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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Terrified of Girls

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Author Topic: Terrified of Girls
dylan19
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Hello,

I recently broke up with my girlfriend of a few months and now I am single again. I am faced with the prospect that i'm terrified of girls, especially attractive or extroverted girls. I dont know when this fear started.IT was ok with my ex gf because we met through friends and she made a lot of the moves. NOw I find myself going to parties and to bars etc (drinking age here is 18) but still faced with a few problems. 1. Fear 2. If it ever happens, it is girls that start to talk to me, I panic that the conversation will stall, or they will be bored, or i wont have enough energy to hold their interest, or I will say something akward or judgemental or harsh..and all that, only if I havent already panicked just because of the general fear. I think this will make it very difficult for me to date or get into a relationship again, I feel like I will have one girlfriend in every decade if I am lucky. Although I am not sure when it began, I do remember that I went to an all boys school all the way through and never mixed much with girls before. In addition, when we did visit girls schools for different inter-school projects, I had been bullied at school, and I found that when I got to the girls schools I had this idea that they would be nice to me, but the alpha females in the school, who were also very attractive not only joined in with the bullies from my school, but they actually made fun of my body and lack of muscles etc. I dont know if this is the cause or not, im generally a little shy and anxious socially anyway. I know I am rambling but look forward to your advice of any kind. I hope I dont sound horrible by saying girls terrify me sometimes, I am just trying to be honest.

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OhImpecuniousOne
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Fact is, interacting with girls is really no different to interacting with guys. I think the problem is just that you haven't yet had enough experience of it to believe that. [Smile] So my advice would be to forget about dating for a while, and just try to make friends with some girls. Find people who are into things that interest you, hang out in group settings where it doesn't matter too much if you get a bit quiet occasionally. Hopefully that'll boost your confidence, and you won't feel too awkward to flirt. [Smile]
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Molias
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I do think OhImpecuniousOne has the right idea here - girls are just people. The more time you spend in low-stakes social contact with all sorts of girls, the easier it will be to interact with them. Part of that, too, is interacting not just with girls you find attractive or might want to date, but any girls who seem interesting or that you have things in common with.

It might be worth looking into getting some help and support for your social anxiety; it's a common problem that can be really difficult to deal with, but therapy or counseling can often be a great way to learn how to lessen and overcome it.

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dylan19
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IT sounds like good advice. If you get comfortable with girls on a friendly basis, is it really that easy to switch to something more than friendly? Maybe I am over thinking it..but there is no 'mode' to switch to with guy friends since usually you are not trying to hit on your guy friends or receive passes by them either etc etc
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OhImpecuniousOne
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I'm not sure there's really a "mode" when you're talking to people you might be attracted to, either. If you're hoping to get into a relationship with someone, then that to me would seem like a good reason to get to know each other as you both naturally are, rather than trying to put on an extra-seductive front which doesn't really feel like you.
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dylan19
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If these things are just 'natural' how come i'm not doing them?
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Molias
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Talking with people you might like to date isn't "natural" in the sense of everyone being born with the knowledge of how to do so comfortably. I think what OhImpecuniousOne is saying above is that when you are getting to know someone, being your natural and authentic sense is a good way to approach that process, and if two people are compatible then the progression towards closer friendship or potential romance does progress more organically.

This is part of why I suggested you just get used to approaching women as people and not as romantic objects in my first response; the more you get used to interacting with women platonically and see that they are all just people, the less intimidating they will be overall - and when you do want to initiate a relationship with someone, it will most likely seem less scary.

