Hi Dr. NerdLove. I appreciate your sane advice for dating, especially in this age. Unfortunately I have recently got into a bit of a rut as I am trying to improve my non-existent dating life. Forgive me for my bad grammar as English is not my first language.
The best way for me to explain my problem is that I know that I have to improve. I have broken out of the victim mentality and I am ready to take actionable steps towards achieving my goals, but I seem to be getting nowhere and I am losing hope. I am starting to think that despite my best, I am just not lovable and can’t do something that everyone else seems to do naturally.
I don’t know what to do and I don’t have a stable philosophy or mindset to adhere to towards dating. Everyone seems to have their own agenda and everything seems to devolve into something about misogyny or sexism. I get even more worried as I worry that I’ll put all this effort into improving myself — for nothing — and end up just as single as before. I don’t want to be forever alone but as I am aware, I’m not really doing anything wrong. I don’t have a severe lack of confidence, I’m not shy, I’m not entitled, I don’t expect to get laid by collecting friend tokens and I don’t try manipulating women into liking me.
My situation is a bit weird. You might get this type of mail from people in their mid to late 20s but I can’t take the anxiety anymore. I’m extremely worried that I will never get a girlfriend. I’m 18 already and I haven’t even had my first kiss. I ruminate about this all the time. I used to like myself. I used to love my personality and I thought I was a cool person to be around. I used to not hate my appearance. I used to love myself and enjoy every single day. Then it all changed. My friends started getting girlfriends. It happened slowly. But then before I knew it, my closest friends had girlfriends. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, what am I doing wrong? Am I not good enough? Am I not saying the right things? Am I not flirty enough? How do you flirt? No one told me about how to do these things.
I don’t want to be left out. I don’t want to be a 40 year old virgin but i’m afraid that’s where its going to go. I don’t even know how to talk to girls anymore as I’m constantly worried about being too needy or being too avoidant or being too flirty or not flirty enough, and then what actually ends up happening is that my anxiety results in the lack of a spark and it all fades away. I am aware that I come off as really angsty but that is kinda true right now — I am terrified and depressed about this. I have read so many reddit posts on the ForeverAlone subreddit about people who are 19,20,21,25,30 even 50 talking about how they have never found love or lost their v — which terrifies me to my core.
I grew up thinking I was quite ugly but as a kid I didn’t care. Until very recently, after I learned to shave, participate in hygiene, get haircuts as well as losing almost 11kg and being in the best shape of my life, I thought I was quite ugly. I know that I’m pretty ok looking, and I like how I look — people tell me that I look at least 25, in a good way. However, this has still not really translated into confidence for me with women. I have talked to some on snapchat and I asked out this one girl that I had a crush on. I didn’t make any of the really obvious mistakes — only being a friend and seeking validation from her etc., and I do know how to hold a conversation — I have a decent number of close friends and some female friends too so I don’t really have anxiety when talking to girls, but none of that has ended up working out. The girl that I had a crush on gave me her number and seemed interested in the beginning, and we did hit it off but later on, as I tried to be more “flirty” or whatever, she indirectly referred to me as a friend, after which I told her I liked her and she rejected me.
A mutual friend told me that it wasn’t because of my looks, which was what I had assumed, but rather since she wanted to focus on her work and didn’t have time for a relationship but I can’t help assuming that it’s because of me. There have been girls interested in me in the past and I have been approached by them before but my confidence was so bad that I thought they were making fun of me by asking for my number and flirting with me. What worries me more is how fucking difficult getting good advice for this type of situation is. Trying to find good dating advice on the internet is almost impossible as its either just platitudes that don’t really work in the real world and just serve to make dating or trying to get better at it more annoying. “Just be yourself” — I was being myself. “Just be confident” Confidence is an extremely vague trait, “You’ll find someone someday” — No I won’t, not everyone finds love and those who do put in the time and effort to do so. “Love finds you when you least expect it” No it doesn’t, you need to actively look for it to find people. Being desperate wont obviously help but you must seek it to find it.
