I recently got an email and I'd like to share it here because I feel this is an important topic that isn't talked bout very much. We'll begin with her letter:
I have two questions and they are related to alcohol. I stopped drinking almost two years ago for personal reasons but I don't subscribe to a "no-alcohol in my home or life" mentality. My family drinks, my friends drink, there is wine and alcohol in my kitchen and I don't have a problem with men I date drinking. My first question is, do you think it's okay for me to put "social drinker" rather than "never" on my profile? I feel like saying "never" makes me look like I'm not fun or that I'm judgmental. I worry that this is dishonest, but I really feel like saying "never" limits the amount of men who would be interested in a date.
I usually try to do coffee or lunch on a first date so that I can order an iced tea or non-alcoholic drink without raising any questions. Then if there is any chemistry and there's a second date, maybe dinner, I explain that I stopped drinking. That brings me to my second question. I don't think it's appropriate to get into the reasons behind my decision to not drink with someone I barely know, I just say "it doesn't agree with me." Do you think that is the right way to handle it? I was never a violent or belligerent drunk and I don't have a trail of wreckage that I'm trying to hide, but I know people can make any kind of assumption. My experience so far has been that older men don't mind me not drinking, but younger men (in their 30's) are a little put off. My approach right now is to just try and let my personality speak for itself but any advice you have would be appreciated.
I'm very glad you asked, this is an issue that is rarely talked about. And as I get older I realize that people don't need to know all of our personal details and your truth is your truth, they don't need access to any information that won't affect them or harm them. People like to judge other people, especially when you're dating. They want to size you up, figure out what's wrong with you and then they're off to the next person. So, the fact that you stopped drinking (first of all I applaud you) is a great thing. You do not have to tell a guy on the first date or even the second. I recommend just avoiding the discussion until you know that you really like the guy and vice versa. If I were you, I would say you gave it up because you wanted to. Say, that you wanted to be healthier and that you feel better than ever, so you're sticking with as long as you can. Period. Even if you end up dating the guy, if I were you, I'd still make that your new truth. Sometimes even saying: "it just didn't agree with me" could be construed as: I get crazy! At least that's how one might take it. And believe me, they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So don't raise any suspicion, make it no big deal :-)
Reasons why someone would mind, if you don't drink:
- because he can't take advantage of you
- because he wants someone to party with.
If he's a cool guy with good intentions he won't mind that you don't drink.
So that was my reply, but I still want to expand on this subject. I think especially if you're single and dating and going out on a regular basis, usually you're drinking. Drinking is a very big part of socializing. It's hard to go on a date (especially a first date) and not drink. It loosens you up, lightens the evening and can kick some chemistry into gear. But, it can also get in the way of having a clear rational perspective of the person that is sitting across from you. Let's face it, you wouldn't go to a job interview after you'd had a glass of wine? Nor would you want to interview someone for a job, after you've had a glass of wine. Why? Because it will impair your judgment and the way you communicate. It will impair the decisions you make. I think more people should not drink on the first few dates, so they can be at their absolute best. It's scary, I know! But, I do believe that being completely clear and fully present with someone, is really the only way to know for sure if this person is right for you or not. So if finding a meaningful connection is your goal, it's best to be sober and present in every way.
Ladies beware, there are many men out there who will appear to be interested in you, but how can you tell the difference between the ones who really want to get to know you from the crafty ones who just want to get you into bed....
- He doesn't ask any questions about you. Other than, "What's the wildest thing you've ever done?" And other unimportant shallow questions.
- He's all over you WAY too soon.
- He makes sure the drinks keep coming.
- He calls last minute.
- He tries to get you over to his place as soon as possible.
- He doesn't respect your "no" the first time you say it. If you have to say "no" twice, get the hell out of there and don't look back.
- He won't make an effort to travel out of his way to see you.
- He won't make any original or special plans.
- He looks around the room (or over your shoulder) as your talking.
