Friday, February 25, 2011

Reader question: Why "friend zone" placement happens to guys.

Q: Dear Haley,

I'm a nice guy that has much respect for all women.
When it comes to women i feel i can talk to them very well, keep a good conversation going, and i always try to make a 
good first impression. But it seems every time i always seem to get put into the friend zone and i never get the chance to try and make a relationship out of it or at least the chance to try to date them.
Is there something that i am doing wrong?
Mr. Always Set Aside 

A: Mr. Always Set Aside, I feel your pain in the weirdest way. I can tell that you and I are one in the same as far as having a giving, loving, and accommodating personality. However, I'm going to have to make a weird request of you (though, mind you, I also gave myself the same request recently): you are going to have to be less "nice"!
The reason that you are being put into the "friend zone" by the girls you know is most likely because you are just too damn nice. I'm serious! It sounds crazy, but such a thing does exist. Ask yourself the following questions:

-Do you make yourself too available to girls, either to hang out or to talk about their problems?
-Do you give a lot to girls (gifts, time, compliments) without getting a lot in return?
-Are you too forgiving of your female acquaintances, even if they have hurt you in the past?
-When you do get the chance to get romantically close to a girl, do you move a little too fast?
-Do you do "everything" for the girl you like?

There are a million more that I can ask, but just generally think about your actions around girls.
Unfortunately, people are hypocritical. We grow up thinking we want the perfect prince or the loveliest princess, but we end up desiring the offbeat rebel who makes us chase them till we're out of breath. I try not to use myself as an example, but I'll tell you that I didn't fall for my boyfriend because he was always at my every whim, always talking to me, or always bringing my flowers. No, I fell for him because although he was a great guy and a loving person, he was someone who clearly had his own thing going on and had a little mystery to him. Mr. SAS, The key word is mystery. Have some, and it will save you. The truth is, you can still be a nice and great guy, but tone down some of your actions and words and only reserve your kindest actions for the lady who truly deserves it. You can balance being awesome and being mysterious, I promise you that. Take it down a notch one step at a time and eventually you will find your own personal balance that works for you. You deserve the best for yourself, always remember that.

Best of luck!

--Dr. O.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reader question: Is dating in the workplace a bad idea?

Q: Hi Haley. My question regards office dating. I have worked in the same office for about a year and am interested in a woman there. I can at least tell she is interested in me as well, though I don't know if her interest is genuine or just a 'crush'. We are both temps and will be moving to different companies (in the same city) after we are done here, so I figure it's not a terrible idea since we will be out of here anyway. However people are still telling me that office dating is a bad idea. What do you think?


A: Dan, I hate to say it, but I have to side with your naysayers--for now. I understand that you have a significant interest in this girl, but if you are so sure that you will both be getting out of there soon, then wait until you do! Unfortunately, a lot can happen in your remaining months at the same company, and some of those outcomes could ravage your personal life and affect your work performance. I know that the flirty atmosphere is probably palpable at this point. For now, keep it cool, and maybe ask her to lunch towards the end of your tenure at your current company. In the mean time, focus on work, or if you feel like she is not totally worth it, focus on dating other women outside your work.

Best of luck!

--Dr. O.

Friday, February 18, 2011

From iPod with Love: a mobile-written fable of appreciation and blessings

For my readers who know me personally, you are probably familiar with the fact that two of the most precious pieces of electronics I own are currently hyperhydrated and therefore, slowly dying. Yes, I have water damage, folks--and it don't look too pretty.

I am currently operating on my iPod, which by the grace of some god has survived its SECOND attempted aqua-homicide this week. Needless to say, I'm thrilled, as I can still use the Internet gratuitously on this little guy. He's a tank, I tell ya.

However, I must say that I was not so thankful last night when I discovered that my brand new Louis Vuitton bag was carrying extra weight--water weight, that is! CRAP! A renegade water bottle with a cheap cap and a flimsy body was the culprit. At the time, computer was toast, phone was toast, and even iPod seemed toast. I was miserable! Like any Gen-Y, I operate entirely on technology! I can't live without it, and a lot of precious school info and music is on there! MUSIC! Life sucked then.

Later on, I realized two things after this happened: 1, I needed to stop taking my things for granted and start being a little more careful. 2, these things...they're just that: things. In all honesty, I can easily replace them. It could have been so much worse. I almost feel like this happened just to remind me of these things.

