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Old 02-06-2011
dutchguy's Avatar
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Like many before me, I've decided to start a journal. Not that I think my everyday boring adventures are interesting enough for all of you to read, but it might be a good way to get some frustrations off my chest and perhaps some of my musings might even be helpful to others.

My journal is mainly going to be about my ill-fated 'quest' for finding a girlfriend. Over the years I've overcome my shyness to a degree where I can lead a largely satisfying life; I have a job and (since recently) an apartment, with which I've proven to myself that I can be a functioning adult. As the cliche goes, the only thing missing from my life is someone to love - and that's where I'm stuck.

You see, for all of my 25 years, I've never had a girlfriend. There were chances, but my crippling shyness ruined them all (and still does, now that I think about it). Recently I've been making a little progress - I even kissed for the first time last year (although that relationship went nowhere), but I'm definitely not 'ready' yet. For some reason, all the years of perceived rejection have made me afraid of women - especially the ones that I'm attracted to honestly scare me.

Anyway, after this introduction, onto the real journal part. Over the last month, due to my moving out of my parents house, my search for a girlfriend has taken a bit of a 'back seat'. However, now that I'm settled in a bit, I want to resume my search. First point of action is going back to some of the dating sites I've been a member of for ages. The strange thing is that I'm very attracted to some of the women on there, but I'm too scared of them to actually send a message. I never know what to write - the way it happens is that I write a big amount of text, then delete half of it because I don't think it's very good and in the end I just delete the message altogether.

I just had an idea; to make this journal effective, I'm going to give myself an assignment with every update. Today's assignment is to stop putting off messaging one particular girl on a dating site.
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Old 02-06-2011
 

Having a girlfriend is one of the most overrated things ever, but you'll understand it after get one.
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Old 02-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamelech View Post
Having a girlfriend is one of the most overrated things ever, but you'll understand it after get one.
I'm fully aware that when I finally find this 'holy grail' I'm searching for, it's not suddenly going to cure me of all my anxieties and make my life into paradise. I've even seen a few friends ruin their lives over something they thought was 'love'.

...but I kind of feel like my desire for 'love and companionship' is also a biological issue in a lot of ways. It's not something I can reason my way out of. Eventually I'm getting more desperate as I get older - and if I don't at least create a chance to meet a woman, I'm going to hate myself for it forever. It's also a matter of finally sticking up for myself and undertaking some action when I really want something.

--

As for a new entry into my journal; this afternoon I talked (online) to a girl I dated once a long while ago. We did some catching up, and through the conversation it dawned on me that this at least meant that she thought I was worth talking to, and that perhaps she doesn't find me pathetic at all. I mean, I've basically been avoiding this girl ever since she rejected me, but maybe it's time for me to finally learn that being rejected for 'love' doesn't mean that she suddenly completely hates me.

For my 'assignment' - I completed the previous one and as this post contains a new update, I guess I also need to give myself a new assignment. As I've already done one today, I'm going to keep it simple and say that I have to message yet another girl that I've been interested in but never had the guts to actually talk to.

Concerning my 'assignments' (and the fact that I'm already running out of ideas for them), if any of you have some good ideas for ones that can help me 'push my boundaries', I'll be delighted to hear them.
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Old 02-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchguy View Post
Like many before me, I've decided to start a journal. Not that I think my everyday boring adventures are interesting enough for all of you to read, but it might be a good way to get some frustrations off my chest and perhaps some of my musings might even be helpful to others.

My journal is mainly going to be about my ill-fated 'quest' for finding a girlfriend. Over the years I've overcome my shyness to a degree where I can lead a largely satisfying life; I have a job and (since recently) an apartment, with which I've proven to myself that I can be a functioning adult. As the cliche goes, the only thing missing from my life is someone to love - and that's where I'm stuck.

You see, for all of my 25 years, I've never had a girlfriend. There were chances, but my crippling shyness ruined them all (and still does, now that I think about it). Recently I've been making a little progress - I even kissed for the first time last year (although that relationship went nowhere), but I'm definitely not 'ready' yet. For some reason, all the years of perceived rejection have made me afraid of women - especially the ones that I'm attracted to honestly scare me.

Anyway, after this introduction, onto the real journal part. Over the last month, due to my moving out of my parents house, my search for a girlfriend has taken a bit of a 'back seat'. However, now that I'm settled in a bit, I want to resume my search. First point of action is going back to some of the dating sites I've been a member of for ages. The strange thing is that I'm very attracted to some of the women on there, but I'm too scared of them to actually send a message. I never know what to write - the way it happens is that I write a big amount of text, then delete half of it because I don't think it's very good and in the end I just delete the message altogether.

