Advice for a twenty-something lady in struggle

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Post by StrangePanda on Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:42 am

Hello everyone! I’m new to this forum, although I’ve been following the good Doctor for a while now and reading what you guys wrote here and I think you’re all pretty amazing for doing this forum thing Smile. So I was thinking to write my story here because I don’t really have someone IRL to discuss my dating problems. I would really like to hear your thoughts / advice.
First of all, I’m a girl in my mid-twenties, studying in a university in a STEM field. I have huge difficulties in my love life to the point when I can’t even look at couples anymore without jealousy and sadness. Despite my age, I’ve never been in a relationship and my only experience is a drunken kiss several years ago.  I don’t consider myself particularly ugly, but I’m a little overweight (and always been). I know that losing weight would improve my chances, believe me it’s the first thing people tell me when I ask advice. However, I have a difficult relationship with weight loss and been struggling with it all my conscious life, so when someone tells me “just lose some weight!” it’s not really helpful… I have an average face but I like to think that I'm funny. I can have intelligent conversations and I'm a little bit weird (like I can be found at 2 a.m. thinking of how wireless Internet works and how it's amazing and what is the purpose of Univers) but I'm ok with it. I have friends like me so I don't think it's really strange or something...
The point is I don’t know what to do anymore. With every crush I think that maybe, just maybe, this person will like me back and every time it’s not true. I now have like a slight feeling of fear and sadness when I realise I like someone because I don’t believe it will be different because why?  As I said, I’m in a STEM field so I am literally surrounded by guys every day and yet there is no one for whom I am pretty and interesting. So I can’t help but wonder maybe I am really very ugly or very boring / weird / awkward or both. I have some friends, although not much (another topic of sadness), I’m going out occasionally, I try to socialize as much as I can, I speak with people in my classes. When I like someone, I’m not avoiding him; I try to flirt and talk with him, but the thing is when I stop there is never some reaction from him (I don’t know if what I’m saying is clear?). No one yet showed some hints of interest for me and it’s not like I’m not watching, I’m watching carefully but it’s like I’m invisible to my crushes and to guys in general. I don’t know how to avoid becoming a wailing mess of insecurity because I’m pretty much desperate at this point. Is there any hope for me? Sorry for the enormous post… Feeling really sad tonight.

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Post by The Wisp on Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:50 am

Hi StrangePanda. I'm sorry you're feeling sad tonight and I'm sorry you're struggling with this. I can relate a lot.

I can't give any useful advice because I'm in a similar boat, but I do think there is absolutely hope for you.

I'm sure some of the others will be able to help you out! Smile
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Post by reboot on Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:58 am

Welcome to the forum! I just have a few questions before getting all advicey:

1. Do you interact outside of class/lab with many men? What do you do socially in your free time?

2. Personally I think weight loss is over rated as a dating strategy, but you might want to take a close look at your clothes/style to see if they bring out your personality and best features (the rate my style thread here is a good advice source). What do you wear in the day to day? How is your posture?

3. Have you flirted with men? What was the outcome? Have you tried asking anyone out? If yes, how did you do it?
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:41 am

So, this is only one of a few possible suggestions and shouldn't be something you should try if you don't think you're up for it, but have you considered trying online dating? I know it gets mentioned a lot when people give dating advice, but I think it might be particularly helpful to you because I think it's possible you have some of the same challenges dating that I do. When I was in my mid-twenties, I'd by sort of happy accident blundered into dating a couple of people, but I was single again and I've always had a lot of trouble working out some kind of overlap between "I like him" and "he likes me." I tried to flirt but wasn't always getting the message across, I was in school with a lot of men who were bad at interpreting or sending messages or both, and I generally wasn't connecting with anyone who I wanted to date. I found that while online dating came with a lot of chaff that needs to be filtered out - and that I'm not always up for the filtering - that I tend to do quite a bit better when both the other person and I are clear that this is something potentially romantic and that we're both at least marginally interested in each other. I think you might at least want to consider giving it a try - it will also give you the opportunity to meet people who aren't quite so wrapped up in the same academic bubble as you are.
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Post by Jayce on Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:59 am

Hey I've never dated anybody else (or even kissed), it sucks, I'm desperate, and I really really really want to meet someone that I like that also likes me. I used to be chubby/fat a couple of years ago and I've lost weight. It didn't magically solve all my dating problems, it just made my appearance more attractive to look at, made me feel a bit better about myself, gave me more opportunities and some other benefits. Losing weight is not the be all or end all of all dating advice. It helps and it helped me a lot but there are so many other things I realised I also had to work on.


StrangePanda wrote: but the thing is when I stop there is never some reaction from him (I don’t know if what I’m saying is clear?).

