Category: Relationships and Social Skills

I’m Disappointed With Online Dating

People raved about online dating on a couple of sites that I really trust, Ask Metafilter and Captain Awkward. Five years ago, at age 18, I was excited to try it.

I found OkCupid too confusing to use towards the end of my time there. I couldn’t see who liked my profile or messaged me anymore. I tried following the help instructions and still had no luck.

I also tried Craigslist, Plenty of Fish, and Match. People on Craigslist sent mean emails about my weight. They told me that they were flagging their ads because they didn’t want to see fat people on the site. They were very persistent about booting me off of the personals section.

All of the dating sites I’ve tried share the problem of people writing very sparse, vague profiles. For example, people wrote, “I love to laugh,” “I like to watch movies,” or “I’m looking for someone adventurous.” Their descriptions sounded alike. I had no idea from reading these profiles how these people thought or what it would be like to spend time with them or anything like that.

Very rarely, I’d have a brief relationship with someone I met online. I think all of these relationships fell apart partly because of my poor social skills, and partly because they had no respect for me.

I didn’t just want to date. I wanted to make friends, too. The only site I could find for talking to people as friends was the platonic section of Craigslist. One person I met wanted to start a business with me without a business licence, another associated with people in a violent gang, and so on, so nothing worked out. If there were more sites for people looking for friends, I would’ve tried them.

I’ve been trying so hard for five years to meet people online. I’ve gotten nowhere. It seems to work for other people. The person who runs Captain Awkward married someone she met online. I don’t understand why I have no luck with it. I just spent another $60 on Match the other day. I probably made a mistake doing that, since I’ve been on it for over six months and only gotten one date out of it.

Also, I hardly ever see any people near my size on these sites. I don’t care whether a romantic interest is fat or thin, but I know that other fat people are more likely to be willing to date me, so it’s discouraging to see all of these thin people. However, there are even fat people who aren’t willing to date fat people. Dating while fat sucks. Match allows me to see what body type(s) people selected (Plenty of Fish doesn’t show this) and only a small fraction of people are willing to date a fat person. It’s very intimidating to think of not only my weight, but all of the other factors working against me. I’m currently on disability, I don’t drive (I use public transportation and would not ask a romantic interest to help me get around), I’m Unitarian Universalist and Pagan (everyone seems to want an Atheist or a Christian) and so on.

Maybe it’s time to give up trying to meet people online.

My mom and therapist think that I  should switch to meeting people in person. I’m not confident that I can succeed at that, either, which is why I tried meeting people online in the first place, but I’ll try..

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My Thoughts About Blogging

The main reason why I started Oasis Charm was because I’d like to offer my writing as a contribution to society. I write about my experience managing my mental health in case someone dealing with similar things can connect with it, or someone not familiar with mental health struggles can better understand it. I pour my heart into this blog to share my story as one person trying to find mental stability, positive relationships, life skills, ways to improve my character, and more. I share what I learn about these things to try to help other people.

I have a feeling that even though I work very hard on my blog, and on commenting, liking, and following other peoples’ blogs, my efforts aren’t actually helping anyone besides my mom. I have a lot of anxiety about my hard work going nowhere. As someone who wants to feel useful and like I have something worthwhile to offer, it’s difficult for me to think about.

I’m trying to cope by telling myself that I’m doing my best to help and that it’s up to other people whether to take anything out of the experiences and information that I share on my blog. At least the material is there in case anyone ever wants it. Helping people is a process that requires someone else to desire the help and make the decision to use it, so a lot of it is out of my control. I’m still sad that my blog doesn’t seem to help people and will be even sadder if it never makes a difference to anyone, but it would be saddest to me if I didn’t bother blogging at all, so I’ll keep trying.

How I’ve Worked Through Difficult Feelings Towards Humanity

There have been times in my life when I’ve been scared of or angry with humanity as a whole. Although I’m a friendly person, there were times when I thought, “Forget people.”

Every time I went through a phase like that, I pulled myself out of it by thinking about how much different aspects of my life are connected to other people. People wrote the books I read. They grew the food I eat. They made the clothes I wear.

I try to look at the big picture. We all rely on each other. My life depends on the work of other people, such as  the bus drivers who transport me and the baristas at the coffee shop I go to. People give to me. I have a lot from them to be grateful for. Sometimes they upset me, but ultimately I want to cooperate them, give back and be part of society.

Social Anxiety Tip

Social Anxiety Tip

Social skills expert Daniel Wendler says that if a social situation goes wrong, you can always try again with someone else (Wendler 14). This tip encourages an abundance mentality and helps take off the pressure for things going right with a specific person or group.

For example, soon I’m going to join the Evergreen Club, a clubhouse for people with mental illness where they can practice tasks. Before getting to work, club members can mingle at tables. I’ll remind myself that if mingling at one table doesn’t go well, I can follow Wendler’s advice and try another table. Even if things go wrong completely at the Evergreen Club, I’ll still have other options, such as my therapist’s social skills group.

