DEAR SUSAN: At age 32, I've had only one girlfriend -- and she married another guy. I just can't seem to get a date to save my life. And this is making me miserable. It seems every guy has what I want so badly. Am I the only man with this problem?
DEAR BLOGGER: No, you're not alone in your inability to get a date with a lovely woman or physical intimacy that goes with a close relationship. But simply knowing that doesn't help much. You may be trying too hard, letting your neediness end social situations. You need to get involved in situations that are not strictly social, in which a common interest puts people together and provides easy conversation. It could be a golf class, a cooking seminar, a film festival, a "save the whales" meeting. The only thing I ask is that it interests you and raises your level of excitement.
The aim here is to put you into a group that shares an interest so that conversation flows easily and you don't have to try so hard to please. Over-trying is a turnoff. Usually combined with extreme neediness, it's responsible for your no-win state. But you can change all that by following your interests. Doing that puts you in a good position for meeting -- and interesting -- women who share your outlook on life.
DEAR SUSAN: Odd that recently you should write about the authentic good feelings that come from giving. The other day, I put together a corned beef and cabbage dinner for a couple of buddies who are Vietnam veterans and have post-traumatic stress disorder and related problems. The life I live, with depression and anxiety, is quite like those of my veteran pals in many ways. It did make me feel better to do something for others.
From the Single File blog
DEAR BLOGGER: Giving to others is the way out of depression. It pulls you out of your shell and self-absorption in a gentle, unforced way that feels natural; that it feels right and good is affirmation of its value. In a way, we are all veterans of war -- whether the battlefield be within or on foreign soil. It takes courage to face down the enemy -- and the fact that we have faced down our personal enemies and survived is proof positive that we are clever opponents and hardy souls. The way to keep those good feelings growing is to continue doing for others. Veterans know that well.