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Archive for June, 2009

Lazy Sunday links

I went for a long bike ride today and cut my leg on the chainring. So, when I’m not changing the dressing on my puncture wounds, I’m lying around watching The Tudors on Netflix, resting my sore muscles. Clearly, not a day to write a long post!

Where, exactly, is the friend zone? Here it is, mapped out.

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I always love when I get letters from readers. It makes me feel like people actually trust my opinion. Here are two recent ones!

Letter #1:

I need advice on a situation I’m in. I have been seeing this guy for 6 years and I broke up with him recently because I was unhappy. I don’t see the relationship moving to the next step. I’m 30 going on 31 and I can’t keep being in a relationship that’s going nowhere.

However, after I broke up with him, he suddenly realizes that he wants to be with me. He keeps calling, sending gifts, asking me to take him back, and asking for forgiveness.

I don’t know if I should take him back. He made me unhappy, but at the same time he sounds really sincere that he wants me back.

Should I forgive him? He said he will not stop trying until I take him back.

If someone is really sorry and sincere, do they deserve another chance? We were together for a long time, so does he deserve another chance? I don’t know what to do.

I do a lot of my “research” by reading other advice columnists, so I’m going to do something here that I see them do that’ll hopefully help you decide. I’m going to quote parts of your email to me back to you:

“I have been seeing this guy for 6 years and I broke up with him recently because I was unhappy. I don’t see the relationship moving to the next step. I’m 30 going on 31 and I can’t keep being in a relationship that’s going nowhere.”

“I don’t know if I should take him back. He made me unhappy…”

Nowhere did you mention how much you miss him, or how sad you’ve been since you made the enormous mistake of breaking up with him, or how wonderful things were with him until you screwed it up. Basically, you might give in because he bought his way back into your life. Here’s the thing: You were with him for 6 years. If you didn’t like what you had been getting for 6 years, why do you think it’ll change now? Because you scared him a bit? No one changes that quickly. He has shown you who he is. If you’re okay with getting more of the same, take him back. If you want a chance at a relationship with someone who makes you happy, take some time to figure out what you’re looking for, and then go out to find it.

Don’t stay in a relationship because of inertia. You can’t go through life saying okay to decisions other people make for you. Take time to learn what YOU want. If, after much thought, what you want is to get back together with your ex, okay. If not, move on, and tell him in no uncertain terms that he won’t be getting you back. Like you said, you’re 30 going on 31. Do you want to settle now, or move past a relationship that didn’t work for you and find a better one before it’s too late?

Letter #2

I have a question for you, which after reading several previous entries, do not remember seeing anything similar:
How do you recommend ending a date with someone whom you are either on the fence of seeing again, or you are indifferent to whether you see him again or not?
My last 2 dates (with 2 different guys) were nothing short of unremarkable.  One guy, although seemed nice, got on my nerves by the end of the date and I did not find him attractive. The second guy was not as attractive in real life as he seemed on the internet, plus had a strong body odour which is enough deterrant from seeing him again.
But I lied at the end of the date and said I had a lovely time and that yes I would like to see you again / give me a call.  The former guy called me days later to go out again but I told him I was busy and did not offer an alternative. I have not heard back from him, and neither do I expect to. The latter, the date was last night and I do not care if he phones again or not.
But I want to know if there is a more honest yet tactful, without hurting feelings, way of stating I’m indifferent – maybe we should remain friends and catch up a few weeks from now.
I’ll admit I haven’t been the best about letting guys know gently that I’m not interested in another date. I’m guilty of providing the “I’m busy” excuse, along with not returning calls. Generally, guys pick up on what I was doing there and backed away, but I didn’t feel good about what I had done.

A better way to end a date, if possible, would be to just thank the person for dinner/drinks/movie/etc., but not bring up seeing them again, or having had a lovely time, or asking if they’re going to call. What for? You don’t want to see them again. Hopefully that’s enough. If not, maybe best to let them down gently when they call: “That’s sweet of you to call, but I have to be honest — I don’t think this will go anywhere.” At least you can say that knowing you never went through the “I had a lovely time!” charade.

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Blogger Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point started a great site called Operation Beautiful, where women write encouraging anonymous notes to other women and leave them in public places. Women can be so catty to each other, and so unsure about themselves. We need to help each other out!

Anyway, head to Operation Beautiful for a quick pick-me-up, and, if you’re so inclined, grab some Post-its and a pen and make someone else’s day!

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Don’t be this guy/girl

As the mood strikes me, I’ll wax poetic on some of the characters one could encounter during their dating adventures. I’ll start off with one I witnessed last night.

