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