Hey Guys,

I am on leave in Tasmania (wine and woodfire- yum!). But I've had this letter from a reader I've been wanting to share with you for the last little while. Besides being an engaging, honest account of life on the outer, I believe it picks up on some salient themes - disconnection, isolation and confusion about how, in this world of billions, we stand a chance of finding those very rare, very meaningful connections. In some ways, it carries on from our 'Nice Guy' of last year. But this story is slightly different - it's about a man who wants to reach out, but doesn't quite know how.

And so, with his permission, please read, think about, and respond to *Nigel.


Dear CK,
 
I enjoy reading your blogs and hope you and your wise readers can give me some ideas to get me out of the rut I'm stuck in!
 
I'm a 30 year old male living near Parramatta in Sydney, about 5'8, euro background but born here, well groomed/presented and polite, have a slim fit looking body and although I'm no Brad Pitt, I've been told by some people that I'm a handsome guy but I always get the nice guy tag (I've been called a nice guy so many times that it's starting to annoy me, even though its true!)
 
I've always been shy and social situations have never been my strong point. However, when I was young (pre-teen years) I was more bubbly, laughed more and just happier in general. The reasons for this was that besides being a typical care-free child, I had a life in that I had some friends and always had a best friend. I even recall being friendly with some girls in my class when I was around 10 - 11 in that I'd ask them if they liked me and had the types of interactions with them that were typical of other boys my age.
 
Unfortunately things started going pear shaped from high school. It's hard to put a finger on any one factor but there are several that I've identified. For one, most of my friends went to a different high school and so suddenly I found myself in a new group with only a couple of friends from my old school. At first things went ok but I never really felt like I fitted in.

The other thing being I hit puberty early so I became quite self-conscious and other boys, including so called friends, began picking on me due to this and also due to being an easy target in that I couldn't stand up for myself.
 
From middle high school this got worse in that my 'friends' began to pick on me pretty much on a daily basis. It was never physical but silly mind game type bullying such as giving me the silent treatment and throwing my stuff around. As a result of this I became increasingly withdrawn from society and became quite an anxious/tense person. I was so ashamed, that I didn't tell any of my teachers or parents that this was happening, I guess that like most bullying victims I somehow believed it was my fault. I considered leaving this group or even joining another school but I didn't as I was afraid that I'd be stuck on my own as I didn't believe I could make friends and didn't trust people much either.
Eventually towards the end of high school I joined another group, i still didn't  really fit in but at least they didn't pick on me.
 
In my early twenties I was working fulltime, I didn't go to uni or Tafe as I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I spent the majority of my spare time staying at home with my family - my parents and my siblings, playing video games, watching tv or reading. Sometimes I'd go out but this was pretty much limited to only going to the shops with my family.
 
By my late twenties, I realised this approach wasn't what I wanted out of life so I decided to try some new things. I've tried taking some martial arts lessons, dancing lessons and going to the gym, with my main goals being to make friends, get fit and hopefully meet a nice girl. While I managed to improve my fitness, unfortunately I failed to achieve my other goals. Perhaps it's been so long since I've had any friends that I've forgotten how to interact with people around my age, I don't know, but somehow I just can't seem to make any friends. In my situation, my opportunities to meet girls have been quite limited and since I'm the kind of guy that you'd need to know for a while to truly appreciate my qualities, as I'm not great at first impressions, you can see why I've never had a gf, but I haven't even been on a date! I've tried internet dating but was so overwhelmed by the (lack of) responses that I've decided I'll have to stick to meeting someone in person, but I don't know how this is going to happen...

It's hard feeling lonely, especially feeling like you're the only guy who can't find a girl when it seems like everyone you know is already involved with someone and especially painful for me if I see a couple around my age being intimate in public, as I want more than anything else in this world to have someone to love. I'd like to play some tennis socially  or even something like volleyball or touch footy, anything really that's a mixed gender fun group activity but can't seem to find anything around my area. I know that if I can find a group hobby I'd enjoy, my self esteem/confidence would improve as not having any friends has geared my interests towards solo based activities. Once I can achieve this along with a social life I'm sure this will open up some romantic opportunities also, but it's so frustrating not being able to find something to do that I'd enjoy!
 
CK, I'd really appreciate your feedback as well as  your readers. I'd be especially interested in anyone that's either been in a similar situation and found a way to overcome it or anyone that knows someone who's overcome a similar situation. Also anyone who may know of any social group activities around my area.
 
Thanks,
 
Confused, frustrated and anxious nice guy


Well there you have it. I told our young man I'd publish his letter because I felt he wasn't alone. I feel there's a lot of disconnect these days, and I think we should take every opportunity we can to try and bring people closer together.