I've had a couple of experiences with that. I get it, you talk passionately, you lead the conversation, you flirt, and the other person does not invest as much. They don't flirt back, sometimes they don't even ask things about you, sometimes when the conversation dies a bit they don't make an effort to keep it up. There are so many times where it seems like the other person is just not as interested as I am. There can be multiple reasons for this. Maybe they don't like you, maybe they struggling with conversation/social skills, maybe they are shy, or maybe they weren't even single in the first place. Or sometimes they prefer to follow than to lead, I've met many women who are more of a listener.


Unrequited interest sucks, especially when you feel like you're the one who's always gazing, always hoping that something might happen. I can relate to that.


Since you're in university have you joined clubs that are associated with the interest(s) that you like? It can help you meet more people.

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Post by Gman on Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:29 am

Jayce wrote:Since you're in university have you joined clubs that are associated with the interest(s) that you like? It can help you meet more people.

I'll also add support to the suggestion above. Try joining a social club that isn't made up from just people that you see on a daily basis in classes or that are strictly from the STEM field. Expand your social network a bit. Also, consider joining some sort of physical and social activity in your area - like a jogging/tennis group or anything similar to that. I would also recommend checking out if there any dance classes anywhere around your area. Most of them shouldn't require you to arrive with a partner, as the social norm in such places is to frequently switch dance partners throughout the event. 
I am strong believer that being physical in any sort of way throughtout the week on a regular basis - wether that's going to the gym, dancing, playing tennis, swimming or simply going out for a quick jog once or twice a week -  should help improve your mood and outlook in general.
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Post by StrangePanda on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:17 pm

Thank you guys for responding to my message.
Wisp: Even if you don't have an advice, thanks for your kind message!
Reboot:
1. Usually, I interact with men mostly when I hang out with my friends (who are also men) who invite other friends. We often have study groups too.
2. I'm not a girly girl. I wear mostly jeans + t-shirt (plain or cute/funny). Sometimes I wear dresses or skirts but I am more comfortable when dressed in sporty / casual / geeky clothes. I like leather and denim things, occasionally lace. But mostly I wear simple clothes. My posture is not great because I am a tall girl (5'10").
3. I never asked men out because I don't have courage for it Sad . I flirt mostly like this: try to be often around this person, talk with him, smile often when looking at him , tell my lame jokes, laugh at his jokes. I often look at him when we are speaking or just being in the same room.  If we know each other for a while, I do hugs and the kiss on the cheek thing when saying hello. Oh and I can often be found with a face like a red tomato and smiling for no reason -_-

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Post by StrangePanda on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:36 pm

eselle28: Is it weird that I'm feeling awkward with online dating? I did create a profile and deleted it the same day because I was feeling weird. First of all, I didn't find a lot of men there in my area. I also have no idea how to judge a person by a static picture and a few lines in his profile. I really have to see a person irl moving, talking and reacting to form an opinion on him. I have to mention some guys I did find interesting online wrote that overweight girls are a dealbreaker for them, or tall  girls or sometimes they had misogynistic answers to the questions section or it was clear that they only want sex.   I don't know but every time I re-activate my profile I end up feeling sad that I am not good enough... confused


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Post by reboot on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:43 pm

StrangePanda wrote:Thank you guys for responding to my message.
Wisp: Even if you don't have an advice, thanks for your kind message!
Reboot:
1. Usually, I interact with men mostly when I hang out with my friends (who are also men) who invite other friends. We often have study groups too.
2. I'm not a girly girl. I wear mostly jeans + t-shirt (plain or cute/funny). Sometimes I wear dresses or skirts but I am more comfortable when dressed in sporty / casual / geeky clothes. I like leather and denim things, occasionally lace. But mostly I wear simple clothes. My posture is not great because I am a tall girl (5'10").
3. I never asked men out because I don't have courage for it Sad . I flirt mostly like this: try to be often around this person, talk with him, smile often when looking at him , tell my lame jokes, laugh at his jokes. I often look at him when we are speaking or just being in the same room.  If we know each other for a while, I do hugs and the kiss on the cheek thing when saying hello. Oh and I can often be found with a face like a red tomato and smiling for no reason -_-

OK, so a couple of things you might consider:

1. As many have suggested, expanding your social circle through participating in other activities might be a good call if you are mostly socializing within your study group. Study groups are great for studying, not so hot for socializing or flirting. I am not sure what your interests are but look around on campus and through Meetup to find groups doing something that interests you.

