Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Dating => Topic started by: lellah on January 23, 2012, 03:09:25 PM

Title: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: lellah on January 23, 2012, 03:09:25 PM
One of my best friends is nearly permanently single. 

She was married briefly a few years ago after a whirlwind courtship with a guy every single person she knew said would 1) cheat on her and 2) steal her money.  I personally knew this--and told her so--after the guy pinned (!) me against a wall and slobbered all over my face (excuse me: "kissed" me) and, an hour or so later, dug through my handbag allegedly looking for gum.  She didn't believe me, stopped returning my calls, and married him anyway.  Three months later, we were friends again and she was getting a divorce. 

This is the only relationship I've known her to have in the nearly ten years we've been friends.  With V-Day coming up, she will inevitably call me up at least half a dozen times to ask why she can't find a good guy.  Historically, I've gone with what I believe is the standard feminine response: commiseration. 

But I know -exactly- why she can't find a guy.  She's got unbelievably high standards, for one thing.  Imagine a George Clooney look-alike who works for Doctors without Borders, cooks gourmet meals, and stands under her bedroom window playing acoustic covers of 80s power ballads in the rain.  A cute-ish guy who isn't a professional puppy killer and who makes an unusually tasty cheeseburger is unworthy of her consideration.  And she's chock-full of weirdo dating behaviors: saying "I Love You" twenty minutes in, for instance.   She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.  She tells half-hour anecdotes about her dog.

She's an awesome girl, fun and funny and a loyal friend.  But there's no way she knows that she's the reason pretty much no sane person will go out with her more than once. 

Is there any way I can politely, lovingly, gently, and kindly let her know what's what?  Or shall I go on commiserating until we're both dead?
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Calypso on January 23, 2012, 03:14:42 PM
You have a very funny writing style.

Two words for your friend: life coach. I think you can suggest this without offense, because it doesn't carry the same mood as suggesting counseling---you aren't telling her she's flawed and needs fixing---rather, it's saying "look, babe, if you want to find love, and what you're doing isn't working, get a professional goal-coach to set up a plan with you and take some effective action!"

From what you've described, she'll probably say "oh, that's so cold-blooded, true love just HAPPENS! He's supposed to find ME!" But, you'll have planted a seed.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: whiterose on January 23, 2012, 03:18:40 PM
And I thought I was too picky!

Where is that cute-ish guy who does not kill puppies and who can make his own meals?

That, and I do not care for George Clooney. I sometimes cannot even tell him and his clone Saul Lisazo apart.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Surianne on January 23, 2012, 03:20:45 PM
Has she ever actually asked you?  If not, I wouldn't say anything. 

I get told very frequently that my standards are too high.  I'm okay with that -- I'd rather wait for someone I actually like, or remain single forever, than date someone I'm not interested in.  But it gets pretty exhausting when people keep trying to get me to compromise on my values and preferences and date someone I don't find interesting or attractive.

So unless you think she genuinely wants advice, I wouldn't go there.  She's probably heard it many times before.  And it's pretty damaging to the self-esteem, as well, to be constantly told "You're not good enough for the caliber of guys you're interested in."

Two words for your friend: life coach. I think you can suggest this without offense, because it doesn't carry the same mood as suggesting counseling---you aren't telling her she's flawed and needs fixing---rather, it's saying "look, babe, if you want to find love, and what you're doing isn't working, get a professional goal-coach to set up a plan with you and take some effective action!"

I never would have thought of this...interesting idea!  I like your phrasing a lot, it's proactive rather than critical.  (But again, I'd only do it if you think she genuinely wants help, and isn't just venting.)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: lellah on January 23, 2012, 03:29:47 PM
I get told very frequently that my standards are too high.  I'm okay with that -- I'd rather wait for someone I actually like, or remain single forever, than date someone I'm not interested in.  But it gets pretty exhausting when people keep trying to get me to compromise on my values and preferences and date someone I don't find interesting or attractive.

People do say that to you?  That's horrible.  Ugh. 

I'm actually pretty much the same way you are, incidentally: high standards and happy being single if that's what it takes to hold onto 'em. 

But in my friend's case, it's not that I think her standards are too high; it's that her standards keep her from dating any human man anywhere. 

As for whether or not she's actually asked me, I can't say for sure.  I'm woman, but I'm from an immigrant family, grew up with brothers, have a group of friends that's around 70% male, and so on.  I'm a little tone deaf sometimes about whether someone's question like "Why am I still single? Do you know?" is rhetorical or genuine. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: rashea on January 23, 2012, 03:41:05 PM
You could recommend the book Marry Him: The Case for Mr. Good Enough. Despite the title, it's more about breaking out of the idea that your life will end like a romantic movie than lowering your standards.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: figee on January 23, 2012, 03:45:11 PM
I get told very frequently that my standards are too high.  I'm okay with that -- I'd rather wait for someone I actually like, or remain single forever, than date someone I'm not interested in.  But it gets pretty exhausting when people keep trying to get me to compromise on my values and preferences and date someone I don't find interesting or attractive.

People do say that to you?  That's horrible.  Ugh. 

I'm actually pretty much the same way you are, incidentally: high standards and happy being single if that's what it takes to hold onto 'em. 

But in my friend's case, it's not that I think her standards are too high; it's that her standards keep her from dating any human man anywhere. 

As for whether or not she's actually asked me, I can't say for sure.  I'm woman, but I'm from an immigrant family, grew up with brothers, have a group of friends that's around 70% male, and so on.  I'm a little tone deaf sometimes about whether someone's question like "Why am I still single? Do you know?" is rhetorical or genuine.

There's high standards and then there's too picky.  You seem to have high standards (a good thing) - someone who will treat you right, has good values/ morals/ ethics/ whatever and so on.  Too picky is your friend.  She sounds like a friend of mine who told me, upon meeting my now DH for the first time, that she 'deserved' someone with at least a Masters degree (cause she had one), who worked for the UN or another humanitarian organisation, spoke a couple of languages and who looked like a supermodel.  She also knew people like this and was upset that they all went for women who looked like supermodels and that this wasn't fair.  When I pointed out to her that: she was rejecting men who might be suitable for her on the same basis as the guys she was pining after were rejecting her (I hope that makes sense) she got very snippy and told me that I was 'settling'.  I laughed.  My now DH left school at 16 and entered the military.  I have a PhD.  Neither of us are supermodels.  But he treats me well, and is considerate - he has all the morals and values I desire.  We are blissfully happy, she is still single.  the difference between high standards and too picky about things that really don't matter all that much (what good are power ballads in the rain if he's not inside ready to help take the rubbish out and vacuum because the dogs got into the pantry and ate all the biscuits?)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: TurtleDove on January 23, 2012, 03:49:31 PM
In my experience, few people are actually ready to hear what they are doing "wrong" and mostly want someone to validate their misery.  That doesn't mean that is what you should do, of course!  I try telling stories or anecdotes about other people (real or fictitious) that might cause the person I am concerned about to think "huh, I do that too....am I also annoying???" Or something along those lines. 

For example, "Stacy told me she went out with this guy who was cute and funny but she said she could not BEAR to be alone with him again because he talked for half an hour about his model trainset.  He just could not pick up on the clues she was dropping and actually converse!  Can you believe that?"
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Flora Louise on January 23, 2012, 04:05:42 PM
The OP wrote >.She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.<<

Really? She really doesn't know what she's doing that's wrong?
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: lellah on January 23, 2012, 04:12:56 PM
The OP wrote >.She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.<<

Really? She really doesn't know what she's doing that's wrong?

Yeah.  She calls this "being herself."  Herself looks good in white, which is true, and likes poofy dresses.  She wants a guy who likes her for who she is... which is sometimes massively inappropriate in the wardrobe department. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Calypso on January 23, 2012, 04:25:59 PM
When I read the description of your friend wearing a wedding dress to a cocktail party, I was reminded of a very funny (and rather bizarre) Australian movie called "Love Seranade" --- without giving away spoilers, let's just say a rather self-deluded young lady shows up in full bridal regalia at the door of someone who hasn't actually, you know, asked her yet....
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: SisJackson on January 23, 2012, 04:36:39 PM
I get told very frequently that my standards are too high.  I'm okay with that -- I'd rather wait for someone I actually like, or remain single forever, than date someone I'm not interested in.

I'm actually pretty much the same way you are, incidentally: high standards and happy being single if that's what it takes to hold onto 'em. 

But in my friend's case, it's not that I think her standards are too high; it's that her standards keep her from dating any human man anywhere.

I think that's the key - being happy being single if you can't find a man to meet your standards.  Obviously your friend isn't happy, but the years will march on and it will become less and less likely as time goes that she will find her ideal man, so she will just end up becoming more and more unhappy until maybe even the jerks won't want to go out with her.

I have a friend that used to be like this.  Her problem was that her standards were all about looks and nothing about any substance.  She had been attracted to the pretty, androgynous boys with makeup and tight pants in high school (her ideal:  probably an amalgam of the members of Duran Duran circa 1981) and with relatively little alteration over the years, that's the same type she liked at 40 - okay, minus the eyeliner.  The big issue she discovered was that in the early 2000s, that look was associated with the "emo" crowd, and those boys were generally all under 25.  It's not easy finding a guy who's 40-plus who still has the body of a teenager, enough hair for it to flop into his eyes, and perfect lily skin.  She did date some younger men while in her late 20s and early-to-mid 30s, but she didn't keep their interest over time, and by the time she was closing down on 40, she couldn't get their interest.  The guy she really wanted, the man old enough to be emotionally interesting but still looking like a boy-band-member, just didn't seem to exist out there.

It was only after adjusting what she found attractive to something more age-appropriate (and deciding that other qualities were just as, if not more important) that she found a super nice guy her own age.  Sure, he looks like a man and not a boy, and his hair is thinning, but he's still slender and good-looking for his age.  He'd probably even put on mascara for her, in private, if she asked nicely.

I do find it amusing that your friend wants someone who will "like her for who she is" but is unwilling to like a man for who he is, unless he can vault a bar set so high it's ridiculous to try.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Iris on January 23, 2012, 04:51:25 PM
The OP wrote >.She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.<<

Really? She really doesn't know what she's doing that's wrong?

