Hi there Doc was hoping you could give me some advice.
I’m a 20 year old student that has almost no dating experience at all. I’ve only just recently started to get more serious about dating but so far I have had very little success. Basically until recently I was a very shy and quiet person who kept to himself most of the time but once I started working in retail I started to become a much more social person.
I certainly do go out a lot more and have made a lot more friends in the past year then i ever had in most of my school years. This includes both boys and girls. However most of my friends are guys and the girls themselves are now in relationships.
The thing is my lack of dating and relationship experience is really starting to get to me and I’ve been feeling down. Not so much depressed but more frustrated. I blame myself for what’s happened and usually end up ripping myself apart. The thing is most of my friends seem to have no problems with getting girls which I’ve seen firsthand. I won’t lie that this makes my self esteem just plummet and the negative thoughts all come back. I tell myself I will never be that good or even worse that girl’s hate me and I will be alone forever. Yeah I know that getting a girlfriend will not sort everything out or make my life perfect but at the same time I just feel stuck in a rut. This also affects me when I go out as I tend not to enjoy myself. When this happens I tend to go real quiet and get lost in my thoughts. Especially the last few times where my friends ended up spending the night with girls while I was alone.
I know the process of improving is slow but right now it feels like nothing is changing while everyone else seems to have no problem or are improving really fast. So yeah was wondering if you had some advice for getting out this rut and enjoying what i do have a bit more and actually approach dating and all that with a lot less fear and shame.
Going Nowhere Fast
Dude. Dude. Your problem isn’t your lack of dating experience. Your problem is the way you’re beating the shit out of yourself for it.
Seriously, take a second, put down the emotional hammer you’ve been slamming into your nuts and look at things rationally. You’ve made a lot of progress. You’ve been making yourself into a more social outgoing person, brushing up those social skills and making a lot more friends. That’s really goddamn impressive. That’s something you need to be giving yourself credit for. You’re building a new life from the ground up and that takes a lot of work… so why are you sabotaging all of your progress?
It’s an unfair part of life that we don’t all start off at the same place. Some folks will have advantages that others don’t, whether it’s by a quirk of genetics, by who their parents are, even when they were born. Some people are born to financial ease. Some have an instinctual grasp of social dynamics. Some people don’t have to work as hard at attracting others. Those advantages mean that they won’t have had to gone through the same development you have. This doesn’t mean that they’re better than you because they haven’t had to struggle the way you have or that you’re better than them because you’ve had to fight for what they were given; it just means that you didn’t have to cover the same ground.
The thing you need to keep in mind is that this isn’t a competition. You’re not in a race with anyone; this isn’t a hundred meter dash, it’s a hike. You’re walking a trail. Some folks entered the trail ahead of you. Some folks are going to be behind you. There will be points where you’re making excellent time and you’ll catch up with some of them, other times you’ll have to stop and take a rest and get your energy back. The point isn’t whether or not you’re able to keep pace with the fastest, most experienced hikers, it’s that you’re on the trail at all. Comparing yourself to them is only going to make you miserable… especially when you don’t know what their experience is like. You see them darting off ahead like they own the place, but you don’t see when they twisted their ankle or tore their ACL, when they tripped and fell over, or all the times they were exhausted and tired of this fucking trail and ready to just call it quits.
(To switch metaphors for a moment: you’re comparing your unedited footage to their highlight reel.)
Thing is: their progress has absolutely no bearing on yours. The fact that other people have an easier time doesn’t magically make your – and again, I stress impressive – progress less somehow. You’ve come a long goddamn way. You need to be willing to recognize that and give yourself some much-needed kudos because that shit was hard.
And you don’t need to be the best of the best of the best in order to date; there’s no panel of judges who’re going to decide that nope, you didn’t land that date proposal just right, therefore they’re taking back her “yes”. You just need to be good enough. And honestly: the worst thing that’s going to happen when you ask a woman out? She’s going to say no and you’ll go on with the rest of your day. It’ll suck, don’t get me wrong. Being rejected totally sucks. But it happens to everyone. Those nightmare scenarios you have about being forever alone and women hating you forever? That’s just your jerkbrain telling you lies because change is exhausting and your brain is lazy.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Your progress is your progress and your pace is your pace. You’re not bad or broken or deficient because you need to take more time than other people do. That’s just your pace. You’ve come a long goddamn way already. You’ll get there.
I’m having some trouble with a college crush of mine. There was some flirting towards the end of last semester that started with him coming up to hug me at a bar twice (we hadn’t really talked much before that night) to him starting more conversations in class. Later in the week, I was studying in the quiet section of the library and from nowhere he came up to say hi and ask if I’ve taken the final for our class yet. I made it a point to ask him which section of College Class he was going to be taking next semester and when he told me, I said I’d try to get in that section as well.