- He makes no attempt to have a deep or meaningful conversation.
In closing, these guys are often the cutest and the most charming. So we want to believe them, we want to trust them and sometimes we tell ourselves, "who cares, it's fun!" But is it really fun to be treated like an after thought or a toy? It's no fun when he doesn't call you anymore. So spot these guys and turn and run.
PUT DOWN THAT PHONE! Do not text him again until he's responded to your last text, do you hear me? Incessant texting is a telltale symptom of the smart, fun, independent girl turned needy. As is incessant calling, incessant attention grabbing, incessant compliment fishing... I know so many great women who are sane and stable until a man enters the scene... then, it's all downhill. Suddenly their livelihood is sustained by attention and without it they're pouty and desperate. And guess what? Too much of you too often and too fast scares men, and it makes them run for the hills.
Seriously? Why is that phone still in your hand? No! Don't call him, either. Don't text him, don't call him. Uh oh. You're still doing it...!
STOP and LISTEN UP! Are you making any more of these common needy mistakes that drive men away?
Take the TEST!
Are you a secure great, stable woman, until you start dating someone? Let's see some telltale signs that you just might be a Needy Bitch!
- You have to see him all the time
- You text him constantly
- You call him constantly
- You always need to be the center of attention
- You crave validation from others
- You can't make a decision on your own
- You are helpless without a man
- You only feel pretty or special when you're with a man
When your sanity depends on whether or not the phone rings and he's on the other end of the line, girl, sit down, I have to tell you something. You're a whole lot of Needy Bitch.
Kim was thirty-six and couldn't remember the last time she had dated anyone over a few weeks. She envied her sister Nancy and Kim would often tell her that she had found the only good man worth having. Nancy would always smile, laugh and say, "You'll find someone, someday. They are out there".
In fact, Nancy's husband Nick had set Kim up with several of his guy friends, but for some reason, Kim was never 'Wowed". Until, one day, Nancy set Kim up with Nate, a guy from her gym. Lo and behold, they hit it off and began to date.
Perhaps because she hadn't dated someone in so long, Kim fell for Nate hard and fast. They had only gone out about four times, when Kim started hearing wedding bells. She told her friends and her sister that she didn't want to be set up with anyone else - this was it. She even took down her online dating profile. Kim began referring to Nate as her boyfriend when speaking to family and friends, even though they had never even come close to having a discussion about being exclusive.
Kim would call Nate everyday on her way home from work, and if he didn't answer, she'd call back a few times until he did. If Nate called Kim back while she was on the other line with a friend, she would ditch the friend immediately to take Nate's call – it was very important to Kim that she spoke to Nate every day, and if that meant talking when it was convenient for Nate, so be it. When they weren't on the phone, Kim would text Nate to see what he was up to. In the instance that he didn't write back, she nervously waited until he did. It was as though Kim's life depended on correspondence with Nate, which was weird, because she had only known him for a couple of weeks!
After the fifth date with Nate, Kim made up her mind that she wanted to sleep with him in order to cement the fact that they were in a "relationship" and to move it ahead more quickly. That night, she got her wish and as far as Kim was concerned the "relationship" had consummated. She left Nate's house in the morning feeling victorious that now, they were surely boyfriend and girlfriend.
Too bad Nate didn't see it that way. Nate was still looking at it like they had only five dates and he was just getting to know her. Just like he was getting to know several other girls. Nate had never kept it a secret from Kim that he was still dating other people and that Kim was just one of them. He even told her that he wasn't ready to commit to a relationship yet – with anyone. After they slept together, though, Kim assumed that had changed. But since Kim never told Nate that she saw their sleeping together as a symbol that they were in an exclusive relationship, Nate rightfully went about his life as he had been prior to their night of passion.
Kim started calling and texting Nate even more frequently than she had before they slept together, but Nate didn't change his behavior at all post-sex. In Kim's eyes, Nate's behavior pre-sex was not nearly as attentive as it should be post-sex. Boyfriends should act different than guys who are casually dating you, after all! Kim quickly grew very annoyed with Nate.