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OhImpecuniousOne
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"Natural" you might be shy or socially awkward or feel a bit too geeky to be cool 9or you might not - if so, fab [Big Grin] ), or any number of other things that can make getting to know people hard work. I don't mean natural as in being a natural at something - I mean in the sense of being yourself as much as possible, even if that means turning beet and saying "Sorry, I'm not exactly a social butterfly..." at some point (which plenty of people find amazingly cute, not that that makes it any less embarrassing at the time). So in other words, Molias is right and I should stop rambling and go to bed.
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dylan19
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Right. Advice sounds great and I will try it. I suppose my fear is that if I dont have enough 'purpose' the other person wont 'feel it' and might decide I am more friend material and nothing more than that.
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Molias
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I really think that what makes people think of other people as potential romantic partners vs. friends is all based on their actual personalities. I'm not quite sure what you mean by purpose here, but I'd just encourage you to be you and let things progress from there.
And again, I know I keep saying it, but: working on being platonic friends with girls as well will, most likely, help you get over this fear and learn how to see girls as people. I think focusing only on romantic connections with girls will hurt you in the long run.

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dylan19
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IS there a danger that if i surround myself with girls who are friends they might start to see me as 'harmless' and 'one of the girls' i.e. not a sexual person?
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Molias
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I certainly can't speak for any particular person, but I think many people are more likely to base their attraction to someone as a romantic partner on that person not on how many friends they have.

But I think you might be overthinking things here, or trying to game the system - there's no key to "how to act around girls so they will want to date you," because girls aren't a monolith (it's the "girls are people" idea I keep coming back to) and there isn't One True Way to make them attracted to you. So ultimately, the best goal is to be yourself, treat women as individuals, and try not to limit yourself to interacting with only people you want to date.

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dylan19
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'there's no key to "how to act around girls so they will want to date you' I suppose there is a nagging voice in my head questioning that. I mean they make boy bands or movie stars or characters in movies that are intended to hold girls interest and they do it with a lot of success. Maybe it is that you cannot emulate that even if you know what it is, you have no choice to be but yourself. Any kind of act will be found out very soon.
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Onionpie
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Really though, the attraction to people like boy-bands or celebrities is usually partly because of fame, and also partly because of the fantasy element. People build up these fantasy ideas of what the celebrities are like, and the unattainable-ness is part of the fantasy.

Most people who are attracted to a celebrity recognize that it's pretty different from an attraction to a person in their lives. It's basically the difference between fantasy and reality, so what the boy bands and celebrities do? Not necessarily something you even really want to emulate. And it's something that people will usually not even expect you to emulate because they recognize that the boy bands/celebrities represent more just a fantasy ideal, not real people.

When it comes to reality, people will usually want... well, real people. We're generally all pretty decent at realizing when someone is putting on an act and not being genuine, and more often than not, it's pretty off-putting. People usually want to make a real connection with others, so knowing that someone else is faking something in a pretty big way isn't particularly attractive.

Also? If you have to put on a big act to attract someone, are you going to have to just keep up that act the entire time if you get into a relationship with them? That seems like an awful lot of effort! AND you'd be missing out on what could be a real, fulfilling connection based on who you both REALLY are, rather than based on one partner trying to act out how they think the other partner wants them to be.

[ 06-14-2014, 08:47 AM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Boybands/movie stars have a lot of mass marketing on their sides. And as much as love to see "Dylan is awesome" billboards everywhere, I'm not convinced that any partner who needed that much brainwashing to hang out with you is necessarily going to be a good fit!
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dylan19
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Yes. Perhaps it is understandable that someone would turn to 'desperate measures' if they have been single for a long time and felt that they were already 'being themself' and getting nowhere.Not that that is my experience but I have a friend who is like that. He is always reading books or going online to try to find out how to be more attractive because he doesnt seem to get anywhere.
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Onionpie
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A lot of people struggle with interacting with others, and often it is especially with those they're attracted to. Usually that's because of this big idea of what The Other is like and expects from us, that we build up without having really interacted with "the other" to realize that they're actually just... humans! There are a lot of websites and books (Pick-Up Artist community, I'm looking at you!) that capitalize off this idea that the people you want to date are a big mysterious Other that you have to form weird strategies to interact with otherwise you will be a lonely loser foreverrrr!!!1!1 But they're wrong, they just want your money.