At this point we didn’t have each other’s numbers and then it was winter break.Fast forward to this semester. I’m in class with him again and a week ago decided to take the initiative. During class I also realized he still remembered my favorite movie that I had mentioned during the previous semester. At the end of class, I got him alone for a moment and said that if he’s on campus so much (he’s still a commuter) we should catch up some time. He agreed enthusiastically and asked if I have a break before class. When I tried to get his number, he took mine instead and double checked that I received his missed call. He didn’t text me so when I saw him a week later, I mentioned I was going to get coffee before class the next day and that he should come with me. We agreed on a time for the next day but when I texted him to confirm he asked if we could meet next week instead because he had overslept and had to do homework.
I know he’s pretty studious. He enthusiastically said he’d be in touch (exclamation points and emoticons) even tentatively suggested a day for the next week. He didn’t text during the week so I was ready to write him off but come the day we were supposed to meet he wasn’t in school because of the crazy snow storm (he has a 45 min commute). I’ve definitely been doing the whole eye contact, arm touch, smiling and acting interested thing so far. I’m not particularly suave or experienced so those have been huge steps for me so far. My question is what do I do now? Do I just play it cool and see what happens? Or truly just forget about him? I don’t usually trust people easily and can’t tell whether he’s blowing me off or if I’m just assuming the worst already.
Classic Overthinking-It Girl
Here’s my basic rule of thumb for whether someone’s blowing you off: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is
enemy action a message. If he’s making a sincere effort to actually meet up – such as trying to reschedule for a specific day – then I would assume that yes, he actually wants to see you. But let’s look at the evidence: asked for your number, made sure you got his by calling your phone, rescheduled for a specific day when he overslept and accidentally missed your date… Honestly, at what does it take for you to take “yes” for an answer?
You’ve had one accidental oversleep – because, dude, college – and one day of the Universe just fucking with you with the weather. I’d say be cool and assume good faith.
But before you click to another site, you might want to read the next letter, COITG because some of this is going to apply to you too.
Doc, I need your help.
How do you keep the momentum going when you get her number and contact her the next day? This happens to me a lot. I always try do an instant date when I meet a women out. But because I live in a small community, women can’t be seen going home with a stranger in front of their friends or they will be the talk of the town. So I am forced to contact them the next day and the feeling is not as hot as it was the night before. Last night an attractive girl was flirting and talking with me all night. As I was leaving she gave me her cell number and I text her the next day for a get together but she had other plans.
I’ll text the women I met the very next day and try to arrange a meet up for later on that night. A lot of times I will get the “I am busy so can’t make it.” When that happens I see if they’ll counter offer. If not we will exchange boring senseless text messages. As time goes on I feel the relationship is dust. How do I get out of this rut and escalate the relationship to a sexual one? Should I send her a text mid week inviting her out to a drink after work the following Friday.
Here’s how you keep the momentum going: you continue to flirt via text. Whenever I get somebody’s number when we’ve been vibing and flirting and bantering, I’ll text her that night to keep things going. After all: we’re having fun talking, why wouldn’t we want that to continue? This is especially true if you live in an area where people can’t mind their own goddamn business and feel the need to slut-shame their friends and neighbors for enjoying themselves. Keeping some flirting going over text is a nice and sneaky way of keeping the tension up without other people feeling like they’re allowed to get up in the middle of it. Plus: you can arrange to meet up later that night.
As a general rule, if I want to see her again, I’ll aim to make future plans that night – “Hey, ever been go-karting?” or “Theres this awesome bar I’ve been meaning to check out, you should come with me,” or the like. Then, regardless of whether I text her that night, I’ll text the next day and chat and flirt a bit – keeping the vibe we had earlier alive. If it seems like she’s less interested or cooled off… ok, got an answer. If she’s still having fun talking to me, then I bring up the date again and lock down plans – preferably for within a couple of days, by that weekend at the latest. The longer you go without actually meeting up in person, the more the emotional momentum is going to stall out. Depending on the person and our vibe, I may text something silly later to say “hi” and chat during the lead-up to the date, but generally keep things low key. As long as you don’t overdo it (which God knows I’ve done many a time) it’s a way to keep the connection going.
Now the thing to keep in mind: we live in an age of cellphones, caller ID and call blocking. Giving out a number doesn’t mean anything; a lot of women will give their numbers out in order to make a guy go away and just make sure that they never actually get his calls. Other times, they’ll give their number but legitimately not be as interested later on; just a case of situational attraction. They were genuinely into you in that moment, but later on… well, it was fun flirting, but they’re not interested in it going any further. It’s nobody’s fault, just the way the dating game goes sometimes. When that happens: well, it sucks, but now you know it wasn’t going to happen and you’re free to move on to other people.