I’ve gone through almost all of the major philosophies of dating at some point, “Pick Up artistry”, which is at best cringe and at worst manipulative, “The Red Pill” which is something I thought was true for a very long time until I started thinking about how miserable it made me and “The blackpill” which depressed me so much I wanted to kill myself. I have tried reading up on advice that isn’t completely fucking mental and have arrived at your advice and the work of Nick Notas, however I am a bit worried that Nick Notas might just be another red pill misogynist. My friends who have some luck tell me some things to help, such as some truths about dating — the vast majority of people aren’t compatible, there is no perfect girl etc. but they mostly go into platitudes about love finding you or some bullshit.
The constant “no do this, no no no , do THIS instead” is driving me mental. I am aware that you shouldn’t just be yourself, but I feel like the way that I’m doing this feels so unnatural. I have so much information I don’t even know how to act anymore. I am overthinking everything. I am somewhat self aware so I know that I am generally doing something wrong towards this. I am aware that loving myself is an important part of this, and I know that self improvement to get me out of this depression is vital. I am planning to go the gym with my friends to try to bulk up in time for university and I know that approaching and talking to girls without caring about the outcome too much is vital for getting over the fear of rejection and learning what does and doesn’t work but I am dealing with a lot of learned helplessness right now. I have made a lot of progress, as I don’t fear rejection at all and can talk to girls but all I’ve really done is realise how much I don’t know — I don’t know how to flirt and I don’t know how to create attraction or whatever.
I have found that there are 5 types of flirting and most dating advice is catered towards the extroverted ones but since I am an introvert at heart, only the sincere and polite approaches work for me but I feel as if me being natural isn’t flirty enough or doesn’t create enough attraction. I feel as if my time is running out and if I don’t do something right now I’ll end up as some depressed virgin living in his parents house, forever alone. I am aware that a lot of this might have to do with my low self esteem, as I don’t really believe that I am worthy of love right now — All I see are my flaws and I feel like I have to change everything about myself for someone to like me. I have been watching a lot of this youtuber Hamza and I find that he has much in common with me and has gone through the same things that I have gone through and what he prescribes is something that is very close to the red pill but has a far stronger emphasis on self improvement and understanding that men can’t be loved conditionally and must put in the work to gain rewards but something about that just doesn’t sound right to me. Forgive me for my very disorganised rant, I have ADHD and find it hard to do these sorts of things in some sort of coherent order.
The best thing that I have to explain my frustration and confusion is this video
which, in my opinion, is a pretty good look into some of the modern frustrations of dating. I’m just worried that I am doing this whole thing very wrong and don’t even know it. I wanna fall in love the natural way, I want to feel like I’m being genuine in doing so and not having to worry about being attractive over text or having a masculine frame or whatever the fuck and i’m just extremely confused and overwhelmed by this whole situation. Everyone else just seems to get into it naturally and I’m here struggling. After realising that I might not be a helpless case and taking the plunge into improving on this, I seem to have hit a wall and can’t get past it, and am losing hope as every single piece of advice that I find fails to help me out. Would appreciate some help or outsider perspective and maybe some reassurance.
Anxious Worried Teen
Well this is gonna be a long one. Strap in folks, and I hope you brought a lunch.
So, AWT, I’m gonna let you in on a… not exactly a secret, but something that I don’t talk about too much. I’ve been doing this gig for a long damn time — more thjan a decade at this point — and honestly, I’m not saying that I’ve been everywhere and I’ve done everything, but I do know it’s a pretty amazing planet we live on, and a man would have to be some kind of FOOL to think we’re alone in THi… sorry, wrong secret. What I was going to say is: I’ve seen your story more times than I can count. And as much as it feels like you’re The Last Living Virgin… I can promise you, your story is neither unique, nor is its ending already written.
Another side-effect of having been doing this for as long as I have, and fielded as many stories and questions as I have is that I’ve got a pretty good sense for what forums somebody’s been spending time on. And, my friend, I can tell you have spent far too much time on Reddit.
So this is going to seem like a digression from your worries, and I’ll get to them, have no fear, but stick with me in the meantime. I’m going to give you the single most important piece of advice I can give you or anyone in your situation: get the fuck off the Internet.