Some of us do genuinely have a hard time with social interaction, and there's nothing wrong with that or wanting to find help with it, and it CAN make it hard to interact with people we might want to date. There ARE some helpful websites out there that give you advice on interacting with people. But the goal should never be about "interacting with people... to get into their pants!" The GOOD sites will always tell you to practise interacting with people without any expectation for things to become sexual or romantic. Because then 1. that's treating the person more as a person and not as a conquest or a box to check on a list and 2. that takes the pressure off the interactions since if you have no expectations, then there is no "failed" outcome by the end of it.

It's important to figure out what books and websites are trying to manipulate our insecurities into convincing us there is One Way to Interact with Women, and which ones might actually be helpful because they give us help with the basics of holding conversation with strangers, etc etc. The first type are ones we want to avoid because they really don't help in any real way, but the second type are ones you may genuinely find helpful.

There are a couple of good sites that I know of that can help you learn to better navigate social interactions, one of which is Captain Awkward (although that site covers ALL kinds of social interaction in all areas of life, there is also stuff specifically about dating and relationships), and another (which is more specifically geared toward dating) is Doctor Nerd Love. He comes at dating from a perspective that's closer to PUA than I generally like, BUT he emphasizes the importance of treating women (since he's a straight man writing advice for other straight men) like they are humans and not some weird alien species whose only role in his life is as something to have sex with.

So, for people who really feel totally lost when it comes to social interaction and aren't sure what they're doing wrong, some advice books or websites or columns can be helpful and that's fine; but there are an awful lot that buy into the idea that "men are from mars and women are from venus" which is entirely counterproductive to building genuine and satisfying connections with people. So it's definitely an area to navigate carefully and with scrutiny to make sure you're not being sold concepts that are sexist and also totally unhelpful.

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dylan19
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Ok, very detailed answer and sounds great. I have to be honest here, I have never heard of PUA or Captain Nerd love..I don't know what my buddy Paul is reading..I just know that he always has some new gizmo or gambit, a new camera, a new this, a new line or whatever and I am kind of watching from the sidelines..but the constant talk about how difficult it is to get into romances with women..just ADDS to my worries, I have plenty insecurities of my own without adding his on top.

I would add my self to the 'problem group'. It is not that girls never talk to me or show interest it is just that I panic and try to escape.

I'm not a little baby any more, i'm almost 20 and it seems like running away or hiding should not be who i am. "But the goal should never be about "interacting with people... to get into their pants!" I see what you are saying here but I suppose I have a question about that. Lets say you were walking down the street and a guy stopped you to say hello buddy..before he said anything else you would know straight away that he is a salesman. You would smell the agenda on him from a mile away.Is it not true as well, that even if you 'interact with no intentions' that girls will smell your interest in them like a shark smells blood in the water? That just seems to be human nature to me. The second question is, these websites and books that are trying to make money from people, if they know things that work and they know things that dont work, why would they sell you things that dont work? they make money either way? Maybe I am missing somethnig here and maybe a bit naive because I think this PUA or DR love thing is not known over here.Thanks for the links and stuff it soudns great, I am thinking about getting a therapist for my social anxiety eventually..I think it was cause by bullying and very very over-protective and domineering parents.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Sadly I feel like that might just push him in the wrong direction as so much of those 'techniques' are about manipulating people and in essence creating even more potential isolation.

Maybe we need some kind of "lonely-boys guide to ethical dating" I have been mulling it over as an article idea for a while.

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Onionpie
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Sorry, dylan -- "PUA" is short for "pick-up artist", who make a living off "teaching" men to "pick-up" women (ie. convince strangers to have casual sex with them). They make a lot of money and sell these ideas even though they don't work, because they're based in some ideas that our culture really WANTS to believe works. They're based in ideas of what men and women are "really" like, and based in the desire to control other people's behaviours -- all icky, icky stuff. So they're feeding off people's insecurities and desire to be totally in control of a situation. That of course is not in people's best interests -- it's not something that should actually be encouraged like "PUA"s do -- but it sure sells a lot of books (and classes, they teach "classes"...) because marketers have found that our insecurities make us buy a lot of stuff...