2. Posture and carriage communicate a lot, so you might want to try some yoga to improve your posture. As for clothes, you can totally rock the geek look, but make sure everything fits well, including T-shirts. Avoid the baggy look, have jeans that fit well, make sure pants are long enough, etc. If you are not sure, post a pic on the Rate My Style thread in fashion and beauty and we can help

3. It sounds like your flirting might be undetectable by most people. You might want to consider touching hands or arms. I would also strongly urge you to at least invite someone you want to know better on a friendly date (if not a date date) so you can interact 1:1. It can be as simple as hearing about an event and asking him if he would like to go and then (if you get along) asking him on a real date. The whole "guys ask" thing is a bit outmoded. Yes it is scary. Yes you will probably get rejected at least once. But it is a recoverable experience, if an unpleasant one.

Oh yeah, I forgot to ask, is there anyone in particular you are interested in? Or is this a how to be more appealing to more men situation?
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Post by Autumnflame on Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:42 pm

Reboot's covered good ground so far, so I'm mostly going to expand on her points:

1) I'd recommend look into doing something physical and social. Yoga, you're more likely to meet other women, but it's great for your spine, flexibility and relaxation, and may help with posture. Dance is great for posture, balance and getting used to contact and interaction with many people over the course of the night. Theater and improv, similarly (with a greater emphasis on the interaction than the contact part). (I really can't recommend improv/theater more for just being used to extroverting and projecting out, instead of getting tongue-tied and nervous. Not that it doesn't still happen, of course, but it made me, at least, feel better about being thrown into new situations with new people and taking things on ad hoc.) Martial arts are more focused on the physical side of things, but are a great workout and can lead to bonding with other people, and tended to be more male-dominated when I'd done it. Whichever you find most fun, do something not related to your school/field.

2) One of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten was being told that the way I carried myself really drew eyes (and it was clearly in the context of a compliment). A tall woman with great posture is super-commanding and inspiring! I speak as a woman, admittedly, albeit a woman who is attracted to other women, but you don't want to be with someone who wants you to shrink yourself anyway. A simple way to quickly correct your posture is one DNL speaks of occasionally (that I swear he got from the Wheel of Time's "Cat Crosses the Courtyard" sword form, which is where I learned it): just imagine a string from the top of your head to an invisible strut way above that supports all your weight. Your legs and arms just swing loosely and only serve to move you about and direct you. Relaxed, but long. If you're worried about appearing masculine, you can feminize it by swaying a bit (which tends to happen anyway when you're walking loosely), and keeping your feet closer together or canting one hip to the side/leaning on one foot while at rest.

Clothing-wise, maybe try keeping an eye out for clothes that really make you sing. A really cool pleather jacket, a shirt with lace edging on it, fuckin' awesome stompy leather boots, maybe even lean more toward a casual steampunk or lolita look - whatever is your thing, those are just examples I pulled out of my hat. You want stuff that makes you feel cool and like you look good, not stuff that's just "eh, good enough." (I mean, every closet needs that, too, but it sounds like you've got that covered.)  

I'm mostly focusing on external activities right now, but that's mostly because I've found - personally! - that making improvements to my projected image and activities (read: doing and/or wearing things I thought were cool) made me feel better about myself, which in turn makes me more confident about flirting, asking others out, and being rejected. (And being rejected will 99% certainly happen at some point, if you're in it for long enough. Even the hottest, most fascinating women will get turned down occasionally.) The idea, one hopes, is that you'd fall a little bit in love with yourself and eventually upgrade to thinking you're a pretty cool gal, even if there's no one appreciating it that you'd like to appreciate it right now.

If it's too scary to work up to asking someone out immediately, especially if you're scared that it'll get around to people in your friend circle, try practicing some simple chatting, maybe some flirting with a barista, or a bookstore clerk, or something of the sort. (Don't ask them out - it's rude to do that to anyone who's working - but if you feel you're getting more confident about it, you can move on to asking out that cute guy in one of your classes that you don't know, or the dude on the second floor, or other appropriate-to-hit-on folks.)

Warning: if all this ends up working, being a tall, leather-rocking, confident-walking, sociable woman is likely to intimidate people, especially if you're still in school and surrounded by STEM folks. I would advise getting used to being on the pursuing side rather than the pursued. (And unfortunately I don't really have any advice on how to be the pursued. It's happened, occasionally, but I have no idea how to trigger it. Notably, they also mostly happened after I started doing things I thought were fun and interesting, even if they seemed awkward or scary at first.)
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:35 pm

StrangePanda wrote:3. I never asked men out because I don't have courage for it Sad . I flirt mostly like this: try to be often around this person, talk with him, smile often when looking at him , tell my lame jokes, laugh at his jokes. I often look at him when we are speaking or just being in the same room.  If we know each other for a while, I do hugs and the kiss on the cheek thing when saying hello. Oh and I can often be found with a face like a red tomato and smiling for no reason -_-

All of that is too subtle.