Yes, I fully acknowledge that there’s some irony involved when a dude who’s entire job is based around being online says this, but I’m serious: log the fuck off for a while. It’s poisoning your brain, and I mean that with all sincerity. This isn’t even speculative; the recent trove of leaks from Facebook has given us an insider’s look into how social media screws with our heads and our mental health. Instagram, for example, has been shown to trigger body image issues in people, especially young women and YouTube’s been a core part of people getting radicalized into conspiracy theories and the alt-right.
And Reddit hasn’t helped, either. Especially not with guys who feel like you do. One of the things that people rarely think about — especially the so-called digital natives like Millenials and Zoomers — is how much what you immerse yourself in online affects you. It’s only natural that, when you’re facing an issue like fearing that you’re doomed to die alone, unloved and unmourned, you would start looking for information. But the problem is that this doesn’t always lead to useful information, especially not when you don’t necessarily have the knowledge, training or experience that helps you sort out what information is useful, what information is irrelevant and what information is — to use the technical term — unmitigated horse shit. It’s a lot like going to WebMD to look up your symptoms when you think you’re coming down with something; congratulations sir, according to this website you have CancerSyphilAIDS.
The same is true when it comes to dealing with dating issues. There’s a lot of shitty advice out there, especially for men, and if you’re inexperienced and afraid… well, there’re a lot of folks who’re ready to take advantage of that and sell you that horseshit at a healthy markup. And I’ll be the first to tell you: a lot of these folks are very good at what they do. Not the dating advice part; they’re absolutely shit at that. No, they’re good at making it look alluring. They play to your confirmation bias, looking to play to the things you already suspect or believe. They alternate between playing to your fears and anxieties and to your anger and frustration, tell you that you’re exactly right to feel that way and wouldn’t you know it, they have exactly what you need. They aren’t selling solutions so much as they’re selling anger and fear; as long as you’re angry or afraid, you’ll keep coming back for anything that seems like it’ll make it stop for a little bit, never realizing that all its doing is making those feelings worse.
However, it’s also incredibly common to want to find others who are in the same boat as you. That’s normal and natural; it’s reassuring to find out that you’re not the only person in the world who’s dealing with this complicated and thorny issue. But you have to be careful. See, one of the things that we rarely think about when we’re deep in our feelings is how much those feelings can short-circuit our critical thinking skills. Part of the problem is that we have a very mistaken idea of how accurately we see the world. We think that we see everything exactly as it is and that we have crystal clear insight into how everyone else feels and why things happen the way they do. And, quite frankly: we don’t. In fact, we get a lot of it wrong — not just a little wrong but so far off the mark that we can’t see wrong from where we are. We are so past wrong that wrong is just a teeny speck on the horizon.
The thing is: the human brain isn’t a camera or a hard drive. We don’t see things as they happened and we don’t store those memories exactly as we saw them. We filter everything through our expectations and our cognitive biases. Hell, those expectations are so strong that we can literally not see shit — the light enters our optic nerves, but our brains choose not to process the signal because we’re pretty sure we know exactly what to expect and so what we “see” is what we think we’re supposed to see. This is why so many car crashes happen within a mile of home; our brains are just filling in what we expect and we don’t actually see the car that’s not normally there.
The way this comes into play in your situation is the idea that we can trust folks to be accurate and reliable narrators of their experiences. And a lot of times… we aren’t. Most of us try the best we can, but we’ve all got our (metaphorical and literal) blind spots. And when it comes to dating, those blindspots can get pretty damn big. This is why, when you already think you’re ugly and unfuckable, you’re going to assume that this is why you’re struggling with dating. It’s easy to think — as you did — that the reason why you got turned down was because “you’re not a six foot tall Chad” or “you’re too nice” or “you’re too ugly”. In reality, the answer is almost always “women are complex and complicated individuals with rich inner lives and preferences, experiences and lives of their own and those tend to affect who they do or don’t want to date, most of which has nothing to do with you.”
