Ask Dr. NerdLove: What Can You Do When Your Best Is Not Good Enough?


Hello, Doc,

I am a single bisexual dude. Then I hit 30 and began to worry I had missed the chance to find someone. I decided it was time to put effort into attempting to date because it clearly was not happening on its own, but I was not in a good place emotionally to begin. It took a year of working on myself then for a place where I finally feel confident and able to really put myself out there.

I am on essentially every big dating program and site now. I compose thoughtful messages, select people based on their interests or personalities, avoid conventionally attractive individuals since they are already overwhelmed with attention, and I attempt to be open-minded concerning appearance, physique, age, sex, and sexuality. I put plenty of time and effort into creating the best profile I could, and I try to connect with as many possible matches as possible.

I mentally prepared myself for all sorts of rejection, but I can not even get to the area where somebody might reject me because I never hear back from anybody. I don’t actually get any answers or interest or messages from men or women (not counting the arbitrary 50-year-old men who just happen to be throwing out dick pics in all directions and seeing what sticks)

I turned to the world wide web to find out what information was out there for single folks who had been ineffective, and it seemed to boil down to information for improving yourself, but… What if I am already trying my best with all that? To cover some of those”you need to fix yourself” advice: I like fashion and dress nicely, I use an embarrassing amount of skincare products and set lots of care into my look, I am at a healthy weight, in good shape and workout a lot, and I’m currently in therapy to work in my melancholy and mindset. I have met all of the singles I could expect to meet through my current social circle. I go to meetup groups and things like that. I’ve taken all of the advice I can on taking great photographs and having a fantastic profile and sending good messages on dating websites. I have plenty of hobbies (solo and with others ), hard-earned abilities and interesting life experiences, and I believe that I’m a fantastic conversationalist, humorous, passionate, affectionate, and overall a great guy with lots to offer! And it has taken me a great deal of hard work to get to the point where I could say that and feel like I am good enough for somebody else.

I honestly think I am being the best version of myself I can, but the final result is that I am still not good enough for anybody. There’s a large part of me wondering when I am already following what all the information states and doing my best but still failing, there has to be something really wrong with me. I do have an ugly face and I am short, but I can not do anything to change that, so I have been trying to make up for it with all the excellent qualities that I really do have. Recently, though, I have begun to wonder if these might be defects that other individuals won’t be prepared to check beyond no matter how hard I try.

Nobody owes me anything, obviously, and I do not blame anybody for my lack of success, but it still stings to feel as though I am not up to par for anybody out there at my very best.

If my best is not good enough, and my worst qualities are ones that I can not physically change, where do I go from here? When I started trying online dating a couple of months back, I did not expect it to be a massive success, but I was optimistic that I would at least be able to get a few people willing to go on a date with me. Now I’m beginning to doubt I have any value to others, and I am very ashamed of myself, particularly when I have single friends of all types success with OLD where I am failing miserably.

I am doing my best to remain positive and barrel, but I feel like most my hard work to feel worthwhile has unfortunately begun to fall apart because of this. Should I wait to turn 50 and ship out dick pics to all the strangers I could find? Please assist!

Doing My Best, Beginning To Stress

First of all DMBSTS: you will need to give yourself some credit for the work you have done. You’ve put plenty of work into your mental wellbeing and into your life and that is outstanding. You’ve done a lot on your own and no matter of how things are going at this moment, you have achieved more than you understand. You should be proud of all that.

Second of all: You know what words jumped out at me? “Dealing with my melancholy”. This is an important issue and one which casts doubt on some of your claims of defects because depression is a fucking liar. Depression whispers in your ear your worst fears and anxieties are accurate, that all your defects are worse than you had thought and everything is pointless. And it’s all the more persuasive because not only does it reach your best anxieties, but it does all this with your own voice. And I have been there, I have done that, I have done the job and I am here in the future to tell you that this basic truth: all {} things depression tells you is bullshit.

As I’ve stated more instances than I could count within this column when I had a nickel for each self-proclaimed”ugly” man who turned out to be anywhere between ordinary to”no, you are really good looking”, I would be needing mecha fights with Elon Musk at a life-size mock-up of Tokyo 3. We zoom in on what we assume are our imperfections once we look in the mirror, because we’re hyper-focused on them. We see them clear as day and twice as big because we are so knowledgeable about the topology and landscape of our face that they stand out to us like mountains.

