Archive for March 16th, 2008

Dater, heal thyself

In this, my first post, I won’t give you fun date ideas or fashion advice.  If you’re looking for a really wonderful person, you have to do some work on yourself first.

Our Boomer parents taught us that we could be and do pretty much whatever we wanted.  This led to a host of kids in the late ’80s proclaiming that they were going to grow up to be teacher-astronaut-ballerina-rodeo clowns, and, years later, an equally large number of 20-somethings who have loud personal cell phone conversations in restaurants.  Our parents said that if someone doesn’t like us for who we are, it’s their problem.  Lovely theory, but if multiple people dislike you, that kind of becomes your problem. After all, maybe they’re on to something.  Before you get all huffy and walk away from your computer, hear me out.  You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself.  Wouldn’t you rather get to the root of why you’re not getting any, rather than be alone in your self-righteousness?

Self-righteousness won’t keep you warm at night.

Suppose you’re “being yourself” at a party. You’re making the rounds and chatting up attractive people, but everyone you meet gives you the “Uh, I have to go…stand over there” line. It becomes evident after some time that entire groups of people are pointing and laughing at you. Such jerks! You go home and cry to your cats. They like you. Why doesn’t anyone else?

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But don’t rush to blame others, as mean as others might be (that’s a lesson for another day).  Think: What can you do differently to turn into someone who’s enjoyable to talk to? Here’s my take on the matter: When you’re striking out, you’re not “being yourself.” You might be telling cheesy jokes, relying on weak pickup lines, or talking too much out of nervousness. Odds are, you really are a great person, but no one will notice that because you’re trying too hard.  It’s time to change your approach.

You totally know you watched that VH1 reality show, The Pick-Up Artist.  You can continue to deny having seen it while I make my point.  I don’t suggest guys wear nail polish, eyeliner and weird hats, nor do I think “Did you see the fight that was just outside?” is a line to use on every woman you meet (dude, a little creativity?).  But Weird Hat Guy did teach the contestants about approaching people with confidence, and about engaging women in interesting conversations without coming on too strongly.  Letting the ladies try on your hat might also be fun.

And here’s my point, as promised: Eventually, you want to show people who you really are.  But to get to know them long enough to do that, you have to make a good first impression.  This doesn’t mean creating some fake persona or lying about owning a private jet.  This means learning conversation skills and reading social cues (I’ll get to that in a later post).  A healthy dose of confidence can’t hurt (note: confidence and arrogance don’t mean the same thing).  If you think you’re worthless, perhaps it’s better to hold off on dating and spend a few months working on self-esteem issues.

It’s so easy to blame other people for not liking you, and it’s a lot harder to come up with reasons as to why that might be.  But, dear readers, the work it takes to become a fun, interesting, confident person is what happens in between dates.  So get to it.


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