Doki Doki Panic (real life, not the game)

Do any IC Gamers have tips/hacks for like…… Meeting People? Of the opposite sex? People who are sufficiently weird and nerdy and artistically-inclined? And doing it when you don’t happen to live in an urban enclave where cool arts/cultural stuff is happening on a regular basis? Dating apps at this point in time seem to be an absolute wasteland, particularly if you’re A) at all picky and B) more interested in connecting with someone based on shared interests and emotional compatibility than physical appearance. (Fucking hate the entire design philosophy of the swipe left/swipe right app and everything it entails.) Twitter is way too toxic a place to attempt to socialize regularly. I’m not so great at opening up to people in general, anyway. So, idk.

As someone in a fundamentally similar position to yours, as much as I don‘t like saying it, there’s a tonne of patience, perseverance, dumb luck and effort involved. And crafting a good bio!

A constructive tip, however, is don't get hung up on meeting people with the exact same interests as you. If they show up then great (hey, I've recently had someone approach me who is into rail shooters - heck yeah!) but I've met plenty of people that have interests that are adjacent to mine, and whilst we've not gone on to date long term for other reasons, some of them I remain excellent friends with based on a mutual respect of each other's interests, and that's how we hit things off in the first place.

I thought that I may as well share one variation of my bio too.

"Punk rock, environmentalism, twee ITV dramas, The X-Files. My friends would describe me in ways that are probably much kinder than how I'd describe myself.

What're you passionate about?

Can speak Welsh and some Japanese, wow. Double-vaxxed and boosted if that helps too!"

@“2501”#p56430 i feel like society is so hostile to socializing that it‘s hard for me to picture how it’s done, how people pair up.

so i'm useless, but you have my sympathy.

maybe i'm not totally useless: you say you have trouble opening up to people. find the emotional root of that trouble, the raw nerve, and make it your practice to look for that same raw nerve in other people, and try to soothe it for them. it may not help you in your goal of finding someone to couple up with, but it might, just in the act of doing it, and also turning your mind in that way will help your own raw nerve, and might make it easier to open up to people, which might help from another direction.

but i did say i was useless.

been awhile since I was ‘on the market’ (the dang flea market in my case) but I‘d agree not to focus too much on mutual interests. You might try volunteering at hospitals and community service type places. That well help I think in general with getting out and talking to people, and those settings tend to be places nice people with spare time go to meet others as well as the actual volunteer work. Don’t do this at a political gathering though there's too much of that lol. Just try to meet nice people and set the mutual interests aside I think.

I would also add that if you suffer from a lack of confidence, shyness, etc then do something that will put you enormously out of your comfort zone and sustain that activity.

My personal example is that for a long time, certainly up to my mid 20s at least, I was shy and lacking self confidence to a point that some people later confessed were worried about me. So what did I do? I booked myself into a weekly open-mic comedy night slot and forced myself to write 5-10 minutes of new material each week for several months. Whether or not everything landed is irrelevant - simply putting myself out there gave me such a boost to every positive facet of my personality and image of myself that over time I started becoming more confident in my day to day life, and in my interactions with strangers / dates.

I don't suggest that you necessarily do the exact same thing as I did, but I would suggest looking up different social clubs for activities that you might be interested in that would put you out of your comfort zone, and stick to that regime. And also, you may also meet someone by going to that club.

Edit: As Brandon said, don't do this if you live with extreme mental health issues, but if you're mentally healthy and have always wanted to try something that is out of your comfort zone then it's something worth considering.

that kind of forcing yourself out of your comfort zone stuff only works if you don‘t (for example) have chronic anxiety or similar, some folks really can’t be doing that sort of thing.

I'll also mention that while OP clearly wants to meet someone of the opposite sex, I'm sure the actual vibe is meeting anybody of your preferred sex or gender or whatnot and that input would be welcome from anybody!

