Recently, I got a rather heartbreaking email from one of my readers. He had a friend that he used to be very close to when he was younger, and he tried to reconnect with his friend, but unfortunately his friend no longer wanted anything to do with him.
Looking back on my childhood, I had a lot of friends that I thought I’d be close to forever. Back in freshman year of college, we had a small group that I always hung out with:
And back in senior year, it became a different group:
Back when I was in my early 20’s, I always felt that I didn’t need to make new friends because I was happy being alone. A typical weekend for me might have looked like this, and I loved it:
Also, I worried that if I made a bunch of friends then I would never have time for myself anymore. I always imagined those rowdy guys who lived nearby that would always go to bars at night, and I figured that I didn’t want to become like one of those dudes. Or, I worried that my friends would make me go out all the time and I’d never have any time to do things like this…
Turns out that’s not true either. If you receive an invitation to go to an event that sounds lame, or you already had that time reserved for yourself, then you can always just say “No thanks”. You don’t even have to give a reason why you don’t want to do! Or, if you feel so inclined, you can even say something like “That sounds fun, but unfortunately I have to force myself to say no”.
Getting inundated with so many invitations that you cannot accept them all is a good problem to have. Worry about crossing that bridge when you get to it. For now, we’ll focus on how to start making new friends.
Before we even get into that…why talk about making friends at all? Isn’t Quietly Romantic supposed to be a dating advice site? There’s a couple reasons.
First, meeting people through your networks is historically one of the best ways to meet a girlfriend. You can leverage your personal relationships to get into intimate relationships—and I’ll show you exactly how in a future post—but it all starts with making friends.
And second, many of the activities you currently enjoy are more fun when you’re doing them with someone else. I love playing Super Mario Bros. single-player, but gathering a few buddies and playing several rounds of Mario Kart is even more fun!
Back when I was first looking for love, I often heard a lot of dating advice that made me feel uncomfortable. I always heard that “nice guys finish last” and that in order to be attractive you needed to act like a jerk or an “alpha”. Supposedly, women secretly love men who mistreat them even if they tell you otherwise. To get her attention, you should “neg” her by giving her an insult disguised as a compliment. And then after the first date you should wait…um, how long was it…three days before you call her? That way she won’t think you’re needy and she’ll start to miss you. Or something like that.
Hearing this really terrified me. I did not want to act that way in order to make myself more attractive. I could never intentionally act in a way to hurt someone else. And I was scared because I was afraid that that was the type of person I would have to become if I wanted to find love.
It’s not true, is it? Do women really prefer to date jerks? Do nice guys finish last?
I’m just going to come out and say this straight…2019 has basically been the worst year of my life. Whenever I say something along the lines of “God, this day sucks” or “This is the worst day ever,” it’s usually an exaggeration.
This time I really mean it.
My little sister passed away after battling cancer this year. And that honest-to-goodness sucks. You never figure that you’re going to bury family members who are younger than you. It’s been a rough few months for the rest of my family, and this whole experience has me rethinking several of the things I used to think were true.
Well, the bad news is that Netflix has officially run out of Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero flicks for me to watch. The good news is that while I’m waiting for Avengers Endgame to finally hit theaters next month, I’ve had some time to catch up on my reading.
You ever have that moment when you’re playing a video game and suddenly you’re like “I bet the next room has like 50 enemies/a boss so I better stock up on items and/or save”? Maybe it wasn’t immediately obvious at the time why you were feeling that way…but in hindsight it was probably the random save point or the lack of music or that random stash of ammo that tipped you off?
That’s the power of listening to your intuition.
Recently, I finished reading The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, a security specialist who did a lot of cool stuff including designing a system to screen threats to US Supreme Court Justices! He writes that your intuition is a tool that is often overlooked in today’s world but is also invaluable when you learn to listen to it.
A little while ago, I was talking to a friend of mine and he told me about a problem he was struggling with. I asked him,
“Okay, so what do you think you could try doing?”
And his response was simply…
“…well, I guess I could try harder?”
At this point, alarm bells started going off in my head. I’ve often heard people say that they just need to “try harder” when they have a problem they’re struggling to solve. Heck, I’ve even said it myself!
I’m having trouble writing? I’ll try harder!
I can’t seem to get in shape? I’ll try harder!
I’m not getting enough work done? Looks like I have to try harder!
I mean, it sounds logical, right? If I’m trying to solve a problem and I have an issue that I can’t seem to get past, then shouldn’t trying…harder…make a difference? Over time, I’ve come to realize that…
I’m in shock right now. My little sister passed away after battling cancer for a year. I’m still trying to make some sense out of this. Because, to be honest, it doesn’t make sense. To say that someone can get cancer and die at 24 years old in a world supposedly governed by a just and loving God doesn’t make sense at all. She was engaged, and she and her fiancé should have had their whole lives ahead of them. It’s not fair for all their plans to be cut short just like that. Between me, my mom, my dad, and her fiancé, I know any one of us would trade places with her in a second. Because it doesn’t make sense for someone her age to die of cancer. Not at 24.
I’m going to be upfront today and let you know that I don’t have any dating advice in this week’s newsletter. I’m writing this article for selfish reasons, and if you want to stop reading here then I won’t be offended. It’s okay.
At my sister’s funeral, I volunteered to give a eulogy. My parents were surprised, since I’m usually a quiet person and super terrified of public speaking, but it was something that I felt I needed to say. I’ve decided to make it an open eulogy and publish it on my blog. This way, everything I said during the funeral can live on long after that fateful day:
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?
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.
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.