Depression and anxiety take all that and dial it up to 11, and then it snaps off the dial since FUCK YOU THAT’S WHY.

Like I said: depression is a liar, and it’ll beat you down if you let it. That is why it’s great that you are working with a therapist about it. Getting depression in check and realizing just how much of it’s bullshit will be the single best thing you can do to help yourself. Learning how to love yourself is a massive part of relationships. It is not that you need to think you are the hottest thing since World War III or that you are perfect and anyone would be a fool to NOT be with you. It’s learning how to think that, even if you’re not perfect, you are still worthy of love. Even in the event that you have flaws, you are still worthy. Even if you’re not getting the success that you wish you had, you are still worthy.

That is something to hold on to, even if it feels like there is nothing you can do.

But that does not mean that the answer is”stop trying to date till you get your melancholy managed”; it is just tact which you ought to pursue while pursuing relationship. Another is shifting up how you are coming dating because right now, you are getting in your own way.

So let’s talk a bit about what you are doing and what you could do differently.

I believe the first issue is that you’re attempting to do too much all at once and you are giving yourself a horrible case of burn-out. This is truly common, especially among men. There is a trend for men to be what The Love Gap writer Jenna Birch calls”linear developers“: we tend to treat everything as a linear procedure. So that we spend a whole lot of time doing anything but relationship, so by the time we are ready, that is the only thing we do. So now we are insanely invested in the outcome because we have just put all this work into getting to this stage for ages.

Plus it makes things difficult because lots of times, the people we want to date — especially straight women — develop as a net: cultivating and growing their lives more or less concurrently. So they have been prepared to date and frustrated with the fact that they are on a different timeline than the people they are interested in.

So now there is a massive disconnect between possible games, which fuels the frustration since here we are, we are finally ready and nothing is happening. And that rips us square in the ghoulies because after living for this moment, our self-worth becomes so wrapped up in the outcome that this lack of achievement means that everything else we have done is worth and we are worthless.

And our psychological resilience falls apart.

Take on your case, DMBSTS: you are putting in all of the energy and getting nothing back, which is cratering your self-esteem. Part of the problem is that, honestly, you are putting in all of the effort. You are throwing a lot of yourself into this that you don’t actually have any reserves. Worse, you are doing it so widely and inefficiently that you have made it tough to find any returns on your emotional investment. So you will need to dial this back.

How you are on”every dating program out there” is a good example of this. Even allowing for hyperbole, when you split your focus over multiple dating programs, you wind up spreading yourself too thin. You’ve got too many people, too many programs, too many messages and spend too much time on all them. You wind up with the paradox of choice (too many choices ) and diffusing your energy and time. So begin by narrowing your focus to one, possibly two programs at the most. Various programs have different cultures and draw various audiences. Match is more oriented for serial monogamists while Tinder is shallow and shallow by design. Bumble and Hinge are both aimed more for people searching for relationships, while Scruff, Grinder and Recon are more hook-up oriented. And a curse (individuals searching for one-night stands maintain deluging people who are searching for commitment).

Pick one or two that {} with your immediate objectives and the sort of person you’re searching for, and allow your other accounts go dormant for some time. If you choose to switch apps, have a one-in, one-out strategy, to keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed.

Next: dial back the amount of investment you are making. As counter-intuitive as it might appear — even considering some of my advice about the topic — you’re putting too much effort in that first message. It’s great to be private and considerate, but there is a point in which you’ve spent so much in that message that the lack of reaction wrecks you. Your goal should be two-fold: get them to take a look at your profile and get a dialogue started. Do not overthink it, do not place too much time into it and do not write them a book. Give them a reason to check out you and also to reply to you. Ask a question, have loads of conversational hooks in your profile and then proceed to another person.

