|>>|| No. 43140
You say that I think people are "shallow"; I say that people all have a basic set of Maslowian needs that are easy to identify and fulfil if you aren't preoccupied with your own needs. You say that I'm a manipulative nice guy; I say that you should make a conscious effort to sort yourself out and be the kind of person who can give unconditionally because you don't need anything in return, or at least the kind of person who understands their needs well enough to be candid about them.
Most of the apparent complexity and difficulty of relationships is just the fact that we don't engage honestly, because we invest far more effort in shielding our vulnerabilities than actually addressing them. We're playing poker when we could be playing snap, not just because we're too scared to let anyone see our cards but because we're too scared to even look at our own cards. Sincerely figuring yourself out isn't very difficult in a purely practical sense, but it's incredibly painful and the prospect is sufficiently frightening that most people would rather do anything else and will believe anything that allows them to avoid it.
I'd like to dig deeper, but there's not really a great deal I can add if you aren't inclined to actually say why you think I'm wrong.
>I am, arguably, one of those Nice Guys: when I meet a woman, I respect her too much to put her in the awkward position of having to reject me. I would never be so selfish. I recognise that she isn't interested and I don't push it.
I don't think you're being honest with that assessment. It's not that you respect her too much, because you're still half-trying to get into her knickers. You call it respect, but it's really just a defence mechanism against shame. If you actually respected her and respected yourself, you'd be willing to say "I fancy you, but if you don't fancy me then we're still cool" and she'd believe you. You aren't putting her in a position where she doesn't have to reject you, you're putting yourself in a position where you don't have to suffer rejection.
You don't want to make a move and you don't want to move on, because the limbo of not knowing is more comfortable; you aren't actually fulfilled by it, but at least you have the comfort of being able to imagine what could be. When you interact with her, the thoughts that preoccupy you aren't thoughts about her, they're thoughts about yourself. She isn't really involved, she's just a prop in your own psychodrama and on some level she's fully aware of it. If she thought that you were only interested in her for sex, that would actually be an improvement, because there's at least a possibility that she would be excited by that. You want to fuck her, but only as a means to an end - it's not the sex you really want, it's the validation.
>The other poster's advice is to just not be lonely and pathetic any more, which isn't necessarily the fix I'm after, but it's undeniably more accurate and better advice.
If you're going to be lonely, then you can at least not be pathetic about it. Loneliness is self-perpetuating, mostly because we're so scared of anyone finding out that we're lonely. We do silly and self-defeating things because of the shame, because we don't even want to admit to ourselves that we're lonely. If you can start admitting to yourself and others that you feel lonely, it gradually becomes less shameful and moves towards being a value-neutral need like hunger or thirst or fatigue.
Once that shame has started to dissipate, you can start to examine what you're feeling without being blinded by the intensity of it. You can start to see that "lonely" is bundled up with a bunch of other negative emotions, mainly clustered around a sense of inferiority and inadequacy. "Loneliness" is a pull towards others, but it is just as often a push away from having to spend time with your own thoughts. The fear of rejection isn't really the fear of hearing the word "no", it's the fear of having your negative self-beliefs confirmed by someone else. That is, of course, completely irrational - "I don't fancy you" doesn't in any way imply "you are a worthless toad who no-one could ever want" - but it's hard to see the difference when you're consumed by shame.
The approval of others can temporarily assuage those feelings, but it's a temporary and fickle salve. It's no substitute for the sustained and concentrated work of self-forgiveness, self-compassion and self-acceptance. Sitting with your negative thoughts and beliefs and observing them without judgement is painful, but it's the good kind of pain that comes after a long run, it's the kind of pain that is a stimulus for growth. Pushing those thoughts away is temporarily more comfortable, but it only gives them an undeserved power.
Remind me to never say "I don't want to turn this into /emo/", because it's a jinx.