DEAR MISS LONEYHEARTS: It feels like I'm the "starter girlfriend." How do I get men to think of me as real girlfriend material and not just a friend? They want to tell me all their crap and get advice -- and then what happens to me? They meet someone, and forget I exist, and I have nothing again. The problem is, I really prefer the company of men. I find most women too catty and I don't want to compete or gossip. And, if they have a boyfriend, they don't want me around him anyways. I'm 42 and don't like bar scene or Internet dating. I do like dog parks, working out, tennis, golf and boxing. When I meet someone how do I talk to him to get him to treat me like a possible girlfriend and not a friend? I always act like a lady, dress like a lady and no cussing and such. I just don't get it. Help! -- Want To Change Roles, Winnipeg
Dear Want: The "Tell me your problems'' message can be given out in a second to a complainer, with a sympathetic, "Ahh, that's too bad; it's probably not your fault." So, let's say you're at a party or club with dance music. Instead of that motherly reaction, smile and say, "I know you'll be just fine. Hey (smile)... want to dance?" and take the man's hand. See the shift? You go from nurse/counsellor to pied piper of fun. Here's another line to use: "I'm always wrong with advice for men, but I can make you laugh. Have you heard the joke about...?" As for being 42 and always acting like a lady, think twice. Could it be you're a little too prim? Are you the only one wearing a dress when everybody else is in a pair of jeans, top and earrings? When's the last time you changed your look? Hit a modern hair salon, and get a makeup makeover and new eyewear. Trust them, and see what happens.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I just read your reply to "Lonely Pond," and I know joining groups and taking classes doesn't work to meet people here. I've been in Winnipeg 10 years, and have very few friends. I've taken so many Leisure Guide courses I've lost count, and not one friend came from it. Winnipeggers are like stray cats under a porch. It takes a lot of patience and coaxing for them to come out and be your friend. I've lived in three countries, and Winnipeg is by far the hardest place to make friends. As soon as I have enough money, I'm moving east. I've met other immigrants, like myself, and heard very similar stories (they feel invisible). I saw this poster about an event for people to get together and do a certain hobby. The poster said, "all welcome" but when I showed up, no one would talk to me. I just left. Where I come from, when someone new shows up at school, work, or an event, you try to include them. The few friends I do have took years of seeing me for them to warm up. ---- Treated Coldly Here, Winnipeg
Dear Treated Coldly: I can only apologize to you for people who've treated you this way! I'm sorry you gave found Winnipeg to be so cold you feel you have to leave to experience warmth and friendliness again. Unfortunately, there is a tendency in this city (and others) for people to stay in cliques. We all need to be aware of stepping outside our cliques at social gathering and working around the room to meet and greet -- and really talk to -- new people. Let this be a reminder to all of us who want to keep this city alive and vibrant. The last thing we want to do is chase nice new people east, or west.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org