Meanwhile I have no really solid advice because I've never lived outside a major metropolis. I do agree with therapy and anything that can inspire self love and confidence though. In any relationship you are the only part of the equation that you can change, and the best kind of change is the change that comes genuinely from within through self improvement (many people try it through acting and artifice which is how you wind up with that story I told on the show about a guy selling his immaculate PS2 RPG collection "because he finally got a wife and she didn't like it.")

I don't know what it's like in non-metropolises but I reckon you can get little friend get togethers going maybe? If you have friends or partners of friends who are of your gender preference, hanging out with them and THEIR friends could be really handy. I spent all night on saturday talking to my friend's female friends who I'd never met before because it was a birthday party and we were all together. I'm not single or looking to be, but having casual conversation with people in your target demographic seems like it would be massively useful in terms of just like... getting around and meeting more folk like that, who might ALSO have friends, and etc etc. But the non-metropolis thing might nip this in the bud a bit, I dunno.

It kind of takes some sheer luck but it is possible to online date in a way that avoids some of the worst parts. I used OKcupid for a while, only on my PC and not my phone, so I never experienced the ‘swiping’ stuff (although I think they do have it.) The nice thing about that site is you can write a lot; I wrote a pretty long bio using the question prompts, and looked for other people who did so, thinking that people who would write a lot are more interested in sharing their personality than just hooking up. I mentioned what I liked, without being too specific (I found profiles where someone just lists specific bands, movies, etc they like kinda off-putting), and what sort of lifestyle I live (not an exciting one.) I tried my best to be honest and not make myself sound too interesting, because I didn't want to have to live up to the pressure of an overreaching bio. Fair to say, I thought about this probably much more than is reasonable.

I sent very few messages, only to people who I knew I would be comfortable meeting. I received even less messages, and almost all of those went nowhere. I wasn't in any rush. I ended up meeting with 2 people over the course of about a year, and the second person is soon to be my wife. She had made her account a few weeks before, and was planning to delete it soon afterwards because the dating scene made her uncomfortable in much the same way you described. So that was particularly lucky but also, it's easier to get lucky when you're putting yourself out there.

We talked a lot online first because circumstances made it hard to meet up right away (pre-COVID; just other stuff.) Which I honestly thought was great because we already knew each other fairly well by the time we met, and it didn't have that make-or-break feeling that often accompanies a first date. Honestly, the first date wasn't even that great because we were both still so nervous, but it didn't matter too much.

So yeah, you can use whatever tools exist in your own way, and you don't necessarily need to conform to all modern dating habits just to meet anyone. It 's not easy and takes time but the results can definitely be worth it! And it definitely gets easier over time; even over the course of the very few dates I went on, I could feel myself improving immensely at opening up. I mean, it's not like I was able to make myself not shy, but the experiences certainly made me dread going out and meeting people much less.

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@“wickedcestus”#p56445 She had made her account a few weeks before, and was planning to delete it soon afterwards because the dating scene made her uncomfortable in much the same way you described.

I had this exact experience myself. The day that I was planning to give up and delete all of my accounts I stumbled across someone who I later ended up in a relationship of 4.5 years that only ended because it was long distance and untenable during the worst of the pandemic.

I‘d like to offer sympathy, I really feel for you mate. Personally I found my partner via happenstance 15 years ago, and it’s really come to feel like a privilege. I'm only recently capable of displaying the sort of vulnerability required to “put yourself out there”, so to speak.

I'll echo something posted a couple of times already - that mutual interests are fantastic for bonding, but far from the be all/end all. For example - I like video games a lot (can anyone relate?). My partner and I did not talk about the Taito Egret pre-orders, but we DID talk about the Microsoft/Activision thing, and it was way better than any of the convos I had with gamer buddies about it. I got to orate and talk like a historian and she would ask interesting left-field questions. This is hyper-specific of course, but I guess I just wanted to encourage "looking for people while talking about your interests with pride", over "looking for shared interests" .

Gonna roast myself here

Join a marching band, dude

That's what I and everyone I know did

Mario pain sound effect

GOOD LUCK

I get the frustration: I've been single for most of my adult life and my few relationships (including my current one) have more or less been lucky flukes where friendship evolves into romance rather than success via dating app or anything. I have absolutely no game and am overwhelmed by the very notion of going to a bar and hitting on random people.

