All posts by Steven Zawila

Why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship

It’s been quite a while since my last blog. I’d like to make it up to you by sharing something personal. Here’s one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started dating.

One of my first relationships was a woman in my third year of college named Nancy. Now, Nancy had previously been cheated on by her ex-boyfriend in high school and she had some trust issues while we were going out. For example, she would sometimes ask me:

“What do you think of [another female classmate]? Huh? Be honest!”

And no matter what my response was, she would always just glare daggers at me. There were times when I wouldn’t even know the people that she was asking me about! But even that didn’t satisfy her. It’s obvious to me now that I was in a bad relationship, but back then I tolerated her behavior for months before finally breaking it off with her.

Continue reading Why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship

What really happened when I followed the “Three Days” rule

You ever have a time where you’re lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and then your brain suddenly decides to be a jerk and replay all the embarrassing things you’ve ever done in uncomfortably vivid detail? Turns out there’s a name for that. It’s called “Fridge Horror”. This happens when you experience something horrifying but it doesn’t register in your brain until much later, such as when you’re rummaging through your fridge the next day trying to grab a midnight snack. For example…

…this was my face when I watched Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi for the first time, and…

…this was my face when it dawned on me that the cute and cuddly Ewoks probably ate all the fallen Stormtroopers after the film ended.

I still kick myself over this one mistake I made a long time ago. Not as hard as I used to since I’m married now, mind you, but still on occasion when I’m trying to sleep and my brain decides to remind me of all the dumb things I’ve done in the past so I wake up at like 2 in the morning and my wife just looks at me weird.

My pain is your gain. I made these mistakes so you don’t have to. Enjoy!

Continue reading What really happened when I followed the “Three Days” rule

The Perils of Identity Politics

I’ve got something important to say, and it involves politics. Now, politics has a funny way of going from 0 to 100,000 really quickly and that’s why I usually avoid talking about it on my website. However, today I’ve got something important to say and I hope I can say it without attracting a lot of salt and vitriol.

On that note, I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist, PC gamer or console gamer, muggle or wizard, cat-person or dog-person. I just ask that you hear me out completely before you throw shade at me for talking about politics. Deal?

Continue reading The Perils of Identity Politics

How to stop min-maxing and be happy with ‘enough’

I used to be terrible at playing video games. When it came to gaming, I always told myself that I needed to be maxed out and have all the sidequests completed before I could even start to enjoy the game. However, before I knew it I had already reached the ending and I’d barely even begun to enjoy myself.

The same thing happened in the real world. I’d look wistfully at all the cool things my friends were doing on Facebook and envy the flashy status symbols they owned that I didn’t. I felt that once I had all of the same things they had then I’d finally be okay. I would finally be able to have fun and enjoy my life. But no matter how much stuff I accumulated and how much I chased the things that I thought I needed, I never felt like I was getting closer to having the things that I actually did need.

As that board game in Jumanji said, there was a lesson I needed to learn. But first I had to go back a turn. Check out what I learned about living a good life on the guest post I wrote for Coaching for Geeks here.

In addition, if you’re the kind of person who sings the DK64 rap in the shower (…I’m not the only one who does that, right? Right??) then you should check out their Facebook community as well. They have a close-knit group full of nerds who support each other in all areas of life, from job hunting, to dating, to productivity and getting things done. It’s run by four coaches, and one of them is a geeky dating coach who I really look up to, Rami Fu.

Seriously! This guy is one of my biggest sources of inspiration.

Links again if you’re interested:

What I learned from my first sexual experience

Disclaimer: Sex talk ahead. This is something I’ve never discussed before on Quietly Romantic, but I think we’re adult enough that it can be a topic for us to talk about. Also, I want to make it clear that I’m not advocating or encouraging judgment around any type of behavior. Whether you only have sex in exclusive relationships or you’re having casual sex with many partners…it’s all the same to me. The point of this post is not to judge anybody for whatever sexual activities they may (or may not) be partaking in. Rather, I want to shine some light on the taboos in our culture.

Also, I’ve dropped some swears and F-bombs in this post. I usually try to avoid swearing but this is something I have some strong opinions about.