As a reader of my blog, you are probably wondering, "Well, what does this have anything to do with relationships?" Truly, the answer is prety simple. Love your partner. Cherish your partner. The next time you feel like yelling, don't, because it's probably not even worth it. Never take your partner for granted, or you might lose them. And people, that's a hell of a lot more than a busted phone. Always remember this and I can promise you you'll be so much happier.

--Dr. O.

p.s. For those of you curious fasionistos/as, the bag is fine. My he pulled through great, and he'll need nothing more than a checkup at the Scottsdale mall.

p.p.s. My genius of a boyfriend has fixed my computer and is in the process of fixing my phone. I will never complain again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reader question: How do I approach the "weight" issue with online dating?

Q: Okay, I've been debating whether or not to submit anything about this, because I'm kinda lazy about trying to put the words together to say what I'm wanting to say/ask in the most concise manner possible, but here it goes:
If you decide to actually answer this question, I can probably send you a shorter version.
I've dabbled in the online dating thing for years and years and years with many breaks in between. In its most recent incarnation, my online dating approach has trained quite drastically.  I used to meet guys without a whole lot of thought, if they were attractive (to me), could put together full sentences without glaringly awful grammatical errors, shared some common interests, and didn't present any of the obvious deal-breakers for me.
Now, I am super reluctant and guarded about meeting anyone. Why, you ask. Well, I've gained a shit-ton of weight, and just don't have the same confidence I once did, what little of it I actually once had.  See, I'm pretty awesome in most other aspects of my being, and I'm told I sell myself way short. 
Shit, I should really get to the actual question, huh?  I've thought to myself many times, that I would be more comfortable meeting these guys, if I actually told them prior to the meeting, that I'm a pretty big girl, and if they have serious issues with that, then let's not bother. I feel like that can come across as insecure, but really, most every big girl I know is insecure about their weight, but that doesn't make them insecure as a person. I don't think that I am, but some guys are just kinda simple minded, and would read it as such. Does that even make sense? I just don't want to waste any time, and I sure as hell don't want to be repeatedly rejected. That shit hurts. 
And yes, I have recent pictures on my profile, but I don't think they are a true representation of my size, because they all seem to mask it pretty well. 
So... do you think that it's a bad idea to say anything about this, if you are seriously considering meeting someone?   


A: Has the weight issue ever popped up in the past? Or, are you just worried that your recent weight gain has sharply affected your confidence? If it's the former, are you afraid of getting rejected by men over your weight? If it's the latter, are you worried that men will be "put off" by your potential lack of confidence? Finally, is it possibly just a mix of both? :)

I'll tackle the first issue, well, first: if you're concerned about the weight thing with guys, you have a few options.
1) You can put your height and weight stats on your profile--this is a little much and isn't really an accurate portrayal of how your body really LOOKS, in my opinion, but it would take away from any shallow guys. 
2) You can ignore guys who say anything in their profile requiring specific physical attributes in females. Honestly, any guy who lists highly specific needs in that arena is a bit of a loser. End of story.
3) You could post new pictures that you feel show your weight a little more accurately.

Whatever you choose, dear Kim, you must realize that any guy worth your time isn't going to care about your weight. You do not need to explicitly say anything about your weight before you meet someone if you feel that your pictures are reasonably accurate. When you do meet a guy, unless you are obese or extremely unhealthy, he's not gonna bat an eye. One thing that girls need to realize is that a guy would rather have a slightly overweight girl than a slightly underweight girl. I've NEVER had a man tell me otherwise. :)

I wrote a blurb on online dating a little while ago, and you can read it by clicking here. Be very discriminating of who you meet, and don't meet anyone who you think will hold negative feelings towards your weight. 

That brings me to the second issue, the insecurities. Kim, short or tall, skinny or not-so-skinny, pretty or ugly, we as women are chock full of insecurities. It's not a big deal, and men recognize that about us. However, there is a difference between being quietly insecure and constantly going off about your insecurity. Telling your new date that you are on a weight loss plan because you gained weight recently is just fine. Continuously mentioning how miserable you are and acting negative due to your weight is not only going to be emotionally unattractive, but it will make you less physically appealing. No joke. Confidence is sexy, and as contrite as it sounds, it's one of the truest things out there.