Yeah.  She calls this "being herself."  Herself looks good in white, which is true, and likes poofy dresses.  She wants a guy who likes her for who she is... which is sometimes massively inappropriate in the wardrobe department.

So she wants a guy who 'likes her for who she is', even when she is doing totally mad things (A wedding dress? Really?) but insists on having Perfect Guy #7 as listed in the "Fantasy Men" catalogue?

Holy double standards, Batman!

I used to get told that my standards were too high because I wouldn't date guys that I didn't overly like just so that I was dating someone  ::) so I understand that it is very very annoying to be told that. However I don't think that there is any way to tell your friend any of this unless she actually, directly, asks.

Given that she didn't listen to "Your fiance tried to shove his tongue down my throat and then steal my wallet" I don't think you're going to have much luck with "Have you considered not appearing batpoo crazy?"  ;D
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: WillyNilly on January 23, 2012, 04:51:47 PM
I think if your friend really asks what you think is the issue, you can answer.

In my 20's I asked a friend a similar question - I was having trouble finding a good guy who treated me well - and my friend (I asked a guy, I'm female) and he said "do you really want to know?"  I took a big gulp of beer and said "yes".  I didn't like hearing what he had to say, but I listened.  And I took heed.  And over the course of the next few months, and to this day, I heed those words and consider that guy to be one of my most honest and treasured friends, for being a true friend and helping me.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Surianne on January 23, 2012, 05:05:47 PM
I think if your friend really asks what you think is the issue, you can answer.

In my 20's I asked a friend a similar question - I was having trouble finding a good guy who treated me well - and my friend (I asked a guy, I'm female) and he said "do you really want to know?"  I took a big gulp of beer and said "yes".  I didn't like hearing what he had to say, but I listened.  And I took heed.  And over the course of the next few months, and to this day, I heed those words and consider that guy to be one of my most honest and treasured friends, for being a true friend and helping me.

What a great way to handle it on the part of your friend (and you, for being brave enough to say yes!).  Big difference from the people who offer me "help" that is completely unwelcome.  I like this approach a lot.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: PeterM on January 23, 2012, 05:25:26 PM
Has she ever actually asked you?  If not, I wouldn't say anything. 

From the OP:

"With V-Day coming up, she will inevitably call me up at least half a dozen times to ask why she can't find a good guy."

Quote
I get told very frequently that my standards are too high.  I'm okay with that -- I'd rather wait for someone I actually like, or remain single forever, than date someone I'm not interested in.  But it gets pretty exhausting when people keep trying to get me to compromise on my values and preferences and date someone I don't find interesting or attractive.

So unless you think she genuinely wants advice, I wouldn't go there.  She's probably heard it many times before.  And it's pretty damaging to the self-esteem, as well, to be constantly told "You're not good enough for the caliber of guys you're interested in."


I understand your point, but unless you're constantly complaining to your friends you're really not in the same situation as the OP's friend.

Somebody who's alone because they have high standards is one thing. Someone who's alone because of ridiculously high standards while simultaneously complaining to friends about how unfair it is something else entirely. OP, if she actually asks you why she's still alone I'd feel free to tell her that you believe it's because she has unrealistically high standards and expectations. If she asks you to expand rather than rejects your opinion out of hand, I'd limit myself to her unrealistic expectations of others rather than any behavior of hers that you think drives people away.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Surianne on January 23, 2012, 05:50:24 PM
Has she ever actually asked you?  If not, I wouldn't say anything. 

From the OP:

"With V-Day coming up, she will inevitably call me up at least half a dozen times to ask why she can't find a good guy."

Yes, I promise my reading comprehension isn't THAT bad  ;D   What I meant is I think the OP should consider whether or not her friend is *actually* asking, or just venting.  I probably wasn't clear in explaining that.

That's why I think the "Do you really want to know?" question WillyNilly proposed might work well. 

I definitely agree with you that the friend's situation and mine aren't the same -- it sounds like the friend is much more interested in finding a guy than I am (for me it's more along the lines of "Ech, if a really nice guy falls into my lap, maybe I'll consider it..."), which means she may be more open to hearing reasons.  What I caution against is just offering the reasons without being prompted. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: PeterM on January 23, 2012, 06:03:34 PM
From the OP:

"With V-Day coming up, she will inevitably call me up at least half a dozen times to ask why she can't find a good guy."

Yes, I promise my reading comprehension isn't THAT bad  ;D   What I meant is I think the OP should consider whether or not her friend is *actually* asking, or just venting.  I probably wasn't clear in explaining that.

Fair enough, and I definitely see the difference.

Quote
That's why I think the "Do you really want to know?" question WillyNilly proposed might work well. 

I don't know that it would. For one thing, most people would say that yes, they want to know even if it might well turn out they didn't. And just asking the question indicates that you have a very definite opinion, which will change the dynamic of the relationship even if the OP's friend is self-aware enough to admit that no, she doesn't want to know.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Surianne on January 23, 2012, 06:46:45 PM
Quote
That's why I think the "Do you really want to know?" question WillyNilly proposed might work well. 

I don't know that it would. For one thing, most people would say that yes, they want to know even if it might well turn out they didn't. And just asking the question indicates that you have a very definite opinion, which will change the dynamic of the relationship even if the OP's friend is self-aware enough to admit that no, she doesn't want to know.

Good point.  I'm a very self-aware person (doesn't mean I don't have glaring flaws, just that I know what they are!) and quite honest and blunt, so if I said yes, it would be because I genuinely wanted to know.  Not everyone is like that (my guess is the OP's friend is significantly less self-aware, based on the wedding dress story), and I can see someone saying "yes" when they don't mean it simply because they feel curious or pressured.  Hmm.  Unfortunately I can't think of a good alternative at the moment.  I like the idea of asking the friend if she really does want advice...but I'm not actually sure how to go about it.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: gramma dishes on January 23, 2012, 07:09:08 PM
... And she's chock-full of weirdo dating behaviors:  ...  saying "I Love You" twenty minutes in, for instance.   She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.  She tells half-hour anecdotes about her dog.  ...

You know, I keep reading the responses and everyone talks about how she's setting her 'standards' unreasonably high, which, eh? may be true.

But why are we not brave enough to be willing to look at it from the other side and tell the truth? 

She's weird!! 

Look, she may be a wonderful, fun, vivacious, loyal friend but with behaviors like those mentioned would you really want her dating your best male friend or your very own brother?

Is there a reason you can't, as her friend, let her know gently that some of these unusual behaviors are no doubt a total turn off for guys, even if they DID somehow manage to live up to her expectations?  The hard truth is that she wouldn't even come close to living up to theirs! 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Ceallach on January 23, 2012, 07:25:21 PM
I do find it amusing that your friend wants someone who will "like her for who she is" but is unwilling to like a man for who he is, unless he can vault a bar set so high it's ridiculous to try.

I've seen this as the problem so, so SO many times.  Many women I know hold the man to high standards but don't seem to have the ability to be introspective and acknowledge their own weaknesses. I have no issue if a person says "I have high standards, and if I never find somebody who meets them that's ok, I'm happy with my life".  Cool, that's win-win.  But don't expect me not to comment on your outrageously high standards IF you start complaining about not being able to meet anybody.  It's not rocket science - if you're looking for a needle in a highstack, chances are you might not find it.

I know so many women who want a man and can't find one.  If asked I may give some gentle advice but I never outright tell them the problem.  It's normally something so personal.  The hardest are friends who aren't too picky but have things about themselves that make them not so relationship-ready.

If I tell Friend A:   "You've picked up some really nasty demanding traits from your dysfunctional mother, you're a lovely friend and have lots going for you, but when you talk to men you're a female dog" she's going to take that badly, and defend herself as just being a "strong, confident woman".

If I tell Friend B:  "You're not putting yourself out there.  Get some exercise, stand up straight, hold yourself with confidence and you'll be approachable."  Well, that's just cruel. 

If I tell Friend C:   "You dress like a lesbian.  You know that you've been mistaken for a lesbian several times, yet you are quite clear that you're interested only in men and you really want to find a man and get married.  If you want a man to show romantic interest in you then perhaps you need to change your image so that they consider approaching you.  Maybe get a feminine haircut.  Or put yourself out there in some way like you did back when you were in relationships." 

If I tell my coworker:  "You're 40 years old and a professional who earns a six figure salary. Stop dressing like a tramp, giggling like a schoolgirl and slathering on ten feet thick make-up and false eyelashes. Also, when you're in a relationship, don't treat the man like your personal servant and create huge dramatic scenarios whereby you storm out and never speak to him again, then complain that he never called you and "broke your heart".  Grow up.   (And no, I wouldn't have minded anything this person did except she complained constantly about her lack of a man and that there were no good men and she wanted to settle down and get married. It was very irritating, and I never knew what on earth to say to her whiney jokes about man-hunts.  She was just incredibly insecure and it shone through every second of the day).


I guess what I'm saying is if somebody can find a good solution, then let me know.  I like the recommendation of life-coaching. I think in future if a friend complains repeatedly about this then I'll try saying:  "Maybe you could try life-coaching? I've heard they can be great at helping people make changes and achieve their goals in life".   
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on January 23, 2012, 08:44:04 PM
... And she's chock-full of weirdo dating behaviors:  ...  saying "I Love You" twenty minutes in, for instance.   She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.  She tells half-hour anecdotes about her dog.  ...

You know, I keep reading the responses and everyone talks about how she's setting her 'standards' unreasonably high, which, eh? may be true.

But why are we not brave enough to be willing to look at it from the other side and tell the truth? 

She's weird!! 

Look, she may be a wonderful, fun, vivacious, loyal friend but with behaviors like those mentioned would you really want her dating your best male friend or your very own brother?

Is there a reason you can't, as her friend, let her know gently that some of these unusual behaviors are no doubt a total turn off for guys, even if they DID somehow manage to live up to her expectations?  The hard truth is that she wouldn't even come close to living up to theirs!

I agree. I'd be inclined to tell her clearly (but nicely) why guys might find her a turn-off.