As importantly: message the people you’re attracted to. That bit about not texting the attractive people? That is not you making a wise play, that is you screwing yourself over since you do not think they may be interested in you. It is just another way that you let your melancholy rule your life and cheat yourself from potential happiness. Not messaging them does not improve your chances, it simply means that you keep on telling yourself that you are not good enough to attempt to even speak to them. Reinforcing your own sense of worthlessness is not a successful relationship strategy, even when you’re dressing it up in a lost sense of consideration for others.

In this day and age, most individuals are not meeting their spouses through Tinder and OKCupid, they are fulfilling them through work, through friends and through shared tasks. Living your life in such a way that it brings you in contact with others with similar interests is part of how we increase our potential dating pool. And in fairness: you are doing that. But part of the issue, I guess, is that you are approaching this as”If I go to X, I’ll find Y people I wish to date,” that is a mistake. Your goal in fulfilling people ought to be just that: meeting people. If some of them are people you will want to date right off the bat, then yahtzee! But most folks are not; that is nothing to do with them or you, that is just numbers. We are not attracted to everybody we meet, or even nearly all people we meet — especially right off the bat. The amount of people we meet that we would like to date immediately is modest. The amount of people we develop brought to as we get to know them? That is much higher.

As importantly, you may not meet people that you wish to date in that Meetup or in your social circle… but you more likely to meet somebody who’ll introduce you to the men and women that you want to date.

That, however, is another location where you must be ready to take the initiative. If you’re trying to boost the amount of possible partners, then ask your friends for assistance. Tell them you are looking to date and do they know anybody that you may click with? They might not have anybody in your mind right off the bat… but the window does not slam shut if they do not have anyone right then and there. You are meeting and getting to know people all of the time and so are they. So if they know you are single and looking and they meet someone new who may be your specific shot of whiskey? They then know to try putting you two together.

But the main thing you will need to remember? You will need the ideal person in the perfect place, at the ideal time. That can be tough to get to lineup. A few of the people you meet might not be in the perfect place, for you or for them. Or they might not be the perfect person yet.

A smart man once said: it is possible to generate no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness. That’s not a indication that there is something wrong with you. That is just life. But so long as there is life, there is the opportunity to make everything work.

What you can not do is compare your trip to anybody else’s. Some people have a simpler time in relationship which has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you personally. If you were to do the exact same things they did, you’d get completely different results compared to . Not because there is something wrong with you, but since you are not them.

And your journey is far from over. This is not the end. This is not even the start of the end. This is the end of the beginning.

Very good luck.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: When Can I Give Up?


Hi Doc,
In the past few months I have felt really tired like I had lost all of my energy and the one thing I need to do is remain under my sheets. It’s not like I would like to sleep, in reality I have not slept well in months. Everytime I go to bed I remember how pathetic and sad is my life and how unworthy am I.

I am 25 and because I left school (one year) I have been in a lot of occupations interviews and all have contributed to nothing. I know it’s supposed to be challenging but each time my hopes of landing a job have been crushed and I am scared that I will never get a job and I will never have a life and I am running out of time and waste my life. I don’t need to be a loser or a burden to my loved ones.

I have never had a girlfriend and that I never kissed or held hands with a woman in my life. Back in high school virtually every girl in my class told me how ugly I was and that I’d die alone and so far they’ve been right. I have approached many women before and always got rejected (occasionally is just a’hi’ and they look at me like GTFO) I have to conclude I am hideous or well below a minimum acceptable standard, because 100 percent of the women I’ve met did not like me. I do not try anymore because I am scared of being laughed or ridiculed.

I know you’ve been through hard times and low points in your life and I guess I need a word of advice about the best way best to keep going. I feel like I am giving up on everything and I really don’t know what to do.

Alright, ATL, you have got a layered collection of issues, and the overarching issue is that you are trying to deal with these in the wrong order. Examples of yours are like math; you will need to address things in the proper order to get the perfect result; otherwise you wind up getting an answer that appears correct but ultimately does not solve anything. Trying to discover a relationship, as an instance, is the incorrect answer. You are not in a situation where you are able to locate one or keep one. Not because you are worthless or as you are undeserving but since you won’t be able to. In your present state, you won’t think that individuals can find you attractive and you’re going to brush off the people who show interest lying or a mistake. You will take people’s answers in the worst possible light, whatever they actually did or said. Those girls you insist were looking at you enjoy GTFO? I can assure you that this is the mind taking a look at things and searching for the worst possible interpretation.