So my best will be: make more friends with folks! I met my girlfriend by befriending her then-roommate and going to a party at her house. A couple years later: smooching happens! How did I meet that friend? I'm lucky enough to live close to a Round 1 arcade and was one of the regular DDR players and we were both in our 30s and liked retro games. I feel like going out places is definitely step one: even if you're not going with the goal of talking to anyone, eventually (in my case at least, it took years of going to all kinds of nerd events) you may befriend some random person who later invites you to a gathering where you can meet folks with whom romantic possibilities may present themselves. Even if you DON'T befriend anyone, at least you're getting to play cool arcade games/watching a bunch of weird horror movies/[insert something that interests you here]

In the times of covid, things may be hard, but even in a not-urban area, there are probably events that may interest you. Perhaps there's a library three towns over that has events aimed at the under-40 crowd (assuming you're in the under-40 crowd). Maybe there are horror movie fans who organize movie nights for people in the area. Maybe there's a retro game store that's the next state over that hosts a regional gathering of video game-player types? Maybe there's a pinball arcade in the nearest "barely counts as a city" city where you could just hang out one day a week? Those are all real things that existed within driving distance of my nowhere-town! Not sure how much of that is going on in covid-times though.

IDK, it's worth going to public places where you can enjoy yourself even if you don't befriend anyone. But then if you DO befriend someone, it's possible they may eventually introduce you to someone who you might click with OR maybe you'll end up clicking with them? It's not much of a strategy but it's all I know.

I mean, if this is an urgent issue to address, moving to a different country’s big city will instantly and almost inexplicably make you 250.1% more attractive to the local people of the opposite sex you randomly meet in a bar. (*Might not work for US→Canada or US→Mexico.) Exotism is a wonderful aphrodisiac. Not so recommended for lifelong commitments, however.

@"Nemoide"#p56457 ‘s advice above « do shit and meet people » is excellent life advice I actually give to every person under 25 whenever I meet them. Basically, unless your have a reason to think your well-being might be threatened, you have no real good reason to refuse any opportunity to meet new people and visit new places. Opportunities for good jobs and blowjobs pretty much never appear when and where you expect.

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@“BluntForceMama”#p56456 marching band

what the heck is it with HS marching band and vietnam vets in the tet (happy lunar new year to all who celebrate!) offensive together level bonds lol

@“Ellis Bell”#p56462 years of training for a futile cause

meeting people is really hard. i can‘t tell from the original post whether you deal with social anxiety or not, but i’ve had it pretty bad my whole life, and have only recently begun to get over it. i've just always had a hard time “being myself,” so maybe some overlap with what you experience.

i would say that the times that i feel the most comfortable being myself are when i feel like i have _some reason or justification for being around the people i'm with._ so like if a friend would invite me to something with a bunch of people i don't know, i would just feel like other people would be thinking, who's this weird guy who's just hanging around here? and of course if you think everyone around you already hates you, you're not going to really open up to them.

whereas if you're at some event where there is already the pretext that you're there for some shared purpose or interest, you already have that to talk about. and then as you talk to the other people there about that thing, opening up happens naturally. and if you happen to meet someone who's into movies or whatever, then you have two things to talk about!

of course, talking about video games or movies or whatever is one reason that people get together, but those conversations can quickly become a measurement contest. i would really echo what other people say and try to get involved in something that's more general interest, like volunteering or something. i've met so many people at events for my kids. i made a good pal knocking on doors together during the bernie campaign. for whatever reason i just feel like a normal person at these things. i've made so many good friends this way, and none of them are irony poisoned either!!

it's true that meeting people is hard, so I find that people tend to be relieved and grateful if you make the first move and try to get to know them. Just about everyone is dealing with this dilemma after all.