Any given guy you're into has no way of knowing how you behave around guys you aren't into. If you did those things with me and/or my roommate, we would think you were just kind of a shy/awkward person who likes hanging out with friends and making flippant/witty conversation. By coincidence we both find those behaviors and signals attractive and so might ask you out anyway, but I don't think either of us would be able to infer from the behavior you're describing that you were actively trying to get us to do that in the first place.

The jokes thing in particular is kind of an odd one, because I do pick up on it...but only when it's happening between other people, and they're usually oblivious. I think this is because whoever is telling the lame joke in this scenario believes the other person actually thought it was funny, but an outside observer can more easily judge that it definitely wasn't funny enough to merit that laugh unless it was flirting. You might be lucky enough that later one of Dude's friends says "Dude, she's totally into you" based on collected data, but Dude is not very likely to pick up on these signals without some additional help.

I think Autumnflame is ultimately correct that doing things to make you more conventionally attractive / confident might scare away the nerdboys and drive the ball even further into your court as far as asking people out yourself. Since it sounds like you're currently pretty uncomfortable with the idea of doing that, it seems to me this is kind of asking you to do a lot of work after you've already done a lot of work to get those connections, that posture and style, and so forth. Not to say it can't be done—technically I've had to work on all those things, though I went about it in the opposite order—but I totally sympathize if it all sounds daunting and exhausting.

So, I have a totally uninformed alternate proposal: find ways of flirting that are further outside plausible modes of Platonic interaction. A hug/kiss during a greeting is, while not something everyone does with everyone, sometimes a thing that certain people do with everyone. Like reboot said, touching hands/arms is a lot less ambiguous. A tap on the shoulder is a standard way of getting someone's attention, but resting your hand on their shoulder after you already have it is much more obviously affectionate. Goofy expressions, reddening face, or touching your own face are things that work a lot better if you're simultaneously holding eye contact with the other person. Gets around the potential problem that shy nerd boys spend too much time staring at their own shoes, also makes it much more obvious who all the flirty behavior is for, when you're in a room full of single men. Direct compliments get noticed—especially if they are only slightly related to whatever else is going on. (Some context helps maintain plausible deniability, of course, if that's something you want to hold on to for security.)

As a more personal note, as a STEM nerd boy, vague comments regarding my skill at intellectual pursuits generally read to me as either automatic politeness response or awkward attempts to ingratiate and become friends at worst. Not that either makes me dislike the source, but it's gonna be hard for anyone to convince me a random comment like that holds anything beyond Platonic intent. Whereas I also know from a couple of experiences that an unambiguous (exact wording less important if there's supporting context) compliment about my clothes, glasses, face, etc. is like whoa. And would have interpreted romantic intent had the source in each case not been engaged. Razz

This strategy is of course still fundamentally like rigging a tarot deck before someone else reads it, in that their interpretation of things is going to be at least as biased as yours is and they can easily come away with a totally different message than what you intend. But it might feel easier and safer than trying to plunge into new social groups and change your posture/habits and straightforwardly ask dudes out all before you graduate and said social groups start dissolving anyway.

ETA: Also, Wisp's link reminded me—a woman talking about herself is a big deal, as in I find that behavior attractive whether it's a "signal" like DNL describes or not. Dunno how much of that sort of thing you already do, but if you don't then it's definitely something to consider adding to your arsenal.

And of course, co-misery for the whole feeling invisible and unwanted thing. Right there with ya.


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Post by The Wisp on Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:36 pm

StrangePanda, if you want your flirting to be more obvious and less ambiguous, this and this Doctor Nerdlove article maybe be helpful to you. They are written for men about how to see if a woman is attracted to them, but they also in a certain sense double as a guide to sending flirty signals for women. Just try to adopt some of the behaviors DNL talks about.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:40 pm

StrangePanda wrote:
2. I'm not a girly girl. I wear mostly jeans + t-shirt (plain or cute/funny). Sometimes I wear dresses or skirts but I am more comfortable when dressed in sporty / casual / geeky clothes. I like leather and denim things, occasionally lace. But mostly I wear simple clothes. My posture is not great because I am a tall girl (5'10").

I've been trying not to jump in too much because, honestly, I don't have good answers for how to date as a women.
But the tall girl slouch, that I know. The women in our cast seem to come in 5'4" or less and 5'9" and higher. In the latter group, two have enough stage training that they mostly don't do it anymore but all the rest have a posture that tries to hide how tall they are. The earlier they hit their growth spurt, the worse it is. Do you do shoulders and chin in, hunched forward or one hip far to the side? Either way, its worth trying to get over. The easiest way is, whenever you catch yourself doing it, imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling straight up to the ceiling. Lift up with the imaginary pull and the rest of your body will more or less fall into line. It does wonders for your look and your perceived level of confidence.

