How do I stop my friend from setting me up with women?

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Josh_R545 asks:

Ok I’m sad to say this but I’m the only one out of all my guy friends to not lose their Virginity or to never have had a girlfriend. My best friend wants me to experience sex because in his words it’s an amazing experience. But to be honest with myself, I’ve given up on love or dating. I just don’t have the characteristics girls find attractive in a man. I’m an extremely boring person, I’m not too handsome, I am very short, overall I don’t have much to give to any girl. But I’ve come to accept that. So that’s why I just stopped trying all together. But my best friend Just won’t give it up, he keeps trying to set me up with a different girl every week. It’s just frustrating, because I just want to do three things in my life. Get up, go to work, go home, and repeat until I’m six feet under, is that so much to ask for? Long story short, I know he’s just trying to look out for me but how can I get him to stop this nonsense?


Demetrius says:

There seem to be two problems here: One, your best friend continues to try to do a thing you would prefer they wouldn’t and Two, you’ve resigned yourself to a life of loneliness based on the incorrect assumption that you’re undeserving of companionship because of your shortcomings.One I can give you some solid next steps for, the other is a bit harder to deal with but I do have some tips that might help.

Dealing with well-meaning friends can be tough, especially when they think they’re working with your best interests are heart. It sounds like your bestfriend not only wants you to experience the wonders of sex, but also meet people and get comfortable socializing with women. Trying to sell the sex part is a bit weird, but really all your friend is saying is “I think you deserve the company of women and I want to help facilitate that”. That’s a classic, solid friend move and while he means the best, it’s not something you want for your own personal reasons. There’s two ways you can handle it. You can either sit your friend down, try to explain your point of view and politely ask that your friend no longer try to set you up, or you can just do what I like to call, the “Nah.” method of refusal. Some people can’t take hints, or refuse to get the message when you tell them “I would prefer if you didn’t do that” so your best bet in those situations is to just reply “Nah” or “No thanks, I’m good” or some variation of these statements. That is, hands down, the best way to show someone you have zero interest in what they have to say. When you’re friend says “Well what about this girl?” and you reply with “No thanks, I’m good” there really isn’t a way to respond that continues the conversation. This technique works especially well if you don’t explain yourself after turning something down. Seriously, I say this as someone who does this ALL THE TIME. It’s so dismissive that people rarely follow-up. Seriously, try it out. It’s basically the modern version of the “I would prefer not to” move from Bartleby, the Scrivener.

More importantly though, are you refraining from dating because you want to, or because you think you have to refrain from dating because of your perceived inferiority? That’s a rhetorical question, obviously. You haven’t decided that dating isn’t for you because of some deep contemplation, you’ve “given up on love or dating” because of some warped view of yourself. You’ve quit, plain and simple. You think that because of your lack of physical advantages you’ve got nothing to offer to any potential partners. You think you’re boring, and plain, and bring nothing to the table and I can say for sure that if you actually believe that about yourself, you’re right. You become the thing you tell yourself you are, especially if what you think of yourself is negative. If you genuinely think that you are a boring person, you’ll avoid picking up skills or experiences that would make you less boring. If you think you don’t deserve the company of the fairer sex, odds are good that you’ll isolate yourself. Now, there are some things I can suggest you do to build your confidence, but as always, I advise you to seek out the help of a mental health professional. It seems like you’re tying a lot of your worth as a person to your perceived lack of worth as a viable romantic partner. It’s one thing to say “I’m not the best looking or tallest guy out there” and it’s another to take that a few steps further and say that all you want out of life is work, go home, and then die at some point because of your plainness. I’m not a mental health professional, but that sounds bigger than just being a bit insecure about your looks. If you’re thinking that I’m wrong, and maybe you just need to build some confidence, I do have some tips for you. That said, seriously consider talking to a professional about this because it sounds like a problem that can’t just be solved by me saying “chin up, bucko”.

Anyway, some tips on building some confidence:

  • Stop building up a straw man to compare yourself against. This imaginary man who is taller, better looking, incredibly interesting, and brings a lot to the table doesn’t exist. Sure there are guys that are some of those things, and maybe all of those things,  but that doesn’t mean that this straw man you’ve invented is your direct competition. Trust me when I tell you, as bad of a catch as you think you are, there are people out there who are way less attractive, interesting, who bring even less to the table than you. Dating isn’t a competition, it’s really all about being in the right place at the right time. You might be short, and kind of boring, but maybe you’re taller and more attractive than the last guy some cutie dated.
  • Remember that you’re never exactly what you think you are. This is a great point to remember when you’re feeling to down on yourself, or too high on yourself. Whatever you see yourself as, whether it’s incredibly charming or incredibly boring, odds are good that your perception of yourself is a bit skewed. Some people are their own worst critic, while others are their own worst yes-man. Just try to take your own opinion of yourself with a grain of salt
  • Don’t settle for what you think you deserve, Aim Higher. Have you ever heard of a contract negotiation that starts off with one party saying “Actually, I’ll take less because I think it’s what I deserve”? Of course not! This is America! The land of the free, home of the underqualified and mediocre. Do you think that being woefully mediocre has ever stopped anyone from pursuing a goal that they aspire to? Don’t aim for the things that you think you deserve, aim higher. It’s better to aim high and fail moving upwards then to aim level and fail downwards. If you think you deserve to be alone because you’re not that great of a catch, you’ll not only get that, but you’ll isolate friends which I’d call failing down.
  • Work on becoming well-rounded. Some people genuinely are boring and you might be right about the fact that you are genuinely boring. Maybe you have nothing to talk about now, but that doesn’t mean that has to be the case until you die. Read more, watch more documentaries, do things you’re not 100% comfortable doing, take a class, pick up a hobby, strike up conversations with strangers with no specific goal in mind, do pretty much everything besides going to work, and going  home. You know who is boring? People who have no stories to tell. Do you know how to stop being boring? Accumulate experiences that give you more to say about the world. It’s really that simple.

These tips in no way should replace seeking out professional help, they’re just things to consider. I think you do need to consider seeing a therapist, but feel free to supplement therapy with the tips above. Beyond that I don’t have anything else to add beside genuinely wishing you the best of luck.

Good Luck Out There.

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