In summation, worry less about your weight and bring back your confidence. Always accurately portray yourself online and in person; always be YOU. It you are able to, begin a healthier diet and workout plan--just doing it will make you feel better, even if you don't see results immediately. From the sounds of it, you are a beautiful person inside and out, and I stand by my conviction that unless you are significantly obese and unhealthy, no guy worth your time is going to care about your weight.

Best of luck!

--Dr. O.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

6 Legit Reasons Why He (or She) Isn't Into You

I know what you're thinking: "We already all saw this movie", "It's pretty obvious", "We don't need any more information on this subject". Well, too bad. I for one happen to think that simplifying disinterest into that movie's principles is a crock of crap, so I'm adding my own spin to it. Here we go! 

6. Your belief systems clash
You're an agnostic Jew, he's Catholic--like, really Catholic. She's a hardcore republican, you donate a generous portion of your time to campaigning for environmental legislation and have even started a "Save the Seals" foundation. Whatever the situation, your attitudes of life just don't clash. If the person you're into is avoiding you because of this reason, it's a good thing.

5. They just don't find you that attractive
Don't worry--this doesn't mean your automatically "ugly", obviously. People have all sorts of things they are attracted to and all sorts of things that turn them off. I've been rejected by various people for being skinny, brunette-haired, blonde-haired, tall, American, Eastern European-American, smart, and "overtly creative" (I'm gonna go ahead and translate that one as "weird" for ya.) Maybe the girl you like only likes skinny emo fellas, and you're anything but. Don't take it personally--the right one for you will find you enormously attractive just as you are.

4. They've heard things about you that aren't true--or just might be
Unfortunately, this issue extends far beyond high school, especially among tightly-knit groups of friends. If you're known for being a "man-whore" or if you're the girl who everyone hears is "crazy", reputations like that can be hard to shake. However, a person who is really interested in you will take the damn time to get to know YOU--no excuses. If your negative denotation is matched to your grape-vine connotation, though, then you have a lot of work to do before you get into a relationship, anyway!

3. You have completely different interests
So the cute, nerdy girl you're crushing on has a penchant for 1940s-era classic films and hypermodern architecture. You're a science geek who doesn't know the first thing about right brain pleasures and would rather think about new theories on quantum physics than watch Citizen Kane. No matter the combination, having vastly different interests and little in common is, unfortunately, a recipe often akin to disaster. They say "opposites attract"--riiiiight. You will be bored stiff if you get with someone who you share nothing in common with.

2. You come from completely different cultures--and they don't know how to handle it
Inter-cultural relationships can be a beautiful, enriching thing, but unfortunately there are still plenty of people who don't mesh well with others simply because of cultural differences and an inability to assimilate with each other. An American friend of mine would get repeatedly angry with her Chinese boyfriend because of language differences and his devotion to academics over her, and sadly they never worked out. Although inter-cultural relationships will always present challenges, each person should be willing to bend a little to accommodate the other person. However, if a person avoids all people outside their own culture, they're not someone you want to be with, anyway.

1. They were into you--but you messed it up by moving too fast!
Haha, okay, not necessarily. In most cases, you both did. I list this as number 1 because it is all too common and all too true. Ever been with someone who seemed "so amazing", so you slept with them on the first date, spent a WHOLE day/night with them on the second, and bought them a nice gift on the third? *slaps hand* No, no, NO! Bad!
Moving too fast is a sure-fire way to mess everything up, even if it could have been a decent relationship. Yes, it is entirely possible to lose a great relationship over this! HOWEVER...
I end with this statement, to nobody's surprise: no matter what, the person with whom you're meant to be will be there. Always. They will give you as many chances as they can. They will be honest to the core. They will be even more intrigued by you with every passing minute. They will trust you. One day, they will love you.

In short, here is a lesson, my friends, from the late, great Dr. Seuss:

“Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel Because 
Those Who Mind Don't Matter 
and Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reader question: When do you have sex in a new relationship?

Q: I'm dating a new guy. He's EXACTLY what I want. We are going on a couple dates a week & text everyday. We had our first no sex sleepover. Just cuddles. We both want it bad but respect eachother. When do I have sex with him? Not just when it feels "right".


