Scary ladies

Joey Garcia

What’s the best way to ask a woman out? I’m shy, bad at reading signals and don’t want to use a line or be overly aggressive. I also don’t want to offend anyone if I get the signal wrong. So I either don’t pursue asking someone out or go so far the other way that former girlfriends tell me, “At first I didn’t know if we were dating or not.” Any advice?

Ask a woman on a date the way that you would invite a colleague you really admire out for a beer after work. Be direct and don’t take a “No, thanks” personally. If, after a few dates, you want the relationship to progress further, be clear: “I really like you and wonder how you feel about dating each other exclusively.” When you communicate directly and are completely honest, it reveals your healthy self-esteem and genuine caring for the other person. Integrity is rare but very attractive.

Of course, some people advocate the manipulation or withholding of information because the truth might hurt another’s feelings. But when that person discovers you lied, they don’t feel better—they feel betrayed. The fear of hurting someone’s feelings is really a selfish concern. The real issue is that you don’t want someone upset with you, even temporarily. It’s about protecting your own feelings, not about intimacy and compassion with another. So with apologies to Mother Jones, here’s my advice: “Tell the truth and shame the devil in you.”

I am a 33-year-old male with anxiety caused by crushes on girls I barely know. It is embarrassing. It’s hard to stop thinking of the person and hard to sleep. I understand intense feelings, even for someone new. I know it will go away, but I do not want to feel like this in the first place. It happens a lot with girls that are not good for me. They tend to be very outgoing and wild girls. The kind you know will break your heart. How can I teach myself not to let my emotions get the best of me? Friends suggest meds for anxiety, which I also experience in other areas of my life. I want to be strong and enjoy my life. Please help.

Relief from obsessive thoughts is available through good psychotherapy. A psychiatrist can evaluate your anxiety and determine which medication could soothe its impact; a psychologist can provide talk therapy to teach you how to manage the stampede of thoughts. You might also learn Byron Katie’s process, The Work (, and employ it when your mind wanders into a corral, locks the gate behind itself and runs itself ragged. I have found The Work to be a wonderful source of freedom when I’m stuck in uncomfortable emotions or situations.

But, hey, don’t be embarrassed about your problem; you’ve done nothing wrong. Be grateful that you are awake enough to realize that you are having obsessive thoughts and to know that the women you obsess about are not the right relationship partners for you.

Any time sports are on, my boyfriend is glued to the TV and he pays no attention to me. I hate sports. Do we have enough in common to stay together?

Don’t be a hater. Ask him to teach you the basics of one sport. Open your mind and enjoy being together doing something he likes. Or try a People magazine approach (the lives of professional athletes are as juicy as any soap opera); dig in and connect with your man that way. Spend more time engaged in your own hobbies, too. You’ll know if you have nothing in common or if you’re just trying to control him.

Meditation of the week
“You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves,” writes Buddhist teacher Daisaku Ikeda. Hmm, if we are all one, what have you done for others lately?

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