Dating and a few tough lessons

The dating challenge was kind of a dumb idea. For those of you who haven’t been following things, check out the last 40 posts and you’ll get an idea of what I’ve been trying to accomplish during the past year.

Although things didn’t turn out great, it was a real eye-opener in the sense that I’ve learned some tough lessons. Here are some of them in no particular order:

I am not cut out for bars/clubs. I don’t know what made me think I’d have any amount of success in this high-pressure/high-competition venue. Some of my worst disasters happened there. Bottom line: I’m completely out of my element. Maybe some day I’ll have the confidence to give it another go, but for now – no.

I am too passive, nice, and agreeable. It’s not to say that one must act like a total jerk, but there can be too much of a good thing. Remember, there is a fine line between being too agreeable and being boring. This is not an attractive trait, because it always appeared that I had no will of my own. The “nice-guy” personality causes problems in other areas of my life also.

I failed to give the dating sites a fair chance. Given the fact that I now hate bars, this is one area that I intend to pursue right away. In hindsight, I think online dating is custom made for a guy like me. I will be working on a new profile soon. Of all the possibilities out there, I think this one has the greatest chance of succeeding.

I’ve learned that I have a lot of work to do on my confidence and self-esteem issues. I’ve got some very deep-rooted issues with self-esteem – the dating thing just magnifies everything times a hundred.

Looks are important. When I first started this challenge, I was overweight, sloppy, and I didn’t care. I got my appearance in order pretty darn quick because in dating, the first impression is crucial – like it or not, those are the rules. By the way, anyone can improve their appearance, no matter what they look like.

I couldn’t relax. I always appeared nervous and anxious around women – especially when I was out on a date. This was related to my lack of confidence, of course. If I make any headway in the area of self-esteem, I’m hoping this will be a non-issue.

I had no other interests, hobbies, talents, or pursuits. After the initial dinner, movie, coffee (whatever), I had nothing left. If they wanted to see me after that first date, I was stuck for things to do.

Also, having some other interests would have given me some personal satisfaction – let’s not forget that.

I failed to build other relationships (I had no friends). Having a good network of friends can do wonders for you. I remember meeting this one woman online and eventually we hooked up a few times for coffee. I think she was ok with my appearance and personality, but as it became apparent that I didn’t have many friends, I sensed that she assumed I was introverted and desperate.

And my final (and biggest) revelation:

Have some self-respect. I was much too hard on myself and felt guilty for everything. I now realize that it’s a two-way street, and that I wasn’t the only one at fault when things didn’t work out.

This last point is a biggie and one that many of us miss, I suspect.