Also, if you have a kind mutual male friend who can back you up and confirm what you're saying is right, that might be a good thing. She might pay more attention to a male's perspective.

Finally, if she still keeps complaining, but makes no moves to change her behaviour or standards, I think you're fine in asking her to please stop talking about how she can't find a man.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: weeblewobble on January 23, 2012, 09:27:52 PM
I've been with the same guy since I was 14. We were high school sweethearts, married young and have a really good relationship. I have single friends who tell me I'm so LUCKY I found a man so early and never had to brave the dating scene, because I have it SOOOOO easy*.  When we go out, they complain about not being able to find a good guy, and demand to know how to grab someone like DH. (Because he is pretty awesome)

I tell them the same thing every time- based on what DH has told me.  "You know how when you're looking for your keys and you toss your whole house, turning over everything you touch, trying to find them? You give up, flop down on the couch, and the minute you stop looking, you see them under your TV cabinet?  It's the same thing with guys.  They can tell when you're out looking for a man, and the more you seem to be looking, the less interested they're going to be.  But if you're just out, being yourself, enjoying your life, good men are going to see that and be attracted to that."

Seriously, men can scent desperation like bees can smell fear.

*I just want to yell, "Are you insane?  Do you have any idea how much work it is to stay with a man for more than half your life, to keep his interest, to prevent having the same conversation over and over?  And I haven't just dated one man- I've dated mid-teens "I'm not sure where to put my hands" Mr. Weeble, weird Steven Segal-obsessed late teens Mr. Weeble, early 20s "not sure what I want to do with my life" Mr. Weeble, and mid20s, "we have a five-year plan!" Mr. Weeble, and now, "dependable, law and order" Mr. Weeble. 

Is he a super-model? No.  Has he ever stood outside my window, holding up a boombox, blasting "In Your Eyes? No.  Is he still obsessed with bluegrass music and lame martial arts movies?  Yes. But the measure of a good guy is in his actions, even if they weren't the actions we were "expecting." Through it all, he has always treated with kindness, respect, and love. That's what a good guy does.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: gramma dishes on January 23, 2012, 09:39:35 PM
^^^  I love your whole post!  Made me smile all the way through it.  Sounds like you chose early and got a winner!  He did too.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Allyson on January 23, 2012, 09:40:25 PM
It's not just women who have really high expectations, too! I have definitely met guys who are desperate to date someone conventionally attractive, often younger than them. Not just 'someone I personally am attracted to' but more 'someone my friends will think is hot, and be impressed I landed her'. This is not an appealing attitude from men or women!

I am all for waiting until you feel that 'spark'. But having an exhaustive list of qualities is, in my experience, not that helpful. I can say 'I'm usually not attracted to redheads' but if I meet a really awesome redhead who turns my crank, I'm not exactly going to say 'oh sorry you don't fit my qualifiers'.

Had I made a list and stuck to it, I wouldn't be with my awesome boyfriend now. On the other hand, before I met him, I was kind of halfheartedly casually seeing a couple of guys, neither of whom really 'did it' for me. No particular reason, it just wasn't there. But when I met my current guy I knew right away that I wanted to see more of him. Dealbreakers aside, I don't think it's useful to say 'I will only date people who are X Y and Z because that's what I like'. For one thing, if you meet someone who is X Y and Z your friends all laugh at you. ;)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: artk2002 on January 23, 2012, 11:28:30 PM
But if you're just out, being yourself, enjoying your life, good men are going to see that and be attracted to that.

Self confidence and being self-possessed are sexy.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: weeblewobble on January 23, 2012, 11:45:25 PM
^^^  I love your whole post!  Made me smile all the way through it.  Sounds like you chose early and got a winner!  He did too.

Thanks, I like him, too.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Ceallach on January 23, 2012, 11:57:28 PM
I've been with the same guy since I was 14. We were high school sweethearts, married young and have a really good relationship. I have single friends who tell me I'm so LUCKY I found a man so early and never had to brave the dating scene, because I have it SOOOOO easy*.  When we go out, they complain about not being able to find a good guy, and demand to know how to grab someone like DH. (Because he is pretty awesome)

I tell them the same thing every time- based on what DH has told me.  "You know how when you're looking for your keys and you toss your whole house, turning over everything you touch, trying to find them? You give up, flop down on the couch, and the minute you stop looking, you see them under your TV cabinet?  It's the same thing with guys.  They can tell when you're out looking for a man, and the more you seem to be looking, the less interested they're going to be.  But if you're just out, being yourself, enjoying your life, good men are going to see that and be attracted to that."

Seriously, men can scent desperation like bees can smell fear.

*I just want to yell, "Are you insane?  Do you have any idea how much work it is to stay with a man for more than half your life, to keep his interest, to prevent having the same conversation over and over?  And I haven't just dated one man- I've dated mid-teens "I'm not sure where to put my hands" Mr. Weeble, weird Steven Segal-obsessed late teens Mr. Weeble, early 20s "not sure what I want to do with my life" Mr. Weeble, and mid20s, "we have a five-year plan!" Mr. Weeble, and now, "dependable, law and order" Mr. Weeble. 

Is he a super-model? No.  Has he ever stood outside my window, holding up a boombox, blasting "In Your Eyes? No.  Is he still obsessed with bluegrass music and lame martial arts movies?  Yes. But the measure of a good guy is in his actions, even if they weren't the actions we were "expecting." Through it all, he has always treated with kindness, respect, and love. That's what a good guy does.

Actually, that is the one thing I have said to friends in the past come to think of it.  I was very boy-crazy as a teenager, had rocky relationships etc but nothing fixed.  But by the time I was 19 I was a different person, I was in a place of cool confidence where I had a life plan that didn't involve a man.  I was off to travel the world! Wahoo!!  ...yeah, then I met DH.     :)  I'm still working on that OE, but my life has been pretty awesome and this version is much better than the one I had planned, albeit unexpected.

Meanwhile I had friends desperate for a man who remained single.  They would ask me mystified "How do you find somebody like MrCeallach?"  and I'd say "Stop looking, just find things that make you happy.  Enjoy being single. Travel, do interesting things!!"   I don't say things like that anymore as after a few years people got the impression that *I* wished I was single, and that irritated me.  I know how good I have it with DH - he's freakin' amazing.  But I'm just trying to explain to them that the grass is always greener, they should be enjoying what they have instead of chasing men while reeking of desperation.  But I feel patronising saying that.  I don't want to be a smug-married, y'know? 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Scritzy on January 24, 2012, 12:11:15 AM
I've been told my standards are waaaaaaaaaay too high, but I had to change my standards after my marriage ended. I don't want another man like Chip. He's a great guy and we're still good friends, but he was so freakin' naive. He started talking marriage three weeks after we met. I think he wanted to marry me because he was 29, not having any luck with the ladies and desperate to get married. Not that he didn't love me, too ... but it turned out that he didn't love me enough to deal with my "emotional issues," as he called them.

I'm looking through the dating sites now, and will automatically reject a man over one or two issues. But today I saw a man who said, "I'm fat and bald." I sent him an e-mail saying, "I'm 56 and crazy. Want to read my profile?" It might go somewhere and and it might not.

There are some things that are absolutely my hills to die on, and I'm not going to change on those issues. But I can negotiate if I meet someone who likes to go fishing (as long as I don't have to clean or eat the fish LOL!)

My mother keeps telling me that I'll never find anyone to marry me because I have so much wrong with me, and I'll never find anyone who will be as good to me as Chip was.  ::)

I'm not a raving beauty. I don't even think I'm particularly attractive, although I do think I look younger than my age. Still, I do scare guys away but not because I wear a wedding dress to a cocktail party. ;)

Your friend needs help. Life coach is a good idea.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Iris on January 24, 2012, 01:01:26 AM
I've been told my standards are waaaaaaaaaay too high, but I had to change my standards after my marriage ended. I don't want another man like Chip. He's a great guy and we're still good friends, but he was so freakin' naive. He started talking marriage three weeks after we met. I think he wanted to marry me because he was 29, not having any luck with the ladies and desperate to get married. Not that he didn't love me, too ... but it turned out that he didn't love me enough to deal with my "emotional issues," as he called them.

I'm looking through the dating sites now, and will automatically reject a man over one or two issues. But today I saw a man who said, "I'm fat and bald." I sent him an e-mail saying, "I'm 56 and crazy. Want to read my profile?" It might go somewhere and and it might not.

There are some things that are absolutely my hills to die on, and I'm not going to change on those issues. But I can negotiate if I meet someone who likes to go fishing (as long as I don't have to clean or eat the fish LOL!)

My mother keeps telling me that I'll never find anyone to marry me because I have so much wrong with me, and I'll never find anyone who will be as good to me as Chip was.  ::)

I'm not a raving beauty. I don't even think I'm particularly attractive, although I do think I look younger than my age. Still, I do scare guys away but not because I wear a wedding dress to a cocktail party. ;)

Your friend needs help. Life coach is a good idea.

Way to go, mum.  ::) I trust you know better than to listen.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: TheVapors on January 24, 2012, 08:27:10 AM
I don't think that this is solely a woman problem.

Being a frequenter on 'teh internets', and many online games, I come across a ridiculous number of men who assume that they deserve to have the woman they choose... without aiming to live up to their own standards.

It's a human problem. Some people want to be themselves, and want others to be themselves, too... only if "being themselves" means living up to impossible standards.

I'm reminded of a Dilbert comic, where Dogbert tries to help Dilbert make a list of the standards he has for the women he wants to date. In the final panel, Dilbert is saying, "...and she must be a ballerina..." while Dogbert moans that "My hand is cramping."

If she begins complaining about "Why is it that I can't get a man?" I'd suggest the gentle WillyNilly approach. "Do you actually want to know, or would you rather me lend an ear to listen?"

No need to lay it on thick if she does want to know, but pointing out that she doesn't even live up to her own high standards is a huge roadblock to her "finding a man".

Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Hillia on January 24, 2012, 08:50:19 AM
My BIL is one of those.  He moans constantly about how he can't find a woman, all women are shallow, materialistic, just out for a meal ticket (yeah, on your lofty 23k salary).  He recently met a woman who is about his age, educated, intelligent, has a plan for her life, likes the same movies/games/music that he does, but he won't pursue her...because she's not a supermodel.  She's a nice, average, pretty woman.  (He also tells my DH about this poor woman's attempts to be flirty with him, and calls her a 'freak' because she texted him a picture of herself in a bathing suit.  Yeah, he's a prize.)

BIL?  He's 33, weighs close to 500lbs if not more at this point, lived with his parents before he started school and will return to living with them when school is over.  He whines constantly that women are so shallow, they won't look past physical appearance - yet that's his #1 criteria.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Adelaide on January 24, 2012, 08:59:10 AM

<snip>

If she begins complaining about "Why is it that I can't get a man?" I'd suggest the gentle WillyNilly approach. "Do you actually want to know, or would you rather me lend an ear to listen?"

No need to lay it on thick if she does want to know, but pointing out that she doesn't even live up to her own high standards is a huge roadblock to her "finding a man".

I agree. Typically when someone asks you a question like "Why can't I lose weight/find a man/find friends?" you can tell that they just want to vent because they'll already have an answer and some excuses prepared. They may not even pause to draw breath before they say "I just exercise so much/have such a great personality/am so social!" and you'll never get the chance to say "Stop eating so much chocolate/tweak your standards/don't talk about your cats all the time". If someone genuinely wants advice, they'll typically pause and wait for you to respond, or continue asking actual questions that aren't "You know what I'm saying?" or "I'm so awesome, idk why it's so hard, right?"

With that being said, I don't think you should have to keep putting up with it if you don't want to; this sounds like something you have to deal with a lot. It can be helpful for someone who's stuck in a rut if a friend can gently call them on their behavior. For instance, one of my friends loved to complain about her boyfriend (a person I had made known that I loathed and who she should break up with) and would call/fb message me all the time to gripe about him. I finally had to state that she called me all the time to complain but would keep spinning her wheels and going nowhere if she wasn't going to do anything about it.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: TurtleDove on January 24, 2012, 09:14:58 AM
Some posters have touched on this but I will reiterate -- the idea is to do things that allow you to be the person YOU want to be, not to do things to be the kind of person that will attract a man.  The result of being your "best you" will often be that you will exude confidence and happiness and joy that is attractive to men (or vice versa).  Conversely, it is incredibly difficult to maintain a facade created solely to attract a mate. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: VorFemme on January 24, 2012, 09:22:46 AM
Somebody once said that a lot of people are obsessed with getting a good looking date than they are a smart date because their eyes work better than their ears & brain do.  Or something to that effect..............

I know a lot of people who can make a quick decision on whether or not they like the LOOKS of something (car, computer, house, dinner, or whatever...............) but will dither endlessly about making a decision on any other criteria because they just don't know if they like the way it works, sounds, feels, etc. 

So - it's not just looking for dates & mates that people want something that looks good..................they also know that it is easy to show off their new acquisition visually - not so easy to show that their less visually appealing selection might be better in every other way - just not the "best looking" (could be thinking military spec computer or cell phone here instead of the flashier shiny metallic blue one model, the new red sports car instead of the older gray mini-van, or the new date that is just too cute for words but as thick as a brick).
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: EnoughAlready22 on January 24, 2012, 09:24:00 AM
Some posters have touched on this but I will reiterate -- the idea is to do things that allow you to be the person YOU want to be, not to do things to be the kind of person that will attract a man.  The result of being your "best you" will often be that you will exude confidence and happiness and joy that is attractive to men (or vice versa).  Conversely, it is incredibly difficult to maintain a facade created solely to attract a mate.

Beautifully put!  This is exactly what I was trying to tell a friend recently.  And also what I am trying to learn myself. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: DuBois on January 24, 2012, 09:46:35 AM
My BIL is one of those.  He moans constantly about how he can't find a woman, all women are shallow, materialistic, just out for a meal ticket (yeah, on your lofty 23k salary).  He recently met a woman who is about his age, educated, intelligent, has a plan for her life, likes the same movies/games/music that he does, but he won't pursue her...because she's not a supermodel.  She's a nice, average, pretty woman.  (He also tells my DH about this poor woman's attempts to be flirty with him, and calls her a 'freak' because she texted him a picture of herself in a bathing suit.  Yeah, he's a prize.)

BIL?  He's 33, weighs close to 500lbs if not more at this point, lived with his parents before he started school and will return to living with them when school is over.  He whines constantly that women are so shallow, they won't look past physical appearance - yet that's his #1 criteria.

Good heavens. That is some level of delusion. 500lbs! And he thinks he can get a supermodel?! That is truly deranged.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Flora Louise on January 24, 2012, 09:55:50 AM
But if you're just out, being yourself, enjoying your life, good men are going to see that and be attracted to that.

Self confidence and being self-possessed are sexy.

This is oh so true. And so is energy. Haven't you ever noticed that when you're busy doing something that's when everyone wants your attention? I don't care if I'm just cleaning my house, that's when everybody wants to talk to me.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: WillyNilly on January 24, 2012, 10:00:55 AM
If I tell Friend A:   "You've picked up some really nasty demanding traits from your dysfunctional mother, you're a lovely friend and have lots going for you, but when you talk to men you're a female dog" she's going to take that badly, and defend herself as just being a "strong, confident woman".

You do know there is a difference between constructive criticism and brutal honesty, right?  Sure you can't say ^ that to a friend and have it come out nice, because its a nasty thing to say.  But you can say something like "honestly you have so much to offer but sometimes you come across as mean.  I know you don't mean it like that, and goodness knows growing up in the home you did, you've come so far, but with dating its all about first impressions.  I think if you tried to soften up your approach a bit - you know - smile, stroke the guy's ego a bit by asking lots of questions - which works in your favor anyway because you learn about him, and just in general going a bit easy on people - sometimes guys say goofy things because they are nervous, no need to get defensive with them so quickly; try cracking a joke instead of fighting them on dumb comments. You have a lot to offer but right now it takes a while to get to your awesomeness, the key is to show your awesomeness faster."

If I tell Friend B:  "You're not putting yourself out there.  Get some exercise, stand up straight, hold yourself with confidence and you'll be approachable."  Well, that's just cruel. 
Yes that's ^ cruel but its not cruel to say (if asked for advice, or if she is lamenting constantly) "the two single most attractive qualities in a person are confidence and good health.  Everything else is simply preference - tall-short, thin-curvy, dark-pale, long hair-short hair, none of that ultimately matters, its all about confidence and health.  And while you have other stuff - pretty face, great personality, your life put together, you aren't putting your confidence and health out there to be seen, and those are your 'first impression' things you really need to wear on your sleeve so to speak.  Try standing up straight, shoulders back, hold that head high and proud! Take care of yourself, and show it. Remember how awesome you are and flaunt it and work on maintaining and improving yourself.  Because you know what?  Ultimately if you do that you don't even need a [man/woman], because you will feel so great.  And that darling, is confidence and its sexy."

If I tell Friend C:   "You dress like a lesbian.  You know that you've been mistaken for a lesbian several times, yet you are quite clear that you're interested only in men and you really want to find a man and get married.  If you want a man to show romantic interest in you then perhaps you need to change your image so that they consider approaching you.  Maybe get a feminine haircut.  Or put yourself out there in some way like you did back when you were in relationships." 

This one I'd approach with humor and a smile, but still kindness "well of course guys aren't interested in you, they think you're a lesbian!  Remember last week when 3 women hit on you - heck that guy you were talking to introduced you one of them!  Sweetie I know you went through some stuff with your ex(s) and you rebelled and went all androgynous with your look for a while, but you've gotta be real here for a moment.  Yes you have the face to pull off short hair, but I think you might do better to fem it up a bit - you know how guys are, looks matter to them.  Let the top grow out a bit and poof it up, wear big earrings, a skirt once in a while wouldn't kill you.  Its all about marketing and while you look neat and put together, you aren't advertising 'straight female seeking straight man' with your current packaging."

If I tell my coworker:  "You're 40 years old and a professional who earns a six figure salary. Stop dressing like a tramp, giggling like a schoolgirl and slathering on ten feet thick make-up and false eyelashes. Also, when you're in a relationship, don't treat the man like your personal servant and create huge dramatic scenarios whereby you storm out and never speak to him again, then complain that he never called you and "broke your heart".  Grow up.

Again humor, kindness, and a few finger snaps.  "Lets look at some best practices and some of the things that aren't working for you.  Dating in your 40's is a different ballgame then dating in your 20's and while you have advanced leaps and bounds in other areas of your life, you seem a bit stuck on the dating thing.  You have some great things to offer - check you out, you are successful, witty, financially secure, fun to be around, you love to laugh, you've got it going on.  But you still dress like you did 20 years ago.  Sweetheart, if you have advanced, don't you think your wardrobe should too?  Have you ever read Real Simple with the fashion section on how to wear a trend piece and they break it down by age group?  Or the opening to What Not to Wear with the sign 'no mini skirts after 30'?  You need a new marketing strategy that includes fresh packaging that better shows off your assets.  Lighten up on the make-up to show off those eyes!  Update the wardrobe.  Project yourself with confidence and airiness, not false giggling and bossiness.  You are 40 - a cougar!  You need to find your inner vixen and be a strong confident independent woman, and drop this school girl act, you have more to offer then that.  Lets go down to Bergdorf next Saturday and we'll meet with the personal shopper and get a make-over at the Laura Mericer counter and you'll leave ready to be cast on the The Real Cougars of Madison County! Giggling is for girls, you are woman, I want to hear you roar!"