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Post by Caffeinated on Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:56 pm

StrangePanda wrote:
3. I never asked men out because I don't have courage for it Sad . I flirt mostly like this: try to be often around this person, talk with him, smile often when looking at him , tell my lame jokes, laugh at his jokes. I often look at him when we are speaking or just being in the same room.  If we know each other for a while, I do hugs and the kiss on the cheek thing when saying hello. Oh and I can often be found with a face like a red tomato and smiling for no reason -_-

Like others have said, I think your flirting is too subtle. Like, waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too subtle. In my experience of dating nerdy type men, they very seldom notice any kind of flirting that I'd consider regular flirting, and that I'd assume any other woman watching would think was me just blatantly throwing myself at the guy. In college, I remember one time I was flirting with a guy who soon became my boyfriend, and he later said he didn't know for sure whether I was actually interested in him until I literally sat on his lap and put my arms around his neck. Another guy I asked if I could come and visit him for the weekend, drove the 2+ hours to get there, flirted with him through dinner and drinks, and he later said he wasn't sure I was interested until he took a chance and kissed me and I very enthusiastically kissed him back.

Lots of shy or nerdy or inexperienced guys have internalized a self-image where women aren't interested in them as romantic prospects, and that can result in them having the ability to either not notice flirting or to rationalize away any flirty behavior that has even a whiff of plausible deniability to it.

A semi-silly, semi-serious suggestion: You could harken back to middle school and pass the guy a note that says "I like you. Do you like me? Check one: _yes _no _maybe"
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:03 pm

Big props for offering your own "lame" jokes, though. Lots of women (maybe correctly) figure when a man says he wants a woman with a "sense of humor" he means "laughs at my jokes" instead of "is funny". By participating more actively in flippant dialogue you are probably going to be more successful in filtering out that kind of man (which I opine is a good thing). It is still too subtle to serve as a clue for shy nerds who haven't memorized the Complete Works of Harris O'Malley, but I did want to highlight that as a thing I think you are already doing well. (I just forgot to, earlier.)
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Post by StrangePanda on Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:28 pm

I appreciate all your advice, thanks again Grin
Reboot: well, I think it's both. I never had any success with men and I never talked about it with my friends so I decided to finally write here because obviously I do something wrong (or I'm just plain disgusting Laughing ) but I don't quite know what's wrong... And yeah, there is a guy I find cute but we don't know each other very well (I met him several times when hanging out at a friend's place and we talked but if I don't do the effort he doesn't talk to me). I'm not madly in love with him, I just find him cute but sadly I don't think he really sees me as a romanthic possibility because he treats me as another guy in the room).
Autumnflame, nearly_takuan: I'm a bit confused, I need to do some efforts for my posture / confidence / clothing / socializing, but if I do so, I will scare boys away? Sad What is better, leave things as they are or working at improving myself knowing that it'll make me more intimidating? I understand what you're trying to say but I don't know how to find the right amount of "be better but not too much".

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:00 am

Well, I don't advocate holding yourself back or anything; I did not intend to convey "not too much" as part of my recommendation!

Rather, I think the point is that most (but not all) "nerdy" guys are afraid to actually ask out someone who's out of their "league". (Willing to date: yes, but willing to get rejected by in front of other people: no.)

Because really, there are at least two problems you're encountering.

The first is that men don't seem to notice you. I think that unfortunately in a lot of cases that is probably because you don't conform to expectations/ideals of feminine beauty etc. That sucks, but the external expectations are not really something we can influence (which also sucks).

The second is that men don't ask you out. This is almost as much of a problem as the first problem, if I'm right in assuming that you currently feel very strongly that you don't want to be the one to ask.

Well, you can passively get noticed by becoming more conventionally attractive, but the "danger" then is that you grow out of the nerd-boys' self-imposed "league". Unattainable. Why would they ask you out when they "know" you're just going to refuse? Razz So that puts you in a position of having to actively pursue them, making it clear far beyond any possible interpretation of plausible deniability that you want them to date you.

But I wager based on almost no information about you or your peers that you can also get yourself noticed by just shifting into almost a caricature of flirtatious behavior, and this will also signal interest. I wager based on almost no information that the group for whom this makes a difference is smaller than the group that would only ask you out if you had better posture and so forth, but larger than the group that is currently asking you out on dates.

There are no wrong choices here, really; there are options that require more or less effort, and there are options that are more or less likely to get you a certain number of dates, and there may be options that feel more or less true to your self-identity. You kind of have to decide for yourself what feels right.