Honestly, it sounds like your friend is probably taking advice from "Pick-Up Artists" and that's not a good road for him to go down. So if you want, I'd suggest pointing him in a different direction, maybe talking to him about things we've mentioned here -- how women are really HUMANS and not some mysterious alien species who are only there to have sex with. As jacob said, "PUA"s use techniques that are about manipulating people, so that's really not something you want any friend to be learning.

Also, about people picking up on when you're attracted to them -- firstly, that analogy of women as sharks scenting blood? I think you should do away with that line of thought. I mean that's literally comparing women to animals which is pretty icky, and if you let go of that way of thinking, it'll help you see women more as humans as well.

But also: it's pretty simple. Don't just talk to women who you're attracted to. Because if you ARE only ever interacting with women you find attractive, they WILL pick up on that, and it's not a good thing to do, because it's still treating women like their only importance to you is as potential partners. Talk to women you're not attracted to, because they're people too! And you will often find that hey, they have something really cool about them! You share interests! Awesome!

And when you DO happen to talk to a woman you're attracted to, she may well pick up on that, yes. But there's a difference between talking to someone you're attracted to, and talking to them with the intent to get some kind of romantic or sexual result. It's a pretty big difference, and one that people can also often pick up on. So you can talk to women you're attracted to but still with the only intent being "talk to someone new who might be totally awesome! Find out if they ARE totally awesome!"

[ 06-14-2014, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

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dylan19
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They're based in ideas of what men and women are "really" like, and based in the desire to control other people's behaviours - yes that sounds bad.

They're based in ideas of what men and women are "really" like, and based in the desire to control other people's behaviours - maybe, I'll ask him, i'm not sure if he is

firstly, that analogy of women as sharks scenting blood?- I dont think of women that way, it was just a figure of speech

But there's a difference between talking to someone you're attracted to, and talking to them with the intent to get some kind of romantic or sexual result. - is it really possible to talk to someone you fancy like crazy, or have a huge crush on with the kind of 'disinterest' you are describing? It sounds to me like it would be really fony (for me)....I don't know If I can be all zen and detached like a buddihist monk around women I fancy, I will try it though.hmm.. I hesitate to say this and hope you won't be offended..but it sounds like your advice is more coloured by protecting women from the wrong kind of attention than helping guys talk to women they are interested in. But maybe at the end of the day the two things are the same and it is a happy combination.

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Onionpie
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I'm not talking about speaking to them with disinterest. I'm talking about holding a conversation with someone without having an expectation that it will lead to anything romantic or sexual. Like, you're talking to them just to find out interesting stuff about them. It doesn't have to have anything to do with the fact that you find them attractive. You can talk to them to find out if they read interesting books and if they've read a book you've read recently, and if they ARE into awesome books, you can find out if they have any awesome recommendations!

It's exactly the type of conversation you have with men when you're finding out whether they're cool people -- you're not EXPECTING for you guys to become BEST FRIENDS EVER! You're just finding out if they're into the same stuff as you! And if they are? Awesome! You can talk more! No idea if you'll become best friends but you do want to find out if they have more awesome stuff about them!

This has nothing to do with "protecting" women from the "wrong" kind of attention. It's about making you realize that talking to women should not be at all different from talking to men, IF you are viewing women as humans the way you view men. If you approach every interaction with women as attempting to attract them, then that's not treating them like whole humans. But, if you approach interactions with women as just seeing if they're even cool people or if they have stuff in common with you, THAT is viewing them as a whole human.

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dylan19
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"Maybe we need some kind of "lonely-boys guide to ethical dating" I have been mulling it over as an article idea for a while."

