Category: Relationships and Social Skills

I’m Changing My Approach to Online Dating

I’m making some changes to how I do online dating so that it’ll work better for me.

I’ll pare down the dating sites I use to just one. I picked OkCupid to focus on. The way that it structures profiles draws out more information from people than other dating sites do, so I think that I can get the best sense of what someone’s like there. There are lots of optional match questions to answer, as well, which gives me more information about how compatible I might be with someone. For example, one question is, “Do you have a problem with racist jokes?” and if the person answers no, I know not to message them cuz we’re not on the same wavelength about respect for diversity. On another dating site, I might not find out that the person has racist views.

I’ll only go on OkCupid once a day, unless I have an ongoing conversation with someone. Combing through profiles over and over again trying to find someone to message is disappointing and frustrating, so I won’t spend as much time on it anymore.

Every since I started looking for a partner about five years ago (I’m not counting high school), I’ve almost entirely been relying on online dating. Since I still haven’t found a partner, I think that it’s time to rely on it less and instead use it as a supplement to approaching people who I’m attracted to in person. Having a screen as a buffer and having information about the person beforehand makes it easier to strike up a conversation, but I think that I’m motivated enough now to scrounge up some courage.

I hope that making these changes will help me find a connection.

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Smiling During Social Interactions

My therapist told me that smiling when you encounter someone indicates friendliness. I asked, “How much should I smile throughout the interaction?” and she said, “After that, you can just smile when there’s a reason to smile, like when someone says something funny. I haven’t been smiling throughout our whole appointment.” I learned that she smiles when she’s nervous, so apparently if someone smiles at you, it’s not necessarily a good sign. I think you need to look at other body language signals paired with it to be sure. Maybe someone who’s smiling out of nervousness will look away or cross their arms. Maybe someone who’s smiling cuz they’re happy while talking to you will face you or make more consistent eye contact.

I’ll Manage My Relationship Anxiety, but I Also Accept it

Earlier, I wrote about how someone recently accused me of being too formal and cancelled our date cuz I asked him what his expectations were for communication after he suddenly went from messaging me all day, every day to barely messaging me. I asked me therapist if I did something wrong, and she said no – that he and I just aren’t the right match.

I have anxiety, and interactions with people are one of my biggest anxiety buttons. I’ve decided  that, since I bring my anxiety up respectfully, take responsibility for it, and don’t talk about it too frequently, it’s okay for me to bring up my anxiety, and right person for me, as well as the right friends, will be people who can be patient with me and can appreciate direct, vulnerable communication. Everyone has flaws, and it’s okay for me to have this flaw as long as I do my best to manage it. My flaw can also be a strength, since it enables me to catch relationship issues early on before they get bigger.

Never Mind About That Date

After getting rejected last weekend, I put myself back out there and tried to set up a date for Monday. At first, he said, “I’d love to!” but he ended up cancelling. He said that I’m too formal.

Earlier, he went from messaging me throughout the day every day to suddenly slowing way down. The first time he took all day to reply to a message, I didn’t say anything about it. He messaged me himself to apologize and say he thought he had answered. The second time it happened, I messaged him the next day to ask if he wanted to wait until the date to continue talking.

He said that he has trouble remembering to use the dating site and asked if we could use another app, so I added him on Facebook. He started a conversation on Facebook, and he told me that it seemed really formal of me to ask a question like that. He said that he’s used to fucking around more with people. I didn’t feel good about that. I ended our conversation a while later to have lunch. After lunch, I messaged him again to say that I felt bad about how he criticized me when I made myself vulnerable trying to find out what was going on. I said that his comment about fucking around made me feel pressured to try to be entertaining, and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. I added that before that, he had been very complimentary, and this was the second major change in his demeanor that I had seen already.

He replied saying that he didn’t wanna be a source of stress for me or for me to feel like I have to change. He said that he wanted to get to know me. Our conversation ended with him saying “Good vibes.”

However, he later messaged me saying that he wanted to cancel. It makes me anxious when someone changes their behavior, and I got burned really badly from trying to share my concerns with him. It has been a pattern for me to get anxious about a friendship or relationship and then for the other person to dismiss my concerns or even reject me altogether for it. I’m in so much pain. It’s hard to keep trying to build the social life I want and find a partner, but I want these things so badly that even with my difficulties weighing heavily on me, my social needs compel me to keep trying.

I’m gonna bring this up at my next therapy appointment, but I’m afraid that my therapist will think that it’s my fault that this keeps happening to me. I’m afraid of being judged. I’ll make another post about this sometime this week to share my therapist’s thoughts on the subject and how I feel about her input.

Staying Hopeful About a Goal After Rejection

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I got rejected on a first date and how I dealt with it. Another tip that I have for coping with rejection is to keep looking for other opportunities. I got back on OkCupid and messaged someone else. Now I have a date with him on Monday. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have a date to look forward to now.

Another example of being persistent after rejection is J.K Rowling. She said that she received “loads of rejections” before Harry Potter was published.

If you keep trying, the odds are good that someone will eventually respond favorably.

Dealing With Social Rejection

Yesterday, I went on a first date with someone I met on OkCupid. He ended the date after only half an hour and said that it was nice meeting me without adding anything else, like that he had a good time.

I spent hours yesterday and today googling things like “reasons you rejected someone,” trying to figure out what I did wrong, but I wasn’t able to find much information. The only thing left is for me to look for ways to cope.

I’m trying to keep in mind that there are people who enjoy my company. For example, I recently ran into a former neighbor, Isaiah, and he invited me to hang out with him at the library, which we’re doing tomorrow.

Since rejection makes me feel helpless, cuz it’s outside of my control, I’m doing something that I can control by posting on my blog. This is also helping me cope.

 

A Friendship Didn’t Work Out

I mentioned earlier that I was worried that my friendship with Kellie wouldn’t last, and I turned out to be right. We’re both going through stressful times in our lives. I became more anxious, and she became inconsistent, cancelling plans at the last minute or even not showing up without telling me she couldn’t make it, which spiked my anxiety even more.

I couldn’t handle it anymore and ended the friendship. I take responsibility for my role in our problems. We were in a cycle of neediness on my part and inconsistency on her part. I could’ve been more understanding. I’m not sure yet if I’ll need to limit myself to being friends with people who are able to be reliable to protect myself from anxiety, or if I’ll get to a point that I can handle my anxiety well enough to be more understanding of people who act like this.

I’m sad about the end of our friendship. I remember when she told me that I have a kind heart and that she looked forward to learning about my and my outlook on life. I felt the same way about her. What she said was a big boost to my self esteem, since people had complained before about how boring I am. I’m self conscious now about if people are having enough fun when we’re hanging out. Now the healing effect has been undone. My anxiety contaminated our friendship, and I find myself wondering if she’s glad that it’s over.

I keep ruminating about how things could’ve gone differently.

I’m trying to keep in mind that I don’t have much social experience. It was only a few months ago that I finally started to understand, thanks the my therapist, how making conversation works. Since I was mostly nonverbal for most of my life, I didn’t have much experience socializing. During what little socializing I did, I mostly just sat quietly with the other person till they got bored and moved on. Due to my lack of experience, I shouldn’t expect myself to be perfectly smooth at relationships right now. With this insight, I’m able to forgive myself for this failure and begin moving on.