"Twenty-year-olds fall in and out of love more often than they change their oil filters. Which they should do more often." - House
Question #89256 posted on 04/03/2017 9:13 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is anyone else tired of hearing "you're really funny and nice, but..." when the person you're interested in turns you down? I mean, it's nice to get a confirmation that you're not a terrible human being every once and awhile, but do people really think giving someone a super overused compliment is going to just make them not upset? To me, compliments like that are like participation trophies or just insult-to-injury ("You ARE funny and nice and every good thing someone would look for to date, but sorry!"). My last two dating experiences went this way (the first girl loves spending time with me so much that she went on like five dates with me and shows up at my apartment to talk, sometimes uninvited...but she isn't interested in dating me. Who does that?!). I'm starting to wonder if I should change something because, apparently, I'm SO funny and nice (*rolls eyes*) that the girls I want to date can't look past that and look at me as anything other than a platonic friendship. I'm not good at dating at all, but I do try to be sincere. Apparently, that just makes me really good at being friends only. What should I do?

-Hymn #342, "Friends Can't Be Together Forever"

A:

Dear Friend,

Women talk about how funny and nice you are even as they're rejecting you because saying, "I'm not interested in dating you" seems a lot meaner than, "Despite the fact that I'm not interested in dating you, you still have a lot of great qualities," which is what we're really trying to say in that situation. At least, when I was in the dating game and rejected someone with a line like that, that was the core of what I was generally trying to say. After spending time on several dates with you and getting to know you, they probably really have noticed a lot of good things about you, and are probably trying to say that in a "Chin-up, you're a wonderful person and one day will make someone incredibly happy, even if that person's not me" kind of way. Their rejection doesn't mean that they're lying about their perception of you as funny and nice, or that women don't want a guy who's funny and nice, because they probably really do see you that way, and most women really do want those things. But for whatever reason, things just didn't work out for them to want to date you. That doesn't change your worth as a person.

The thing is, attraction to someone is more than just checking items off a list, so even if you can check off all the boxes for "the perfect man," it doesn't mean every woman will be falling over herself in an effort to get to you. I have no idea why that is, other than the fact that people are more than just a sum of their characteristics. Somehow a whole person is much more/different than the sum of their parts, and ultimately you want to end up with someone who loves you, not just the idea of you on paper, or the various things about you. So although rejection hurts and is hard, don't you think it would be even worse to get into a relationship where you don't make each other happy?

I get where you're coming from, I really do. One time someone I was in a relationship with basically told me, "I love everything about you, but I'm not sure if I love you," and it sucked. I wrote a really long sad journal entry about it. But no matter how hard those times are, things get better eventually. Nothing is ever going to work out perfectly in your dating life until one day it does. Barring divorce or death, you're going to break up with everybody you ever date/almost date except one, but when you find that one person everything else will be worth it. I have absolutely no guarantees about when any of that will happen, which is so frustrating, but just remember that in the end God's not going to let anyone be truly unhappy. 

So keep being sincere, keep being funny and nice, and try to stay optimistic. It's okay if you're not always happy about your situation; you definitely don't have to be. But don't give up, because you miss 100% of the shots you never take. 

-Alta

A:

Dear you,

Some guys absolutely flip out when a girl dumps them or turns them down. That's probably not you, but the thing is, a lot of the time these guys seem perfectly nice and normal until they experience rejection. Because of this, it's impossible for girls to know which guys would react maturely to a straightforward, uncomplicated rejection and which guys will just lose it. So girls have a huge incentive to soften the blow with a bunch of compliments to try to avoid that.

Plus, I think a lot of girls genuinely do think that you're a great guy who will be a wonderful person for somebody, just not them. That's pretty common in dating and marriage. There are a lot of great guys in my married ward, who obviously were the right guy for somebody, who managed to get married. And I like them as friends, but even if we were both single, I could never date them. There's compatibility issues in personality and personal preferences that don't reflect on your objective attractiveness or value as a potential boyfriend.

So it's possible that you're not doing anything wrong, and you just have to be persistent. It's possible that you're trying to date a bunch of girls who are really similar, and you should try broadening your "type" to see if a different "type" of girl is more interested in you. Or, it's possible that it is something you're doing. Find someone who will be frank with you, and ask them to be sincere and tell you if they've noticed anything like that.

But in all likelihood, I think you probably just haven't found the right person yet. Being a good friend does prepare you for eventual dating and marriage. If you're good at developing friendships with people, I think that builds valuable skills for a future relationship. You don't have to date a bunch of people to find the right person. I was always friends with guys. I was never the girl that guys dated. But that prepared me for marriage just as well, and I did find the right person. So don't be discouraged. You're on the right track.

-Zedability

A:

Dear Friend,

To answer your first question directly: no, I'm not. Like Zedability said, girls have a lot of incentive to try to soften the blow. I like frankness and directness (sometimes to the point of bluntness) as much as pretty much anyone else, but I don't think that tempering the rejection as in Alta's example is very much worse than flat out rejection. In fact, if I was dealing with a lot of rejection, I think it would be nice to be reminded that the struggle was not due to me being a terrible person. It's one thing to realize that you aren't compatible with a lot of people, but if you start thinking that it's because something is wrong with you, it can lead to a lot of unproductive self-loathing, and I think statements like these help to mitigate that.

-The Entomophagist

posted on 04/03/2017 2:58 p.m.
The writers gave excellent answers regarding your situation. I wanted to address specifically your concern about women who still want to spend time with you but don't want to date you. Some people, like myself, are simply not interested in dating or a relationship at all. I have no desire to be in a romantic relationship and have been single by choice for about 4 years. I do, however, enjoy having meaningful, platonic, mutually-trusting relationships with awesome people. I have several guy friends who I trust and respect. I would happily spend an afternoon with any of them, but I won't date them because I know I'm not in that place personally.
So I guess the answer to that part of your question is another overdone line: "It's not you, it's me."
Cheers,
The Happy Wednesday Pony