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"Thirty, single, no life, and never had a girlfriend - HELP!!!"

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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kfeeney@fairfaxmedia.com.au

210 comments so far

  • There is no point asking women for advice on dating. They do not know in an analytical or objective way to what they are attracted.

    If you are a nice guy then why don't you have 100 female friends with whom you are constantly having coffee dates and being set up with their friends?

    Maybe you like to think you are nice but the term you are looking for is "passive".

    Learn assertiveness using your brain and watching what assertive guys do and how they act and you will start to create the life you want.

    Good luck, champ.

    Commenter
    iluvthesmellofnapalm
    Location
    nam
    Date and time
    May 11, 2012, 9:17AM
    • Part of the problem is that he is a 'nice guy'.
      He has been put into the friend zone, which is a place from which no man returns.
      Women, especially young women, are hard wired to be attracted to assholes. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.
      Women instinctively see 'nice' as weak and therefore unworthy of mating with them.
      Nigel is at the age at which the women in his range are emerging form the bad boy phase, so a decent fellow such as Nigel has better prospects.
      Female psychology is completely different to that of men, especially when it comes to mating.

      Commenter
      CarlT
      Location
      crazy old cat man
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 10:08AM
    • Strongly agree that embracing assertive over passiveness is the key.

      I say Nigel should read "The Game" to understand the required mentality (not for "pick-up tips", although the story is a good laugh too).

      Many guys struggle to attract girls while trying desperately to be the guy those girls want. Guess what? Desperation is really obvious, and "I'll be whatever you want me to be" is a massive turnoff. Girls generally prefer the guys who are happy and proud to be themselves.

      Sometimes, as CarlT suggests, this even outweighs the fact that "who these guys really are" is not an attractive character at all.

      Nigel, I'd contend that being "nice" is NOT a turnoff in itself, but it isn't a drawcard either, until you're actually in a relationship. So put it to one side and instead of trying to impress girls, just stay in circulation and concentrate on impressing yourself with how good you can make yourself and your life (i.e. being fit, healthy, well-read, sociable, multi-talented, domestically-capable, appreciated at work).

      Being the person you want to be will attract the partner you want to have.

      Commenter
      CaptainFlash
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 11:11AM
    • Sorry Carl but again I say buls’t to that. The woe is me, it’s all the girls fault.

      Seems blatantly obvious he has allowed himself to be put into a bad place when he was young. Many do. And he has been running from himself since. All woe is me.
      Boring. Off putting. Boring. Boring.
      That in reality he is no different to sooo many others.
      And has much to offer.
      And he needs find himself. The maybe others will too. Perhaps even like what they see..

      He needs waaay out of town, another country, where he can leave the past, his old himself, at home. To get off a plane and all is new. Where he can be who he is. Restore/find his confidence. Find himself.
      Learn to look outside himself.
      Not move. Just a holiday or two would do it. To where he has no past beyond now.
      It works. I’ve seen it time and again.
      Not running from anything. Just finding themselves. With no reminders.

      Reading his letter. Actually sounds a great guy. Somewhere deep down. Was well written and insightful. But Jezz. Boring boring woe is me. Just wanted to skip to CK’s bit.
      And one would presume that’s what he puts out. (and would on any dating site)
      He needs get a life, find himself, see outside himself.
      Then others will see it too.

      Commenter
      Dave
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 12:01PM
    • CaptainFlash, that part is very true. Why would they want a crap actor? Much easier, and better to be yourself, who you are - take it or leave it. Most often they will take it. Because you're straight up. Let them easily see what they are taking or leaving. And if they leave,, you didn't want them anyway.
      Until they know you well they may not tell you what they like. But they know very well what they do and don't.

      Commenter
      Dave
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 12:14PM
    • @ Dave
      I do not think that Nigel is blaming females, or having a pity party for one. What he wrote seems to me to be an honest assessment of his situation.
      Nigel also seems to be sane, educated and of above-average intelligence.
      What I believe he has encountered is the typical problem that decent young men of above-average intelligence have, which is that the young chicks want the bad boys.
      Nigel is clearly not a bad boy.

      Commenter
      CarlT
      Location
      crazy old cat man
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 12:39PM
    • Second that. No, it is not the girls fault, it is the nature of sexuality. First understand that despite civilization we are animals. Where sex is concerned there is what is acceptable and what is talked about...and the way it really is. Women are *not* a good source of dating advice for men! Talk to a womaniser, preferably slightly drunk so they tell it "as it is". Then decide what *your* version of how to play the game should be done. Experiment. Take a "this ones for practice", "what the hell, the worst is she says no" attitude. Learn about body language that says "keep going" and the language of "not interested".
      Learn to play the game a little...once you are past the first sex and comfortable conversation stage you can revert to normality (mostly) but to get there you need to know the game and actively take part. Men need to take the lead, then give, then lead again (just like dancing!).
      Be genuinely interesting and valuable as a person...if you don't know it (honestly) then they won't believe it. As for friends...you are on the right track. Find out what you like doing then do it well...friendship will then find you.
      Know that you are not alone and that things *will* change.

      Commenter
      Andy
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 2:24PM
    • @CarlT: It's not Nigel he's talking about in his first sentence.

      Commenter
      bornagirl
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 2:26PM
    • Carl it wasn’t what I suggested he was. Just the here we go again that girls want bad boys. Ok, perhaps the occasional one does. (I do hook the lively (wild/bad) ones when a biker. But ditch and I get more and the better)
      Rather that women seem to want a guy who is engaging, interesting, fun to be with. A decent straight up guy so they can turn off the bull s’t meter.
      Not a Oh god, is that the time already.

      The letter was relevant in that the past has made him where he is. But also that he is still living it. That he doesn’t like it. Why expect anyone else too. That his company can’t engage anyone. He’s not enthused about it either.

      Yeah he does come over as quite a catch. But.
      I figure he has to find himself before looking. Feel good about himself. Bury the past. Be himself. And that won’t be done at a club or dating site. With his history and at his age a drastic jolt/change is needed. A gentle easing out won’t work. Staying at home hoping home will change won’t work.
      Is largely why I suggest time away from familiar. Away from routine. To where all is new. Where he can find the person he is. Not the person people have led him to believe he is. Then and only then will life perspective change.

      Commenter
      Dave
      Location
      The one across the ditch
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 2:50PM
    • @ Dave
      We are going to have to disagree on the matter of women preferring the bad boys (or not).
      A fellow named Robert Belland has written a book on the subject.
      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004MDLSBQ/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=wwwbobaircom-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B004MDLSBQ&adid=1CEM1N3CQYQ76RT883MX
      Also, you may find some interest in his list of 10 reasons why nice guys finish last.
      http://www.fullofhateandreadytodate.com/10-reasons-nice-guys-finish-last/

      Commenter
      CarlT
      Location
      crazy old cat man
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 5:17PM

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