Life Advice



Single File: Bitterness

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: My romance just ended with a bang. He had said he was 40. He's really 63. He swore he was unattached. I discovered he's actually married -- with three children. It was all fairy tale stuff that his wife knew nothing about. I swore if he were to ever contact me again, I'd tell her, so that should keep him away. But still, I keep crying myself to sleep every night, angry at myself for being such a gullible fool and at him for wasting so much of my time. Believe me, no man will ever creep into my heart again. I intend to stay away from men.

DEAR BLOGGER: And you can bet they will return the favor. Men are quick to sense a misanthrope in the fair sex, and (wisely) they want no part of her and the grudge-bag she carries. There's no fun in her view of the world, so she's in quarantine, segregated from people with a more forgiving view of life. A bitter person is an awful companion, spreading gloom and doom wherever they go. If you cultivate a hatred of males, you will attract like-minded females -- who will only diminish all men, the good and the bad. I hope my words reach you in time, before your anti-male campaign gets going, before it builds steam, before it hardens into a wall around you that keeps you away from the good men who, like you, dream of love. At this early stage, there's still a chance it won't gain traction and will disappear on its own volition. Stay open to good people, and be wise enough not to judge all men by one sour lemon.

DEAR SUSAN: I wish there were some simple formula for getting rid of my shyness. I'm fine with my girlfriends, but as soon as I have to start talking to a man, bingo. I clam up. Without going into my family psychology, I could sure use advice.

DEAR BLOGGER: Agreed. Let's keep our analysis aimed at today's men and women. All of us have been tongue-tied at some point, and we've all felt shy and pained talking to someone we would like to know better. When facing them, we are struck dumb and give the impression of having nothing important to say. No one wants to be tongue-tied when we face an appealing someone, especially these days, when we women realize we may actually need to make the first move. But help is on the way, in the person of Dr. Philip Zimbardo.


Zimbardo finds that shyness affects both sexes just about equally, yet society rewards the sexes differently. Men often lose out in the race for desirable women (branded "wimps"), while female shyness is approved by our society as ladylike. And so, we women often ask ourselves, "Am I coming on too strong?" and revert to more docile behavior, often losing what we prize. While you read social commentary, think about Zimbardo's finding (in his shyness clinics) that much of shyness is rooted in too much I-ness, and so, a good strategy for combatting one's own shyness is to put the emphasis of the conversation on the other person. Think about sharing a warm smile, a compliment, an affectionate pat. In a group, find people seemingly uncomfortable and do things to put them at ease. This will certainly take you away from your own shyness and reward you with their gratitude. Also, make yourself more interesting by staying current on world events as well as local doings. The irony of today's shyness is that instead of the shy male being left behind in the social competition or the race for a beloved, it well may be our turn to lose out. The remedy? Just be your own sweet, feminine, assertive self.


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