November 15, 2005 10:16 AM   Subscribe

I haven't dated in awhile, but now...

I’m 24, professionally successful, never boring, not bad looking, and extremely extroverted… but I haven’t dated in over a year in a half. Nothing. Zilch. Just a really horrible breakup and then a long cold winter. I break down and use OKcupid, get a blind date. She’s an awesome girl and on our two dates (one being a very successful all-day affair), she’s gone out of her way to express interest. Despite this, I’m expecting rejection at every step. I sent a text message earlier in the day suggesting she hang out at a coffeeshop and I never got a reply. I’m convinced she’s already done with me.

The weird thing is… I have plenty of self-esteem, but no confidence. I know what I am, and I’m happy with who I am, I just don’t think other people see me for who I am. There have been a couple of chicks I’ve flirted with since that last breakup, but I always wound up in the friend zone watching them persue other guys. Always. I can’t help but feel it’s just a self-fulfilling Catch-22 prophesy. How do I break this cycle and regain confidence despite the mountains of empirical evidence that women just aren’t interested in me anymore?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sex. For serious. No friend zone waffling there. If you want to kiss her, kiss her. Don't hang out becoming friends.
posted by jon_kill at 10:26 AM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

you need to watch it with the 'she's already done with me' syndrome, girls can smell that like wolf-hounds can smell fear, and they dont like it. i'd concentrate on pushing those thoughts to the back and just chilling out.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 10:32 AM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Yeah. Sex. That's about all you can do, and even then it's a gamble. Some people just end up friends.
posted by cmonkey at 10:33 AM on November 15, 2005

I sent a text message earlier in the day suggesting she hang out at a coffeeshop and I never got a reply. I’m convinced she’s already done with me.

It's Tuesday. Aren't you both at work? Maybe look at what you just wrote and realize how off it is. And then everytime you get a similar desire to be blow things out of proportion, look at it again. You said the girl expressed obvious interest. You had two successfull dates by your own admission. Let me ask you this, would you want her getting upset and starting AskMe threads if she texted you once and you weren't instantaneous on the reply? People get busy. Give the girl a chance.
posted by spicynuts at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2005

Agree with yeahyeahyeahwhoo - 'she's already done with me' sometimes shows up on our radar as 'he's not that into me.' Your lack of confidence may be coming off as a lack of interest.
posted by junkbox at 10:50 AM on November 15, 2005

spicynuts is right on. You need to relax.

Also, if you are sending out friendship vibes because it makes you feel less vulnerable, she will pick up on it and drop you right into the friend zone. I know it feels risky but you are going to have to put yourself out there. That may mean being more physical with her, or more verbal - have you told her how much you enjoy spending time with her?
posted by amro at 10:57 AM on November 15, 2005

For serious, I never look at my phone during the work day. And if I did see a text message, I'd probably wait until work was over to call you. Relax. And yea, make some moves on her! I know far too many guys who get all sulky when they think the girl they're hanging with isn't in to them, and it's totally lame. Buck up and be a man.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:03 AM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

The overwhelming feeling that girls aren't interested is irrational not scientifically proven! It seems to be a common feeling for guys that haven't been with a woman in a while though - I know what you mean about the spiral.

You can do things to help your confidence - I like 'Change your life in 7 days' by Paul McKenna, but lots of things will probably work if you stick at them.

If you can arrange to have casual sex somehow, it would do you the world of good. It can turn that feeling off straight away, and help you get things in proportion.

Instead of trying to forget the feeling of anxiety about whether a girl has called, try to fill your mind with other things - concentrate on your goals and what you like doing in life.

Dunno if I've explained myself very well. Good luck, and keep reminding yourself that the feelings not real.
posted by lunkfish at 11:04 AM on November 15, 2005

Many women are also conditioned *not* to reply immediately to emails and such, because it might indicate desperation, clinginess, or many other things other men have told us are bad bad bad. So her not responding doesn't automatically mean anything negative.

I think you just kind of need to fake the confidence until it becomes easier. Assume that everything you've done is fine, that she's interested, and *act* that way when you see her. This attitude can turn a cocky bastard into a bigger bastard, but when used by self-doubters, it generally just evens out the emotional terrain.
posted by occhiblu at 11:06 AM on November 15, 2005

Well, this sounds familiar. Having just come out of the winter myself and then dealing with the "is she already over me?" fear, coupla quick times:

1. Don't fret over text messages, of all things. They don't go through all the time. I know my girlfriend, for example, gets unreliable service and so texts don't always make it through to me.