But you — general you, not you specifically, AWT — see a small slice of the interaction and your own anxieties and biases fill in the rest. And those biases affect other aspects as well; after all, if you think you’re an unfuckable homunculus, you’re going to miss the folks who are trying to flirt with you or send signals that they want you to come flirt with them. You’re going to assume it couldn’t possibly be what you think, or you’re going to dismiss it as a trick or a mistake, while focusing like a laser on the times you’ve been rejected. That’s classic confirmation bias; you give excess attention and credence to the things that conform with what you already believe while dismissing the things that go against those beliefs.
Unfortunately, that also tends to fuck folks over when, say, they start browsing forums or communities for folks who are having a hard time dating. They see a bunch of people talking about similar experiences and coming to the same conclusions. Because their stories line up with what the searcher has experienced, it’s that much easier to assume that those conclusions must be true. After all, how could five hundred incels possibly be wrong?
Well… rather easily as it turns out. And part if it comes down to how our brains work. Humans are wired for trust, and — to paraphrase Leverage — that means we’re practically designed to be fooled. When you hear something over and over again, especially when it’s said authoritatively enough, you tend to take it all onboard without questioning it. So when you’re hearing the same things over and over again, whether it’s about Chads and Stacies or about how nobody can flirt anymore and women are going to call you a creep if you so much as look at them sideways, you tend to internalize it. Especially when — as I said — it fits in perfectly with what you already fear… and you fear the thing because you believe it is true.
What makes it worse is how much of a closed system these groups are. We hear a lot about “bubbles” and “echo chambers” and the like, especially from conservative political groups, and it’s easy to dismiss that as bullshit. However, there’s truth to it. A lot of those forums and subreddits — like r/foreveralone — tend to be very insular. There are very few contrary voices, and most of the time they get drowned out by sheer volume, if not excluded entirely. Without those contradictory voices and experiences or stories of how folks solved their problems or, better yet, realized that their problems weren’t real, you just get constant reinforcement and repetition of the same core beliefs. That makes it much harder to not internalize those beliefs.
But here’s the thing: the Internet is not the real world. For all that Reddit makes a big deal about how many members it has and however many subs foreveralone has… it’s not even a vague representation of the real world. It’s a very self-selected group of Extremely Online folks, not a reasonable representative sample of real world opinions and experiences. It’s one thing if you go in understanding this. It’s another if you think that, say, r/femaledatingstrategies is even tangental to mainstream opinion.
Once you step away from that repetitious cacophony of the lost and the damned, you tend to notice how different you feel almost immediately. It’s like when you don’t have those voices jabbering in your ear and in the back of your mind, you’re able to ignore the bullshit and focus on what’s actually in front of you. You see how folks interact in the real world, rather than how folks who often have no applicable social experience think they do. And often… it’s night and day different.
And — to bring this back to where I started — I’m not gonna lie, AWT: I was less than two paragraphs into your letter before I was waiting for the r/foreveralone drop and that moment of “well there’s your problem.”
But with all that in mind, here’re some things that you should take on board that will go a long way towards relieving your fears and helping you become someone worth dating.
Step one: get the fuck off the Internet and start spending more time with people in the flesh. That alone is going to make a huge difference in your mental health and emotional life. Fortunately, it seems like you’ve got some friends who give you genuine support, so that’s a good start. Don’t concern yourself about when they fall back to pat or cliche answers about dating; they’re trying to help, but the problem is they don’t know what to say. So rather than saying nothing, they’re falling back to the tried and true cliches because they want to give you hope. They’re doing their best, but they’re not really in a position to give you all the answers you want.
That’s why I still have a job, incidentally.
Step two is equally simple: if you aren’t already, get on medication for your ADHD. If you’re on medication already and you aren’t sure it’s helping, talk to your therapist about adjusting your dosage, or possibly trying a different medication. In case you weren’t aware, one of the side-effects of having ADHD is what’s known as Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. The short version of this is that RSD takes the very normal feelings of anxiety and pain from rejection and turns it up to 11 and then breaks the knob off. So in a very real way, folks with ADHD are on constant red alert for signs that people don’t like them and will take anything as a sign of impending rejection and dismissal. Fortunately, treating your ADHD helps turn the volume down on this significantly — and things like cognitive behavioral therapy can help you get the RSD further under control.
