Shy guy thinks meeting girls is like taking a final exam and he keeps failing


Q: I'm a single white male, 25, and semi-attractive. I am having a difficult time meeting girls. Many times family members and friends have said that I am a shy person. All I know is, having a conversation with a girl makes me fearful.

I am always trying hard to meet women, but it's like taking a final exam over and over. For example, I met this girl at work. I wasn't able to communicate on a personal level, even though we shared mutual feelings through eye contact and smiling and so forth. I decided to make the first move, and sent her a "thinking of you" card nicely describing how I felt about her. I am assuming she didn't want to hurt me, so she commented, "That was very nice of you." That's all.

I am open for opinions and suggestions.

A: Equating girls with taking final exams, who wouldn't be afraid to start a conversation? No one likes to fail, and not making the grade is an awful feeling.

What you need is proof that women are not "the opposite sex," just the "other sex." You can get that proof by establishing friendships built on sharing, commonality and genuine liking.

One way to do that is to join a group where membership is mixed and a shared interest is the pivotal point. Meeting a woman through such a group is a good way to ease your shyness and your fear, since both traits are founded more on mistaken perceptions than reality. Sharing an interest makes conversation easier.

Q: As a fat person, I'm often subjected to unwelcome, unsolicited comments by total strangers. One of your readers wonders why the word "fat" bothers overweight people; it's doubtful from the tone of her letter whether the word is just a physical description.

Rather, to her and many other people, "fat" connotes loathing and disgust for the person being described. Fat people feel dehumanized by the word. We are not only expected to take this from holier-than-thou people, flawless ones, but we are expected to believe that we deserve it.

Most fat people don't "love" being overweight, nor do we expect the majority to find fat physically attractive. Most of us have tried myriad exercise and diet regimens; it's obvious that for some there are additional emotional components to be resolved. Self-hate may be a factor, but the attitudes of people like your reader don't help turn around the situation.

A: People's disgust for the overweight is often based on some secret fear of waking up one day and finding that they themselves have lost their slim lines and are bulging at the seams. An irrational fear, but real to many, nonetheless. And so they are loathe to associate with or become too close to overweight people.

More of us should know about the group, National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (P.O. Box 188620, Sacramento, Calif. 95818). They offer a newsletter, workbooks, local chapters, a pen pal program and a book service. Spread the word.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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