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General Dating Questions/I'm inexperienced and new to dating, and I think it's holding me back?

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I'm 22 and have zero dating experience. I'm pretty awkward, and I'm having a hard time sorting through my feelings. No guy has ever been interested in me as more than a friend, so I'm just not used to being in this mindset. I'm not really sure how to handle it. I do feel the need to move slowly though. I recently met a guy on an online dating site, and we've gone on three dates. He's really great. We went to a couple of Improv shows yesterday, and when I was about to leave, I was walking away and he called out with "hey, do I get a hug?". So I smiled and walked back to him saying that yeah, he gets a hug, but after we hugged, and I was pulling back to break the embrace, I think he had just started to lean in for a kiss. Of course not having realized yet that he was interested in me in more than a platonic way, I didn't expect him to go for a kiss. So I just pulled back, awkwardly said something about how the show was really good, and then walked away. I felt so embarassed! Like I said, up until then, I wasn't even sure if he was interested in me romantically. We didn't hug or anything on the first date, and we wouldn't have hugged on the second date either if I hadn't done it. I'm starting to think maybe he's a little shy (like me) too, so I don't want this incident to give him the (incorrect) impression that I am uninterested. Whenever I think about kissing him I have a hard time with it just because I'm not used to being in a romantic mindset. I'm used to only seeing guys as friends, and them only seeing me as a friend.
Do you think I messed up by not kissing him? Especially since it was already the third time we'd gone out? Thinking back, I probably wouldn't have wanted to kiss him anyway since we were in the middle of festival grounds and it was packed with people.
And do you have any suggestions as to how I can get over my fear of kissing and doing other "more-than-friends" things?

Answer
Hello Tasha!

Why do you feel the need to move "slowly"? Why don't you move at the speed that things take naturally rather than trying to artificially manipulate them? Do you think that mindset might be part of your problem? I do.

No wonder you're getting friend-zoned! You're acting like (barely) a friend! If you want something more you're going to have to ACT like it. Let's be a little more clear here: you don't have "zero dating experience". It's obvious that you DO have some. The improv shows were dates, right? Further, this was a THIRD DATE and all you're doing is giving some luke-warm hug; and only then because he asked for it??

Tasha, the problem here isn't just experience (although that's a part) it's an entire lack of education! You claim to be confused and don't know what you want (obvious). You also don't know what guys want or how we think, speak and act.

That's a pretty huge chunk to try to deal with via this message system however but let's go back to some basics: you met this guy on a "dating site". Stop being so obtuse already! What in the hell do you think he's doing there? Looking for new buddies to buy dinner and take to shows? What the hell do you think HE THINKS you're doing there? Looking for new friends?

Come on here already!

You're so focused on yourself being awkward and doing/saying awkward things you don't have a spare instant to consider anything about your date - what he might want or need, what he's thinking or feeling, etc. NO WONDER you have no clue and wind up right in the friend-zone! It's all you're actively going for. You're (in effect) getting EXACTLY what you're asking for!

Here's the biggest problem: I can tell clearly from the little you've told me that you're giving absolutely NOTHING away. You're holding everything back and acting like it's all his job to do every damned thing!

He invited you out. He chose the events. He (likely) picked you up, washed his car, cleared up enough funds and paid for everything. Can't you do at least a little something? Can't you give even the least amount of energy back? Ok, so you instigated a hug. Big deal! Talk about investing the absolutely minimum! I met someone yesterday, talked her to for about 10 minutes and hugged her goodbye.

Tasha, (and you other clueless girls that may be reading this): you have responsibilities when you date too! IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT THE GUY MOVING HEAVEN AND HELL FOR YOU! YOU have to show interest. YOU have to show attraction. YOU have to give something back and bring some value. Sometimes you have to even initiate the steps along the way - and the reason you have to do this is because you're WAY, WAY TOO SUBTLE about things to begin with!

If a guy knows that you're interested in him (maybe even attracted) he's going to run with it. What do you girls do instead? Act aloof. Act like you're god's gift or something and think that the guy is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. Then, when he doesn't (because he's afraid of being thought of as too aggressive) YOU blame him for "...not being attracted to you".

OF COURSE he has the impression that you're not interested in him! What other impression is he supposed to have? The man can't read your mind Tasha. None of us can. If you don't show us your interest/attraction VIA ACTION (not wishing and hoping and praying - or even saying) we can only assume the opposite.

Here's another little bit of reality: by the third date, you should be doing a lot more than hugging! (What did you do on the first date, pat him on the back or shake his hand or something???)

Men want the same things as women. We going about getting them in different ways however. We want PASSION. Don't you? Of course you do. Do you think that just "easing into it" is a way to build that? Absolutely not! That's precisely why you're winding up with a bunch of "friends" you never, ever see again.

Passion starts from the very instant you meet someone - even if it's online. You get out of your own insecure head and into his head. Simply by virtue of your gender you have some very powerful tools at your disposal. Instead, you're so worried about whether using a word was the right choice or if you should open one more button on your shirt would help and even then, second-guessing every little thing that; here you are on the third date, hugging him.

I'm trying to be as direct and clear about this as I can be. You need some harsh reality here. I know Quakers who are getting more action!

You get over your fear by getting over yourself. Stop giving in to that temptation to self-focus and start thinking about your target market. Do you think McDonalds is only concerned with it's own hamburgers? Of course not. It's marketing department spends every waking moment thinking about YOU: how to get you to come back, how to get you to order an apple pie, how to get you to up-size your drink, etc. That's all they do and they do it well. They don't second-guess whether they're being too aggressive or if other people at the festival grounds think their arches are too garish.

Neither should you Tasha.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
323.638.4145
http://beingaman.com
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder

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I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: http://beingaman.com. You can email me directly at: dwneder@beingaman.com.

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I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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Doctor of Philosophy

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