So let us discuss orders of operation.

In cases like this, you will need to work from the inside out. So first things first, ATL: the symptoms you are describing right at the very top? That is depression, man. Not”I have the blues”, but chronic depression. The listlessness, the lack of energy which no quantity of sleep appears to mend, the self-critical ideas as you lay in bed? Those are incredibly common signs of depression. That is why the first thing you will need to do is consult with a therapist and start getting that under control. And as somebody who wrestles with depression himself, I am here to tell you: that shit ai not straightforward. There is no one-size fits all answer. Some people respond nicely to cupping therapies such as Mood Gym or cognitive behavioral treatment. It may take time to locate the plan of action that’s ideal for you. It might not be any 1 thing; you might need more than 1 alternative working in conjunction to help pull you out of the morass and feel as though you’re back in control again. And that is fine. There is no shame in needing help, and being prepared to really take action to get better is a sign of strength.

And while it is by no means by any stretch of the imagination, exercise, meditation and yoga can surely help give you a greater feeling of control. Becoming active gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping, which helps your mind produce endorphins. Meditation and yoga help you get your racing thoughts under control and also teach you how you can find some much-needed calm and quiet at times when it looks like your anxieties are whispering in your ear like Grima Wormtongue. It won’t fix your issues, but they can help give you just a bit more power to continue and to push through.

Your next step will be dealing with basic lifestyle difficulties. Unemployment is awful in general, but for a good deal of men, it strikes on an existential level; we develop the notion that a Real Man Is A Provider and a Real Man is self-sufficient. This is part of why we get so anxious about problems like living with our parents or being”a burden”; it is not only the guilt of relying on other people, however, the fear that this marks us Not Men. If you are not living on your own without assistance from anybody… well, are you an adult? Are you even a guy? But the issue is that, while the stock exchange might be doing gangbusters and CEOs are pulling down record gains, the market still stinks for everyone who is not a multi-millionaire. Jobs are scarce and insecure — especially as businesses get”disrupted” and automation proceeds to eliminate tasks entirely — so everybody lives with the awareness that the job they have now might not even exist tomorrow.

This is the reason your next step is simply getting work. It doesn’t have to be your dream job. It doesn’t have to be the last job you will ever have. It just has to be something which gives you that feeling of control back, a combination guide-rail and stepping stone. It is something to steady yourself long enough to feel like what is not hopeless, you can then use to proceed to a new and better job. So in the event that you must join the gig market temporarily… do it. If you will need to get a job stocking shelves or pouring asphalt, then do it. This is only temporary, something that will help you get your feet under you. Save up your money as best you can so that you can take your next step — if it is finding roommates and a flat, freelancing, creating a side-hustle or taking time to go hit the job market like it is a piñata and you would like to have that delicious candy inside.

However, you will not be looking for a girlfriend; you are simply going to build your social life, holistically. You are going to make finding friends and strengthening the bonds together with the friends you already have. Possessing a solid circle of friends — people who love you, care for you and that encourage you. I realize it is not quite as sexy — as it were — as going out and finding Hotty McHotterson and eventually getting that first kiss or losing your virginity… but it is what you need much more right now. Most guys are desperately lonely and do not have a solid group of friends; as a result, they place all their psychological burdens on their wives and wives. This taxes their connections under the best of circumstances, but in addition, it isolates them. If their spouse is their sole source of emotional support, interacting and psychological intimacy, then those spouses become a single point of failure. Then you would be back in the place you are in now.

So, as I said. Order of operations, guy. The further you get your life in order, the happier, the more fulfilled and the more confident you will be. And that, in turn, will make it easier for you to discover a relationship.

Finding these aspects in your life will form the stable foundation which you can use to build on. You won’t feel out of control or at the mercy of this toxin your depression is dripping on your ear. You will be in a situation where you are going to have the ability to recognize your value and understand that you’re deserving of love. More importantly, however, is that being unmarried or not will not be what defines you as an individual.

