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: How Do You Speak to Strangers

I know you probably get this question of how to speak with people in a romantic since every other day so that I’ll attempt to help you view it from my standpoint. Therefore, you’re out in about and you find a cute girl. The location and what she is doing does not really matter in this case, since this is exactly what goes through my mind:

“This is the most busy, most crucial moment of her life and if you go up to her and disrupt, one of these things will occur: a) she will shout at you and be angry. B) she will laugh and make fun of you. C) she will gut you like a fish.

I can already hear you and everybody I’ve ever known say that won’t ever occur, and the worst thing she could do is say no. But that is doesn’t help. I have gotten all the relationship advice: just be certain, they are just as nervous as you are (side note, telling a nervous individual the other person is anxious does not help, it makes it worse), etc..

I have tried your breathing and 3 second rule. Doesn’t help. The being convinced thing would be easier if I had some success as it came to dating; I have approached friends who I developed feelings for and have been rejected each time.

There is 1 outlier. 1 time I did approach a woman, it was 10 years ago in a comic store. My very best friend and I were just joking around. One of my jokes made this woman laugh, so after about thirty minutes of my friend practically begging me to speak to her, we approached her. We did a little small talk and we exchanged numbers.

(Actually, 2 men approaching a random girl is not really a good appearance )

However, I see that as the exception, not the rule. I think it’s pretty easy to guess that my self esteem is not the greatest, but to tell the truth, it is far better now than it was back then. I see myself so much better today I many ways, but I {} bring myself to approach girls. Is there anything else I can attempt to get past this?

One of the continuing themes of the column is the amount of individuals who do not really have the problem that they believe they have. Sometimes this is because they are asking the wrong questions. Other times, it is because the man searching for information has attributed the cause due to their dilemma to a totally irrelevant and unconnected issue.

You, on the other hand, have a case of”here is how you can take all the wrong lessons from your experience.”

SD, although your problems are indeed valid, the problem here is that you are taking your adventures and coming away with courses which are entirely inapplicable to the situation at hand. Let us begin with the fact that you are attributing your lack of confidence to your lack of relationship success.

First of allthe reason you are not having much amorous success is because you are trying to date exclusively on Nightmare difficulty. When the only people you are coming are platonic friends you have suddenly caught feels for I am entirely unsurprised you are striking out. Attempting to change a platonic relationship to a sexual one is difficult, particularly when there has not been some flirting, any chemistry or any indication of interest from another person. In cases like this, you’re not trying to start a connection from scratch, you are trying to recontextualize your complete relationship with this individual. It is certainly possible, but it needs a good amount of skill and societal calibration in addition to a pretty hefty quantity of experience. If the vast majority of your efforts at finding customs is hitting friends, I am not surprised that you are striking out each time.

Secondly: The lack of success is sort of irrelevant to the problem at hand, because you are misunderstanding just what optimism is. Confidence is not assuredness that you can not or won’t fail at something; it is the understanding that success is possible and that failure may suck… but it won’t ruin you. You do not build your confidence by achievement, you build confidence in making the effort in the first location. Stress + Survival = Confidence.

You have successfully chatted up a girl before! You even bring this up on your letter: that girl at the comic store who began laughing at your jokes. The issue is that, once more, you are taking all the wrong lessons from this interaction. That you are calling it an outlier is a prime example of this. You did not succeed here because of random chance; you triumphed here since you were doing lots of the things you should do when you are approaching someone. In this situation, you made a remark that made her laugh — a fantastic beginning — then turned and began a conversation with her which lead to your getting her phone number. The only difference here is that you did not do it intentionally… and that is fine. But that does not make this an outlier; it just means you haven’t processed how this worked so which you could replicate the results if you will need to.

So here is a quick primer on the best way best to approach somebody.

First is what people call”the opener”. This is how you initiate the conversation. Despite how it might feel, this is truly the least important part of the procedure. How you get the dialogue going is ultimately irrelevant. In actuality, the chances are high that the person you’re speaking to won’t recall precisely what it was you said. In your experience in the comic shop, you used a kind of an indirect opener — that is, you began the conversation in a manner that was not about your wanting to speak to them.