Let’s talk about sex.

Sex seems to be a squeamish subject in our culture and we have some weird societal taboos about discussing it, as if sex is somehow dirty or unclean. Especially in places such as the “bible-belt” of the United States, sex is mostly not talked about at all except to say…don’t do it.

What good does that do??

When it comes to young adults who are inexperienced with anything sexually related, for example. Wouldn’t it be better if they could freely talk about and ask for help around this kind of stuff? Just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to have those “urges” anymore. They’re natural. And if young people can’t talk to anyone about it, then they’re just going to do it anyway—without any knowledge of how to do it safely or what the potential repercussions could be.

That doesn’t make things better. That makes things worse!

I believe sex is something that we should talk more openly about. As a society, it’s something that we should have honest discussions about. Keeping it taboo is not doing us any favors. So, I’ll take the first step and talk about myself and what I’ve learned from my very first sexual experience. Continue reading What I learned from my first sexual experience

The value of enough in a culture of scarcity

Throughout the summer, I went on a cross-country road trip from Wisconsin to Montana. If we’re being totally honest, driving across the country wasn’t my first choice on how I intended to spend my summer. My fiancée was the one who dragged me out to do it. Looking back, I’m glad she did. During my trip, I learned something that will change the way I live the rest of my life. Something I never would have learned in the city.

Continue reading The value of enough in a culture of scarcity

Why it’s okay for men to cry

Society has a weird view on what it means to be a man. Like, really weird. Men aren’t supposed to cry or ask for help or get emotional. That’s…”girly”. I mean, what do you call a woman who acts like a man? A “tomboy”. Let’s flip that around. What do you call a man who acts more like a woman? There aren’t any words for that kind of person.

Scratch that. There aren’t any good words for that type of person.

It’s funny. Men who show emotion are labeled as weak. People say things such as “grow a pair” to guys who act that way. It’s as if we’re expected to die atop our white horses rather than have the luxury of being allowed to fall off.

Continue reading Why it’s okay for men to cry

Use these exact words to get your next date

I’m back, baby!

It certainly has been a while since my last article, hasn’t it? Throughout the summer, I’ve been taking a cross-country road trip from Wisconsin to Montana. Also, I’ve become fully convinced that North Dakota does not exist.

Seriously. I drove to the spot labeled “North Dakota” on the map and there was nothing there. What gives?

Today I want to share with you a script that you can use to get your next date. The next time you’re talking to a woman you’re interested in, feel free to use these exact words to ask her out. I’m going over this with you because there are a few good ways to properly ask her out, but almost infinite ways to suck at asking her out.

Continue reading Use these exact words to get your next date

What pickup gets wrong about being confident

Sometimes, I think back to how dumb I used to be and it makes me cringe.

Back in high school, I used to have a crush on my locker buddy, Olivia. We only had a couple of classes together all throughout high school, but every morning before classes began and every afternoon when we left school at around 3:15 pm we would meet up at our lockers and shoot the breeze for a few minutes. I always looked forward to that.

Honestly, I don’t remember what most of our talks were even about. I guess that’s the thing about memories. Those small details tend to fade away after a while. I no longer remember what we used to talk about or what she wore or even what my own locker combination was. If I went back to my old high school and look at it today, it would probably be much different than how I remember it.

Details fade away, but you remember 1) the people who were there and 2) the way they made you feel. Maybe that’s what really matters.

Continue reading What pickup gets wrong about being confident

The boring, mundane way to be confident with women

There’s a lot of popular advice about how to be confident. When I was too nervous to talk to women, I always heard “Fake it until you make it” or “Just do it, man!” Neither of these really helped much.

Once I heard that you should approach 50 women to overcome your approach anxiety. I’ve encountered over 50 spiders in my lifetime and they still scare the living daylights out of me.

And then you have the dumb@$$ advice on how to be confident…you either “neg” her to undermine her self-confidence or you pretend to be completely indifferent even though deep down you actually do care. Please, don’t do this!

There’s a super counter-intuitive, mundane way to be confident. One that’s so boring that few people ever talk about it.

Continue reading The boring, mundane way to be confident with women