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How can I get some kind of dating life going?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I've always been kind of a loner and had very little dating success my entire adult life. For some reason this year -- at 36 years of age -- I'm starting to get a little scared. Maybe post-35 was the tipping point that made me realize if I don't do something different I'm probably going to be alone for the rest of my life.

I've tried meetups and online dating, but not much luck.

I've thought about getting a dating coach and/or reading up on PUA and that sort of thing. I am really ignorant on all the important stuff I should have learned by now.

I'm going to this cooking class singles mixer next week, then a big Paleo conference (paleo nutrition/fitness are passions of mine, and there are numerous social events during the conference). I'm trying to fill up my calendar with things that might give me the opportunity to meet interesting women, but I want to make the best use of those opportunities. The meetups and online dates have been horrendous.

Any recommendations, especially on overcoming my lack of confidence and my anxiety approaching women?
post #2 of 48

I started dating much later in life, also, and know the frustration of feeling rather behind and lost. I had a number of ill family members in HS and through college so I didn't 'get out much' as they say, since I was always running home. I'm not particularly social, either -- I'm quite introverted also, which (seems to) make things harder, but mainly because society puts a little more value on the extraverts. But there are girls like us, too.

 

I wanted to go on a date with someone -- anyone -- so damned bad for a while that it actually made me kind of terrified to approach anyone; I was actually shying away from women, generally. I realized that was going in the complete wrong  direction. So I just started talking to women casually wherever  -- literally starting by saying hello and "how are you today" to grocery store cashiers, people at work, wherever, and like, looking them in the eye for real. I always had a penchant for high end cocktail bars, so that was another opportunity for more extended conversations about cocktails with the (often f'ing gorgeous and charming) bartendresses and other patrons. I wasn't trying to pick anyone up or go out with them, just converse. That made it easier, and a more human interaction.

 

Eventually I found someone interesting and after I noticed (that I thought) she was being extra-nice to me, asked her out. Hmmm....didn't work. She was with someone else. Wasn't the worst rejection though. I did that, I swear, like five more times before someone actually said yes. As one gets older there is a little lower likelihood that candidates are available as you know. You just have to keep doing it over and over and over again, which seems ridiculous and is incredibly hard. Eventually, however, it becomes not as hard, and rejectiosn rather lose their sting when women say 'yes' too. If I had not found someone, I probably would have turned to online dating just to be fishing in a pool of unattached persons rather than the wider world where so many of my peers were already partnered.

 

One rule of mine was not to date anyone from work (at least not at first) so if I made major faux pas or screwed up somehow, it would not easily taint my career.

 

Although I'm probably the only person on here who'll say it, I rather hate all the PUA stuff, as the premises seems so nasty.

 

~ H
 

post #3 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dapperdude View Post

The meetups and online dates have been horrendous.

Why?
post #4 of 48

Some of the PUA stuff is novel. It provides some basics to keep on your mind, as well as some nice tricks that you can pull out of your back pocket. Some of it can really scramble a woman's radar, which drives them nuts.

 

That said, it probably shouldn't be taken too seriously. Too many guys spend hundreds of hours soaking up all the information without actually practicing any of it. This leads to a pitfall of having all this theory in your head and having no experience, which causes even more awkward anxiety than there was to begin with. Like any other field, one hour of theory should be followed by ten hours of application. As novel as it may be, it is not a substitute for any of the essential foundations: Confidence, social skills, staying in shape, dressing well, etc.

 

Definitely keep pursuing your passions, and get involved in any local events. Be comfortable and be yourself. Take a page out of Huntsman's book and start engaging strangers in no pressure small talk. Telling yourself "it's just a conversation" definitely helps with the initial anxiety. You will quickly realize that it's fake fear; worst case scenario is an awkward moment that you can chuckle at later. Don't be outcome oriented either. Act like a curious child and go out with the goal of having fun, not with the goal of getting numbers.

 

In the end most of it comes down to body language. Once you get to a place where you are happy and confident, you should get approached and complimented from strangers on a daily basis. Be happy, be congruent, and don't try to be someone you're not (be the best version of you).

 

You can't sit at home and expect gorgeous girls to come to your door; you've given them no reason to. Slowly start putting the work into being the man you want to be. Keep at it, and in two years you'll be shocked at how far you can come.
 

You're on the right track. Keep cooking, and stay away from online dating until you're more confident/experienced.

post #5 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambo View Post

Why?

Horrendous is an exaggeration.

None of the woman I dated I was especially attracted to. I went on the dates because I felt I needed to. One of them was really awckward. Despite a fuzzy online photo, I met this woman and I just knew immediately I was not interested. In another case, I actually went out with a younger woman who I wasn't that attracted to physically because she seemed kind of nice, and in the back of my mind, I thought it might lead to sex. When the opportunity presented itself on the 3rd date, I wussed out and left.

I had a girlfriend a couple years ago whom I met online and had a long-distance relationship with. She was actually fairly cute and that's kind of the standard I use as a yardstick for potential girlfriends, unfairly or not.