I just had an idea; to make this journal effective, I'm going to give myself an assignment with every update. Today's assignment is to stop putting off messaging one particular girl on a dating site.
I have a love life, but no career or social life. I'd trade that in for the later two. Relationships aren't all that, unless you have not been well adjusted growing up and need a maternal figure, albeit in the form of a partner, to provide emotional support. But that isn't healthy anyways. Too many people find a gf/bf for the wrong reason. They need to find themselves, know their problems and needs, mourn and heal the hurt self, and find someone when they can love and accept themselves, as well as be happy with one's own company. Lecture over. But seriously I believe that to be true.

I suggest you approach some 'not so attractive' ladies so it doesn't give you too much expectation, and you won't take it as seriously, which would help you better to be yourself. When you've managed to so******e with these women on a level that isn't as anxiety enducing, approach someone who you want to date.
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Old 02-06-2011
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Just offering a bit of advice on messaging women you fancy;

Speak from the heart. Initiate a conversation the same way you do with guys and bring up topics you might share an interest with. If you edit your message you're editing who you are and how you speak naturally. If the relationship is gonna be worth two cents you've got to love each other for who you truly are.
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Old 02-07-2011
dutchguy's Avatar
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I understand what all of you are saying about relationships and how I shouldn't glorify them into the 'best thing in the world'. However, it's the same as telling me that having a million dollars isn't all it's cracked up to be; I'm willing to believe you, but I still want to experience it first-hand. I know it's dumb, I know it's desperate - but at least it's a strong motivator to get out of my comfort zone and actively work on 'curing' my social anxieties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waybuloo View Post
I suggest you approach some 'not so attractive' ladies so it doesn't give you too much expectation, and you won't take it as seriously, which would help you better to be yourself. When you've managed to so******e with these women on a level that isn't as anxiety enducing, approach someone who you want to date.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilmatross
Just offering a bit of advice on messaging women you fancy;

Speak from the heart. Initiate a conversation the same way you do with guys and bring up topics you might share an interest with. If you edit your message you're editing who you are and how you speak naturally. If the relationship is gonna be worth two cents you've got to love each other for who you truly are.

Thanks for the suggestions - to be honest I have trouble talking to any woman (even the ones I'm not attracted to), but at least it'll be a good place to start.

So, onto the journal part; today I started work at a new company. I was enormously nervous because I know I'm expected to behave a certain way, and I'm never sure that I can deliver. I had a few situations where I wasn't sure what to do and was too afraid to take action, but over time I've grown to learn to recognize this kind of situation and I always remind myself that in these "fight or flight" moments (as I call them) I always have to take action instead of going to usual course of not doing anything. It went fine, however, and this office even has some female co-workers who are approximately my age - I'm almost sad I'll only be there for a few days :P

As for my 'assignment' - yesterday I didn't send a second message, because I had absolutely no idea what to write. Also, the one that I had in mind when I made this 'promise' apparently had removed her profile from the site, so yeah, that also proves that procrastination never works. I'll still have to do it though, so once I get back from work I need to just go ahead and find someone else. Also, as this is another update, I'm going to give myself the next 'assignment' - striking up some form of casual conversation with a girl - something that is way out of my comfort zone but within realistic expectations. Wish me luck!
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Old 02-07-2011
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i can understand you completely man, im in same boat, but im kinda chatting to a girl right now where there might be a chance we can date in the future possibly!! i never had a girlfriend neither so i feel your pain. let us know how things progress.
everyone who says having a girlfriend isn't what its cracked up to be or why put having a girlfriend as like some trophy?
fair enough but its easy to say when you have had the experience or have already had a woman or currently dating. NOBODY wants to be single and alone all their life. i mean there comes a time in your life when your fed up of being single and want to start dating
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Old 02-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aidan View Post
i can understand you completely man, im in same boat, but im kinda chatting to a girl right now where there might be a chance we can date in the future possibly!! i never had a girlfriend neither so i feel your pain. let us know how things progress.
everyone who says having a girlfriend isn't what its cracked up to be or why put having a girlfriend as like some trophy?
fair enough but its easy to say when you have had the experience or have already had a woman or currently dating. NOBODY wants to be single and alone all their life. i mean there comes a time in your life when your fed up of being single and want to start dating
Yeah, exactly. In the end, life isn't about being alone, even for a big introvert like myself. What good is life without human interaction? ...and it's not just about the idea of having a girlfriend - it's also about knowing that there's someone out there to whom you are the most important person on earth. Right now, I feel unloved, unappreciated, lonely. I'm sure you can relate; I'm hoping that this girl you're chatting to will turn out to like you too.