2. Yes to making a move, and yes to self-confidence. You seem like a pretty confident guy except when it comes to this girl. Buck up! If she's displayed interest, your foot is already in the door.

Good luck, from someone who's been there (as recently as a couple months ago).
posted by philulrich at 11:11 AM on November 15, 2005

couple quick tips. learning to type, also a plus. I need to work on that.
posted by philulrich at 11:12 AM on November 15, 2005

Many women are also conditioned *not* to reply immediately to emails and such, because it might indicate desperation, clinginess, or many other things other men have told us are bad bad bad. So her not responding doesn't automatically mean anything negative.

Yep. I hate this too, it's so corny. If someone wants to call, we should call! I hate that I feel like I have to wait a certain amount of time because calling more than, say, every other or third or whatever day is going to come off as "needy". WHAT. EV. ER.

If she hasn't responded to your text, don't worry. Maybe she hates texting? Maybe she's busy? Maybe she figures, "oh, I'll call him later"? Its really probably no big thing. I, personally, am a champion texter, but I have some friends who can hardly be bothered to click the buttons to read their texts, much less respond to them.

Oh, and if she's bothered to go on a second (all day!) date with you, then you have nothing to worry about that this point. I know it's easier said than done, but try to relax. (I know, it's like telling water not to be wet.)

And! "She's gone out of her way to express intrest"? Dude. Make a move!
posted by AlisonM at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2005

Don't be afraid to pursue the girl. Clearly, you don't want to be creepy, but as far as I have seen a girl is never annoyed or put off by invitations out from a decent guy like yourself. I reckon you can afford to ask her out about 5 times before you give up. If you're after a relationship rather than a friendship, you've got nothing to lose.

One thing that's worked for me in turning a friendly encounter into something a little more is to go for her hands. As if to emphasise a point in your conversation, put your hand on hers. If she seems uncomfortable withdraw it quite rapidly - no harm done. But chances are she will not and you can progress to holding her hand and then you're in. It's a clear, but non-threatening expression of *your* interest, and it will escalate from there.
posted by godawful at 11:18 AM on November 15, 2005

Most people wait 2 days before answering correspondence, email, txt msg, whatever.

Also remember that a lot of girls for some reason think sex means "relationship." Tread lightly.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:31 AM on November 15, 2005

godawful is right; don't be afraid to ask women out. Attractive single young women expect to be asked out, and are used to dealing with it, so don't hesitate. If you're polite an not creepy about it, there's nothing wrong with it, and if they turn you down, take it gracefuly (as TPS suggested) and it'll be fine.

Don't let fear of rejection deter you, and don't dissuade yourself from asking out women because you've already created a scenario in your head in which they are disgusted and turn you down. If you're a gent about it it'll be ok...even if they do beg off.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:43 AM on November 15, 2005

Also, this might sound like a bit of an asshole move, but maybe you should build your confidence by asking out a few women who are not your ideal. Victories will help you gain more confidence, and it sounds like right now you might be giving off a bit of a desperate vibe, which women can smell like a bloodhound.

When asking out women who are not your ideal, don't use them, and don't make them think you're going to marry them or anything, but let it be known that you want to spend time with them and have some fun with no heavy attachments.
posted by Devils Slide at 11:55 AM on November 15, 2005

I know what it's like after a long dry spell, missing that level of comfort that you share with a partner. Trying to create that comfort will be the path to the darkside, so the key is to make yourself comfortable and hope that she follows your lead.

I would suggest going out with a few more gals on dates to take the immediate pressure off of the thought of finding 'the one'. I doubt that you are the only guy that she has met off of the site (I would assume that ladies get far more traffic on those things than guys), so while she's probably into you, you should be prepared for the possibility that she's seeing five other guys that are also good enough on paper.

You might think "But I don't want to date a bunch of people" and to that I would say: going out for drinks with someone can be a lot of fun if you don't really put much pressure on it. Just being yourself around people and figuring out what you want or don't want can be pretty rewarding.

Be honest with everyone. That's not to say that you have to talk about the dates you go on, but if the topic of commitment comes up then you get to feel like you have some choice in the matter.
posted by dobie at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2005

I don't think it's the healthiest or happiest way to live but there's nothing necessarily wrong with your constant expectation of rejection. You're going to get rejected, probably more than you get accepted. You just need to stop being bothered by it and keep it from stopping you from doing what you want to do. All relationships fail till you get to the one that doesn't.

As far as this hoohah about mountains of evidence that women aren't interested in you anymore, give us all a break. You're either on a cold streak or - more likely - you're projecting this "nobody wants me" vibe that's convincing the women you meet that they don't want you.