What would that look like? I suppose I can perhaps imagine the temptation to think of ways of influencing things. Before my last girlfriend I went onto internet chatrooms a lot to try to find people to talk to, and it seemed like some (a lot? I dont remember ) of girls posted threads along the lines of 'when messaging me, say something interesting or funny or unusual, take me by surprise' I dont want to hear hi, whats up? and other boring messages that make you sound like every other guy'. Now, the effect of that kind of message on me, is that I am not ok as I am, I have to put on some performance or i will simply be ignored for something shinier. Maybe these are the 'wrong women' if such a thing exists but I guess the message is out there.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hey Dylan,

It looks like you're going to get a pretty good example of what that might look like as I have a lot of thoughts. I hope you're ready:

First, I thought maybe it would be good to go back to something you said a few posts back.

quote:
You would smell the agenda on him from a mile away.Is it not true as well, that even if you 'interact with no intentions' that girls will smell your interest in them like a shark etc etc
that matches up pretty well with:

quote:
girls posted threads along the lines of 'when messaging me, say something interesting or funny or unusual, take me by surprise' I dont want to hear hi, whats up? and other boring messages that make you sound like every other guy
These scenarios may be a tendency but they exist for a reason. The truth is that, in my opinion, society, as a whole, has a very very messed up idea of what's appropriate for men and women, what men and women should be like, and has gender completely inside out. Even if you think of your boy's school... what message does a boy's only school tell the average student about girls?

The message I would get is that girls cause uncontrollable desires, and that keeping us apart is a way for the school to force me to study more. That's a pretty messed up message when you think about it. It is big propaganda for the idea that it isn't possible to healthily interact across gender divides, and that you have a different relationship to other men than you do with women. None of that is a fact... it's just something people believe and so they do behave differently around 'the other' sex, and then everyone has to react to that.

We also learn the message that sexual relationships are not something society thinks young people should be having, and so might end up thinking that being single is like being a 'kid', it's like not being accepted as a proper independent whole person.

This might sound close to home, but I don't think this is about boy's schools as much as it is about a lot of different parts of western society. A lot of people think this way and it is so dangerous.

On those dating websites, you might not know this, but there are guys who post hundreds of messages to women just saying "hey how are you"... and so someone might open their. inbox and see hundreds of messages from all of these folks. Those guys who behave like that? They have made dating into a competition, NOT the woman who realises she simply can't respond to them all and so has to pick the ones that stand out. So the question for you is not whether to 'be yourself' or 'be funny', it is whether to compete at all in that kind of space.

Life can be hard and lonely sometimes. But that doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong, or that you aren't good enough, or that someone in particular is doing wrong to you. It just means you're living in a mostly messed up world, and maybe haven't found your best spot within it.

The worst advice I ever took was from people who I thought were sexually successful. The truth is they just took advantage of the problems to get what they wanted, and in the end they were actually causing those very problems.

Now I find that the folks I'm really compatible with, only appear in my life every few years, and even then we aren't always in sync. It is very difficult to expect those connections frequently, those bars may not be places you feel comfortable in, and those girls may just not exist in a context where you can be relaxed and see where things go. Often that place is friendship. I'd say a lot of my best friends are people who I at one time wanted to date, but then it didn't happen and an awesome person was added to my life.

If someone reacts defensively to a potential conversation, it may be that they're feeling crap, it may be that they've been way too exposed to a world where dating is treating like a numbers game. So many people pretended to be interested in who they were, only to treat them like a potential prize.

It can also be a bad time for a relationship even when we want one, it would only make things worse.

I really think you're doing nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong with being shy. Becoming comfortable with women, as potential friends or partners, may actually be a lot to do with accepting that shyness in yourself because it may be a very good indication of what's actually not such a great situation for you. From there, maybe there are very different ways for you to slowly feel more fulfilled in ways more true to who you really are.