A: Don't worry, I won't tell you to do it when it feels "right". The fact is, it's always gonna feel that way, because the minute you see someone you want to pursue, you generally have at least SOME thoughts about what it'd be like to be intimate with them. 
However, people do need to be careful when timing sex, as well as many other things that signify the next step being taken in a relationship. Other examples of these are spending a whole romantic day together, meeting parents, or buying a major gift. You cannot do these things too early, or it will jeopardize the relationship. 
That being said, if you really like this guy, wait until a) you can see yourself long-term with him and b) you feel reasonably assured that you can trust him. Generally, this takes a couple months, but it could take longer or shorter depending on the kind of person you are. Always use your best judgment, as you have to remember that a lot of guys aren't looking for commitment. 

Best of luck!

--Dr. O.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reader question: Sage Before Beauty

Q: Hey Haley, just stumbled on your website and I must say I love it. My question concerns a problem I have with a girl I've been talking to for a few months now. I am in my first year of college, so obviously there is still a lot of clique-ish behavior going on here. One may see me and describe me as a "nerd", I guess. I am a physics major so that doesn't help much. I met my current interest on my dorm floor. We occasionally do homework together but that's the extent of it. However, I can tell that she enjoys being around me because she frequently asks me to help her with homework alone, in her dorm room, and we laugh together a lot. It's hard to say this but I am not the best looking guy around and I often see Claire, the girl I like, talking to a guy on our floor who is a lot better looking than I am. Typical popular, jock guy. I can tell she probably likes him but is there any chance for me? I am a smart guy and I treat her very kindly and I can't say the same for this guy because to be honest I have seen him talk to a lot of other girls. He seems like a jerk. Anyways, is there hope for me? Thanks.


A: Smyth, I'm just gonna start by saying that as contrived and, perhaps, "BS-y" as it sounds, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You'd be surprised by how drastically tastes change jumping from one human to the next. In addition to that, I know from experience that human beings get sick of looking at the same ol' mug in the mirror day in and day out. Even if you aren't generally considered to be good-looking anyway, our own vision STILL makes it worse. 
If you truly aren't a person generally considered to be good-looking, though...there's something you need to know about being a guy: it doesn't matter.
You seem to have brains, humor, and kindness--traits that will last forever. A person with only looks (a la the Douchey McDoucheinstein that's trying to creep on Claire) isn't gonna get too far in life. Looks may help you out sometimes, but those who only have that quality are destined for a lonely life. But I won't get into that here today.
The truth is, Claire may be smitten with the looks of this guy, she may not be. She can still like you at the same time, though. I'd be willing to bet that she does see something in you if she's letting you help her out her room! Just keep your confidence up and be yourself around her. Good-looking or not, a girl is plain stupid if she doesn't give a guy with so many good qualities a chance.
I am going to assume that you haven't asked her to do something yet. DO IT. Make it casual, like eating at a school restaurant or going to a movie. You don't have to make a move or anything, but try and see if she'll hang out like that. If she does, rest assured that you're one step closer to pushing Douche Lord straight out the way.

Best of luck!

--Dr. O.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Can men and women REALLY be just friends?

No, let's really examine this in detail. It's about damn time.

I was once again inspired this morning by one of my dearest friends--lucky me, although ad money knocking on my door would be sweet, too. This time, the topic of conversation between the inspirer and myself was opposite sex friendships. Woooo, smokies, do we have a topic here.

Now, I will remind the reader that I am not talking about two single people--that's a whole 'nother can o' worms. I am mostly talking about an opposite sex friendship where at least one of the people involved is in a relationship. That's the key fact here.

Let's illustrate. Say that I have a straight, single, male friend. We'll call him Joe. I like Joe, because he's a funny dude, an interesting person to talk to, and a genuinely nice guy. However, I have a boyfriend, who incidentally happens to be the man of my dreams. Therefore, I have absolutely no romantic or sexual interest in Joe. 
Joe and I hang out frequently alone. Our conversations get deeper, and on my end I am just happy to have someone as another friend. However, Joe starts to realize that his feelings for me go beyond friendship. Before I know it, Joe tries to kiss me. I push him away violently, but realize that I let the friendship go too far, and we cease talking.

Sound familiar, girls and boys?
Honestly, don't even try to tell me that you've never heard of this crap happening. It can also happen when BOTH people are in relationships, too, and--worse--the two people can actually fall for each other. Sound like something you wanna deal with? I didn't think so.

