DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm starting to get extremely jaded when it comes to dating/first meetings. It's bad because I'm only 22 and things should be fun with other people my age, but girls these days around my age just, seem so vacuous and out of touch. They seem so bound by today's technology (chronic texting) and superficial pursuits such as partying and drinking that every time I meet a girl for the first time on a date they sit there expecting to be entertained and have nothing of interest to say. The whole dating experience in general seems so forced with the same rote questions the two parties go through and the constant game of who should pay. There has to be a better way of meeting people than online or where people are "likely" to meet like a bar. School also seems ruled out because everyone in university is in such a rush and usually stressed. Should I just give it a break for a bit? Thanks. -- Confused, St. Boniface
Dear Confused: There are still lots of interesting people out there, though the art of carrying on a great conversation with a new person is not being practiced as much. Also, people who date are constantly up-to-date on the minutia of each other's lives, so what's left to talk about when they get together an hour later? Actually there are lots of topics untouched by two-thumb texting, but you must dig a little. Ask for opinions on news, trends, dreams, hopes, the future, politics, spiritual beliefs, philosophies, family histories, nature, pets, books, and funny stories. Out of that long list, there will be three or four conversational leads that are bound to start a big conversation. Most women enjoy being interviewed, and often wonder why the guy is talking about himself so much, and doesn't seem interested in them at all. Break through that situation in a big way by asking your date about her opinions on specific topics, starting with a statement like this: "I think women are so interesting to talk to. Do you mind if ask you some questions and then you can ask me some, if you like!"
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm so frustrated. I'm a gay 16-year-old in high school. Almost all of my friends are in a relationship and they're all happy. I feel so left out because I feel like I can't find anyone. The other two gay people in my school are dating each other. I feel so depressed and I feel like I will never find anyone. I hate seeing all my friends being so happy while I'm just so mad What can I do? -- Left Out, Winnipeg.
Dear Left Out: You need to look further afield. It's much easier to find a really comfortable social situation outside of school or your job, if you have one. Check out the Rainbow Resource Centre at www.rainbowresourcecentre.org and look under Youth. Their youth group offers discussions, of course, plus a variety of activities such as creative writing workshops, movie nights, LGBT art exhibits, self-defence, bowling, and zine making. The website provides tips on how to make your first experience easy, like coming for a tour of the facilities beforehand or bringing a friend with you. Making friends is always the best prelude to finding a romantic relationship, so try not to get down on yourself for not having someone right now. Take a few months to meet lots of new people and get involved and try to let go of the anger. An angry person doesn't attract people to new relationships. On the other hand, getting involved in groups and helping out, brings the good people towards you quite naturally. For the first few months, take the dating pressure off yourself. Just try to relax and enjoy yourself and the new people around you.