The above advice is more useful and comes from a place of greater experience than I can offer, but I will say this:

no matter how you might be tempted, _do not_ pay for the dating apps! In my case it didn't really change anything (I can see all the people who like me, great, but I could tell who those people were anyway because they would inevitably pop up in my stack of cards) and I've now got myself in a situation here where I'm going to have to delete my OKCupid account just to cancel the subscription (which, by the way, of course it forced a recurring montly payment instead of making a one-time payment _like I asked it to_). Though judging by earlier comments in this thread, weeks before I delete my account may be the best time to meet someone...

[size=25][b]DO NOT PAY FOR THE DATING APPS![/b][/size]

Every year I get the lonely February blues and during COVID it's been especially miserable. Stay strong 2501

I have no constructive advice for the form for the pursuit to take, as I was equally horrific at it. I'll only say that, well, most of you have a decent idea of how weird and intense of a person I am, and there was someone out there who liked me enough, for some reason. So, nobody can be without hope

It's a horrible cliche to say stupid shit like "b urself :]" but idfk. I've never known how to not be myself, and I've always thought I was a pretty neat guy so I don't regret hardly any of it, but I can understand for anyone who struggles with self perception how that would feel like the most terrifying advice of all. I think I can also see how it makes interacting with people (and doubly so for people you may want to hug and kiss) feel like it has far higher stakes and with far greater risks. Putting yourSelf out there means you're displaying your vulnerabilities, your passions, your beliefs, your fears, your so ons, and when things aren't reciprocated it can feel all the more painful, because those feelings are connected to your emotional nerve endings so to speak.

However, unfortunately, I think I do need to reiterate that cliche and say that being yourself is the most important aspect of finding someone to form an intimate relationship with. I mean, for one, you don't want someone else to fall for a persona, since you won't be able to maintain that forever. But, I think what I took away when I was becoming confident in myself was that it was actually a good thing if being myself deterred some people from wanting to get to know me more. If you're going to form an intimate relationship with someone, you being yourself is what should draw them in and endear yourself to them. Again, it seemed to work for someone as intense and weird as I am.

And so as a special note to anyone who might struggle with self perception and being too hard on yourself, a way to maybe rephrase the idea that being yourself and deterring some people not being a bad thing, I would say, do try your best to remember that how _you_ feel about yourself is not necessarily going to be or have anything to do with how _other people_ feel about _you._ In fact, you might be the worst judge of how people feel about you in the world, the more you struggle with self esteem the more objectively worse you probably are at it. Funny contradiction, isn't it? People with low self esteem feel they're the worst but they're also the best at knowing why they're the worst.

Brandon also brought this up, but, yeah, unlike the other cliche that I came at while beating around the bush of, I actually despise the cliche of "you can't be in a healthy relationship if you don't love yourself." It's ideal, but I do reject the idea it is some kind of mandatory sequence that must be done and any relationship is doomed if one initiates it without finding oneself and living laughing and loving or whatever. There is too much trauma and grief and misery in this world to expect everyone, or anyone, to be also dealing with all of that on top of loneliness when maybe initiating an intimate relationship. Although, what is a firm requirement is at least accepting that an ongoing deficit of self love can and will slowly poison any relationship, and that maybe the belief that it is mandatory is that many people also use entering into a relationship as an excuse to not prioritize learning to accept and love oneself. But I do think it's perfectly acceptable to learn to love yourself while also building an intimate relationship. Well, maybe the only catch there is that it's probably not going to go well if you're not sharing that with the person you're in an intimate relationship with, and then on top of that, you're also not thinking that dumping the responsibility of figuring you out is going to work out either.. Oh well. I'm going off on a tangent.

Actually disregard all that, what really matters is whether or not they can beat Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice without Kuro's Charm. Everything else is immaterial

Thank you for all the responses. Just a few thoughts, possibly verging into TMI:

Regarding the points about shared interests: I don’t want or expect to meet someone who shares _every individual_ interest of mine, but I do feel it’s pretty important that they at least overlap in some key areas. I absolutely appreciate that emotional and psychological compatibility are crucial aspects of coupling that exist independently of hobbies and careers; that said, sharing and talking about the subjects and activities I’m passionate about is one of the most meaningful ways of connecting with someone, to me; if I can’t conceivably carry on hours-long conversations with them about _something_ we both feel strongly about, it’s doubtful I’m ever going to feel that connected! Moreover, I just find it hard to get _comfortable_ with someone who isn’t sufficiently into broadly overlapping cultural/subcultural spaces, e.g. some combination of arts and nerdy/weeby shit. It only really hit me in the last couple years how much more common and available people like that are in urban areas than where I’ve lived most of my life.