The reality is some people do just moan and complain, and are too scared to change how they are projecting themselves, because even though their comfort zone isn't working, the fear is leaving the comfort zone might not work either - and then they are still a lone and rejected at now they are so while feeling exposed and uncomfortable.  But some people really do just need that kick in the butt to get going.  its like kids - if you are around them everyday, you hardly notice they are growing and maturing - sure you know it, but subtle.  But if its a far away kid you only see once a year WOW look how tall they've gotten.  Or weight, 1 pound here, 2 pounds there, and next thing you know its 20 pounds.  Sometimes people get lazy with their dating skills, they don't watch successful friends flirting techniques, they don't update their wardrobe for their age, they forget how to make a first impression because they only socialize with people who know them well, and they just need someone to say "hey, you can do this, you're just not doing it."
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: gramma dishes on January 24, 2012, 10:30:10 AM


BIL?  He's 33, weighs close to 500lbs if not more at this point, lived with his parents before he started school and will return to living with them when school is over.  He whines constantly that women are so shallow, they won't look past physical appearance - yet that's his #1 criteria.

Why do I suspect that he secretly knows darn good and well that he cannot possibly ever attract a woman at that weight and therefore sets his "standards" for women exorbitantly high so that he has an explanation for why he doesn't have a girlfriend.  Not "I need to lose weight and get healthy." 

"No girl is pretty enough to meet my standards" makes it sound like it's HIS choice.  Sadly, everyone else knows better.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Hillia on January 24, 2012, 10:54:00 AM


BIL?  He's 33, weighs close to 500lbs if not more at this point, lived with his parents before he started school and will return to living with them when school is over.  He whines constantly that women are so shallow, they won't look past physical appearance - yet that's his #1 criteria.

Why do I suspect that he secretly knows darn good and well that he cannot possibly ever attract a woman at that weight and therefore sets his "standards" for women exorbitantly high so that he has an explanation for why he doesn't have a girlfriend.  Not "I need to lose weight and get healthy." 

"No girl is pretty enough to meet my standards" makes it sound like it's HIS choice.  Sadly, everyone else knows better.

Yeah, DH and I have had this thought also.  He surrounds himself with mediocrity so he can be the big fish in a mud puddle, instead of pushing himself to compete in more challenging areas.  At 33, it's probably too late to break this cycle unless he gets really motivated, and he doesn't have the introspective ability to do that.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: whiterose on January 24, 2012, 10:56:32 AM
My BIL is one of those.  He moans constantly about how he can't find a woman, all women are shallow, materialistic, just out for a meal ticket (yeah, on your lofty 23k salary).  He recently met a woman who is about his age, educated, intelligent, has a plan for her life, likes the same movies/games/music that he does, but he won't pursue her...because she's not a supermodel.  She's a nice, average, pretty woman.  (He also tells my DH about this poor woman's attempts to be flirty with him, and calls her a 'freak' because she texted him a picture of herself in a bathing suit.  Yeah, he's a prize.)

BIL?  He's 33, weighs close to 500lbs if not more at this point, lived with his parents before he started school and will return to living with them when school is over.  He whines constantly that women are so shallow, they won't look past physical appearance - yet that's his #1 criteria.

I got hit on by a gold digger once. Back then, I was a full time graduate student with part time jobs...but I had a car, and my own place, and enough money to afford hobbies (and would land my librarian job soon). The guy did not have a job, a degree, career goals, a car, or even a driver's license. He actually wanted ME to pick him up for the first date. He did was not looking for someone to buy him a car- just to give him rides to places. Or someone to take him to fancy destinations in other countries- just to pay for his amusement park ticket. Or to buy him expensive jewelry- just CDs and DVDs (this was 2004). So yes, even at 23K a year, gold diggers hitting on you is still a possibility.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Cami on January 24, 2012, 12:00:08 PM


BIL?  He's 33, weighs close to 500lbs if not more at this point, lived with his parents before he started school and will return to living with them when school is over.  He whines constantly that women are so shallow, they won't look past physical appearance - yet that's his #1 criteria.

Why do I suspect that he secretly knows darn good and well that he cannot possibly ever attract a woman at that weight and therefore sets his "standards" for women exorbitantly high so that he has an explanation for why he doesn't have a girlfriend.  Not "I need to lose weight and get healthy." 

"No girl is pretty enough to meet my standards" makes it sound like it's HIS choice.  Sadly, everyone else knows better.
The situation sounds like a college friend of mine who "somehow" always "had the bad luck" to fall in love with gay men.  Time after time after time. It didn't take me long to realize that a guy's attractiveness was inversely proportional to his availability. Being attracted to the unobtainable takes away all responsibiilty for one's own love life and happiness or for any need for self-improvement.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: wolfie on January 24, 2012, 12:16:57 PM
It's not just women who have really high expectations, too! I have definitely met guys who are desperate to date someone conventionally attractive, often younger than them. Not just 'someone I personally am attracted to' but more 'someone my friends will think is hot, and be impressed I landed her'. This is not an appealing attitude from men or women!

I am all for waiting until you feel that 'spark'. But having an exhaustive list of qualities is, in my experience, not that helpful. I can say 'I'm usually not attracted to redheads' but if I meet a really awesome redhead who turns my crank, I'm not exactly going to say 'oh sorry you don't fit my qualifiers'.

Had I made a list and stuck to it, I wouldn't be with my awesome boyfriend now. On the other hand, before I met him, I was kind of halfheartedly casually seeing a couple of guys, neither of whom really 'did it' for me. No particular reason, it just wasn't there. But when I met my current guy I knew right away that I wanted to see more of him. Dealbreakers aside, I don't think it's useful to say 'I will only date people who are X Y and Z because that's what I like'. For one thing, if you meet someone who is X Y and Z your friends all laugh at you. ;)

Also I think if you write out a list you have a tendency to write what you think you should want instead of what you actually want. You think you should want a tall, handsome man with a great personality who makes $$$ and wants to take you around the world. But what you really want is a short, chubby guy who will sit with you and watch tv on the couch and you don't really care how much $$ he makes as long as you have something to talk about. (all yous are general and i am not talking about anyone specific just trying to come up with an example)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: shhh its me on January 24, 2012, 04:04:19 PM
  I'm just curious does she work for "doctors without borders"?   I know that was an example , but I assume it stood in place of something like "I want some who..............donates 4 weeks to Habitate for humanity, spent a year in the peace core , feeds the homeless once a week"  etc.   I think this is the one thing you can actually address " Friend a  great way to met way people who participate in Doctors without borders is by participating in Doctors without borders"   It applies to almost everything , if you want to date people who love hiking go hiking.  " You should go hiking" is not critical but does point out the obvious inconsistency , it's repeatable and it might actually work one day.

    I have the idea though that her list represents; Things I value but do not have the drive , ability , knowledge, commitment to do myself.  I only boil water and wish I could cook rather then learning I'll marry someone who is  gourmet cook.  That will make me fill fulfilled.    In other word I think her impossible high list is really a self critique 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: nyoprinces on January 24, 2012, 04:27:40 PM
This thread got me thinking about "quirky" people - I was in a group in college that was sort of the definition of "quirky," and I noticed some things.

Everyone in the group prided themselves on being openly, proudly quirky, and enjoyed weird hobbies, frequently as a group. But I noticed that there were three types within the group when it came to dating: Those who were quirky, enjoyed being quirky, and sought out fellow quirky people to date; those who were quirky, enjoyed being quirky, flaunted their eccentricities, but thought that all of the other similarly quirky people in the group were just too weird to date; and those who were enjoyed the quirkiness within the group but also enjoyed other hobbies and could "assimilate" and date people outside the group.

The thing is, the first and third groups were happy, because they had the self-awareness to either enjoy similarly "weird" partners or to see when they were better served enjoying the hobby but not making it their life. It was the ones who insisted on being "weird" but refused to date "weird" that were miserable, all the time.

In other words, I don't think there's anything wrong with being weird, but you have to have self-awareness about it. You have to either choose to date equally weird people, or choose to not make it a full-time lifestyle.

Edited to add the point, because I forget sometimes: I don't know if any of that would help your friend, but if she's so proud of being eccentric, maybe there's a way to communicate something like that to her without being judgmental. That there's nothing wrong with quirk, but you have to decide what you want to do with it.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: hobish on January 24, 2012, 04:29:32 PM
  I'm just curious does she work for "doctors without borders"?   I know that was an example , but I assume it stood in place of something like "I want some who..............donates 4 weeks to Habitate for humanity, spent a year in the peace core , feeds the homeless once a week"  etc.   I think this is the one thing you can actually address " Friend a  great way to met way people who participate in Doctors without borders is by participating in Doctors without borders"   It applies to almost everything , if you want to date people who love hiking go hiking.  " You should go hiking" is not critical but does point out the obvious inconsistency , it's repeatable and it might actually work one day.

    I have the idea though that her list represents; Things I value but do not have the drive , ability , knowledge, commitment to do myself.  I only boil water and wish I could cook rather then learning I'll marry someone who is  gourmet cook.  That will make me fill fulfilled.    In other word I think her impossible high list is really a self critique

That is a really great idea. And really, it applies to anyone, not just people with impossible standards, so it is even more so.

Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: faithlessone on January 24, 2012, 05:19:01 PM
The situation sounds like a college friend of mine who "somehow" always "had the bad luck" to fall in love with gay men.  Time after time after time. It didn't take me long to realize that a guy's attractiveness was inversely proportional to his availability. Being attracted to the unobtainable takes away all responsibiilty for one's own love life and happiness or for any need for self-improvement.

I had this issue for a few years. In my defence, it mainly stemmed from the fact that my first boyfriend (my childhood sweetheart - we were together for about 5 years), broke up with me by coming out. I was completely heartbroken. After that, it was easier to just fancy unobtainable men, rather than risk getting hurt again.

I agree with the PPs that say she sounds like she's at least subconsciously aware of her faults, but doesn't want to change. Moaning to you is easier than either reconsidering her standards, or modifying her behaviour/activities to attract a 'better' man.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Venus193 on January 24, 2012, 05:19:26 PM
One of my best friends is nearly permanently single. 

She was married briefly a few years ago after a whirlwind courtship with a guy every single person she knew said would 1) cheat on her and 2) steal her money.  I personally knew this--and told her so--after the guy pinned (!) me against a wall and slobbered all over my face (excuse me: "kissed" me) and, an hour or so later, dug through my handbag allegedly looking for gum.  She didn't believe me, stopped returning my calls, and married him anyway.  Three months later, we were friends again and she was getting a divorce. 

