Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BS Dating Advice: “You’re Trying Too Hard.”

According to popular wisdom, there is no dating sin more heinous than the dreaded Trying-Too-Hard.

If that’s true, then I was a textbook case.

I went out at least once a day, determined to talk to strangers. I made little missions for myself: Pay a compliment to the first five attractive women I saw. Learn more about fashion and go shopping twice a month. Try new foods. Travel. Message ladies on the internet. Do something new and just a little bit uncomfortable.

And the biggest thing of all…

“If you have nothing better to do, go out.”

I have mixed feelings about the trying-too-hard Dan from those days. I look back on him with a mixture of admiration and embarrassment. I cringe remembering some of the things he did, but if he hadn’t been brave enough to try, I wouldn’t be who I am now.

As it happens, I like the man I‘ve become.

The women seem to like him too. I’ve had more success with women in the last five years than the previous thirty and change combined.

If I had to point to one thing that made the difference it would be that I made a point of doing at least one thing each day that took me in the direction of where I wanted to go.

Not reading about doing things. Not talking to others about how I was going to change.

But doing something.

I didn’t get results right away. Sometimes when I DID get results, they were the kind of results that let me know in no uncertain terms “never do that again.” And sometimes the results I got seemed to have no connection to the changes I was making.

Yes, there were times I tried too hard. It took me a while to learn when to push and when to dial back and let life come to me.

But, especially if you’re just starting out, there is something worse out there than trying too hard.

Not trying at all.

People ask what they have to do to achieve success in dating.

I say, it doesn’t matter so long as you’re doing something.

You don’t need to be obsessive over it to the point of creeping people out or letting it take over your life, but consistent effort will pay off over time.

Trust me. I would know.


What is one thing you can do RIGHT NOW to make yourself feel like you are a step towards being the person you want to be? It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it does have to be something you can do immediately. It can be as big as making a phone call you’ve been putting off or as small as making your bed or doing a set of push-ups.

Do this Practice every day. Notice how you feel.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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  1. I suspect the BS advice of "trying too hard" refers to acting for the purpose of covering a core shame. For example, pretending to be aloof or faking niceness. You tried hard out of a willingness to improve, and I commend you for the changes you've made. You can't succeed without trying!

    In my most innocent days of dating when I loved myself and felt it would be good to take actions like practice shooting genuine smiles at people to brighten their day or working to put energy and inflections into my voice, it didn't feel like trying too hard at all because the positive results had been tangible. When I started feeling self-loathing, I would put on all sorts of vulnerability or casual/aloof facades and "tried too hard" to achieve my goals, because I had no idea what to do anymore, after so many hours of researching that ended up leaving me confused and worse off. I'd definitely been unhealthily obsessive over hoarding the results I had, and my ego would get in the way. Are you trying too hard in order to manipulate someone for your own ends, or out of your heart for the benefit of you and the people you meet? It's where your heart lies that makes the difference, I feel. Great post!

  2. That's a great take on it, Anonymous