I get that it is hard. I get how hopeless it feels at the moment. However, I am here to guarantee you: it’ll be ok.

You’re going to be ok.

I promise.

I am a female in my late 20’s with a version of a problem you have heard before. I can not get a date. The last guy I dated was in school and we were best friends first and changed to a connection as it became apparent we had feelings for one another.

I do lots of activities where I am around people. I play D&D with a number of groups of people (eternally DM), volunteer at church in places where I am about other people my age, go to the gym, play intramural sports, and hang out with friends where I could meet more of the social circles. My friends describe me as fun, friendly, flirty when I need to be, passionate about what I enjoy, witty, independent, and amusing as hell. However, I am quite analytically minded, pragmatic, and not very good at showing my emotions. When I jokingly asked which Star Wars character I was most like, they {} said R2-D2 or K2-S0. I’m also fairly overweight, but I am working on it and know that won’t change immediately.

I have plenty of guy friends, so I understand I get along well with men. They take initiative and invite me along to matters; it is not like I’m just tagging along with them. However, it’s never more than that. Anytime I attempt to ask a man out, which only occurs after significant flirting and it feels like they’re curious (and friends tell me it seems like they’re interested-so it is not just me misreading signs ), it is said that they simply think of me as a fantastic friend. And men ask out all of my single friends, but not me.

What am I doing wrong? I am not going to mope around and say”woe is me, I will be single forever”. When there’s something that I should mend, I’ll get right on it. Is it that I am not attractive enough? Or am I completely missing something else?

Here is my question for you, TMBF: Can you feel attractive? Not in the sense of”here are all the dudes that think I am hot,” but how you think of yourself. Can you look in the mirror and think that you’re sexy? Or do you look at the things you believe are your defects and consider looking good despite them?

How you describe yourself and how you describe your look makes me suspect it is the latter. I’ve known plenty of people, especially people who are obese, who look at their weight as the disqualifier from… well, everything. They don’t feel as though they have a right to dress well, to put effort into their presentation or to simply think of these as being a hot bad-ass. And that feeling of”I am not good enough” will get in the way of, well, everything. Because straight talk: there are folks out there who like big women, just because there’re people who like big men. And I do not just mean fetishists or those who believe that obese women are distressed or will put up with more bullshit, people that are attracted to and want big women and desire relationships together.

But it’s tough to find them when you do not feel as though you’re permitted to believe you are a sexy badass.

So my first suggestion for you is to begin treating yourself like you are hot. Find the things which make you feel unstoppably magnificent. Maybe it is a kick-ass dress. Perhaps it is another make-up routine. This is not about changing yourself to somebody else’s perfect, but in finding the things that make you feel like a goddamn package of awesome that individuals would be crazy to pass up. Because, like I am often saying, mindset is fate. And recognizing that you are money and knowing that individuals would be blessed to date you changes the way you approach relationships and relationship.

My next suggestion would be to examine how you are coming across to people. If you’re slightly more emotionally reserved and pragmatic just because that is how you obviously are… cool, you do you. But if you are holding yourself back because you do not feel as though you’re permitted to have a presence or express yourself… well, that’s when it is time to give yourself take a bit more emotional space. It might be that your cool demeanor and book might be putting people off because they believe you are not interested. It might be that by leaning into your passions and letting those passions become a bigger part of your life, you will feel empowered to become more expressive.

My third suggestion is to give things time. Sometimes the issue doesn’t have anything to do with you and what to do with the people around you. It might be that in your age and in your social circles, you are with people that aren’t mature enough for you; god knows that those men who like big women frequently have to overcome plenty of societal programming that informs them that their desires are black and that they should just want conventionally hot ladies. It can also be that you {} been in a position to satisfy the perfect guy yet. A very good friend of mine spent years dealing with assholes who would tell her to her face that she had been good enough to fuck, but not great enough to date. She was convinced she was going to die alone, unloved and unmourned.

A couple years later, I officiated at her wedding.

As unhelpful as it might sense, at times the issue isn’t something which you could fix; it’s only a matter of demographics and time and waiting for items to line up properly. Which ai not fun… but it also suggests that this too will pass.