This is the only relationship I've known her to have in the nearly ten years we've been friends.  With V-Day coming up, she will inevitably call me up at least half a dozen times to ask why she can't find a good guy.  Historically, I've gone with what I believe is the standard feminine response: commiseration. 

But I know -exactly- why she can't find a guy.  She's got unbelievably high standards, for one thing.  Imagine a George Clooney look-alike who works for Doctors without Borders, cooks gourmet meals, and stands under her bedroom window playing acoustic covers of 80s power ballads in the rain.  A cute-ish guy who isn't a professional puppy killer and who makes an unusually tasty cheeseburger is unworthy of her consideration.  And she's chock-full of weirdo dating behaviors: saying "I Love You" twenty minutes in, for instance.   She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.  She tells half-hour anecdotes about her dog.

She's an awesome girl, fun and funny and a loyal friend.  But there's no way she knows that she's the reason pretty much no sane person will go out with her more than once. 

Is there any way I can politely, lovingly, gently, and kindly let her know what's what?  Or shall I go on commiserating until we're both dead?

Your friend has two serious problems:

1.  She is blind to the faults of men she is attracted to.
2.  Her weirdo dating behavior.

It's OK to have high standards; really, why should women be expected to settle for much less than we deserve?  However, any man would be weirded out by her dating behavior.

Unfortunately, I know of no polite way to express this.  This requires being direct.  Either you tell it like it is or tell her to stop wailing if she truly does't want any advice.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: lilfox on January 24, 2012, 05:40:14 PM
I think the problem may stem from the contradictory advice of "Be yourself!" and "Stop being such a weirdo."

Yes, self-confidence, good self-esteem, good self-image - all of these things are attractive because they make you seem like a solid, stable, happy person.

But someone who claims that wearing a wedding dress on a casual date is just being herself... she's confusing "attention-getting" with confidence in herself.  It doesn't take inner strength to scare your date with an inappropriate outfit or behavior.

What a lot of makeover shows try to do is to demonstrate that you can be true to yourself without resorting to cheap gimmicks that you think show your quirky or outrageous personality, but really come across as off-putting, scary, or intimidating.  And that's what can be unattractive.  Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj or whoever do it because it's a stage persona.  But do their wannabes really consider how many guys would really want a relationship with that persona?

The high standards are one thing, but if she's really looking for input about what she herself might be doing to scare off prospective boyfriends, a gentle reminder that if she doesn't want the kind of guy who seeks out, and exhibits, attention-getting behavior, maybe she should tone it down with the wackiness think about the behaviors that best reflect who she really is.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: immadz on January 24, 2012, 06:50:18 PM
One of my best friends is nearly permanently single. 

She was married briefly a few years ago after a whirlwind courtship with a guy every single person she knew said would 1) cheat on her and 2) steal her money.  I personally knew this--and told her so--after the guy pinned (!) me against a wall and slobbered all over my face (excuse me: "kissed" me) and, an hour or so later, dug through my handbag allegedly looking for gum.  She didn't believe me, stopped returning my calls, and married him anyway.  Three months later, we were friends again and she was getting a divorce. 

This is the only relationship I've known her to have in the nearly ten years we've been friends.  With V-Day coming up, she will inevitably call me up at least half a dozen times to ask why she can't find a good guy.  Historically, I've gone with what I believe is the standard feminine response: commiseration. 

But I know -exactly- why she can't find a guy.  She's got unbelievably high standards, for one thing.  Imagine a George Clooney look-alike who works for Doctors without Borders, cooks gourmet meals, and stands under her bedroom window playing acoustic covers of 80s power ballads in the rain.  A cute-ish guy who isn't a professional puppy killer and who makes an unusually tasty cheeseburger is unworthy of her consideration.  And she's chock-full of weirdo dating behaviors: saying "I Love You" twenty minutes in, for instance.   She once went with a guy to his work Christmas party, kind of dressy cocktail thing, in what I know was a wedding dress.  She tells half-hour anecdotes about her dog.

She's an awesome girl, fun and funny and a loyal friend.  But there's no way she knows that she's the reason pretty much no sane person will go out with her more than once. 

Is there any way I can politely, lovingly, gently, and kindly let her know what's what?  Or shall I go on commiserating until we're both dead?

Your friend has two serious problems:

1.  She is blind to the faults of men she is attracted to.
2.  Her weirdo dating behavior.

It's OK to have high standards; really, why should women be expected to settle for much less than we deserve?  However, any man would be weirded out by her dating behavior.

Unfortunately, I know of no polite way to express this.  This requires being direct.  Either you tell it like it is or tell her to stop wailing if she truly does't want any advice.

I don't think direct is rude. It might not be well received but someone needs to tell her.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: weeblewobble on January 24, 2012, 09:45:26 PM
There's a difference between singular and quirky and "beyond the bounds of good sense and psychologically balanced behavior."

Wearing a cute vintage dress to an office party? OK
Wearing a wedding dress to any social event that is NOT your wedding. NOT OK.

Telling someone "you're the bee's knees" 20 minutes into a date?  OK.
Telling someone, "I will love you forever.  I think we should name our firstborn, Albert." 20 minutes into the date. NOT OK

Sending a guy a cute little gift referencing your recent date? (i.e. a box of movie candy, a little toy, etc.) OK
Sending him a doll you've woven from stolen strands of his hair? NOT OK.

Does it stink that the weird friend can't be herself?  sure.  But she has to choose whether she wants to be alone and "free" to be herself, or practice a little self-control so other people enjoy her company.  She can't have it both ways.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: gramma dishes on January 24, 2012, 09:51:19 PM
^^^  Thanks, Weeblewobble, for one of the most entertaining posts I've read all day.  I especially love your first sentence!!   ;D
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Black Delphinium on January 24, 2012, 10:18:06 PM
There's a difference between singular and quirky and "beyond the bounds of good sense and psychologically balanced behavior."

Wearing a cute vintage dress to an office party? OK
Wearing a wedding dress to any social event that is NOT your wedding(or a fancy dress/costume party). NOT OK.(fixed that for you ;D)

Telling someone "you're the bee's knees" 20 minutes into a date?  OK.
Telling someone, "I will love you forever.  I think we should name our firstborn, Albert." 20 minutes into the date. NOT OK

Sending a guy a cute little gift referencing your recent date? (i.e. a boK.x of movie candy, a little toy, etc.) OK
Sending him a doll you've woven from stolen strands of his hair? NOT O

Does it stink that the weird friend can't be herself?  sure.  But she has to choose whether she wants to be alone and "free" to be herself, or practice a little self-control so other people enjoy her company.  She can't have it both ways.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: NutMeg on January 25, 2012, 12:41:50 AM
Some posters have touched on this but I will reiterate -- the idea is to do things that allow you to be the person YOU want to be, not to do things to be the kind of person that will attract a man.  The result of being your "best you" will often be that you will exude confidence and happiness and joy that is attractive to men (or vice versa).  Conversely, it is incredibly difficult to maintain a facade created solely to attract a mate.

Not only that, it means that when you attract someone, they will be attracted to you, not a facade.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: shhh its me on January 25, 2012, 05:28:50 AM
There's a difference between singular and quirky and "beyond the bounds of good sense and psychologically balanced behavior."

Wearing a cute vintage dress to an office party? OK
Wearing a wedding dress to any social event that is NOT your wedding(or a fancy dress/costume party). NOT OK.(fixed that for you ;D)

Telling someone "you're the bee's knees" 20 minutes into a date?  OK.
Telling someone, "I will love you forever.  I think we should name our firstborn, Albert." 20 minutes into the date. NOT OK

Sending a guy a cute little gift referencing your recent date? (i.e. a boK.x of movie candy, a little toy, etc.) OK
Sending him a doll you've woven from stolen strands of his hair? NOT O

Does it stink that the weird friend can't be herself?  sure.  But she has to choose whether she wants to be alone and "free" to be herself, or practice a little self-control so other people enjoy her company.  She can't have it both ways.

The wedding dress reminded me of the thread we had inspired by an Dear Abby? Margo? letter.  "I wear cat ears everywhere and my friend told me not to wear them to her wedding" A wedding dress outside of a wedding is a costume, it is right up there with wearing a wonder woman outfit.  It's not quirky ,it's deranged.  I'm not picking on OP friend you can be a great person and a little nuts at the same time. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: squashedfrog on January 25, 2012, 05:43:03 AM
we have a similar problem with a friend of DHs.  He always reminds me of Henry VIII.   

In his teens and early 20's he was sporty, rugged handsome with a full head of great hair.  He was the life and sole of the party and from the photos always had a beer in his hand!   Remember those fantastic days when you could eat/drink what you want and never really seem to put on weight?  And he really attacted some young dollybirds.

Thing is he still behaves like that and has put on a good 10 stone (140lbs) since then.  He is 38, now quite bald and the nicest way looks as if he has had a hard/party life - he looks a lot older than the other boys in the group the same age. 

However he still seems to view himself (outwardly at least) in the same way as when he was 18 - including the expectation to pull with the good looking young ladies.  He still goes to nightclubs a lot, and he is always moaning to DH and friends that he wants to settle down and find a great girl.  But the ones who are attracted to him - and who we tend to think are quite nice matches, are always beneath him.     
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: mechtilde on January 25, 2012, 05:57:18 AM
So yes, even at 23K a year, gold diggers hitting on you is still a possibility.

I managed to attract one when I was unemployed!
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Petticoats on January 25, 2012, 08:30:44 AM
There's a difference between singular and quirky and "beyond the bounds of good sense and psychologically balanced behavior."
Wearing a cute vintage dress to an office party? OK
Wearing a wedding dress to any social event that is NOT your wedding. NOT OK.

Telling someone "you're the bee's knees" 20 minutes into a date?  OK.
Telling someone, "I will love you forever.  I think we should name our firstborn, Albert." 20 minutes into the date. NOT OK

Sending a guy a cute little gift referencing your recent date? (i.e. a box of movie candy, a little toy, etc.) OK
Sending him a doll you've woven from stolen strands of his hair? NOT OK.

