How to Start Dating?

Q: I'm twenty and never have dated anyone. I'm always feeling like the odd one out. How do I start getting into the dating scene? -- Lynn, 20

Dr. Susan: You might begin by not thinking of it so much as a "scene." Something about that word implies performance, and that brings up performance anxiety. Be yourself, though of course your best self. Many people have felt like "the odd one out" when they were young, and yet most manage to find friends and dates, and at some point, a mate. If you have any good female friends whose opinions you trust, ask them to tell you what might be keeping you from attracting guys. Be prepared to hear some hard truths (plus some annoying and stupid opinions).

Really, though, the best way to get started is to join stuff. Go where the guys are and smile a lot. I'm not suggesting you ONLY smile, but a little warmth goes a long way in making you approachable. Take classes, involve yourself in volunteer work with a group, try something new every week or month. It's okay to feel "different," if it's due to your different perspective on things. Some guys are going to like that, so long as you aren't super critical of them.

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