Meetups have actually not been that bad but I've never been able to make a lasting contact with anyone I've met. How does that work? Should I send a message afterwards? Try to get their number in person without creeping them out?
post #6 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

IAlthough I'm probably the only person on here who'll say it, I rather hate all the PUA stuff, as the premises seems so nasty.

Yeah, I'm not really interested in tricking anyone, but I think the psychology and gaming aspects of it could be useful.

This guy is offering advice that doesn't seem so bad:
http://deservewhatyouwant.com/

Curious what you guys think of that service.
post #7 of 48
dapperdude, I hate these types of threads for multiple reasons but I sense that you feel like you have a legitimate problem and I'm not that heartless. First off, what is your social situation? What do you do for fun? Do you got to bars, have a large group of friends, travel etc. In other words, in your day to day life, how often do you have the opportunity to meet/talk to women? Second, how remote do you live? Are you in a small town where you bump into the same people all the time or do you live like the unabomber in a shack away from civilization? Are you a recluse, live with your parents? Lastly, in an honest assestment, how do you compare physically to other guys your age? Are you overweight, badly dressed, "eccentric" etc?

I don't believe in any of the PUA or dating advisors stuff, maybe for young guys starting to date, but not for a man you age. I'd like to think that a 36 year old has had enough social interaction where if you find yourself in a possible romantic situation, you would know how to take advantage of it. But then I read about your "long distance" girlfriend (she wasn't your girlfriend) and your wussing out and I think that maybe you need more remedial help.

I would ask myself, why did I wuss out on that young girl. Why was I able to have a long distance relationship with someone but can't seem to have the same with a person close by. In other words, what are you looking for in a mate and are your expectations realistic. What do you have to offer to a woman? How do you best relay that? Will you consider simply having sex with a woman, with no possibility or desire for a relationship (the answer to that is yes btw). from the little you've said, you sound to me like a guy that does not get out much, has a small group of friends, if that, and is lacking in confidence, social grace and an overall desire to sex up women. There is nothing wronmg with any of that, but you would have to change some of it if you want to have success with women.
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dapperdude View Post

Horrendous is an exaggeration.

None of the woman I dated I was especially attracted to. I went on the dates because I felt I needed to. One of them was really awckward. Despite a fuzzy online photo, I met this woman and I just knew immediately I was not interested. In another case, I actually went out with a younger woman who I wasn't that attracted to physically because she seemed kind of nice, and in the back of my mind, I thought it might lead to sex. When the opportunity presented itself on the 3rd date, I wussed out and left.

I had a girlfriend a couple years ago whom I met online and had a long-distance relationship with. She was actually fairly cute and that's kind of the standard I use as a yardstick for potential girlfriends, unfairly or not.

Meetups have actually not been that bad but I've never been able to make a lasting contact with anyone I've met. How does that work? Should I send a message afterwards? Try to get their number in person without creeping them out?

go read through the Adventures in Online Dating thread in DT. Some solid advice in there.

a few things - there's nothing wrong with dating for practice. its somehow become ingrained that we're supposed to be great at this shit. fact is, only about .01% really are. the rest of us need to hone our skills. and not PUA skills, but just interpersonal skills. dating't tough and it takes work to get better at it. so if you have to go out with a few lemons to make your lemonade, fine. don't look at it so harshly.
post #9 of 48
It's been a while since I've dated (since I'm engaged), but I generally treated them as I do now polite company. Show interest in their lives, avoid topics like work or old relationships and tease lightly. Alot of very smart, successful, well accomplished people fail because they tend to go-on about themselves, so avoid doing that. It's not a job interview, you invited them and are interested in them so ask about their interests.

When you meet people who are successful at being social, I think you'll notice they always fire a question about you at you and get you talking about yourself. That's a good approach to take in my experience.
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman View Post

But there are girls like us, too.



Although I'm probably the only person on here who'll say it, I rather hate all the PUA stuff, as the premises seems so nasty.

~ H

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyGoomba View Post

It's been a while since I've dated (since I'm engaged), but I generally treated them as I do now polite company. Show interest in their lives, avoid topics like work or old relationships and tease lightly. Alot of very smart, successful, well accomplished people fail because they tend to go-on about themselves, so avoid doing that. It's not a job interview, you invited them and are interested in them so ask about their interests.

When you meet people who are successful at being social, I think you'll notice they always fire a question about you at you and get you talking about yourself. That's a good approach to take in my experience.

Huntsman has some characteristically thoughtful and sound advice. And H, if I ever meet a girl who can make a cocktail as mean as it seems you can, I'm settling down for good. smile.gif

I'm also with Huntsman and Ed on the PUA stuff. Aside from the issue of whether it constitutes "tricking" people and how you feel about that, it sounds like you're interested in having some sort of connection with someone. If you treat relationships as game theory and are always worrying about what the next move should be -- especially if you have confidence issues to begin with, you'll likely just make yourself nuts. And really, do you want to have a relationship with someone who responds to your real, somewhat introverted self, or someone who responds to the character you play on TV?