Anyway, as if it was destined to be so, this evening I had another experience of regret and self-hate. I went to the supermarket with a buddy, and I noted on my way in that the cashier was kind of hot - maybe this is also the time to note that in my world, the definition of hot is much different than 'normal' men - I apparently have a thing for girls who are a little more 'curvy' and I'm also greatly attracted to girls who wear glasses (don't ask, it's a nerd thing I guess). People always tell me how good-looking I am, and that I should be able to get the 'hottest girls' if I just would be a little more confident. Anyway, so I was at the supermarket with a buddy, and while he was doing his shopping I was thinking about how I would be afraid to say anything to the girl in front of him - so I started thinking - what if I waited till we went our separate ways and then return to the girl to ask her out? I actually continued this train of thought until we came closer to the register, and I started considering how this idea was a bit too much - no, instead I would just smile and maybe even wink (would I dare?) at her as we left. So, with this plan in mind I went after my buddy to the register and... in the mean time 'my' cashier was gone - apparently she went home. So, on my way home I started imagining how I could just go back there just to see if I could see her again. Of course, now that I'm home the idea has long since been abandoned.

The thing is; sometimes I feel as if there's something (or someone) inside me that wants to break free from this shell. Someone who could just walk up to a girl and flirt with her as he pleases. Someone who would actually go back to a supermarket just to flirt with the cashier. I know I could be someone like that, but the idea of being found creepy or my friends finding out about my preferences in women always makes me fearful enough to abandon my hopes of ever actually carrying out one of these insane plans.

On the other hand, I've recently been feeling as if I'm getting closer to letting this side of myself out more. The fact that I do come up with these stupid 'romantic schemes' more often than in the past must mean something, and the fact that I had more dates last year than ever before should also be an indicator. It's as if I'm steadily climbing up a hill and don't know how close to the top I am.

Anyway, this has been a late-night look into my (disturbed) psyche. :P
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Old 02-08-2011
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I know you're all waiting for today's update so here it is. First of all, I completed part of my 'homework' by messaging a girl I liked. I must say that the 'assignment' part of this journal is a great way to keep myself from just fleeing from it all. I've been reading about exposure therapy lately and I think it's just the thing I need to improve myself.

So about today; I feel like the most horrible being in the universe right now. I thought it would finally be time to talk to a girl I hadn't spoken to in a long time and apologize for the fact that I kind of ignored her for such a long time (or well, you could also say she ignored me as well, as she didn't contact me either). Anyway, I did, and now I feel horrible as she doesn't reply to my apology. Ah well, I guess that's just part of taking responsibility for your actions; facing the bad things you've done.

Anyway, I'm going to wallow in self-pity for a moment. :P

As far as my previous 'assignment' goes; I haven't had the opportunity to strike up any casual conversations yet, so that one still stands. Although the goal of striking up a conversation with a girl might be too narrowed down; so I'll try to have a short conversation with a total stranger within the next few days.
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Old 02-09-2011
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It seems as if doing this journal and completing the 'assignments' is already paying off in some way. The funny thing is that the enormousy cute girl that I sent a message yesterday (and thought I never had a chance with) actually replied. I guess this is one of the lessons I wanted to learn through my own mild form of 'exposure therapy'; that I'm not as completely hopeless as I think I am. Anyway, what this means is that I'm now onto the next step in the treacherous waters of online dating; keeping her interest in an e-mail conversation wthout coming off as desperate or creepy - which, coincidentally also is my next 'assignment', to keep writing her. This is a girl I would very much like to go out on a date with, and while I'm basically already assuming that she'll lose interest before I work up the courage to ask her out, there's no shame in trying. Also, I only asked out 4 women in my life and half of them said yes, so the odds aren't entirely against me.

Also, contrary to my expectations I actually completed my goal of talking to a stranger today. I must say, it was a lot easier than I expected. It dawns to me that conciously making the choice to take a certain action is much harder than actually taking the action itself. What I mean is that I tend to overthink the things I do. Before I start talking to anyone, my mind has already unconciously come up with at least ten possible scenarios how it could end in disaser. This even applies to online communications; on the dating sites I mentioned earlier I'm constantly editing my messages and analyzing every sentence I type to make sure aapotential date doesn't think I'm a loser. Once it's done, actually sending the message is easy; just click 'send', feel a little foolish and wait for the reply.

The thing is that in this case of talking to a stranger, I already had my mind made up that no matter the outcome, I was going to speak to him (I made it my 'assignment' and I didn't want to disappoint you people :P) - which meant I could skip the overanalysis and get right to taking the action - so all it took was overcoming some minor nervousness.