Step three is a little trickier: you need to recognize that you’re 18. Everything feels larger and so much more momentous and dire when you’re 18. Not only are you still dealing with the lingering effects of all the hormones coursing through your body and brain, but you’re dealing with all the societal expectations that come with that liminal space where you’re not a boy but not a man either. You feel like both at once — like you’re supposed to have your shit figured out but also you’re barely removed from being a spotty chaos goblin whose life revolved around school, snacks and games. You get folks who are simultaneously expecting you to act like you’re 40 but also treating you liked you’re 12, while you are still trying to figure out who the fuck you are when you’re on your own. When you’re 18, you’re still trying on different identities and beliefs and personas and trying to figure out which ones fit you well enough for now… and that “for now” is key.
See, part of the problem with being 18 is that you have all the enthusiasm but none of the experience or perspective. Humans in general are very bad at predicting our futures, but when you’re still a teenager, you’re especially bad at it because everything feels like This Is How It Will Be Forever. If you’re with someone, that’s your Partner for Life. If you’ve been dumped, then This Is A Pain That Will Never End. And if you’re single (and worried about it) then you are doomed to be Forever Alone. DOOMED I SAY.
Except… not. In fact, emphatically not. The fact that your friends have girlfriends and boyfriends just means that they currently have girlfriends and boyfriends. And at the risk of sounding horribly cynical… probably not for very long. The relationships we have at 18 — especially coming out of high-school — are very rarely the last ones we ever have. More often than not, they’re short term relationships; they’re often like shooting stars, bright and beautiful and brief, but no less valuable for their brevity.
Which leads to step four: erase “should” from your vocabulary. “Should” is bullshit. “Should” implies that there’s a universal standard against with everybody’s development is measured and there isn’t. That the fact that you’re 18 and never had a partner or even a kiss doesn’t mean anything. 18 is an absolutely arbitrary age, and it has no inherent meaning about where you’re “supposed” to be. It’s just what western countries have decided is the age of majority, and that age has changed over and over throughout time. In other cultures and times, at 18 you would’ve been expected to have been working in the fields for near a decade, or have been apprenticed or otherwise in a completely different place in life than you are now. Being a virgin at 18 doesn’t mean that you’ve “fallen behind” somehow, it just means that you haven’t had that particular experience yet. That’s it. And — incidentally — I lost my virginity at 19 and I can tell you from experience, I was the exact same man I was afterwards, just sticky.
The thing that’s fucking you up is that you’re treating your life as though there were some standard that you’re supposed to follow and there isn’t. The fact that your friends have relationships can make it feel that way… but as I just told What I Do In The Shadows, your journey isn’t their journey. You’re on an entirely different path than your friends; it’s just that your paths are all running parallel for now. That can create the illusion that you’re falling behind, but you’re not. You’re going to be following a path that is as unique and distinct as you are; trying to measure your progress by their path is a mistake because you aren’t them. In order to be in the same place they are, you would have to have lived their entire life, with every temporal and ephemeral pressure and influence that nobody can see or account for. They aren’t you, you aren’t them. Don’t worry about what they do; they’re on their own journey. You want to focus on your own self-development and progress, in your own time and at your own pace.
If you are a virgin for longer than you’d prefer… well, that’s ok. Here’s the thing about older virgins: they’re virgins for a whole host of reasons. It doesn’t say anything about them as people; it just means that things in their lives lead them to the point where they are now. And one of the most important truths is that, no matter how old you are, the people who are concerned or turned off by someone being a virgin are folks you don’t want to sleep with in the first place. Your first time doesn’t need to be magical, but it should be with someone worth having sex with, and that means someone who’s caring, compassionate and giving and wants you to enjoy it. It doesn’t mean that you’re “worthy” or not, because women aren’t Mjolnir and nobody’s wearing panties that say “Whomsoever should part these thighs, should they be worthy, shall have the power of SCORE”. Lots of folks lost their virginity to someone who said “yes” for reasons that had nothing to do with them outside of “they were the least objectionable choice at that time,” and let me tell you: that ain’t a good feeling.
