You know, I always used to freak out around this time of year. I thought that growing older was something to be afraid of.
Not this year, though. I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished throughout 2020, and everything I’ve learned this year is something that I’ll continue to be able to use the rest of my life. And that’s exciting!
Almost as exciting as learning that Minecraft Steve is now a Smash Bros. fighter! (Playing against Steve and his wonky attacks, on the other hand…that’s another matter.)
It looks like some parts of the world are loosening up on quarantine restrictions. It’s nice that we’re finally starting to be able to go outside again, but I’m also worried that there may be another wave of infections if we come out of lockdown too early.
If it were up to me, we’d all continue to stay inside. And I know that’s easy for me to say since I’m already married and have someone to be holed up inside with. But I’m going to say it anyway.
Just…stay safe, okay? Keep washing your hands whenever you go outside. Limit contact with people you don’t know. And make sure you’ve got something covering your nose and mouth. I’d hate to learn that any of my readers got sick.
If there’s one thing my friends seem to enjoy doing too much of, it’s giving me crap about the fact that I love playing old Nintendo games instead of more “serious” games like Fortnite or PUBG. The reason why is that I always found those old Super Mario games therapeutic…
…while those shooter games have a way of making me rage and wanting to throw my controller at the screen. Every time I get killed, I start yelling at the game like…
“WHY!? Why did that kill me?”
…and then I come up with a million reasons—other than the fact that I suck—as to why I got killed.
Was my opponent probably cheating? Yep!
Does he have better skills than I do? Nope.
Was it probably the lag that got me killed? Yep!
Is it possible that my opponent had a better strategy? Nope.
And that’s why I play Mario instead of Fortnite.
This sort of behavior is relatively harmless (and mildly amusing) when it comes to video gaming. When it comes to other areas of our lives, though, mindsets like these can often hold us back in very real ways.
Looking back on 2019, one of the biggest accomplishments I’m proud of this year is making a career change into my dream industry (yep, I work a full-time job just like everybody else). This is something that I’ve wanted to do for the past few years, but I’ve never gotten around to actually doing it.
It was always one of those “important, not urgent” things in the back of my mind. The fancy scientific term for this is cognitive dissonance—basically, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re doing something you know you shouldn’t (or when you’re not doing something you know you should.)
An example of cognitive dissonance that we can all relate to is eating a bag of potato chips even though you “know” it’s unhealthy. Whenever I do this, I always end up telling myself things such as:
“Ah, it’s just one bag of potato chips”
“I don’t eat potato chips that often anyway”
“I’ll work it off later”
Take a wild guess at how many times I’ve actually “worked off” a bag of potato chips after eating it.
Yep, that’s correct.
Sure, it’s easy to identify this sort of self-defeating self-talk when someone else says it. But how many of us are guilty of sabotaging ourselves through our own self-talk, especially around women?
It’s been a while since my last article, huh? Looks like the last time I’ve written something was…let me check…
…back in October 16, 2019…
As per Quietly Romantic tradition, anytime I go too long without publishing something new, I get to post something embarrassing about myself. So, here’s a picture of me eating sushi that has WAY too much wasabi on it:
Yep, that’s me getting my butt kicked by a dead fish. I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight knowing that a picture of myself literally crying now exists on the internet.
I’m unapologetic about the fact that I’m a crier, and the idea that men can be emotionally sensitive is an example of something that I’d love to see talked about more in today’s world. There are a lot of men’s issues in the world that deserve much more attention than they currently get. On that note, here are a few links to people doing a beautiful job of talking about these issues.
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.