Skynny Goomba has good suggestions as well. The only thing I would add is to find ways to integrate that into your personality. In other words, find the place where you're pushing your own instinctive comfort level a bit (you have some old habits to unlearn) but not just faking interest. You can work on breaking down some of your inhibitions and ingrained habits, but you're not going to change who you fundamentally are. Nor should you, of course. And -- importantly -- be at ease with the fact that sometimes you're going to totally strike out (even in terms of trying to hold a friendly, comfortable conversation). It comes with the territory. But it's all good practice toward making yourself more comfortable relating to people.
post #11 of 48
I don't want to sound like an ass, but there are probably a lot of basic social skills you need to work on before moving on to dating.
post #12 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhowie View Post

I don't want to sound like an ass, but there are probably a lot of basic social skills you need to work on before moving on to dating.

That's not really fair, but I realize you're probably speculating based on the information I've provided here. I'm actually a pretty good conversationalist and a polite person.

My tendency, however, is to do things by myself. I'm definitely an introvert.
post #13 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edmorel View Post

dapperdude, I hate these types of threads for multiple reasons but I sense that you feel like you have a legitimate problem and I'm not that heartless. First off, what is your social situation?

Thank you for your interest. I'm single...
Quote:
What do you do for fun? Do you got to bars, have a large group of friends, travel etc. In other words, in your day to day life, how often do you have the opportunity to meet/talk to women?

Mostly I do stuff by myself. Music, movies, etc. I go running and workout (swimming, weights, etc.) a lot -- solitary activities.

I've tried going to bars, and I feel miserable there without anyone I know, but I just don't have that many real friends. Coordinating with the friends I do have is always a pain.

I'm *very* independent-minded. If people want to go out at 9pm, I'm not going to because I keep a regular sleep schedule. I feel like I need to find new friends who share some of the same values and interests, which is why I've started going to more meetups.

I was freelancing for a bit, and I got to know some people at a co-working space. The cool thing about that is they would do social stuff -- go out to bars, throw parties, etc., and I took full advantage of that. I still see that group of people from time to time (there was a party the other weekend where I caught up with a few people, and met some new). Quitting my last full-time job and doing that for awhile was the best thing that happened to my social life. However, I decided to go back to working full time (as a software engineer) because I need the $ and haven't seen those people in awhile.

I thought about pursuing one girl I knew from that group, but I found she was seeing someone else from there, so I didn't.

My line of work is another factor in this. It's been terrible for my social life in general, but especially when it comes to meeting women.
Quote:
Second, how remote do you live? Are you in a small town where you bump into the same people all the time or do you live like the unabomber in a shack away from civilization? Are you a recluse, live with your parents?

I own my a really nice home right smack in the middle of Austin, close to bars, nightlife, Town Lake, etc.
Quote:
Lastly, in an honest assestment, how do you compare physically to other guys your age? Are you overweight, badly dressed, "eccentric" etc?

I'm short/small, good shape (5'6" 140 lbs, athletic build). I guess I feel I don't compare that favorably. I am comfortable with myself but I know that my physical appearance is not my strength.

I could do more to improve my style. I have gone through spurts of trying harder, but got disappointed and gave up. I have a closet full of expensive things that I bought and never wear.
Quote:
I don't believe in any of the PUA or dating advisors stuff, maybe for young guys starting to date, but not for a man you age. I'd like to think that a 36 year old has had enough social interaction where if you find yourself in a possible romantic situation, you would know how to take advantage of it. But then I read about your "long distance" girlfriend (she wasn't your girlfriend) and your wussing out and I think that maybe you need more remedial help.

The long-distance thing was stupid and regrettable, but it was real. We got together many times over the course of a 2+-year period.
Quote:
I would ask myself, why did I wuss out on that young girl. Why was I able to have a long distance relationship with someone but can't seem to have the same with a person close by. In other words, what are you looking for in a mate and are your expectations realistic. What do you have to offer to a woman? How do you best relay that? Will you consider simply having sex with a woman, with no possibility or desire for a relationship (the answer to that is yes btw). from the little you've said, you sound to me like a guy that does not get out much, has a small group of friends, if that, and is lacking in confidence, social grace and an overall desire to sex up women. There is nothing wronmg with any of that, but you would have to change some of it if you want to have success with women.

Good points, and good questions. I don't have all the answers obviously.
post #14 of 48
Thread Starter 
Did I mention I work with a bunch of nerds? Also I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about my job or trying to replace it every year or two.
post #15 of 48
I don't know dapperdfude, it sounds like their are deeper "issues" at work here. You seem to lack some confidence, the job thing you just mentioned is a bit weird, given your age you would think you would try and set down roots at some job and climb the ladder. By "issues", I mean it sounds like there is stuff going on in your head which isn't conducive to you meeting people, dating, having fun etc. You are probably your own biggest obstacle to meeting women. Sometimes you have to stop thinking and just live.
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