EDIT: Anyway, now that the day has passed without her replying to my email, I already feel like a complete and utter fool. I mean, this was probably the single most beautiful woman I've ever had contact with through a dating site and even though there's a very good chance she'll reply tomorrow I already start telling myself that she has decided to dislike me because I told her I work in IT. Why do the girls I like never like me back?!
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Old 02-09-2011
 

haha dutchguy, very inspiring journal! YAY for the assignments & being brave & YAY for the e-mail!

know that sometimes girls don't reply to guys they like right away just because they want to be a little mysterious too, and don't want to appear too 'enthusiastic' to scare him off or make him lazy haha.. or sometimes there are just too many e-mails in the inbox or too much stuff in RL...

so, fingers crossed for you!! This isn't the only girl out there, with your approach and being brave you can meet a dozen interesting girls in two weeks if you want to! You work/have an interesting new job and are proactive about your future, that is a lot more than some people are doing!! You're quite a catch, and if she doesn't see it that way, tough luck - someone else will!!
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Old 02-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feathers View Post
haha dutchguy, very inspiring journal! YAY for the assignments & being brave & YAY for the e-mail!

know that sometimes girls don't reply to guys they like right away just because they want to be a little mysterious too, and don't want to appear too 'enthusiastic' to scare him off or make him lazy haha.. or sometimes there are just too many e-mails in the inbox or too much stuff in RL...

so, fingers crossed for you!! This isn't the only girl out there, with your approach and being brave you can meet a dozen interesting girls in two weeks if you want to! You work/have an interesting new job and are proactive about your future, that is a lot more than some people are doing!! You're quite a catch, and if she doesn't see it that way, tough luck - someone else will!!
Thanks Feathers, that really made me feel so much better. ...and you're absolutely right; when she doesn't immediately reply to my e-mails, that doesn't mean she's not interested. It's even part of the dating 'game' I guess; it's a bit of an unwritten rule that you shouldn't be too quick with your replies or you'll look too desperate. Also, wouldn't be the first time I think I've lost all chance I've ever had with a woman, only to have her send a reply starting with "sorry it took so long for me to reply, I was on vacation" a few days later. Still; it's this part of the 'dating game' I hate most; the insane amounts of uncertainty.

You know, part of the reason why I get so anxious and insecure when I'm dating is that I never feel good enough. Whenever I'm waiting for a girl to reply - like now - my mind immediately creates this mental image of the girl saying "what was this nerd thinking he has a chance with me?!".

Also, ironically enough, this morning I found out that another girl that I hadn't heard from in a week contacted me again. She actually was on vacation. We've been mailing back and forth for over a month now, but as much as I hate to say it I don't know if I'm actually attracted to her. I know she'd say yes if I were to ask her on an actual date, but I feel conflicted about asking someone out when I'm not sure how I feel about them.

Anyway; guess who just replied to my message while I was writing this post! :-D
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Old 02-11-2011
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Almost weekend, and what a week it's been. I feel pretty good about myself; not only have I completed all the 'assignments' I gave myself, I also rather unexpectedly came in contact with a girl that I think I might already have a small crush on (I know it's silly, but I can't change how I feel)

Speaking of my crushes it's funny how I'm often conflicted between my desperate quest for a girlfriend and my introvertedness; on one hand I like the idea of having a girlfriend (having someone who loves you more than anything in the world) but on the other hand the entire dating 'game' scares me to death. This often results in situations where I'm really interested in a person, but try to keep any social interaction as short as possible. However, there have actually been a few times (very few) when I actually feel like a want to be with a girl as much as possible, where I actually grabbed every chance I had at communicating with her - I guess that should be a clear indicator for me to separate the 'I just kinda like this person' from the 'girlfriend material'. For some reason (don't ask me why) this new girl already falls within that category, so that should be a good sign.

As I've completed all my previous assignments (and as they're clearly a good thing) I need to give myself a new one; to call one of my friends and ask him for help on a certain issue (I normally never ask people for help).
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Old 02-12-2011
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So it's weekend and I'm finally catching up on some chores. Not much to say on the subject of Social Phobia, other than that I'm noticing that socializing is already getting a little easier; I have less issues engaging in casual conversations.

Anyway, I came up with a good 'assignment' today; So I've been rambling about this great girl I met online for the last few updates - I'm making it my goal to ask her out on monday (valentine's day). It's a good goal because I always delay asking someone out because a 'better moment might come along'. Of course, it never does, so putting a deadline on it might help. Wish me luck!
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Old 02-13-2011
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So, Sunday went by uneventful and sadly I didn't hear from that girl all weekend. I guess that it is as I feared; she's just not interested in me. Somehow I feel terrible, because this is what always happens with the ones I actually like. Sigh... should I still ask her out tomorrow?