Does it stink that the weird friend can't be herself?  sure.  But she has to choose whether she wants to be alone and "free" to be herself, or practice a little self-control so other people enjoy her company.  She can't have it both ways.

That's pretty much what I was going to say. OP, I think your friend would benefit from therapy; she sounds crackers.

As to how to address that without hurting her, I think you could tell her gently, "Honey, you seem to be experiencing so much distress about your love life, and I hate to see you hurting for so long. Have you thought about seeing a therapist to find ways to get on top of this and get into a happier place? It might help you get some perspective that I'm not able to offer."
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 25, 2012, 09:34:36 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: TurtleDove on January 25, 2012, 09:36:13 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Well, no one wants to hear unflattering true assessments.  People who have drug or other problems rarely want to hear it either, but I would not advocate that telling them "eh, a little heroin never hurt anyone" is the kindest response.  I think it comes down to the relationship, as you pointed out.  Sometimes tough love is necessary, sometimes the relationship is not of the type that it would be at all productive.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Reason on January 25, 2012, 09:39:08 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Seraphia on January 25, 2012, 09:46:51 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

The difference is, if someone comes to you over, and over, and over, and over saying "I haaaaaaaate my nose (dating life). Why doesn't it just look better?" you can say "Well, noses (mindsets) don't change on their own. Maybe you should see a doctor who can help change how you feel about your nose (act in relationships)." Some thought patterns are as unchangeable as facial features - i.e. it takes a major event to alter things. No, you should not walk up to someone on the street and say: "Boy, you're really screwed up. You need to see a doctor." But in the context of a friendship, it can be perfectly appropriate to say: "Your troubles with this are beyond me. I think you should talk to a professional."
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 25, 2012, 09:49:19 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

There's a difference in telling someone she could benefit from talking with a counsellor v. telling her she's fat or has an awful nose.

About suggesting a counsellor, there are many ways to broach the topic carefully and diplomatically.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Carotte on January 25, 2012, 10:14:03 AM

The situation sounds like a college friend of mine who "somehow" always "had the bad luck" to fall in love with gay men.  Time after time after time. It didn't take me long to realize that a guy's attractiveness was inversely proportional to his availability. Being attracted to the unobtainable takes away all responsibility for one's own love life and happiness or for any need for self-improvement.
[/quote]

My personal g.a.ydar is completely busted half the time, always when I find the guy interesting, I even had a crush on someone who hadn't come out to himself yet (so I now joke that I 'break' men and turn them g.a.y) - but in the same time I can rationalize why I am attracted to certain guys that I know would not be a good idea to date.
I was keeping myself from being happy with someone because I didn't have the self confidence to think "hey! I deserve to be happy, bring me the cute* guy for once".
I found someone who boosted my confidence and I know I act and look "better" and happier and I'm probably more attractive to other guys.

What I wanted to say is, I didn't need therapy to come to this conclusion, because I did the work on myself to try an analyze what was going on, but OP's friend could use it, I just don't know if there's a good way to broach the subject...



* I have a very large spectrum of what cute means, and it's not just the looks - I'm not looking for a supermodel since I know I'm not one, and I believe look is not all there is in someone.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Petticoats on January 25, 2012, 10:55:41 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

This is why I offered the suggested wording that I did. My personal opinion is that the OP's friend is crackers. I didn't say she should *tell* her friend this. I think there are ways of gently suggesting that a therapist may help someone with struggles she seems to keep having--with a pattern in her life. That doesn't sound like "you need straightening out" as much as "perhaps another perspective can help you."

ETA: On reflection I retract my rather harsh "crackers" description and will just say that I think the OP's friend could benefit greatly from seeing a good therapist--and that there are kind, constructive ways of telling her this, unless she is among those who automatically equate seeing a therapist with admitting to being crazy, because I know that, sadly, there are people who believe this.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: MerryCat on January 25, 2012, 11:42:51 AM
So yes, even at 23K a year, gold diggers hitting on you is still a possibility.

I managed to attract one when I was unemployed!

So true! Not all gold diggers have high standards. Some will settle for "has slighter more money and better credit than me.... for now." There's no one so poor that someone else won't try to take what little they've got.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Seraphia on January 25, 2012, 12:33:21 PM
So yes, even at 23K a year, gold diggers hitting on you is still a possibility.

I managed to attract one when I was unemployed!

So true! Not all gold diggers have high standards. Some will settle for "has slighter more money and better credit than me.... for now." There's no one so poor that someone else won't try to take what little they've got.

Very true! I have a teacher friend with problems very similar to the OP's friend. She left her job in anticipation of moving to another state and changing fields. She had no job, but managed to attract a user with no job, no car, a mental illness for which the medication kept mysteriously "running out" and subsequently, no home. Thankfully, she managed to leave without getting too attached, but even in the few weeks they dated, she wound up paying for quite a lot of his groceries, transport and medication, and he was begging/guilting her to pay for his cell phone so they could keep talking after she moved.

I wound up telling her: "You know how you keep saying you can't find a good guy? Look for the EXACT OPPOSITE of that one, and you'll be into safe territory."
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Virg on January 25, 2012, 03:46:43 PM
weeblewobble wrote:

"Does it stink that the weird friend can't be herself?  sure.  But she has to choose whether she wants to be alone and "free" to be herself, or practice a little self-control so other people enjoy her company.  She can't have it both ways."

I tend to think that she can indeed be herself, but the problem is that she's decided that she doesn't want to date the kind of person who's attracted to weird, and that's where the failure lies.  I know plenty of people who are really off the wall, but happy, because they realize it and they're comfortable being with the kind of people that gravitate to "weirdoes".  It's her quirkiness combined with her rather hypocritical standards that's putting her in a bind.  I suspect that's why half of the advice leans toward "learn to like guys that will like you as you are" and half toward "consider changing yourself to attract the kind of guy you like" because at present, the two don't match in her life.

As for your friend, lellah, I'll agree with the suggestion for her to sign on a life coach, because such a person will be able to tell her about this discrepancy in a way that you won't, because the life coach will be an impartial party.  She may not get the message or may reject it, but at least she won't be able to blame you for it.

Virg
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Iris on January 25, 2012, 04:36:19 PM
I had a good laugh at myself last night, courtesy of this thread  :)

After reading all the updates and agreeing that this wedding dress wearing woman was a little ... unusual... I remembered that I have actually worn a wedding dress to a non-wedding.  ;D

I should explain that it was a velvet dress with batwing sleeves. And a friend's who, after the whole wedding thing didn't work out, decided it was too awesome a dress to just not wear. And at uni my crowd DEFINED quirky. In fact we used to 'play dress ups' every time we went out.

I'm much more sensible now, I promise  :)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Surianne on January 25, 2012, 07:06:06 PM
I had a good laugh at myself last night, courtesy of this thread  :)

After reading all the updates and agreeing that this wedding dress wearing woman was a little ... unusual... I remembered that I have actually worn a wedding dress to a non-wedding.  ;D

I should explain that it was a velvet dress with batwing sleeves. And a friend's who, after the whole wedding thing didn't work out, decided it was too awesome a dress to just not wear. And at uni my crowd DEFINED quirky. In fact we used to 'play dress ups' every time we went out.

I'm much more sensible now, I promise  :)

Love it.  I do this sort of thing (though I haven't with a wedding dress).  Like dress up crazy and go out to the pub (love wearing our most bizarre outfits to karaoke), or hang out at the park in costumes/odd clothes...it's fun!  And yes, this is with a quirky group too -- mostly actors, musicians, and writers. 
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Iris on January 25, 2012, 07:24:21 PM
I had a good laugh at myself last night, courtesy of this thread  :)

After reading all the updates and agreeing that this wedding dress wearing woman was a little ... unusual... I remembered that I have actually worn a wedding dress to a non-wedding.  ;D

I should explain that it was a velvet dress with batwing sleeves. And a friend's who, after the whole wedding thing didn't work out, decided it was too awesome a dress to just not wear. And at uni my crowd DEFINED quirky. In fact we used to 'play dress ups' every time we went out.

I'm much more sensible now, I promise  :)

Love it.  I do this sort of thing (though I haven't with a wedding dress).  Like dress up crazy and go out to the pub (love wearing our most bizarre outfits to karaoke), or hang out at the park in costumes/odd clothes...it's fun!  And yes, this is with a quirky group too -- mostly actors, musicians, and writers.

AND I didn't have an impossible wish list for my mythical man. I just married DH who used to carry a cane for no good reason, just because he thought it looked cool  :) We both settled down together, although youngest DD found a photo of me from uni and assumed my friends and I were going to a costume party and asked who I was dressed up as...
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Yvaine on January 25, 2012, 08:06:40 PM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

This seems at odds with your reaction to your co-worker's body-shaping issues--unless you're applying advice you got from that thread, of course!  :)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: DuBois on January 26, 2012, 03:32:10 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

This seems at odds with your reaction to your co-worker's body-shaping issues--unless you're applying advice you got from that thread, of course!  :)

I'm not sure I agree that the two are at odds. In Reason's thread, he wasn't suggesting that anything was 'wrong' with the woman, just that she could make a simple change and see better results. While I do not agree with the stigma surrounding therapy, I think that there is a difference between 'see a therapist' and 'eat differently in conjunction with something that you are already doing' (i.e. excercising)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Yvaine on January 26, 2012, 07:35:07 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

This seems at odds with your reaction to your co-worker's body-shaping issues--unless you're applying advice you got from that thread, of course!  :)

I'm not sure I agree that the two are at odds. In Reason's thread, he wasn't suggesting that anything was 'wrong' with the woman, just that she could make a simple change and see better results. While I do not agree with the stigma surrounding therapy, I think that there is a difference between 'see a therapist' and 'eat differently in conjunction with something that you are already doing' (i.e. excercising)

But "see a therapist" need not mean "something is wrong with you" either. You can't suggest it in every relationship situation, but there are times, if you're really close to someone, then you might be able to suggest the friend see a therapist if they've asked you for advice, and if you really are that close. It's the same thing for "you need to go on a diet," IMO. It's rude to go around unsolicitedly suggesting it willy-nilly to everyone you know; it can be acceptable if you have a close friend who genuinely wants your dietary advice. The key is if they really want advice and you're really really sure of that, whether it's on physical or mental health issues. The problem in the other thread was that Reason misunderstood the co-worker--she wanted to blow off steam, not receive instruction. The disconnect I see is that Reason says he wouldn't want unsolicited health advice (mental health in this case) but finds it frustrating when we tell him that his co-worker might feel the same way.