Next is the pivot: moving out of the opener into a real conversation. A great deal of people who concentrate on getting the best opening line to begin a conversation often get wrapped up here; they feel like they must adhere to whatever it was that they said to get another person beginning. Instead, you need to move things towards getting them to take part in the conversation with you. The simplest way to pivot to a dialog is to show interest in them. I am a fan of”so what is your story?” As a method of getting them engaged; you are leaving things open for them to discuss their daily life, about why they’re in that particular place or about what they are doing in life.

From that point, you need to get to know them and ask interesting questions. Not the typical interview questions, but getting their opinions and ideas and finding out what makes them tick. Find and highlight the things you have in common, take opportunities to flirt and generally concentrate on connecting together.

Then comes the near: leaving the conversation. In cases like this, if you are interested in them, then you are hoping to get their amount, or even a date. The simplest way to do this is simple: you say”Hey, I must go, but I am really enjoying talking to you and I would really like to do this again. Then you’ve got a variety of ways of connecting with her. Maybe she will give you her number.

As intimidating as this might feel, you want to recognize that all you are doing is beginning a conversation. That’s it. You are not trying to convince this man to run away with you or have your kids; you are just trying to speak to them and see if you’re interested in them… and if they are interested in you.

Currently there are two ways of managing your fear of approaching people. The first is to watch for signs that someone is open to being approached or not busy. The woman who is reading intently, has her earbuds in or is working at her laptop in the coffeeshop is probably not up for talking to people. Somebody who’s distracted, staring out the window or not focusing on something? She is more likely to be amenable to speaking to somebody cool. The best alternative, however, are girls who are actively checking out you — who look at you and smile, who are standing much closer to you than is necessary or who are listening in on your conversation.

Y’know. Like the young woman from the comic shop.

Another is to stop seeing your curiosity about somebody as being negative. You have a right to find people attractive and to be interested in meeting people you are attracted to. Cultivating a more positive mindset will go a long way towards providing you with the courage and the confidence to become more social and start some discussions.

Very good luck.

Howdy Doc,

Among my closest long-time friends recently moved back to our hometown, from overseas, following a large break up. She was dating him for 3years and had started to consider marriage. Furthermore, she had an impressively large number of friends over there and a pretty good career path. All that blew up when they awakened as she’d moved there for him. The majority of our friends from here have moved away and another friend and I are really the only ones for her. Obviously, she is having a very difficult time with the alteration. Now here is the rub, we have hung out a few times the last week and I’m catching feelings HARD.

Some background, when we were first getting to know each other, her and I hooked up for about a month back in 2014. It was right after a bad breakup for me and that I was not even slightly prepared to get back out there. I had been in a bad place and have not felt like I could handle any type of relationship before late last year. I am really glad that we managed to get that friendship then. I believe her something like a kindred soul. I have a great deal of friends but very few that I believe really understand me. She is amazing and I treasure our friendship.

The issue now is that I have solved a lot of these problems that shut down my intimate life and my feelings for her are completely altered. I am heavily attracted to her whenever we have been together, something I have not experienced with another in years. We have always had good chemistry, and the sex was fantastic when we were hooking up, but I have not felt anything like this towards her till today. But with where she is in her life, I do not believe anything can happen. She’s in a really vulnerable place at the moment. I feel like she needs friends way more than she wants a boyfriend and I am one of two friends who could be present. Additionally, the other friend is not especially the nurturing kind so, really, I am kinda it in plenty of ways.

I feel a strong mutual attraction whenever we are together and it’s really freaking me out. My first idea is to put a little space between us {} feelings can run their course but I can not do this as she desires me to be there for her. Ultimately I trust myself and her to get through this somehow but this is pretty extreme and contradictory for me.

I don’t know whether I will be content with us only staying friends in the long term. I am asexual with a dash of demisexuality so I move fairly slowly and all my previous relationships have started out as friendships. Is it disingenuous to be the friend she needs while this seems like the beginning of something more? Do I want to broach this subject in the risk of endangering our friendship in a time she needs it most? If we only date, common sense be damned? I’m fully vexed.

Catching Feelings to your Sad Buddy

It is not disingenuous to be the friend she needs, even when you’re beginning to grab feels, CFYSF. The point at which it crosses the line is when you make the most of being the friend she desires.