Don’t be this guy: The Dance Floor Hoverer
I was at a friend’s birthday party. The guests: a mixed group of guys and girls in their 20’s, mostly single. The venue: A swanky bar that tries to be selective and pretentious at the door, but they aren’t fooling anyone. This was followed by dancing at a nearby club. We had all gotten to know each other well enough during the first half of the evening, so when it came time for the dancing, it was not unusual for the guys to dance with the girls without being lame and asking for permission. (Permission? What is this, a middle school dance?)

The Hoverer was part of our group, but rather than be awesome and fun, and just introduce himself to the girls to make it less awkward, he sort of danced, on his own, like two feet away from us. For about an hour.

I was in a group of dancing girls, and it would not have been weird for him to strike up a conversation (be all had the birthday girl in common, after all) and pluck a girl away for a dance. Any one of us wouldn’t have minded. But we did mind that the creepy silent lonely dancer was always there, watching. Several times I even looked directly at him, and he looked back at me, but he didn’t approach me or introduce himself. He just kept hovering, two feet away, not talking to anyone.

Being a wallflower long enough for girls to notice you and start pointing you out to their friends is bad. Don’t be a pansy and flit around like a bug waiting for our permission to talk to us. Be a man.

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This blog has not only resulted in my dispensing a lot of dating advice, it has led me to read up on the subject quite a bit. I did something similar the last time I was job hunting — I read all the career blogs and articles I could find, and some gave pretty radical advice. When I interviewed for my current job, I was so well-prepared that my boss later told me how stellar my interview was.

I also job hunted for 11 months before reaching that point. There’s no amount of reading that could bring you the job openings. They just tell you what to do once you’ve found them. Dating’s a lot like job hunting, so my hope is that when I find a good guy, all of my research will help me not screw things up.

When you read and write about dating, and your friends come to you often for advice, you tend to get a bit judgmental. You notice what other people do wrong: The guy who slouches and looks shy, the girl who shares way too much information about her ex boyfriend to the guy she just met, the guy who talks to a girl for and hour at a party but doesn’t ask for her number, the girl who thinks she should do the chasing because she hasn’t heard from a guy in two weeks. People make a lot of mistakes, and I see them doing it and it makes me feel better about myself, because I can pinpoint these things. In a similar situation, I tell myself, I would know better.

Yet I’m still single. And people I know who make mistakes are being asked out on dates. I asked myself this the other day: What am I doing wrong? I can’t blame the guys I meet, as I’m the common denominator. What am I doing, or not doing, when I meet a guy that results in either him not asking for my number, or him taking my number but never calling it? There’s a disconnect somewhere.

Back to the job hunting metaphor, my uncle taught me this when I was still looking: The resume is to get you an interview, and an interview is to get you the job. If you’re sending out resumes but not getting interviews, there’s an issue with your resume. If you’re getting interviews but not job offers, you’re doing something in the interview to push them toward choosing another candidate. So, break the process down to see which part you need to improve.

As for me and dating, I’m getting stuck on two parts: 1) Meeting guys in the first place and 2) getting them to ask me out, and actually follow through. For now, I’m accepting pretty much every invitation I receive (you can’t meet someone when you’re home watching a movie, after all). I’m also trying to be less judgmental about other people’s mistakes. They might be making a few, but they’re out there, dating. That’s more than I can say about myself lately.

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Here’s why: No one’s going to try to strike up a conversation with me if I’m zoned out listening to music! Besides, it makes you a better target for muggers.

When I stopped listening to music on the train, suddenly I noticed how annoying it is when attractive guys have earbuds in. They might check me out and smile at me, but to talk to me, they have to take the earbuds out (which makes for a slightly less natural pick-up attempt). So they don’t talk to me. Worse would be if they were to keep one earbud in as they talked. Nothing says “I’m not giving you my full attention” like kind of listening to music. And if I were the one listening to music, I doubt they’d even try to get my attention. What are they going to do, tap on my shoulder? Yell? That would be intrusive.

I’ve noticed that more guys check me out when I’m reading a book. Good excuse to get more reading done!

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Reader Deena had the experience where she met a guy through Twitter. They exchanged photos, chatted often, and she grew to have a pretty big crush on him, except for one tiny detail. She didn’t find him physically attractive. Worried about whether or not she might be leading him on, she wrote to me to ask what my perspective was on the matter.

I say you have to find your significant other attractive. Personality factors into this a lot — a person’s character can go a long way in turning them into a 9 from a 5, so to speak. A few advice columnists I read regularly have been asked about this, and they all pretty much agree: Who wants to be in a long-term relationship or marriage with someone they don’t desire sexually, or worse, someone whose appearance is disgusting to them? Life’s too short to not be hot for your significant other.

It’s only shallow if you’re basing your opinion entirely on looks and not on personality. But if you think it over and decide that there’s really no way you could find that person physically attractive, best to just remain friends (if possible) and free them to find someone else who likes the way they look.

As for Deena, conversation between her and the guy eventually petered out, so the issue pretty much resolved itself. Thanks for the question! Keep ’em coming, readers.

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