Now, even with example-a-plenty, this still doesn't quite make sense to a lot of people right off the bat. A lot of people feel that they should be able to hang out with whomever they want--it's a matter of "trust" in a lot of peoples' eyes. I can't disagree with that, but even still: you have to remember that even if YOU, the committed person, don't make a mistake, you cannot guarantee that the person on the other end won't fall for you. If they do, consequences range from their frustration building to the point where they act "weird" around you to they try and make a move on you, thereby jeopardizing your relationship and ruining your friendship. Not fun.

More people will say, "But I've known Jane/Joe forever! I don't have feelings for her/him, why can't we hang out alone anymore?" Obviously, I'm not of the opinion that you need to cease conversation with that person forever or start avoiding them. If you really care about your friendship and HONESTLY feel like there's no funny business between you two, then introduce them to your partner. Hang out all together, and then see how things go. I think this is huge.

What if Jane/Joe is gay? Obviously, WAY different story. I know full well that my gay friends won't make a move on me. You're probably in the clear. I would still introduce your partner just in case. 

Speaking of LGBTers, if you're in a same-sex relationship (regardless of orientation), I would say that it's pretty self-explanatory that the rule is reversed. Duh. Don't hang out with the same sex alone, generally, but opposite sex is probably nothing to worry about. Again, though, introducing your partner is KEY!

You get the idea. It may be kind of a "case-by-case" scenario, but I still think the general rule is the safest one. If you haven't guessed, I myself have *not* had the greatest luck with partners and their friends, and I've had a handful of opposite (and same) sex friends fall for me while I have a partner. I'm not saying you can never hang out with someone alone while you have a partner, I'm just saying: think about the situation and whether it's truly appropriate. Like most things in life, this all comes down to judgment. Use your judgment wisely.

--Dr. O.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is giving money to your partner ever warranted?

It's been a few, friends. Not only that, but I won't be able to afford ads for another week or so. Looks like you're stickin' with me till then.

I spoke recently with a friend who told me that she was deliberating helping her boyfriend pay for something. It wasn't a shirt, or a meal, or even an iPod. It was a car. A CAR! However, this wasn't a live-in boyfriend, nor one with whom she had spent a considerable amount of time. This was, as it turns out, a 3-month (if that) whirlwind of crap that went way beyond requests for thousands of dollars to be paid over time.
Apparently, this guy has also "politely" attempted to ask for assistance with stuff such as rent, groceries, and pet supplies. Hearing my disbelief-tinged remarks, my friend assured me that he was "fully intending" to pay her back--right.

"He's just going through a hard time right now, what right do I have to deny him?"

In a nicer and more forgiving tone, my answer would have been "every right in the world."

Obviously this problem is a little more transparent/easy to answer given the following two criteria. For one, he is specifically asking for help. It's not like she's offering up her services here--my friend has made it pretty clear that her dude was the initiator. Second, it's been a mere 12 weeks and he is already showing a dependence on her. It's not like they're married, hell, it's not like they're even a "serious" couple, in the opinion of my friend. It goes without saying that this situation is troubling, but what about others?

Say you've been dating a boyfriend for a year. He loses his job and thus begins slowly losing his ability to pay for not only you, but himself. Obviously, you've been involved with this guy for long enough that you've built a sincere love for (and loyalty to) him. You figure it'd be pretty rude to not help out a little, so you pay his rent for the month. You go out to dinner that week, so you also decide to pay for his dinner. Before you know it, you're pay for every dinner--and every breakfast and lunch, for that matter. Before you know it, you're supporting someone else like they're your child.

That's creepy.

(Before I go on, I will say that I'm being a bit unfair by providing only female-supporting-male issues here. Obviously I don't believe that this issue is exclusive to females in heterosexual relationships, but I do believe it's probably more common for them. Women generally have an uncannily giving and maternal nature, so when we let it get out of hand it will inevitably turn into this.)

The truth is, helping out a partner who is in extreme need once or twice isn't going to break your bank, nor will it necessarily destroy the equity of the relationship. However, depending on the length and seriousness of the relationship, it is almost never appropriate to ask for help--let your partner decide whether they'll lend their hand.

In addition, I personally feel like there's a certain age when behavior like this should stop altogether; there should never be an instance where a 50-year-old man asks for money from his wife or girlfriend, but it is slightly more acceptable if it happens once or twice in the lifetime of a 25-year-old. At a certain age, you should have your life together. If not, you're not fit for a relationship, plain and simple.

I would appreciate any additional questions or comments on this matter. I will most likely go back and edit this if needed, but suggestions would really catalyze this.

--Dr. O.