The myth that attraction and sex gets in the way of friendship is just that: a fantasy. It places sexual interest — especially male sexual interest — as being this irresistible force that necessarily conflicts with a platonic friendship as people can not not act on it. However, the truth is: just because someone offers you a boner or the crying thigh sweats does not mean that you will need to do anything about it. It’s not that hard to let an appeal just be that: an attraction. You may notice it, name it and just let it be.

And to be truthful? That is the best option you have here, CFYSF. Right now, she is in a really vulnerable location. It has made all the worse by the fact that these all feed to the demise of her relationship. In all likelihood, she is feeling particularly lonely and isolated. Even if it does work and she decides to start dating you, the chances that it will last are not fantastic. It is not impossible… but it is not great. What she wants more than a boyfriend is someone on her side, who will help encourage her and prop her up while she is going through this stressful time. If she feels like you have been visiting this low point in her lifetime as your opportunity to hook up with her, then it is going to be a significant psychological blow… even if that is not what you were really intending.

Both have some serious history and chemistry together. You are fairly tight and this is the type of relationship which lines up perfectly with your attachment and attraction fashion. Y’are hanging out all of the time and the psychological connection is fairly intense at this time. And in other conditions, this could be a perfect storm for beginning something awesome. But that is not what she needs at this time.

So put those ideas of love aside for now. Help her get her feet back under her, get some stability and begin figuring out what the next phase of her life will be. That is going to be the very best and most loving thing you can do for her right now.

The fantastic thing is that if the both of you’re appropriate for each other? You’ll still be ideal for every other months down the line when she has had an opportunity to heal.

Very good luck.


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For example:”I am tired and we can not catch up tonight.” , but then she had been seen out — hitting the city. When is it normal to expect the truth or is it normal people aren’t 100% honest in relationships.

A: Not that I am aware of! I guess there are times in life where the small white lie is for the best good of all, but maybe not here. To begin with, a few things might be going on: 1) She is lacking the self-esteem to look you in the eye and tell you the facts or perhaps write to you and tell you the facts. There’s some level of absence of self-esteem or lack of communication capability to understand that telling the truth actually builds relationship, trust, and intimacy. That’s her work to perform. 2) Or it’s extremely possible that previously she said”Hey, I wish to go out with my friends tonight.” And also you mad her feel really guilty, so now she is lying about it. I don’t know what happening but I am saying that could be, that you’re not safe to tell the truth to without becoming upset, which makes her feel guilty, or blowing up so she does not tell you the truth anymore.

In general, it seems like you guys do not have a definite deal, a definite arrangement, a clear communication about how you’re going to spend some time with your friends and each other. Lay out how your relationship will look so it can function. This conversation should take place from the get-go so that these sort of misunderstandings don’t occur and damage your heart. It is really great at the close of each week to check-in and find out how you can love that person more, improve the connection, and/or comprehend that which you might not be knowing clearly. It is like a recap of this week so that there is no elephants in the living area and you sip every thing from the bud and you get nearer and trust each other more over the months and weeks you’re together. So that would be my recommendation.

How can I assist you? Proceed to — which is my free report and video series for guys, where it is going to encourage you on the way to be based — not blaming, not judgmental of self or other, and have this conversation with her. It will help you there and at many different ways to be a noble badass.

Ladies, if this is something you do — kind of tell white lies, it is really quite emasculating to the gentlemen. You, on your confidence and saying on your female,”It would make me so happy if I could go out with my girlfriends tonight. I don’t want you to believe I do not want to be with you; however, whenever I go out together I’m even more grateful for you.” That’s the sort of communication he desires. I have this superb DVD called Radiance. You’ll find it by visiting I think it would be really great for a person who’s having trouble speaking their truth and asking for what they need. To go through that 6-week program — it has got interviews and dance videos — it’s actually comprehensive — about 9 hours of instruction, where you’re going to go through each and every coating, come HOME, feel secure, approved of, and attached to yourself on the inside so you don’t require an outside circumstance to be sufficient. You only have to ask for what you want and say the truth, and even if they don’t enjoy it, you’re still able to stay focused, connected to yourself, happy with yourself. So if you’re a lady, I believe this would very valuable in this specific situation.

Thank you for your queries and till next time, I love you so much!

Replies are in video.



Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? Purchase here: The Great Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood


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