Can't Get a Date

Q: It seems like I'm always running into some kind of jam with getting a woman to go out on a date with me. I've been single for about a year now. My last relationship ended when she cheated on me with her best friend. It took a long time to get over that until I began trying to meet new people in college and just about everywhere. I try to be friendly and talk to women a little before I ask them out. I get their number and I talk to them once and that's the end of that. What I don't understand is what is going on. I'm a good-looking guy and I'm in great shape and pretty successful. I do just about everything I should do to make a woman feel important (everything in the dating handbook). I have a great sense of humor and love to make her laugh. I open car doors and all the gentlemanly things. But all I seem to get are doors slammed in my face. I believe the "don't come on too strong" rule and I followed it too. What is it I am doing wrong or not doing? -- Karl, 28

Dr. Susan: That's one of the toughest questions there is: What can I do to get women to like me? Without my knowing you personally, it's almost impossible to say what might be going wrong. On paper, you sound fine. But obviously something is coming across to the women you approach that is keeping them from being interested for very long.

When you make your initial contacts, are you shaping the conversation so that you actually get to know a little about the woman and who she is and what she wants? Talking to someone once isn't usually enough. That's why it's a good idea to widen your net and join a club or two around interests of your own (so long as those interests also tend to attract some women), do something on a volunteer basis, or take an elective class you might not have considered before. That way, you'll be meeting women casually, as people, so that you'll get to know one another before having an official "date." Also, it's possible you're trying too hard to be pleasing, as though you're performing for approval, which might come across as needy. A woman tends to like a man who has a good sense of himself, who is involved in the world, and who is also interested in her as a person. I know, all those are things that are easier to say than to put into practice. And you can be putting them into practice and still batting zero.

Do you have a friend who will be frank with you? Perhaps your cologne is too strong, or your body odor is off, or you're wearing clothes that make you look weird, or wearing the wrong shoes (I'm told this matters, though it makes no sense to me!), or you have some verbal or physical tic that is off-putting but avoidable. On the other hand, are you being too picky in a self-defeating way? Asking out only women who are gorgeous but whose values, perhaps, aren't worth much? Finally, you must realize that it's all a numbers game. Don't beat yourself up, and be patient. Out of 50 attempts, one good date that leads to something is a fair score.

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