things you would say to another man.
posted by that's how you get ants at 6:52 AM on October 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

I've always believed that it doesn't really matter what you liked or what you studied or what games you played, music you like etc. That male-female attraction is purely built through banter and witty back and forth interactions creating positive sexual tension. I really believe, that finding out that you hiked the same mountain as me, will not make you like me more or vice verse. But if I can make you laugh about something that you are wearing, or something that you said, then it creates positive emotion that goes beyond commonalities of interest.

This script isn't true for me at all. Banter is fine. At best, I might go along with it because it's entertaining. However, if there isn't anything behind it, and _especially_ if it just continues on in that vein, I will not be engaged. There will be a positive emotion, but it will be a shallow one, and I will file this in the "entertaining, but no" category. Rather than looking at how entertaining someone is or even shared interests, I look at common values and approach to life.

Feel free to ignore if it's not relevant, but I think it would have occurred to me even if you weren't Indian: The descriptions you've written really sound to me like a Bollywood storyline. The guy approaches the girl, bothers her until she laughs and/or gets angry, and in that way he conquers her heart. And the whole time, it's more about the man and how great he is than the woman and her opinions. Example: Most SRK films. Those storylines are not reflective of a relationship that I would be excited to participate in. Being annoying isn't the best way to show affection; it has to be done in a more mature way now. I understand you grew up here, so maybe you haven't learned these patterns from the movies. All the same, they do also show up in films made in the US. Again--if this is off base, please do disregard.

For the record, the only Indian person who I met online and significantly followed up with was not materialistic, was not manipulative, and is not at all suave. We also met on a non-dating site. The other Indian guy I met up with was likewise not trying to be suave; he had his own interests and priorities. He was also clear about what he was looking for, which I appreciated (he was looking for a relationship with a "nice girl").

Regarding protecting the spontaneity of moments, I would question where your model for a good spontaneous moment comes from. It is possible that the great moments really required much more forethought than it appears.

The problem I'm having is just wanting to give up trying. I feel like I've tried so many times and I'm not getting anything from anyone. Its so tempting to throw my hands up and say forget this.

Do this!
posted by ramenopres at 11:16 PM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

ramenopres made a good comment about how your ideas about male-female interaction seem to be rooted in movies/fiction. When it comes to real dating and relationships, you have to ignore what the movies depict, like ignoring how romance novels say depict sex. The way it's done in reality is really different, it's not "boring" (IMHO I find it more interesting)... it's just harder to fit into a 1 hour and a half film and make it exciting. Ask people who are in successful relationships, don't copy the guys in bars who are always looking for a date... there's a reason why they aren't in a relationship yet.

Random blog recommendation, I really like Baggage Reclaim for relationship advice. It's targeted for women who are in bad relationships, but you'll find some good anecdotes of how people end up dating each other, and what are warning signs that women look for. Hope that helps.
posted by Hawk V at 11:41 PM on October 21, 2012

I think the main thing is learning to love yourself. I know this may sound cheesy, but stand in front of the mirror each morning, and say these words to yourself: "I love you. I would never do anything to hurt you."

I think sometimes our negativity and lack of self-love can be our biggest detriment to moving forward.
posted by femmefatale123 at 1:53 PM on October 28, 2012

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