Keep your mind open to the variety of opportunities out there to avoid stressing yourself out with tunnel vision. Happy socializing 🙂

Works Cited

Wendler, Daniel. Improve Your Social Skills. Publisher and publication date unknown.

Image credit: Ross, Sage. “Wikimedians socializing in the Wikimedia Foundation office.” Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia, 8 Jan. 2011, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=socialize&title=Special:Search&go=Go&searchToken=6ifor6ur81nsxxbl0hkcrpq1v.

Our Culture’s View of Attachment Styles

There are three main attachment styles: anxious, secure, and avoidant. Anxious people have a strong desire for closeness, avoidant people have a strong desire for space, and secure people are in the middle of the spectrum. From what I’ve read, it seems like our culture celebrates avoidant people and has contempt for insecure people. I agree if two people with differing needs interact, one person’s need for more space will trump the other’s needs for closeness, because boundaries are important. However, both groups deserve our compassion, and there’s a lack of compassion in our culture for insecure people.

One example of a post that has lead me to form my opinion about society is this one on Ask Metafilter. The poster asks about whether to end her friendship with someone who no longer responds to their invitations to meet in person, but continues to text them. The majority of the answers focus on how there might be something going on with their friend, such as depression, and how she shouldn’t keep asking him to hang out. I agree with both ideas. However, the people answering her question don’t show much compassion for how painful it is to be blown off by someone they’ve had an established friendship with. I said that I think it was mean of him to just ignore her initial request instead of saying that he only wanted a text based friendship, but nobody else shares my opinion.

As you may have guessed, I’m in the anxious category. Right now, my social life just consists of my parents and a couple of my mom’s neighbors, who I only see briefly when I visit her. I’ve wanted to make friends and find a partner, but seeing posts like this online make me more hesitant about trying to connect with others. These posts are triggering me. They make me feel like people would ooze with hostility for me if they knew that I have a vulnerable side when it comes to relationships and want direct, clear communication. I think that as long as anxious people express their vulnerability respectfully, this style is just as valid as being secure or avoidant, but it seems like the rest of society doesn’t see it that way.

Recent Dating Mishaps That I Wish I Had Handled Differently

I’ve had dating mishaps with a couple of different people recently that I wish I had handled better.

I was planning a date with a guy I met online. He asked, “What’s your comfort level?” and I said, “I’m fine with having sex on the first date.” He said, “You have to wait for what I got, but I can offer cuddling.” I said, “That’s cool,” and I meant it. I thought that “cool” was well known as a positive word, but he didn’t take it that way. He said, “It sounds like you’re unhappy with that?” I said, “Not unhappy, I’m agreeing with you :),” throwing in a smiley face to reassure him. I learned that I need to be more expressive when people set boundaries like this so that they don’t think I’m unhappy with them for setting boundaries.

Later in our exchange, I said that I’d buy us something to eat, cuz it sounded like he wanted me to pay for both of us, although I’m not sure that’s what he meant. He said, “Are you selfish with your money?” I said, “I’m very angry that you’re accusing me of being selfish with my money.” Accusations that feel unfair are a hot button for me. He said, “This is why I hate text. If you were here, you’d see that I’m smiling.” I jumped from thinking that he was making a false accusation to thinking that he was making fun of me, so I was still fuming, and I stopped replying. Now that I’m calmer, I think that he may have been trying to thank me in an ironic way for paying for the date. I regret that I took him too seriously and blew him off. If I could do this interaction over again, I’d say, “Yeah, I make Scrooge look like an angel,” to play along. I might have really missed out…he shared my interest in psychology. He seemed enthusiastic about meeting me, cuz he said, “I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun. You might wind up liking me a lot.” I let my temper and difficulty reading social cues get in the way of what could’ve been the beginning of something great 😦

There was another guy, Charlie, who I had already gone out with once, but we didn’t recognize each other at first when we started talking again. When we figured it out, he rejected me again, and I was frustrated that I turned to have wasted my time on someone who had already turned out to not be a match for me. I took my frustration out on him, saying, “Than you for saving me the time and energy from dealing with you again.” He didn’t retaliate, but sent a classier reply than I deserved, saying, “Sorry. Good luck.” Looking back, it wasn’t his fault that we crossed wires again. If I could do that interaction differently, I would’ve said, “Yeah, it’s Shae. Sorry for the mix-up.” I would take the blame to smooth out the awkwardness.

A previous therapist said that I need to have insight into the situation earlier in my interactions with people. I wish I could make that happen. I keep failing, and I feel horrible about it. I don’t wanna be an asshole. I wanna be kind to everyone, including the people I date.

My goals from these mishaps for doing better in the future are to:

  • Get someone else’s opinion if someone upsets me again so that I can gauge how appropriate my initial reaction is and if I need to adjust it
  • Send even clearer signals that I’m okay with peoples’ boundaries by saying something like, “I’d be happy to do that (as in, doing x instead of y).”
  • Realize when a situation isn’t the other person’s fault and adjust accordingly.

I’m trying to become a better person, and, under that umbrella, a better dater/partner.