So erase “Should”, especially where it applies to your life’s path. You have no idea where it’s gonna lead, so stop trying to predict it. Focus a little less on the future and more on the now. This moment in time.
Step five: Learn who you are and how to love yourself. Find the things that make your soul sing and embrace them, purely because they make you glad to be alive. Find the things that make you feel like a sexy bad-ass and incorporate it into your life. Not because someone told you that you need X, Y or Z to attract women, but because this thing makes you feel like a million bucks. Don’t worry about whether it’s “manly” enough; there’re tons of ways to be a man, and so if you’re a man and doing the thing, that makes it man shit by definition. Don’t worry about whether it’s “cool” or if women like it or shitty Red Pill adjacent dudes on YouTube tell you it’s lame; do it because it speaks to you.
The more you learn about yourself and the more you live a life that brings you satisfaction and contentment, the better of a life you will have overall. The more you learn to love yourself, the more confidence you will have and — critically — you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you when it comes to dating, flirting and women. Flirting is deeply personal; it’s all about what resonates with your authentic self. If you flirt like I do, but you don’t like the sort of quippy, bantery style of flirting I enjoy, then you’re gonna fail miserably at it because it’s not who you are. Learning more about yourself will go far, far further towards helping you meet amazing women and connect with them. Not only will you be meeting women that you’re actually compatible with, but you’ll be able to connect with them in a way that’s in alignment with your most authentic self.
What will that look like? Fucked if I know, my dude; it’s your flirting style. You’ll likely need to try different ways and see what resonates with you. Btu if it’s in line with what speaks to your soul and makes you feel like a goddamn sexual Jedi… well, then you’ll have much better success than just trying to be Craig Ferguson.
Step six: Forget about “being alpha” or anything connected to that. The subset of the dating advice industry that gets hung up on “GRRR MAN, GRRRR” shit are perpetuating the exact same shit that was fucking them over.
Here’s the thing about so many of the dudes you’ll run into peddling shitty advice: they’ll point to the system that excluded you and made you miserable and tell you that the problem is that you didn’t work the system HARD ENOUGH instead of realizing that the system is the problem. All those guys who will tell you about being alpha male can’t tell you what an alpha male actually is; they’re just parroting the same toxic bullshit they were fed because they never unpacked that the whole thing was bullshit. Alpha males don’t exist in nature. Turns out that the idea of an “alpha” was based on studying animals in zoos. Out in the world, it turns out there’s a more accurate name for the “alphas” of the wolf pack or ape troupe: “parents”. Basing theories of behavior and “natural attraction switches” on supposed “alpha” behavior is like basing your understanding on societal behavior on the population of a maximum-security prison. Shit, even if you were to look to apes in the wild, the reason why the alpha chimpanzee has a harem is because he beats and murders his rivals. Not really a great basis for attraction, y’know?
And not only are people’s ideas about “alphas” wrong — the animals they point to only mate during estrus (unlike humans), the females in chimpanzee troupes will cheerfully fuck the supposed “betas” as soon as the alpha’s back is turned, etc. — but it’s not even instinctual behavior. It’s learned. When all the aggressive male baboons in a troupe died because they ate tuburculosis-tainted meat, the aggression and violence in that troupe vanished overnight. Even other males who joined the group adopted the more egalitarian and peaceful behaviors of the survivors.
That doesn’t mean that being tall or strong or confident or even aggressive is inherently bad. It’s just not inherently good either or more desirable or what-have-you. If you want to be a “manly” man, don’t look to YouTube bros, look to Steve Rogers. Or Fred Rogers, for that matter.