There are a lot of great initiatives currently in play seeking to remedy this situation - I'm particularly enamoured with these new 'consciousness parties' as a way to actually engage with the people around us, rather than just bumping, grinding, and sliding into bed with them in a hazy, stuff-addled funk.

But there are a lot of us still missing out, and it's through forums like these that we can begin to address the gaps.

So, what advice would you give Nigel if you met him for coffee? How have you managed to meet people or find true love? Or do you recognise yourself in this story - what would you like to know how to make your life better?

As always, please speak with respect.

I'll be reading.

CK x

*Not his real name

*** UPDATED 21/06***

Hey guys -

Nigel has offered his response below:

Dear Kat,
 
Thanks for touching base with me again, I'm glad you returned safely and hope you enjoyed your holiday.
 
Wow, it seems my story really touched a lot of people out there and certainly triggered a vast array of opinions, I'm really blown away by all the feedback!
It was fantastic to see that the majority of comments were positive and offered constructive criticism. Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to voice your opinions, I really do appreciate it.
 
I think a common theme throughout the threads was that  I need to find and love myself and start living and enjoying life first before pursuing a relationship and I totally agree with this. I guess when you're in my type of situation, it's tempting to think that having a girlfriend and being in a relationship will suddenly fulfil all your needs and while it's true for both sexes that finding the right person can really change your life in many positive ways, it's vital to lead a balanced, enjoyable lifestyle to ensure you're in the right state of mind and ready to let someone else in.
 
Yes, I do lack confidence and am an introverted, sweet guy and a genuinely sensitive one also. Some people have assumed that due to my sensitiveness and gentle nature and the fact that I never mentioned I had a gf meant that I was gay. While there's nothing wrong with this I know that it's definitely not true and this is one thing I've never had any doubt over. I understand though that this is basic human nature, in that we tend to fill in the gaps of what we don't know about people by joining the dots based on assumptions about how a person looks or acts. In my case, I think that a lot of people, especially girls, would be surprised to know that beneath my shy, sensitive exterior, lurks a red-blooded, passionate and affectionate man just waiting and longing to unleash and share those passions with the right girl.
 
How do I know this, well, it turns out I have a raging sex drive which oddly enough seems to be getting stronger as I get older and is much stronger now than when I was a teen!
This sex drive has really motivated me in that it's led me to try different things over the past 5 or so years in a bid to not only find a mate but to improve my whole life in general as well. You may be curious to know why I only seemed to try new things from about 5 years ago, well, to be honest, one of the main reasons was once I lost my virginity and started having sex, allow me to explain!
 
I was always rather  curious about sex from a young age, but growing up in a strict catholic family, I was shielded from this subject up until adulthood. I never got the dreaded 'birds and the bees' talk, so I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about this subject.  From an early age I came to the conclusion that sex was a beautiful thing that should be shared between 2 people who care about each other. I wanted to wait for the right girl to come along before I experienced something I'd heard so much about.
I waited and waited, before I knew it, I was 26, still a virgin and yet to have a gf or even a date. I felt like the right girl would never come along and with a burning curiosity I could no longer ignore, I took the plunge and went to a brothel...

I understand that some people may change their opinion towards me, I'm not here to say whether this was a good or bad choice on my part and everyone's entitled to their own opinion about this issue. For me however it was never about just satisfying a physical need, it was equally about being able to be myself with the opposite sex and not being judged for who I was. The interesting thing is many of the ladies I've seen don't consider me to be shy and are very surprised or don't believe me when I tell them my story as I come across as a confident guy and a good, attentive lover. I guess I feel I can really be myself around these ladies because they don't judge me and it's just me and them and no one else around during our time together. One thing I'll say about these ladies is most of them have been the nicest most down to earth women I've ever met and one of the reasons for this is they tend to come from poor families, just like I have so we kind of understand each other.

Overall, going to see these ladies is quite therapeutic for me, but I understand that at the end of the day, their just doing their job and what I really want is to be with someone who's with me because they love me and not because their being paid to love me.  I haven't been to a brothel for a while now as I believe that I'm better off putting my energy into activities that will help balance my life and lead me to my goals of making friends and establishing a relationship. One day I'd like to get married and start a family of my own, because for me family is the most important thing in life and I consider being a good husband and father as the most important job a man can have.

I could probably keep writing all day but I think it's time for me to sign off. I'm going to find out who I really am and set some goals for myself to help steer me on my journey. To all those single and lonely people out there, please do your best to remain positive and happy and who knows, you just might find love around the corner, or it might find you!

Take care everyone and may all your dreams come true :)

Nigel ;)

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