So what do you say? Are you seeing where I'm coming from?

[ 06-14-2014, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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dylan19
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They have made dating into a competition, NOT the woman who realises she simply can't respond to them all and so has to pick the ones that stand out. So the question for you is not whether to 'be yourself' or 'be funny', it is whether to compete at all in that kind of space. - yes probably.Actually there is a lot in your message to digest. It depends whether you think it is all down to society or whether there is any biological influence at all. I suppose I fixed on the all-boys school because that was my experience. It is quite possible that if girls and boys were raised with different beliefs girls would be emailing guys as much as the other way round but I guess we just cannot know for sure.
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acb
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Dylan, I just want to pick up on something that you said in your last post, about women who say certain things on chat rooms maybe being the 'wrong women'. 'Woman' can be a whole bunch of things so I don't think you can say that anyone is straight up wrong BUT I think you could quite easily say that those women might be the wrong women for you to have a relationship with. For example, if you are a shy person who isn't naturally, or doesn't like to pretend to be, funny and unusual for shock factor, then a girl who wants that probably isn't going to fit that well with you. Perhaps rather than think about what girls and boys should or shouldn't be doing in a relationship, maybe you could think about what you would like from a relationship or what you would like your partner to be like? Maybe that could give you a starting point for how you want to act around girls you find attractive because you have a better idea of who you'll be in that relationship than who you should be.

Also, it's been said already but I'll say it again: I think meeting and socialising with girls without focusing on dating them would be a really good place for you to start. If most of your female interactions happen in bars, I could see how that would be tricky because I feel there's sort of an expectation on female/ male interactions in bars (even if that expectation is BS) but do you often interact with girls offline in places which are more 'neutral' (for want of a better word)? Do you go to any clubs or youth groups where there are girls? Are you at Uni and if so, are there any societies you feel like joining so you could mingle with people you know you'll already have something in common with? That might be a less intimidating starting point than parties and bars. [Smile]

(Also, Jacob, please write that article.)

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dylan19
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I see a lot of sense in the neutral approach. I am not in college yet as I am taking some time off before I do.I will try to join some clubs
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OhImpecuniousOne
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I know I'm quite late here; I've been travelling the last few days so I couldn't reply right away, but I wanted to talk about this because it seems quite indicative of some screwed up ideas about dating that society has:
quote:
Originally posted by dylan19:
"But the goal should never be about "interacting with people... to get into their pants!" I see what you are saying here but I suppose I have a question about that. Lets say you were walking down the street and a guy stopped you to say hello buddy..before he said anything else you would know straight away that he is a salesman. You would smell the agenda on him from a mile away.Is it not true as well, that even if you 'interact with no intentions' that girls will smell your interest in them like a shark smells blood in the water? That just seems to be human nature to me.

There's a big difference between a salesperson and, well, you. A salesperson is trying to find someone who doesn't want what they're selling, and talk them into buying it anyway. You're not looking to meet an attractive girl who doesn't want to date you, and talk her into dating you anyway, because that would make for a sucky relationship. Ideally, you're looking to meet someone who you get on great with, who you want to date, and who does want to date you, and agree between the two of you to date. That's a totally different kind of situation, and necessarily involves some no-stakes getting-to-know-you time in order to work out if you like each other and are compatible. There's a big big element of "Maybe we'll just be acquaintances, or maybe if we're lucky we'll become good friends, or maybe if things go really really well we'll end up together", which is what I think Onionpie is getting at in place of "Interacting with people to get in their pants".

I'm not sure if the salesman metaphor is coming from a place of you feeling like no-one would respond positively to the idea of dating you (in which case, bullshit! I've met people I can't stand to be around for more than five minutes who have wonderful happy relationships; for any individual, there are always people who will really like them); or if it's coming from the stereotyped image of sex and relationships being something that guys want and girls aren't interested in, which is also bullshit - if girls didn't want to date, there would be a lot fewer couples in the world.