Things got especially bad when one night, Kim was arriving to a restaurant with friends and, surprise! Who did she pass on the way in? That's right! Nate. And he was with another girl. It was awkward in an instant, and Nate kept the encounter very short, leaving with the girl as quickly as he could. Kim, however, immediately had a pit her stomach the size of a boulder. As soon as she was in the restaurant, she ran into the bathroom where she collapsed in a stall, crying. "Why would he do this to me?" She thought. She was still an absolute mess when one of the friends she was out with came in to check on her.
Once her friend convinced her to leave the restaurant bathroom and join the group at dinner, Kim started to freak out by texting Nate, calling him and rehashing every single detail with her girlfriends an attempt to figure it all out. Finally, later that night, Nate called Kim and after she told him how angry and hurt she was, he let her know that he didn't feel he had done anything wrong. It wasn't as though they had talked about being exclusive. Furious and upset, Kim hung up the phone. Unsurprisingly, Nate never called again.
"Wow, I've never been through so much drama before! Kim knew we were just dating, I was always very honest about that. But, as each day passed, Kim started to be really clingy and after we slept together it got even worse, she started acting like I was her boyfriend. I'm not sure what I could have done differently. Maybe I should have never slept with her. She would always leave sweet messages or send funny cute texts, but that wasn't ever going to change the fact that I wanted a casual relationship. Part of me realizes now that, she actually thought if she called enough, sent me cute sexy texts and slept with me, that that would change my mind. But, as a guy, that is actually more of a turn off than a turn on."
Was Nate a bad guy? No. Nate was a guy who was doing what guys do. Date. They date several girls at the same time until they decide to only date one. But, you have no control over that. The thing only you have control over is running them off by being desperate and needy and frankly, unrealistic.
When a girl meets a guy she should be on her best behavior and play it cool – at least for a couple of dates. But, often times she wants to make the guy her boyfriend right away, and for some bizarre reason, it makes her act needy. She'll say and do whatever she thinks it will take to make him her boyfriend. Kim thought, "I should send him a text and say Hi, to let him know I'm thinking about him." Kim thought, "I should send him another text of my new hair cut, so he can see how cute I look." Kim thought, "To be in a relationship, you need to talk," so she'd drop anything to take Nate's call. Kim thought, "People in relationships have sex", so she jumped into bed before she was ready thinking that it would mean forgoing everything Nate was telling her and would put them on the fast track to a relationship. And Nate picked up on how much importance Kim was putting on Nate's attention to her, and it freaked him out.
Women who act needy are often buying into ideas they've invented in their heads about everything a man does or doesn't do "meaning" something. Does a guy who's not calling you every moment of every day mean he's not into you? Not necessarily. But once you convince yourself it does, you rely on his call to feel good and stable about the potentially budding romance. If he doesn't call, you call him. Constantly. But do those phone calls solidify or even help the relationship? Nope! They just make you come off as overly dependent upon someone you just started seeing.
Being needy is never attractive. It is basically like saying: "PLEASE be my boyfriend, I'm DESPERATE and LONELY!" "I HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS!" And who wants to be with that bitch?! It's a major turn-off. Men want women who have options and who are interesting and have their own lives. Independence is a major winning quality in a woman, but also remember it's a fine line too. When you meet a guy you really like, play it cool but not cold. Let him know that you have a life outside of him, and always remember that things take time. Sure, there will be times that you might talk to each other every day, but it isn't necessary and life won't end if he doesn't call you today. So don't loose it if he doesn't call. Stay calm, stay busy and focus on your life. And when you feel compelled to call, text or cling, stop that urge, DO NOT act on it and use this mantra that I find helpful: "If he doesn't want me, then it's his loss ad he's a fool!"
*this is a chapter from my book, Stop Being a Bitch and Get a Boyfriend