I’m 29 and most of my friends are single and dating multiple people. I have had trouble finding a girlfriend, or even someone to date, lately. I am just not into going out to bars and meeting people. I’m really bad in that situation and never feel comfortable. I have friends who always have a lot of people to hang out with on the weekends. I don’t see any major differences between us other than that they like approaching people they don’t know. I’m sure you’re going to suggest online dating, but I have tried it and it wasn’t for me. It seems pretty hopeless that I’m going to find “the one” at this rate.
– Not Into it
Dear Not Into it:
I am so sorry it’s been difficult dating lately. It can be easy to assume that your friends are having a great time because it looks so easy from the outside, but the truth may be different. The bottom line is that dating can be a really difficult experience. I’ve had clients describe it as going on job interview after job interview, while not really being able to talk about one’s skills and never seeing the requirements of the position. Going about it that way sounds like torture, so why would anyone want to try? One approach is to pretend that the end goal (Read: Finding A Girlfriend) is off the table — to make dating be about being in the present moment and showing up as yourself.
To this end, I’m not going to just “suggest online dating.” I’m going to suggest online dating, speed dating, group dating, asking-about-your-coworkers’-friends dating, finding-a-faith-community dating, etc., etc. In other words, widen your opportunities to meet The One because this truly is a numbers game. One benefit of attacking this on so many fronts is that any one evening doesn’t have to be the “Most Important Night of Your Life.” So you can just be yourself (which your mother and I both agree is when you are the most attractive). I get it that this may seem like even more work, when showing up at a bar and being “on” felt exhausting in the first place. My advice is to put bar dating lower on the list and focus more on spaces where you already feel comfortable.
Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor in Georgetown. Visit her on the web at stacymurphyLPC.com. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to stacymurphyLPC@gmail.com.