My living situation at present and for the last several years has made in-person socialization a lot more practically difficult than I would like. I live in the middle of a suburban state without a car or driver’s license, and since Covid hit the opportunities to either go to in-person public gatherings at all or get an appointment with the DMV to get a license have dwindled massively. My work is locally based and doesn’t pay nearly enough that moving to a city could be a serious consideration - I can’t even pay my rent without some support from a parent. I do live about an hour and a half from NYC and would like to find more excuses to go up there on weekends, but with work tiring me out every week and without any social roots in the city - and with Covid panic in the air - it’s tough to arrange for. The monetary cost of regular transit adds up, too.

Intertwined mental health and neurological issues (was recently diagnosed with a sleep disorder, which has been evident to me for years) also make working and socializing more difficult. Ofc it’s never easy to say with certainty which things I could ameliorate by pushing myself harder out of my comfort zone or changing my perspective and which are the things for which pushing myself would only result in further frustration and self-reproach. Interacting with other people tends to make me viscerally uncomfortable and defensive, and I feel like I have a gut-level misanthropy that makes me identify the worst and most threatening qualities in people very quickly (myself included). I’m enough of a neuro-atypical weirdo that interacting with most people bores and exhausts me, and then makes me feel guilty and self-conscious for feeling bored and exhausted even though they didn’t do or say anything _wrong_. Every so often I encounter a very rare (maybe 1:100? 1:500?) person with whom I feel some kind of instant affinity, which I then quickly get self-destructively obsessive about and terrified of losing.

I’m a neurotic! Anxiety definitely pushes me away from doing a lot of things which, if I did them, might actually be rewarding. My lifestyle for most of my 20s (i.e. until the latter part of last year) was so reclusive, pessimistic and risk-averse that I could probably use to push myself a bit harder to actually find out what’s good for me or not instead of just theorizing about it from a dug-in place where _everything_ seems intimidating and impossible. (That I’m seemingly trapped in an inflexibly codependent practical/financial situation and that I may have an actual neurological condition depriving me of physical and mental energy could definitely be a contributors toward feeling this way, though certainly part of it also comes from within me.)

On a positive note: baggage aside, on a good day I don’t think I ought to be _completely_ undesirable to potential partners. I don’t think I’m catastrophically ugly, though movie-star looks will never be my primary attractive quality (nor would I want them to - I can’t imagine the existential crisis of always wondering whether people who act attracted to you really care about the _you_ beneath the skin; in my few romantic brush-ups where I felt like I was being used for someone’s emotional satisfaction rather than valued for who I was, it was demoralizing and terrible). I too am weird and intense and passionate about things that matter to me, and that kind of hard “atypical” idiosyncrasy is as inevitably attractive to _someone_ as much as it’s offputting to others. I definitely have complex and strongly held thoughts, opinions and feelings going through my head (though maybe I’m overly disorganized and self-conscious about actually expressing them). I’m articulate, analytical, self-aware, emotionally literate, and monumentally bad at being deceptive or insincere. When I actually _do_ open up to someone, I try very hard to be empathetic, compassionate and emotionally available. I identify with people who feel outcast and unseen, and I think my own experiences give me special understanding and patience for personal struggles that might get some people labeled as “difficult”, “broken” or whatever. I feel like, stepping back and trying to look it objectively, there’s gotta be _someone_ out there who finds my good qualities attractive and rare enough to outweigh the bad! And it seems likely that that person would at least broadly align with the qualities I myself find attractive too? I’ve had just enough romantic near-misses over the years that, unless I’m really thinking about all this the wrong way, it at least seems like that could be the case… Just spitballin’ here…