Topic: What advice would you give a friend looking to find love in 2008?
Posted by: Amy Spencer
I see your point, Evan. Aly's advice that singles should "stop trying" in dating seems, as she admits, very defeatist. It's the equivalent of "Just wait by the phone for a man to call," which we girls have learned to stop doing long ago (at least I hope we have, right girls?).
But I think there is a line here. The way I see it, "trying" is one thing. And that's what you're talking about, Evan: Going online to find love. Asking to be set up. Giving a guy a second chance even when there wasn't chemistry the first time. If what you want is love, then I say sure, try anything.
But then there's trying too hard, and that's another thing entirely. I know, because I've been the girl that tried too hard, though I didn't know it at the time. I cringe when I think about the guys I pushed to like me, the dates I pushed to happen, the parties I waded through in desperation, asking everyone, "Is anyone single here? Have you seen any cute guys?" I remember once hounding my sister once to arrange a set-up with the brother of a friend of hers who was mentioned to me in passing. (Can you follow that?) I'd call my sister every day asking, "Did you talk to R about her brother yet? Have you heard anything? Can you make it happen? Three weeks later, the brother finally told R, who told my sister, who told me: "He said 'I hear she's a brunette. I don't date brunettes..."
God, I felt like a fool. Not only was I trying too hard, but I doing it for some jerk-off (can I say that on here? Trust me, I want to say worse!). The point is, that experience was not good for my self-esteem. I felt like a desperate single woman "on the prowl" just like Aly's friend, willing to do anything to find a partner. Persistence seems to work with everything else in life, I thought, so why not with love?
Well, because love can't be earned by hours worked or effort repaid. Finding love is, unfortunately, one of those things we can't force or control. I guess agree with both Evan and Aly: Try, definitely. But if you feel yourself trying too hard—and by that I mean feeling desperate, turning ugly, feeling down on yourself, hating the search for love—then stop! Please, for your own sake. Stop the cycle that I was in and that Aly's friend is in now, and focus on other things for a minute. You can try again later! The watched pot never boils, and a depressingly-stared-and-glared-at love life won't heat up either.
Yeah, it sounds unhelpful to suggest sitting back and resting. But sometimes, for your own sanity, you need to! Pick one of the other 135 facets of your life that make you who you are, other than dating—friends, exercise, reading, writing, dancing, cooking, walking, eating—and focus on that for a minute. And who knows, you may end up being one of those people who (like me) end up saying, "It's so funny, the minute I stopped trying..." and "It was just when I least expected it..." Remember, clichés become clichés because there's truth in there.