You have got a lot going for you TMBF, and I guess that the more you adopt your amazing, the more chance you’ll ever have. Live an great life which makes you feel amazing and the rest will begin to care for itself.

Very good luck.

This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: When Does Rejection Stop Hurting?


What is happening Doc,

I am in need of some tips on the best way best to take rejection better. Not always in the moment when it happens because I feel like I have become a pro at that, but in the days that linger on until you have met someone else you are into and also the person who rejected you remains on your social orbit.

Here’s a story to illustrate what I mean:

So first things first, I am heavily involved with the stand-up comedy scene in my hometown. I perform, assist run shows, and manage lots of the marketing. This also means that I am a familiar face at some of the pubs in the city where shows occur. Second things second, there was this girl, see…like lots of these stories go. We go from sharing smiling glances from throughout the bar to breaking up the ice. Some nights we would speak with one another, other nights we would stick to our own social groups because she does not normally come to the pubs I do shows at to the stand-up comedy, she simply has a great deal of friends who go to the exact places.

Anyhow, on one particular night we wind up interacting in the same general group following a series until the team wittles down to just the two of us, and then proceed to ask her on a date. She informs me that she is in a newish connection but is flattered by the suggestion. I try my best to place any nervousness she may have at ease by cracking a few jokes; leaving not too long after by wishing her a great night, which she smiled ear to ear and seemed to genuinely value.

So hey, seems like a favorable story? I didn’t get what I wanted but in accordance with my observation she seemed to find my effort charming and I put myself out there even though I did not know where I’d land. I have not dated someone in more than a year because of being, frankly, devastated from losing a job I loved (albeit at a poorly paying business ), and have been regaining confidence by going back to college to get a higher paying career shift that’s finally beginning to show its upside. I admire her choices and don’t have any intentions of asking her or even referencing it in jest.

Thing is, the next time we were in exactly the exact same bar I frankly had no damn clue how to behave around her. We did not talk, I stuck purely by my friend group the whole night, at the one moment where our glances met by chance I averted my eyes instantly, and I left the pub the first opportunity I could after getting paid. Basically I feel like I went from being a fun man in her existence to a walled-off coward in the area of just over a week. I believe a huge part of this is that I have taught myself to roll with the punches when it comes to girls turning me down because I am confident I can/will find somebody who’s into me, but on some level I am embarrassed by being the identical space with somebody who I’ve been exposed in front of, however briefly and comparatively irrelevant.

So Dr. NerdLove, I am not too concerned about what I need to do regarding this particular girl since I’ll really be away from my hometown for the upcoming few weeks for work and any remaining awkwardness will have faded by then. What I’m concerned with is being ashamed about the rejection after the truth. It certainly makes me wonder how cool I really am with rejection when I have a lingering shame about it. Is there a way to deal with the fact that jealousy is in fact just irreparably humiliating and no amount of steely confidence at the moment it occurs can overcome that? Is there a lesson to be learned from my letter that anybody else could benefit from?

Barfly Affected by Emotions

So I’m gonna be honest here: you are kind of inventing a problem on your own, BAE.

I mean, you did everything right. You saw someone who is a regular on your different hang-outs, you must know her, the both of you have comfortable enough to hang out and speak by yourself, you made your move without hesitation and took her refusal with great grace. While it’s a shame that things did not work out, those are literally what I tell people to do if they see someone they are interested in.

Here’s the part that is not quite lining up for me, BAE: why should you behave any differently around her? Literally nothing has changed. It is not like you were harboring deep feelings for her or that you had a friendship of longstanding and your asking her on a date unexpectedly altered the context of your connection. Likewise it is not like you did anything wrong, embarrassing or uncomfortable when you asked her out. That seems to me like everything went as smoothly as you could hope for.

So why do you have some reason to be uneasy around her? Well, the answer to that is in how you are considering this, not just how cool you are or are not with rejection.

See, the issue you are having is not that you’re exposed with her, the problem is that you’re exposed and you were rejected. It is that feeling of”Great, I did what everybody tells me to do and it did not work. Glad I opened myself up to pain for no good goddamn reason.”

