No matter what I do or say, I can’t get a girlfriend. I’m 18 years old, and I have never hugged, kissed, or been liked by a girl. I have never been on a date, or had any real chance of getting a girlfriend. I’m mildly autistic, I have ADHD, and am EXTREMELY socially awkward. I just want to be able to make a girl like me, and I don’t care how. Here are some side questions: 1.) Is there any way that I can pay a girl to like me? (I have a bit of $) 2.) Are there any drugs that will cure my social problems? 3.) Are there any “tricks” that I don’t know about? 4.) Do I have any hope at all?
Here is my dating profile: [[REDACTED]]
I just want to find a “miracle cure”. I’m tired of trying so hard, only to fail constantly. I deal with my emotional pain by taking Adderall (Amphetamine Salts) (I have an RX, but I buy more from friends). Adderall seems to be the only thing that will bring me a feeling close to “being loved”. I will continue to abuse amphetamines, opiates, and xanax until I get a girlfriend. I don’t care if I’m addicted, because it’s the only thing that brings me happiness.
PLEASE HELP ME
Dear Desperate Dude:
Holy shit, bro. Slow your roll. And/or your troll.
Let’s talk first about that dating profile, which, believe me, you do not want me sharing with my readers in its current form. I will offer some specific critiques:
1) Your picture is tiny, murky, and hella unflattering. It’s not that you’re ugly, it’s that I can’t actually see your face. Get a friend to take some good pictures of you. Ways to get good pictures:
- Natural light, if possible.
- Close enough to see your face
- Don’t wear dark glasses so we can’t see your eyes – Dark Glasses Guy comes across as Guy Who Might Leave One’s Dismembered Body In One’s Dumpster.
- Consider a smile.
- Take more than one photo so people get a really good idea of what you look like.
2) The only thing you say about yourself is this:
“Do any girls want to date a guy whose been desperate for 17 years? :(”
No. No they don’t. Why should they?
First, saying you’ve been looking for a girlfriend for “17 years” when you are 18 suggests that your search for love went like this: Step 1: Sit up all by myself! Step 2: Solid food. Step 3: GIRLFRIEND-O-RAMA! Step 4: Learn to poop in the potty. Step 5: A big boy bed!
Second, desperation is not attractive. It tells potential dating partners that if they show you one tiny bit of attention you’ll try to cling to them for dear life. It’s off-putting and downright panic-inducing.
Also, people don’t respond to “WANTED: ANYONE….LITERALLY ANYONE…. TO FILL THE GIRLFRIEND-SHAPED HOLE (warning, image slightly NSFW) ….IN MY HEART. PULSE PREFERRED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. WILL PAY $ IF NECESSARY.”
It’s obvious from both your profile and your message to me that you do not like yourself and don’t really think you have anything going for you (except cash and a reliable drug connect). Why should anyone like you if you can’t name one positive quality about yourself or interest you have? No one would be able to figure out if they had any common interests with you, because your only interest seems to be how lonely you are.
Finally, kill the smiley-faces. KILL THEM WITH FIRE.
There is hope! Someone may (and most likely will) eventually want to date you, or Future You-Who-Has-Done-Some-Work-On-His-Social-Skills-And-Self-Confidence, but they won’t be “a girl” – they’ll be Jenny or Sue or Toniko or Camryn or Laura or Beyonce* who likes Dr. Who or knitting or hip-hop dancing or steampunk or activism or adventure novels or building complicated dioramas with legos or particle physics. They sure as hell won’t do it out of pity for your loneliness and it’s insulting to expect them to think that you have anything to offer when YOU don’t think that you have anything to offer.
That profile is not going to attract good people to your life. Anyone who would date you out of pity (or in exchange for money) has so many of their own issues that only badness lies there. Circle back to the idea of dating, especially online dating, when you have better self-knowledge about what makes you worth knowing.
But let’s back up like, 1,000 steps here.
Let’s talk next about your drug addiction and your pathetic threat to keep abusing them until you find a girlfriend. It’s okay to use medications prescribed to help you focus and feel better to help you focus and feel better. It’s not okay to go off script and outside a doctor’s supervision. You know this is a problem, which is why you told me and why you told me in the form of a threat. So tell someone else. There’s a hotline on the right hand side of this page (1-800-662-HELP). You told one stranger (or, er, a lot of strangers), so why not tell another who is an expert in this stuff? Your doctor is a good person to tell, I think. Your parents. Some trusted adult. Tell someone. You need some professional big league help. Did you think I would say “Right on, keep doing that, it sounds awesome?” No. No you did not. Work that shit out.
The last thing you need right now is a girlfriend. I know you think that if you had one it would magically make your life better, but the fact that you’re asking me for miracle drug cures or for the going rate means I don’t think you actually know what is entailed in having a romantic relationship with another living breathing human.
Here are some things you could do right now that will eventually bring you closer to your dream of having a girlfriend:
- Find a reliable therapist. Not a psychiatrist who prescribes medication (though…you need to call yours), more of a social worker or counselor who will sit and talk with you and help you get a better grasp on your emotions and self-esteem and also help you with that pesky drug problem you’ve got. If you can get your parents to take you to one, great. If you’re starting college this year, get one through the school. Get a therapist.
- Find your awesome. What interests you passionately? What are you good at? What stuff would you like to maybe study or try out? Make a list of things. Cool. Go do those things, or try them out. Cooking. Fencing. Gaming. Theater. Work on being a person who does stuff that interests you. Work on being a person who loves learning and tries to pick up new skills. Strongly consider volunteering somewhere. If you’re in the U.S.A. you may have noticed that it’s an election year, and since you’re 18 you’ll be able to vote for the first time. Is there some way you could volunteer to help register people to vote or get out the vote where you are? You’ll meet a lot of people that way and come back with some interesting stories to tell. But it could be anywhere – animal shelters, food banks, urban farming – lots of places could use your contribution. “Social awkwardness” is not a permanent designation. You overcome it (or learn to mitigate or work around it or embrace it) by interacting with people in low-stakes ways that feel good. You’ve got to play a bunch of levels before you unlock the “Maybe getting a romantic relationship” achievement.**
- Find your people. It’s okay if you’re socially awkward and you haven’t figured out how to hang out with people yet. A lot of people are at 18, your friendly neighborhood advice columnist included. This thread contains a giant compilation of advice about dating, meeting people, and social interactions that I’m not going to repeat for you here, though I do want to call special attention to the advice to read/watch/listen to a ton of work by women and strongly suggest that you do not skip that step, because I have to say the idea that you would just buy “a girlfriend” is pretty fucking offensive and suggests you have a lot of thinking to do around the idea of women-as-human beings-just-like-you. When you’re done with that jump over to Paging Dr. Nerdlove. He is relevant to your interests.
Let me be an old person at you for a sec. You are 18. You are right at the beginning of your adult life. You have great things ahead of you, if you can be brave enough to take good care of yourself. Your drug habit is surmountable. Social skills can be learned. Self-confidence can be learned. The knack of making friends can be learned. You can improve your emotional health and your self-esteem. The best thing you can do to get the romantic relationship you crave is to work really hard on figuring out who you are and learning to like that guy. I can’t really help you except to tell you that you are far from the only person who has felt the way you do. Many, many people who are cool and happy and in love as adults have felt the way you do now at one time or another. Many people have struggled with addictions and mental illnesses at the same time they deal with the whole coming of age thing. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible to decide that you are worthwhile and that you deserve to be happy, and then do the work. There is no shortcut or pill for that.