I apparently neglected to explicitly say this before, but salt to taste absolutely everything I say here, and then some, because I'm in basically the same situation you describe: "obviously I do something wrong (or I'm just plain disgusting) but I don't quite know what's wrong."
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Post by StrangePanda on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:00 am

I don't think I really have the possibility to become "out of their league" because I can't change my face and my height, and even my body can't look hot because despite my efforts in the previous years I never been able to actually have an attractive  body (unless engaging in some really destructive eating habits).
What bothers me the most is that there are numerous people who said to me: "wait, you're constantly hanging out with boys, you're at a STEM school and yet there was no one interested in you all that time? That's impossible!" and I really have no excuse for this unless I am really ugly, and it makes me feel shitty (it's not to mention my self-esteem is now so low it's on the floor level...)
But I'm rambling right now, I know.
The last week I had a conversation with a close friend (a guy), we were talking about relationships / sex and he said to me that for guys it's very hard to find someone if they don't approach but girls have more chances to do little and still manage to find a boyfriend and that it's virtually impossible for a girl to be a virgin / a relationship virgin past the mid-twenties unless she is disabled physically/mentally, has a very physical default, is very very shy or unless she refuses to date plain and simple. While I know that my friend didn't intend to make me feel sad (he doesn't actually know that I never had someone) and he is very kind and understanding, it made me feel....well, you know how. I did try to smile and to continue the conversation but the moment I left him I started to cry because I was feeling like damaged goods and unloveable and ugly. Even if he himself does not believe that a girl can be normal / not morbidly ugly or anti-social and still be never approached, well I don't know... It's not the first time I hear this idea and it leaves me a depressed mess...
The point is, I don't know how to feel good enough if all points to me not being good enough for someone to find me dateable. Sorry for the rambling. I just feel myself to be too weird to tell this to someone irl.  I feel tears coming to my eyes as I type this.

(I know this post doesn't really relate to what you all wrote me as an advice, I just wanted to get it off my chest because it hurts so much...)

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Post by Werel on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:34 am

Hey StrangePanda, I think others' advice has been really good, but I want to add a couple things:

1) Being tall doesn't make you unattractive*. C'mon girl, models are tall. As a fellow tall lady (okay, 1" shorter than you), please don't believe that junk-- it'll make you shrink into yourself in ways that are way more unattractive than being able to reach things on the top grocery shelf. Same with being overweight-- yeah, it'll narrow the pool of guys who might find you physically attractive, but there's a sizeable pool left over. You think there's a constant flood of BBW porn being produced for nobody? Wink

2)
StrangePanda wrote:The last week I had a conversation with a close friend (a guy), we were talking about relationships / sex and he said to me that for guys it's very hard to find someone if they don't approach but girls have more chances to do little and still manage to find a boyfriend and that it's virtually impossible for a girl to be a virgin / a relationship virgin past the mid-twenties unless she is disabled physically/mentally, has a very physical default, is very very shy or unless she refuses to date plain and simple.

That's one of those beliefs which you hear all the time from dudes (and some women), especially if you hang out in corners of the internet which discuss dating. And guess what? Like many common beliefs, it's just not true. Full stop. Not true, and also hurtful, misguided, and damaging. I know women who lost their virginity in or after their mid-20s, and they're normal human women with friends and cool jobs and fun lives and, in some cases, conventionally attractive bodies.

You're not damaged goods or unloveable or ugly just because a given set of sexual/romantic experiences hasn't happened to you yet. I know that's much easier to hear than to believe, but I hope hearing it from several people will help counteract some of the stupid hurtful messages like the one you got from your friend.

3)
StrangePanda wrote:The point is, I don't know how to feel good enough if all points to me not being good enough for someone to find me dateable.

I know this is probably your jerkbrain talking, but listen: you don't know if anyone has ever found you dateable. You can't know who's been attracted to you but afraid to act; you can't know who might have said yes if you'd asked. You'd have to be a mind reader. All you know right now is that you haven't dated anyone yet.

It is a damn shame that a lot of nerdy men have a lot of trouble approaching women or discerning flirtatious behavior; it's a damn shame that their reticence + male gender role as approacher = women hoping to be hit on by nerdy dudes are often SOL. It's a damn shame that that dynamic seems to be playing out in your own life as a woman in a STEM school-- that the men you're surrounded by are in a demographic that's often less likely to approach women, while you're waiting and waiting for them to approach you. But none of that necessarily says anything about you or your desirability, and none of those societal-level factors are your fault. It'd be like blaming yourself because you're trying to sell a really nice house in a shitty housing market. You didn't set up the economy, and it's not a judgment on your lovely townhome that nobody's able to buy it right now because the housing bubble burst. If that makes any sense.

I'm sorry I can't offer much good concrete advice, but I think what others have suggested might help a lot. I'm also sorry you're hurting about this. If just getting stuff off your chest helps, I'm glad you're willing to share it here.