Which is entirely clear; when you are letting yourself be vulnerable to someone, it seems just like you are doing something that’s going to make you look bad. It feels like you have done something embarrassing or shameful and revealed a side of yourself which you keep hidden. But here is the thing about vulnerability: it is actually a strength. It is showing the world that you don’t find your authentic feelings to be shameful or something which has to be hidden. When you are letting yourself be exposed, you are showing the world that you are powerful enough to be your authentic self rather than putting up a mask which you think the world would like to see. You are living openly and honestly and sincerely, and to be perfectly blunt: Many people can not manage living like that.

How you told someone you were attracted to them and wanted to take them out on a date is not anything to be ashamed about. Hell, the fact that you made your move is commendable. It is a shame that it did not work how you’d expect, but how you did it at all is something you ought to be proud of. There is no reason to feel awkward about her or to attempt to prevent her because you did not do anything to feel awkward about. Honestly, avoiding her will make things more awkward since it sends messages that are odd, despite the fact that you do not intend for it to do so.

So what do you do about it? Take a deep breath, let it out slowly and then push that first sense of”oh god I am embarrassed” and act like nothing has changed. This is easy because, basically, nothing has changed. It is all exactly the same as in the moments before you asked her out on a date. So when you force yourself to pretend it (at first), you will realize very quickly that you are not having to pretend it; what will flow smoothly and normally and you will relax to the familiar old routines before you know it.

You don’t have any reason to feel ashamed, BAE, nor do you want steely confidence to get over this. All you will need to do is alter the context of the way you see being exposed. It is not something over and beyond or something awkward. It is just you leaning to being your authentic, real self.

And that will make it much easier to find somebody who may want to go out on this date with you.

Very good luck.

I want some platonic advice:

So, I am moving away in a month or two (I am living in Taiwan and’m returning back to America) and lately a female friend reached out to me wanting to throw a party for me before I leave. Super nice sentiment and all that, but a few issues:

— We were rather seeing each other last year. Nothing serious and far from actually anything just spending the majority of the weekend together and she wanted me to sleep within her place (I insisted on the sofa because I did not want to cross a line) when we hung out and we kissed a couple of times. However, the moment another man she wanted to get with got back into town she ghosted on me for months. I finally got over it, but still kinda bites, so this is sort of out of left field.

— We don’t have any friends in common, and the friends of hers I have met I suspect do not care for me.

— She is younger than me (23 vs 30) and parties very hard while my blackout drunk times are behind me.

My question is this:

How do I turn her down party idea politely and suggest perhaps we do something similar to just go get drinks and catch dinner or something only the two of us without coming across as with any sort of amorous overtures to the thought?
I legitimately just need a platonic hang out and I am worried that if I turn down a larger party with plenty of drunk people I do not understand or really enjoy in lieu of a scenario that means more to me like”how about just the two of us” will look like I am trying to make a move.

— Kautious in Kaouhsiung

I believe I need a bit more info, KiK. My first question is”how close are you?” How you phrase things makes it seem as if you have not seen much of each other as you had your short flirtation. That alone raises a couple of questions for me. However, the fact that you also don’t have any friends in common or overlapping social circles is what actually makes my Spidey-sense tingle. I don’t think she is planning anything untoward or malicious, but it is a bit weird to want to throw a farewell party for you once you have not been visiting each other in months. I suspect this is less of a”celebration” and more just excuse to see you before you proceed. Maybe she wishes to compensate for having ghosted on you for so long. Maybe she just wants a last opportunity to hang with you until you are gone for good. Who knows?

That having been said, I do not believe you really have to worry about her taking things the wrong way if you indicate another plan. While it’s possible that she would see this as an effort to produce a move, that isn’t really your problem. You can not really control how people interpret what you say; regardless of how clearly or explicitly you state it, some individuals will always hear what they want to hear, regardless.

So in the event you don’t need a party, just tell her you do not need a party and suggest a few other ideas instead. Then just relax and enjoy this opportunity to see your buddy before you leave, rather than getting hung up on”what if she thinks I am trying to make a move?” Either she will realize that this is a strictly platonic-hang-out in the jump… or she will figure it out once you, y’understand, do not hit on her.

Very good luck.

This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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