mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Dating advice, or why I'm a donkey...

I find myself occasionally reading dating advice from places like yahoo or, more recently, from the advice section of eHarmony. Like this article on not being an Eyeore.

Surprisingly, this article isn't the first place where I've been compared to a certain depressed donkey. I can remember one of my friends in high school using the term to describe me, as well as people recently.

The problem with dating advice is that it's generally completely correct... and completely generic, and non-specific, and thus useless. Telling people to be more confident doesn't make them more confident. By the same token, telling people that the trick to being happy is to find things that make them happy and do them, or that the trick to dating is to find places where lots of single people with similar interests hang out.

Well, if I knew of a place full of attractive single women with similar interests (that is, cats and eBay), I would be there instead of blogging, and sites like eHarmony and match wouldn't exist.

Same thing with doing things that make you happy. Some people spend their whole lives trying to figure out what makes them truly happy. And even if you have hobbies that you love, you don't spend all your time doing them - you need to spend time doing things like working and sleeping and washing dirty dishes and cleaning the cat's shitbox. Life isn't fun all the time, and you don't always have the luxury of only doing things that are enjoyable.

I'm realizing that the people who write dating columns don't really know anything that people who don't read them don't know. The trouble with people who need help with dating (like me) is they are aware of the generalities - that they need to be more confident, that they need to find activities that they enjoy and places full of people like them. The hard part is finding those things. Because those things vary from person to person, general advice is not going to help much. And because those things are often hard to find or do, telling people that they should do them only makes them more frustrated.

I've joked in the past that compared to dating, things like saving money to buy a house or losing weight are easy, because they are just math - save more, spend less, eat less, exercise more - while dating involves someone else's interaction. That is, of course, completely wrong. Well, not completely, but like most dating advice, it's vastly simplified. Every fatty knows they need to consume less and burn more - the hard part is the specifics, what foods to eat and what to avoid, how and when to exercise, and how to break bad habits, peer pressure, and time constraints. I've had some sucess in the last few years losing weight, and I've managed to keep the bulk of it off - but that was after about 10 or 15 years of being fat. And yes, that whole time I knew how to lose the weight in the abstract - I just hadn't figured out how, or developed the willpower to actually do it.

And the same is true of dating. The problem is not that I don't know what I need to do, the problem is I'm not sure of the specifics - how to do it.


At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there

I think this is a really valid point you've made...there is a lot of dating advice which is right on the button. Many of us however, find it hard to know exactly what to do to put it into practice or know what exactly we are not doing quite right. So if you get to the point where you decide you want to get some help, then perhaps a coach or similar to help you discover, learn and practice the strategies will make the difference. Just like a personal trainer at the gym, or a nutrition consultant on a diet, a coach on the sportsfield.

All the best.



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