*With the usual caveats of everybody finding different things attractive and no generalizations holding true for all persons etc. Just societally speaking, assuming you're in the US. If you're not, my bad, I won't try to speak about your society. Smile
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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:36 am

StrangePanda wrote:I don't think I really have the possibility to become "out of their league" because I can't change my face and my height, and even my body can't look hot because despite my efforts in the previous years I never been able to actually have an attractive  body (unless engaging in some really destructive eating habits).
Never mind your face and height and body; honestly, are all these boys in your class such paragons of physical beauty? But good posture, clothing choices, possibly hygiene (shot in the dark) will do plenty to make you physically stand out as an assertive, attractive woman.

StrangePanda wrote:What bothers me the most is that there are numerous people who said to me: "wait, you're constantly hanging out with boys, you're at a STEM school and yet there was no one interested in you all that time? That's impossible!" and I really have no excuse for this unless I am really ugly, and it makes me feel shitty (it's not to mention my self-esteem is now so low it's on the floor level...)
But I'm rambling right now, I know.
The last week I had a conversation with a close friend (a guy), we were talking about relationships / sex and he said to me that for guys it's very hard to find someone if they don't approach but girls have more chances to do little and still manage to find a boyfriend and that it's virtually impossible for a girl to be a virgin / a relationship virgin past the mid-twenties unless she is disabled physically/mentally, has a very physical default, is very very shy or unless she refuses to date plain and simple. While I know that my friend didn't intend to make me feel sad (he doesn't actually know that I never had someone) and he is very kind and understanding, it made me feel....well, you know how. I did try to smile and to continue the conversation but the moment I left him I started to cry because I was feeling like damaged goods and unloveable and ugly. Even if he himself does not believe that a girl can be normal / not morbidly ugly or anti-social and still be never approached, well I don't know... It's not the first time I hear this idea and it leaves me a depressed mess...
The eternal argument. For what little it's worth, I've been on both sides of that same conversation multiple times: I've known women who brazenly insisted men have it easier because nobody thinks we're weird if we strut right up and straightforwardly ask things. I've had friends who treated it like an earth-shaking revelation that I wasn't swimming in romantic prospects (which I assume is what that friend thinks of you, unless he is putting you in the "very very shy" category) and friends who were thoroughly unsurprised (but still uninterested in explaining).

So, I'm very sorry people said those things to you. That was damaging and pointless.

StrangePanda wrote:The point is, I don't know how to feel good enough if all points to me not being good enough for someone to find me dateable. Sorry for the rambling. I just feel myself to be too weird to tell this to someone irl.  I feel tears coming to my eyes as I type this.
And I can absolutely relate to feeling not good enough. I am currently feeling not good enough, but maybe saying that is like saying I have a headache when you have a searing migraine.

When you're feeling a little better about yourself, though, I'd suggest focusing a little more on the flirting suggestions, particularly what reboot and DNL wrote. Because guys can be shy and insecure too. Ironically, the guys who already do respect and admire you enough to want to ask you out might just be holding off because they assume you're already so much cooler than them that you'd refuse. So that is where making your interest in them obvious comes in.
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Post by The Wisp on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:46 am

Awww, StrangePanda I just want to give you a hug through the monitor Sad

What Werel said is true. You don't know if any guys have found you dateable. All you know is no guys have approached you. But maybe they didn't approach because they were shy, or thought you were so awesome you were out of their league, or assumed you already had a boyfriend because they admired you. In fact, I would imagine it's very likely that some guys have had a little crush on you but didn't approach for those reasons.

But in any case, I know first hand how crushing loneliness can be, so I send you jedi hugs with the force and hope you feel better.
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:56 am

StrangePanda - I simply must comment now.  Your friend is wrong, dead wrong, but yes it is such a widely held belief amongst men.  Take it for what it really is, it's meant to be bemoaning the lot of men not the lot of women.  It's meant to say "Men have it so hard and women have it so easy it's so unfair!!"  It's a male pity party, that is all.

I did not lose my virginity for a long time (into my mid 20s) and it was a horrible experience for me.  I was miserable, left behind, I felt freakish and utterly unwanted.  And here's the very not humble truth of the matter: I'm good looking.  Quite good looking.  I'm a slender woman of "appropriate" height, I'm white, I'm outgoing and have tons of friends, I went to all the parties and I certainly was not saving myself for anyone.  But no one wanted me. To date, to be an FWB.  And I felt all the things you are feeling because obviously it should be so easy for women right?  To this day I've never had a man who wasn't a friend buy me a drink, or any of those supposed things that happen to women all the time.