The best thing you can do there is stop thinking so much about yourself and think about them. You don't need to sell yourself on yourself - you're stuck with you. Get into the moment of getting to know the women you meet and just be who you are. Concentrate on determining if they're the women you want to be with and let them worry about if you're the man they want to be with. Introspection and self-analysis is something you need to work on privately. Conce
posted by phearlez at 12:37 PM on November 15, 2005

keep in mind that there's something particularly maddening about internet dating, in my experience -- everything is heightened and speeded up, including anxiety and fears of rejection. so, take a deep breath, and relax!
posted by footnote at 1:02 PM on November 15, 2005

Hey, man, relax. You're just into a chick, y'know? You can make that clear to her, and if things don't work out, things don't work out. Instead of worrying about being creepy or desperate or NEVER GETTING LAID AGAIN, just remember that it's not a big deal. To cop from Meatballs, it just doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter.
And yeah, let the girl know that you're into her, but don't expect her to just peel off the panties right there. Have a sense of patience. You can do your own thing whether or not this works out, right? Yeah.
posted by klangklangston at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2005

You sound so much like me right now, I was starting to wonder if I had posted this and forgotten. Then I remembered that I don't even have the girl to send text messages to.


That said, I think just about everything said here is wise, and I hope it is something I can take to heart, too. The last relationship I was involved in lasted for three dates, and while I was crazy about the girl, I was convinced the entire time that she didn't feel the same way and was just waiting till the right time to give me the ol' "I just don't feel that way about you" or whatever.

And she did. But I have to think that she might not have if I hadn't been convinced she was going to, because that has to register in unconcious ways, from body language, to the way you act, and everything.

I know how hard it is to get out of this mindset, since it is something I struggle with myself, along with my conviction that girls will be irritated and/or creeped out by random guys trying to talk to them for the purposes of arranging a date. But I am trying to get better.
posted by synecdoche at 1:35 PM on November 15, 2005

Nothing wrong with a period like this after a "horrible breakup." I know a year and a half feels like a long time when you're 24, but it can be necessary and edifying. Think of anyone you know who hasn't spent any time single, ever, and those who flit straight from one relationship into another. There's plenty of growth and stabilizing to do in a dry spell and it's likely done you good. You sound like you're ready for the dry spell to end, and my guess is it will. It may be a little choppy getting back in the saddle but it will happen. Keep trying.
posted by scarabic at 5:51 PM on November 15, 2005

If you really do have self-esteem but no confidence, as you say, your problem is that you have no respect for other people, or at least for the women you've gone on dates with. Seriously, you're telling us "I'm a great guy, but these girls are too dumb to realize it!" People really want to be liked, people worry about being liked, and if you're going around with an attitude that shows a lack of respect for them they're going to pick up on that.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:36 PM on November 15, 2005

My quick tips...keep dating. I had a very long dry spell, but things are picking up right now. I already feel way more confident. Don't let one girl get in the way. Also..the text message thing...maybe it's just me, but I HATE text messages! Just call her! Texting is a cop-out, if you ask me. It's way too easy not to respond. Call. Leave a voicemail and don't be vague - either say you will call her back another time or have her call you back. Save text messages for cute things like "I had a really good time last night." Things that don't need a response. Don't waste too much time with girls who are going to waffle on you...move on.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 7:14 PM on November 15, 2005

I would say break the cycle by outlasting the cycle. You say you need to regain confidence, but there is no solid, long-term means of regaining confidence other than just gaining it. Sure, you gain it through your actions, and your actions can point you to it. But speaking for myself, there has been no action more confidence-building than one I took because it was the right one for me, not for me-on-the-make, or me-looking-tough, or me-the-sensitive-ruffled-dress-girl, or anything. The confidence has always come from knowing I'm doing what is most natural for my self regardless of the interpersonal consequences and seeing the effect (that is to say, I'm still alive and it hasn't gone bad.)
posted by rebirtha at 10:25 PM on November 15, 2005

the "omg she didn't text me back within 5 minutes that must mean she doesnt ever want to talk to me again" self-confidence-but-little-self-worth thing are classic signs of abandonment trauma. If you feel like that fits your life, you might want to pick up the self-help-sounding-but-actually-quite-useful (love those hyphens!) "Journey from Abandonment to Healing" and read up.

But, sounds like she's interested, so just chillax, maybe let her pick the time and place of your next encounter.
posted by softlord at 7:05 AM on November 18, 2005

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