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dylan19
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[/QUOTE]There's a big difference between a salesperson and, well, you. A salesperson is trying to find someone who doesn't want what they're selling, and talk them into buying it anyway. You're not looking to meet an attractive girl who doesn't want to date you, and talk her into dating you anyway, because that would make for a sucky relationship. Ideally, you're looking to meet someone who you get on great with, who you want to date, and who does want to date you, and agree between the two of you to date. That's a totally different kind of situation, and necessarily involves some no-stakes getting-to-know-you time in order to work out if you like each other and are compatible. There's a big big element of "Maybe we'll just be acquaintances, or maybe if we're lucky we'll become good friends, or maybe if things go really really well we'll end up together", which is what I think Onionpie is getting at in place of "Interacting with people to get in their pants".
[/QB][/QUOTE]

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dylan19
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Well, could be the influence of my friend, he seems to never have any 'luck'.It is not his fault, he is only 20 but is already thinning on top noticeably and he doesnt have much confidence in his looks although he does put a lot of effort into dressing well etc.My friend, Paul, who discussed above I think has influenced my thinking on this. He reckons women are more choosey than men and so, guys are usually the ones looking more to 'sell' then the women are to 'buy'..like if two people meet and just like each other they can short-circuit that whole thing, but in other situations where people do not know each other so well, guys are lower value all else being equal, and girls are higher value, so the guys usually show off or perform or approach or chat up or crack jokes or anything else to 'stand out' and not just blend in with the herd..which by definition is low value. Again, he said this can all be short-circuited if you get to know someone as a friend, or through friends but when I talked with him about it, he gave me the example, that when you are out in public and some strangers try to talk to a group of you, people often treat them as 'taking up their time' basically as not equals, because they are not part of the group....Paul says it is the same with girls who do not know you very well. If they do not instantly like you or see you as friend/boyfriend material, they will put up barriers and test your mettle in various ways if they get the impression you are trying to hit on them....to show that not just anybody, not just any random guy gets to chat up the girl, as this would be insulting to her.
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Heather
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You know, Dylan, I'm hearing a lot from you about what some friends say or do, or what other people say. It seems like you're putting a lot of stock in what you're reporting here.

But since you're here, I figure I can rightly assume little to none of that feels like it's meeting your needs or working for you. (And that doesn't surprise me, because some of what you're reporting here that folks have said or you have read is pretty...well, pardon my French, but full of shit.)

With a request that moving forward in this conversation, you try and remember that women are people not cows (that it was comes in herds), nor economic patterns -- that's both so we really can have a productive conversation, but also so those of us who are women can read through this stuff without wanting to stab our own eyes out -- can you fill me in on what you ARE looking for here, at Scarleteen, from us?

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OhImpecuniousOne
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It sounds like maybe your friend is looking in the wrong settings, then. If he's (and maybe you are also) approaching girls in a situation where they're out with their friends and don't really want to meet new people, then you're sort of shooting yourself in the foot before you even begin, you know? On the other hand, if you're in a place people go to to meet new people, or where you're already part of the group even if just because a member of the group invited you, then talking to people you don't know isn't going to be seen as (or felt as) an imposition.
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dylan19
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Sure. I can see why the language is a bit worrying, but it is rather not my turn of phrase. In any event, the herd comment was used to refer to men not to women, not too sure why it has been responded to as though it were addressing women, but no matter, it is not from me. I suppose I am struggling with the idea of meeting people to meet new people...since I will have in the back of my head that I would like to have a girlfriend (since I would)..maybe my recent breakup left me a bit desperate. The idea of making 100 friends over ten years but still having no girlfriend fills me with dread.Apologies, any insensitivity is not intentional. Also I hereby divest myself of any responsibility for readers on Scarlet Teen stabbing themselves in the eyes or any other bodily orifice.
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MusicNerd
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Hi Dylan! What I'm about to say is a critique on some of the things you said in order to show you where you need to change your thinking, but I hope you know that it's not me critiquing you as a person.