I tell you about my privileged status in appearance so that you see that it has absolutely nothing to do with appearance.  And over time (I'm quite a bit older than you Smile ) I have learned that it wasn't that I wasn't worthy either.  It was a matter of bad luck, of bad timing, of yes, not being good at showing I was romantically interested in others.  And yes, being of a particular personality that can be intimidating to men (well, people in general).  

You are worthy.  I am worthy.  We are all worthy of love here.  I think the fact that people come here and not other rather disgusting sites is example enough of that.  I think you have excellent pragmatic advice from others, but let mine be a pep talk.  What your friend said was not true.  Not at all.  And do not think it is for even a second.

Oh.  And btw.  I happen to have two girl friends who are both 6'2".  And while they are not overweight, they are not skinny models either.  They are voluptuous women of awesome.  Both stand tall and proud, shoulders back.  Both wear heels.  And both have been very successful romantically (both partners are shorter than them, gentlemen take note).  I say this to you to be confident and proud of your height.  Watch some GAME OF THRONES and worship Brienne of Tarth.  Love your height.  Own it.  Walk with pride.  It's gorgeous.

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Post by ggobsessed on Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:44 am

Oh man, I feel you so hard. So first thing is that losing weight only gets you more attention, If you are really looking for a relationship, losing weight isn't much help. I suppose in a way it gives you more options in that you'll garner more attention, which can be leveraged in to a relationship. It doesn't seem like it would be worth it for you. Far more important is maintaining a healthy relationship with food and weight.

It is entirely possible that these dudes see you every day and are so used to you that you feel like one of the guys to them. In a way that's good because you know they're not changing their behavior to impress you. If you like one of the guys and he doesn't seem responsive, one possible way to rectify it is to change how you dress. Even if you don't change any aspect of your behavior, if you dress sexier, the guy WILL notice you in a different way. Now, what he does with that is entirely up to him, but it is totally possible that you could go from total platonic friend/acquaintance to potential gf.

Of course, you might not feel comfortable doing that, and don't do it if that's not something you'd feel comfortable doing - which is obvious.

I do think the main problem, the one that underlies all that, is that you might be undervaluing your own worth as a sexual being because you are so inexperienced. The only thing that can change that is true introspection. And once you feel your worth, your interactions with guys will change. Now, obviously it's easier to feel confidence with guys when you know guys want you, and how can you think guys want you when guys have barely kissed you? But if your sense of worth comes from guys giving you sexual attention, it's not real and will disappear when the attention goes away. If you recognize your own sense of worth, which is fucking HARD, I can tell you, guys will respond and you'll respond differently, which will lead to more experience, which will lead to even more confidence.

It's the first step that is crucial, and it's sooooo hard. But it's worth it.

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Post by ggobsessed on Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:47 am

Oh man, I feel you so hard. So first thing is that losing weight only gets you more attention, If you are really looking for a relationship, losing weight isn't much help. I suppose in a way it gives you more options in that you'll garner more attention, which can be leveraged in to a relationship. It doesn't seem like it would be worth it for you. Far more important is maintaining a healthy relationship with food and weight.

It is entirely possible that these dudes see you every day and are so used to you that you feel like one of the guys to them. In a way that's good because you know they're not changing their behavior to impress you. If you like one of the guys and he doesn't seem responsive, one possible way to rectify it is to change how you dress. Even if you don't change any aspect of your behavior, if you dress sexier, the guy WILL notice you in a different way. Now, what he does with that is entirely up to him, but it is totally possible that you could go from total platonic friend/acquaintance to potential gf.

Of course, you might not feel comfortable doing that, and don't do it if that's not something you'd feel comfortable doing - which is obvious.

I do think the main problem, the one that underlies all that, is that you might be undervaluing your own worth as a sexual being because you are so inexperienced. The only thing that can change that is true introspection. And once you feel your worth, your interactions with guys will change. Now, obviously it's easier to feel confidence with guys when you know guys want you, and how can you think guys want you when guys have barely kissed you? But if your sense of worth comes from guys giving you sexual attention, it's not real and will disappear when the attention goes away. If you recognize your own sense of worth, which is fucking HARD, I can tell you, guys will respond and you'll respond differently, which will lead to more experience, which will lead to even more confidence.

It's the first step that is crucial, and it's sooooo hard. But it's worth it.

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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:27 am

I'd tell you to not worry about your height StrangePanda, but as a person who is on the other end of the spectrum, I understand that that's easier said than done.

I'd wager to say that there's quite a non-insignificant portion of guys who may be intimidated/uncomfortable about your height and I'd imagine that that feels pretty shitty (Add shy, insecure men to the mix and....well). Those men are not who you want in your dating pool anyway, because you being taller than average is not an indictment on you. And fuck the men who may give you shit for not fitting the 'ideal'.

Be kind to yourself. Never apologize for your height. Ever. I hope the badfeels pass someday.

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