Author Topic: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?  (Read 14391 times)

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lellah

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So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« on: January 23, 2012, 04:09:25 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?

Calypso

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 04:14:42 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.

whiterose

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 04:18:40 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.
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Surianne

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2012, 04:20:45 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.)

lellah

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2012, 04:29:47 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. 

rashea

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 04:41:05 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.
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figee

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 04:45:11 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?)

TurtleDove

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 04:49:31 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?"

Flora Louise

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2012, 05:05:42 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?
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lellah

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2012, 05:12:56 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. 

Calypso

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 05:25:59 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....

SisJackson

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 05:36:39 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.

Iris

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 05:51:25 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
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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 05:51:47 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.

Surianne

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Re: So what if you -do- know why your friend can't find a guy?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 06:05:47 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.