Anyway, yes, I know it's not the end of the world and that eventually I'll probably find someone I'll settle for - but why is it that every time I feel I can make that vital change in my life, things always go back to the way they were before?

Perhaps I'm giving up too easily. I mean, if I'm willing to just give up and walk away at the first glimpse of disinterest, what does that say about me? Will she really find it creepy if I still ask her out (which is what I'm imagining) or does she want to be pursued? Or maybe she thinks that I'm not interested because I haven't asked her out yet? Yeah, I hate these dating 'games'. ...but I guess I'm answering my own questions - there are a million possibilities why she's not answering me and asking her out isn't going to be the end of the world. So, tomorrow I'll just have to overcome my biggest fear (the fear of rejection) and do it. Wish me luck...
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Old 02-14-2011
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I'm starting to feel worse and worse as this girl still hasn't replied. I feel weird asking her out if she's not interested, so I just can't do it. Making me feel even worse is the fact that in an act of desperation I asked out another girl whom I know is interested in me but I'm not that attracted to (but whom I think I have more in common with). Anyway, I did talk to my friend about needing help, completing one of my open 'assignments'.

I'm getting out of my comfort zone, and while I'm glad that's finally happening again, I'm also terrified of what might be ahead. I'll keep on stepping out of my comfort zone, but really, I didn't expect that fighting my anxieties was going to be this hard on my mental state.
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Old 02-15-2011
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So, yet another entry (and I've stopped caring whether people read these or not); after calming down from my yearly Valentine's Day depression for a bit, I've come to realize that it's not all that bad. I'm finally working on fixing my problems again, and all of this self-inflicted 'exposure therapy' seems to be already desensitizing me to the 'pain' of the daily awkward social situations. I'm currently in a better place than ever before to let my guard down a little and step out of my comfort zone; which I'm already doing.

Anyway; back to my 'assignments', I'm trying to think of another 'hard' task for me to complete, but something that isn't in the realm of the (still) impossible, like 'just walking up to a girl and asking her out' - I'm hereby tasking myself to go out and ask a complete stranger for 'help' (like "where is the supermarket'" or something), and to make matters more interesting, the complete stranger has to be an attractive woman.
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Old 02-17-2011
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Gah, I feel so terribly agitated... From my work to my personal situation, almost everything is not going the way I want it to, and while I'm having some success being more social, I'm beginning to feel the recoil of all the anxiety I've been forcing myself through.

I guess that confrontation with my issues is what I've been trying to avoid in the past by taking every opportunity to get out of or avoid a social situation. ...and now I have to fight the urge to start avoiding it again with all the strength that I have. In the mean time, everything keeps reminding me of my loneliness and apparent unattractiveness.
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Old 02-20-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchguy View Post
Anyway; back to my 'assignments', I'm trying to think of another 'hard' task for me to complete, but something that isn't in the realm of the (still) impossible, like 'just walking up to a girl and asking her out' - I'm hereby tasking myself to go out and ask a complete stranger for 'help' (like "where is the supermarket'" or something), and to make matters more interesting, the complete stranger has to be an attractive woman.
I haven't managed to complete the above 'assignment' yet, but other than that, things are basically going great. I've been taking way more initiative in social situations than I have before, and after an entire day packed with social obligations (which normally would leave me exhausted) I felt rather energized. Things are going well, and even though I haven't found the 'love' I'm looking for yet, I feel like I'm heading in the right direction. The only thing I'm worried about is; can I keep this going? I'm trying to force myself to at least achieve 'something' every day, but it can be both stressful and depressing at times to see how much of the road is still ahead.

Nevertheless, I'll keep on fighting my way through this - and I actually have a date coming up pretty soon.
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Old 02-22-2011
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Today I finally got around to my 'assignment' of asking a stranger for help. It wasn't an attractive girl though, so I'll still let it stand for another time (guess this was just practice).

Anyway, I've been feeling conflicted lately. On one hand, I've really been putting in everything I've got to push myself forward socially - on the other, It seems so pointless, as I'm probably just going to 'relapse' into being the same awkward and lonely person I've always been. I guess that's one of those moments where I have to actually double my efforts (and it's what I've been trying) but it's already taking up all of my energy. All of the little projects I always used to put so much time in are suffering, and I don't like it.

I guess the point of my story is that I'm making progress. Also, I need a new 'assignment' to keep myself focused. One of my goals lately has been 'getting out of the house' - I'm thinking about setting 'going to the movies all by myself' or something as my goal, but I'm going to go for going out to the gym; something I haven't done in a long time.
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