I recently ran into a girl, 32, cute, petite, brunette, good dresser, good job. She wasn't particularly interesting but she was nice and had a sense of humor. A friend had connected us by saying: "Becca, this girl needs help. You should fix her. Or at least find out what her problem is."
Her "problem" is that she's single. And there is nothing wrong with being single. Unless you don't want to be single.
I am not a licensed therapist. And have had plenty of misadventures when it comes to members of the opposite sex but I suppose compared to this girl, I was a success story, so I agreed to drinks.
Also I like fixing things. Or at least trying. I figured out what her problem was almost immediately.
I have a lot of guy friends, and they are all constantly asking me to hook them up with cute girls. When I meet a cute girl who I think has potential, I immediately start going through the mental Rolodex for possible matches.
"What kind of guy do you like?" I ask her.
"Oh, I don't know, I'm open minded."
"Yeah, I'll give anyone a chance."
"Wait, you are 32 and don't know what kind of guys you like?"
"Well, if you don't give everyone a chance, how do you know if you're not missing someone?"
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking. "Good for her! Way to keep an open mind! She's right! You could miss the man of your dreams if you're not turning over all stones!"
No. No. No. No.
Turning over ALL the stones takes time. It is exhausting. And you are you going to go on a lot of awful miserable dates that will turn you against men. And you will either give up and run back to your parents house. Or you will settle with someone who is totally beneath you.
If you were riding a bike and did the same thing over and over, and kept falling off and hurting yourself, you wouldn't keep riding the bike. But when we want to get good at something, we learn from our mistakes.
The truth is, you have to have standards. And you have to know what you like. You have to know where you are willing to compromise (and yes there are those who are unwilling to compromise and that is almost worse than being too open to anything.)
It can be hard and scary at first to say No. I used to never say no. I would go on a date with anyone. This was a bad idea. Many bad dates. A few crazy stalkers. Etc.
I also had a problem where I couldn't say no after the first 2-3 dates, even if I knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. I've been told I'm easy to talk to. I know a little bit about a lot of different subjects and over drinks can keep a conversation going for a long time. I don't mean to brag, but this is just what happens.
Which means I have had many many 1-2 month long relationships. Even though by date two I know better, I let it drag on until eventually the guy dumps me because by then we both know this isn't going to work. Iften I have totally withdrawn or I self-destruct and blast the relationship to smithereens. Or occasionally, I have worked up the nerve to call the guy and end things professionally, like a grownup.
All of this time though might have been wasted if I continued to make the same mistakes. But I like to think that over time I learned.
This summer a guy approached me and asked me out. I told him no.
I told him: "I can tell you right now, this isn't going to work. We'll go on like 5-6 dates and then we will know it's not right and break up and it will be a total waste of time."
"I never go on date #2," he said.
...I took this is as a challenge.
We went on five dates. Maybe six. Then he was slow to return my texts. Didn't ask to hang out. Not one to leave things hanging I called him. I knew it wasn't working. He talked too much. Was too argumentative. And the chemistry was warm but nothing sizzled. I'm sure he had his own problems with me as well.
"I was right. I told you this would happen."
"You were right."
Okay, maybe I called just to hear those words.
Aside from the enjoyment of being right, I also took this as confirmation that finally, I had figured out what worked for me and what didn't.
I am not saying this wasn't the last mistake I made. But it was close. I realized that if by the third date I wasn't happy with the guy, I could just say no to the next. I didn't have to give my number to everyone that asked. And that if I gave my number to someone it didn't mean I had to go on a date with them.
I stopped looking under every rock and started to only look for the things that I knew I liked. I knew my deal breakers (must have ambition) and my compromises (doesn't have to be Jewish.) And I found someone. And it just works.