Step seven: go out and talk to people. Not “flirt” with them or to try to pick them up. Just go and focus on being someone people like talking to. Working on cultivating your social skills and being someone folks like to spend time with will do far more for your love life than damn near everything else. The more comfortable you are starting conversations with people, the more successful you will be overall. This is especially true when it comes to people you’re attracted to. Part of why folks stumble over meeting women is because they treat talking to someone they find attractive as of dire and vital importance. They’ve assigned far too much value and importance to a person that not only have they only just met, but that they know nothing about. So now they can’t relax and be authentic; they’re in a place where they feel like they have to justify themselves to this stranger and gain her approval.
But if you’re used to talking to incredibly attractive women, you learn something very important: they’re just like everyone else. They fart, pick at their zits, sweat and scratch their asses, same as everybody else. The fact that you find them fuckable doesn’t mean they have more value or importance than you do; it just means you think they’re hot. But if you can learn to be comfortable talking to them — without an agenda — they lose their mysterious power. They become people, same as everyone you meet. Hot people to be sure, but people none the less. And if you’ve been putting points into being a person folks like to talk to, they’re going to want to talk to you instead of a guy who thinks he’s Studly Goodnight.
Step seven: fuck around and find out. No. Seriously. This is the last — and possibly most important — thing I can tell you in this (already over-long) reply: the thing that will help you THE MOST isn’t learning or studying techniques, it’s putting them into practice. I’ve written guides for learning about love sex and dating that can give you some starting points, but none of it will mean a damn if you don’t actually try it out. I suspect that part of what’s fucking with your head is that you’ve got a nasty case of analysis paralysis, where you’ve tried to absorb so much information — much of it contradictory — that you’re frozen.
Now, while I obviously have strong opinions about whose kung-fu is the strongest, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how much theory you’ve absorbed and how consistent it is or isn’t. What matters is what’s actually useful for you, specifically. And you won’t know until you actually put it into practice. You say that you’re not afraid of rejection. That’s great! So go out and get rejected. For real. The way that you learn isn’t by doing things perfectly, it’s by making mistakes so you know what does and doesn’t work for you, what you need to do differently and what shit you should never try again.
Trust me when I tell you that you don’t know what you’re actually capable of. You’ve been defining yourself by what you think your limitations are. Yes, you’ve been turned down occasionally by… what, one or two women? My dude, I have been rejected by more women than you’ve had hot meals, and that’s a good thing. While I’ve got a lot of things to say about how shitty PUA is and can be, I have to give them this: studying pick up taught me that I was capable of far more than I ever imagined. The first time that I ever went up to a stranger in a bar and started flirting with her was pants-shittingly terrifying… but I did it. And the mere fact that I did and didn’t get a drink thrown in my face, laughed at or thrown out of the bar taught me that I had let my fears and anxieties dictate what I could and couldn’t do, not the reality of it.
Yeah, I made a lot of mistakes in my time. But I learned from them as best I could, so I knew how to not make those mistakes again. And being willing to take risks, try things that were outside the envelope of my comfort zone and actually attempt what I’d been taught or that I’d learned is what made me improve. That, in fact, is how everyone learns. When you were first learning how to walk, you didn’t accomplish it on the first try. You started with pulling yourself up and taking tentative steps. You’d fall down. A lot. But you’d try again. And this time, you’d get a little further. And then a little further. And a little further after that.
Before long, you were walking like a champion. Now you’ve been doing it for so long, you can’t remember what it’s like not to know how to walk. The same applies to any skill… including social skills. Your friends — even the ones who seem naturally gifted with women — learned through doing. They may have learned it a little faster than you or had starting bonuses that you don’t… but they learned it the same way everybody does. Maybe they learned it long enough ago that they don’t remember the process, or didn’t realize what they were doing until they stumbled into something that worked… but it’s still the same fuck around and find out method.
If you want to know where to start… well, I can’t recommend my books enough. But I can only give you the map and some guidance. It’s up to you to take the journey. Nobody else can do it for you.
You aren’t doomed to be forever alone, AWT. I know it feels that way, but feels aren’t always reals. You’re young and you’re inexperienced, that’s all. There is no future but the one we make, and if you want your future to be a good one… well, it’s time to take an active hand in shaping it.
You’ve got this, my dude. You’re going to be amazing.
All will be well.