As others have said in various ways: the way you're viewing interactions with women and where men fall into that, etc. is probably a big part of what's holding you back in all this. I mean, even if you were referring to dudes as the ones being part of the herd, that still doesn't make it much better considering we're talking about human beings in these kinds of scenarios.

Also, the economic model you've mentioned with men "selling themselves" and women "buying" them seems to be putting women on a pedestal -- which makes women seem like unattainable, intimidating creatures, as opposed to just regular ol' people, and which probably plays a part in your anxiety of talking to women... Just something to think about. The economic model also seems to be commodifying people and dating, which also isn't accurate considering, well: we're dealing with people as opposed to goods in a market.

I'm kinda wondering if maybe some of your thinking on men needing to do all this seeking-approval stuff and being of "lower value" in dating scenarios, is somehow you thinking that of yourself and not holding yourself in a higher regard? Maybe working on creating a list of positive things about yourself could help you, so that at the beginning of the day before you interact with anyone of any gender, you can look at that list and have those positive things in the back of your mind during socially-anxiety-inducing situations.

Really, I agree with what others are saying here in that: I think it's more just a matter of viewing women as individual people with their own thoughts/feelings/beliefs/ambitions/flaws/what-have-you and friends first and viewing interactions with them the way you would with men. Also, now probably would be the best time to start working on viewing your interactions with women as a no-pressure-friends thing, especially because you just recently broke up with your girlfriend and should give yourself some time to process that.

I too have a bit of social anxiety, and I also tend to worry about the future, so I understand what that's like. To be honest you can't predict the future, none of us can, and I think that's part of what makes it so scary (and exciting! [Smile] ). What I find tends to help me sometimes is to imagine, "Ok, what's the worst thing that could happen in this scenario? And if that does happen: 1. Is it actually that bad? and 2. What positive thing would I do?" So, it might be helpful if you think about what would happen if say you did end up making like 100 friends and didn't have a girlfriend for x amount of time, and then answer the questions I brought up.

(Sidenote: friendship is not lesser than romantic/sexual relationships, by the way. That could also help you to remember here.)

[ 06-17-2014, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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Heather
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I hereby consider you not remotely liable for any eye-stabbing. [Razz]

You know, a colleague of mine, Reid Mihalko, frames dating now in a way I really like and find very helpful. Here's a place on his site where he talks about that some: http://reidaboutsex.com/are-you-dating-your-species/

I think some of what he's saying there is particularly applicable to you, because I hear you saying you really want to get into a romantic relationship, but seem to be asking how to do that...without giving up or out that's what you want, basically. And ultimately, that's really busted. We don't get what we want by hiding our wants or pretending we don't want a thing. We get what we want by seeking out what we want, being clear about that, and understanding it's a given a lot of people will not want what we do, or at the same time we do, or with us, and that's just part of the process.

Same goes with recognizing that if there are social settings, or personalities, that make you feel seriously uncomfortable and out of your element? The answer isn't usually to just stick with or pursue those anyway, but to find settings and people that DO feel like a fit for you. After all, places you feel more comfortable will more likely be places where people who are more like you, people you'll feel a better fit with, will also be.

I mean, sure, you can probably find UK-style fish and chips somewhere in Israel if you look hard enough, but you're going to find way more falafel, and much more easily. So if you're not looking for falafel, but fish and chips, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to try and find it in places it's less likely to be instead of places you're more likely to find it. Same deal with where you're seeking out people where you will have common ground, who will be more likely to socialize in ways you do, and connect with things you do.

Mind, as has been said here already, it also sounds like right now? You're not in a great space for this, because you're still getting over something else, and processing a breakup and moving forward takes time. And it also tends to take time before we're ready for doing all of this again: dating, meeting people, and, if we do, starting new relationships.

[ 06-17-2014, 03:52 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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