And as an added issue, equating therapy with "derangement" is insulting to the many, many ehellions who have gone to therapy, and smacks of ableism.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: DuBois on January 26, 2012, 07:43:19 AM
I don't know.. if someone suggested that I am apparently so deranged that I need to see a therapist I would not be too happy with them. That might be worse than giving advice for some people.

I think some canned phrase like, "There is someone out there for everyone, don't give up." might be safer. You'd have to know the person of course.

Therapy is not limited to the "deranged"!

Of course not, sorry if it looks like I implied that.

I am just saying some people (including me) may not react well to "Hey, you need to see a therapist".

The same way they may react badly to "Hey, you could really use some liposuction." or "Hey, I know a great plastic surgeon for your nose."

This seems at odds with your reaction to your co-worker's body-shaping issues--unless you're applying advice you got from that thread, of course!  :)

I'm not sure I agree that the two are at odds. In Reason's thread, he wasn't suggesting that anything was 'wrong' with the woman, just that she could make a simple change and see better results. While I do not agree with the stigma surrounding therapy, I think that there is a difference between 'see a therapist' and 'eat differently in conjunction with something that you are already doing' (i.e. excercising)

But "see a therapist" need not mean "something is wrong with you" either. You can't suggest it in every relationship situation, but there are times, if you're really close to someone, then you might be able to suggest the friend see a therapist if they've asked you for advice, and if you really are that close. It's the same thing for "you need to go on a diet," IMO. It's rude to go around unsolicitedly suggesting it willy-nilly to everyone you know; it can be acceptable if you have a close friend who genuinely wants your dietary advice. The key is if they really want advice and you're really really sure of that, whether it's on physical or mental health issues. The problem in the other thread was that Reason misunderstood the co-worker--she wanted to blow off steam, not receive instruction. The disconnect I see is that Reason says he wouldn't want unsolicited health advice (mental health in this case) but finds it frustrating when we tell him that his co-worker might feel the same way.

And as an added issue, equating therapy with "derangement" is insulting to the many, many ehellions who have gone to therapy, and smacks of ableism.

Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Yvaine on January 26, 2012, 07:49:13 AM
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: DuBois on January 26, 2012, 08:13:50 AM
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

Oh, I completely agree with you! I think the same about therapy, and that goes double for advising it for close friends. I just can see why, in that grey area between aquaintanceship and friendship, therapy advice might be seen as a no no, while diet advice is more neutral.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Reason on January 26, 2012, 08:24:55 AM
I also think there is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist. Or seeing a nutritionist. Or seeing a personal trainer. Or for that matter seeing any professional to help you resolve an issue you are struggling with.

But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong? Note I am not saying wrong with them, just wrong. A person goes to a therapist to fix some kind of problem, I think. I go to see a nutritionist to fine tune my diet for example, and I have a six pack. Nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my diet obviously cause I wound up pretty ill by following it.

So I think (also because I am learning as I go, as in my other thread) that giving the advice to see such a professional can be a very risky proposition. You really have to know how the other person will react and know them well. Just offering someone to see a therapist without that background can be very insulting. Even without the stigma.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: MariaE on January 26, 2012, 08:32:23 AM
But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong? Note I am not saying wrong with them, just wrong. A person goes to a therapist to fix some kind of problem, I think. I go to see a nutritionist to fine tune my diet for example, and I have a six pack. Nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my diet obviously cause I wound up pretty ill by following it.

In order to get tools to use for when things do go wrong. I think it was Gretchen Rubin who said "The time to think about your happiness is when you're already happy."
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Virg on January 26, 2012, 09:05:40 AM
MariaE wrote:

"In order to get tools to use for when things do go wrong. I think it was Gretchen Rubin who said "The time to think about your happiness is when you're already happy.""

The problem is that most people view therapy as something done to fix a problem.  To most, suggesting therapy when nothing is "wrong" (that is, when they don't have some internal struggle that's bothering them) would be like taking your car to the mechanic when there's nothing wrong with it to discuss what you should do when the fuel pump goes bad.  I personally would wonder why I need tools to deal with a nonexistent problem before I know what that problem is (and therefore what tools I'd need to cope).

Virg
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: WillyNilly on January 26, 2012, 09:13:14 AM
Ok about this therapy debate... the friend in the OP does have a problem though and one she admits to and has communicated - she is having a problem funding herself a good, strong, meaningful, lasting relationship.  The friend is not currently happy or operating under the guise of "all is well".
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Reason on January 26, 2012, 09:15:34 AM
Yes, but she may very well think there is something wrong with "men". Not with her. Depends on how she's phrasing her complaints.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Yvaine on January 26, 2012, 09:23:40 AM
I also think there is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist. Or seeing a nutritionist. Or seeing a personal trainer. Or for that matter seeing any professional to help you resolve an issue you are struggling with.

But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong? Note I am not saying wrong with them, just wrong. A person goes to a therapist to fix some kind of problem, I think. I go to see a nutritionist to fine tune my diet for example, and I have a six pack. Nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my diet obviously cause I wound up pretty ill by following it.

So I think (also because I am learning as I go, as in my other thread) that giving the advice to see such a professional can be a very risky proposition. You really have to know how the other person will react and know them well. Just offering someone to see a therapist without that background can be very insulting. Even without the stigma.

Well, but offering to critique their diet can also be insulting. I don't think it's any less personal or any less sensitive for many people, so you have to tread carefully.

And yeah, mental conditions are "something wrong" in the same sense that a broken leg or the flu is "something wrong." The stigma is what bothers me--there's this idea out there that a mental illness means you're "weak" or that it reflects badly on your character; and there's another idea that mental illnesses aren't real and that you can just make depression or PTSD go away with a "chin up!"  ::) When, really, they're a condition just the same as an injury or a virus, and there is treatment for them, and it doesn't make you a bad person if you have one any more than you're a bad person if you break your leg.

I agree that it can be very risky to suggest any kind of professional help (doctor, therapist, nutritionist, whatever) and that you have to know your audience. And you have to be coming from a place of real caring and not flippancy. It's rude and dismissive to go around, for example (and I'm not saying you do this personally; this is a general "you") hectoring every smoker or fat person you see about how they need to quit/diet. But if you are close to someone, and you think there might be a specific issue they haven't thought of yet, it can be different.

Another example from my real life: There is a rare chromosomal condition that, by dumb chance, I had two friends who had it. So while I'm not a doctor, I spent more time being around the condition and talking about the condition than most laypeople ever do. A third friend confided in me some symptoms she'd been experiencing--some for many years--and that she and her doctor were both stumped. I told her, "I have an off-the-wall thought, but I'll keep my mouth shut if you prefer." She said go ahead and tell her, so I told her that she might want to get checked for this condition next time she was at the doctor, because she had symptoms x, y, and z that can result from that. (IIRC, she ended up deciding she probably did have it but didn't want to go through the testing.)
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: WillyNilly on January 26, 2012, 09:28:41 AM
Yes, but she may very well think there is something wrong with "men". Not with her. Depends on how she's phrasing her complaints.

But all these arguments - yours even "But why would one see a therapist if nothing is wrong?" imply she doesn't realize something is wrong.  She knows something is wrong.  Perhaps she is incorrect in what she thinks is wrong, but she knows something in the equation is adding up right. 

Pointing her to a therapist doesn't even mean per say she is the problem in entirety.,  Many women have the problem that they go after the wrong guys.  Perfectly nice women who for whatever reason are attracted to men who are [insert issue] and end up having [negative issue] over and over again.  Yeah its the guys who are wrong but therapy can help the woman steer clear of the wrongness.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Petticoats on January 26, 2012, 10:23:31 AM
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

This is really a productive way to look at the situation. Whether or not the OP's friend recognizes that she has control over something that's causing her pain, a good friend can suggest to her, without being insulting, that an outside (and professional) perspective might help shed light on a recurring and painful problem.
Title: Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
Post by: Yvaine on January 26, 2012, 10:27:15 AM
Yeah, but  can see where's he's coming from to be honest. I totally agree with your point about therapy not equalling 'something wrong' but in the minds of a lot of people, it does equal just that. Yes, I would suggest therapy to someone if I knew them well and knew that they wouldn't be offended, but I have been in therapy myself. I still think that it is different from diet advice: I don't mean that Reason should necessarily have given his co-worker diet advice, but I think that there is a big difference between someone complaining that they are not losing weight, and that they cannot find a partner. With weight, anybody can lose it, if they approach it the right way, whereas the same is not true of finding a partner. (Even though I struggle with body image issues, I am not a huge fan of the idea of weight as any more than a number, albeit people are certainly healthier at certain weights and not at others. But people will be at a healthy weight if they do certain things. There is no guarantee of finding a partner whatever happens, so to suggest therapy can come off as dismissive, whatever the intention)

I'll agree that the therapy shouldn't be seen as a magic bullet that will get you a relationship. But sometimes people just get stuck on an issue and it hampers everything else in their life, including their love life. In the situation where I did suggest therapy to someone, it was because she was tying every issue in her relationships back to a history with an abusive parent, plus unloading it all on me, and I didn't feel qualified to talk to her about it because everything I said seemed to make her feel worse. So I finally told her that she might try talking to someone with more distance from the situation. She wasn't happy, but she did eventually go, and it's helped. Not in landing a new man, but in general emotional well-being.

This is really a productive way to look at the situation. Whether or not the OP's friend recognizes that she has control over something that's causing her pain, a good friend can suggest to her, without being insulting, that an outside (and professional) perspective might help shed light on a recurring and painful problem.

That was such a huge part of the problem--because I was getting upset because my friend was upset, and she needed somebody who could listen without being emotionally involved.