Life Advice



Single File: Blogger's Advice (Good Stuff)

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I believe you did an earlier column distinguishing the use of "rejection" from "refusal". You used "rejection" as a personal and definitive "Yuck. You are SO unappealing that I'd never go out with you in a million years." But "refusal" is much less personal: Perhaps there's a significant other, a busy time at work, mental health issues being worked through, "I think of you as a friend, but there's no chemistry for more." Being refused always hurts. You've worked up courage to ask and made yourself vulnerable, and it's very common to read a no as total rejection when most of the time it isn't meant that way. Susan, you suggested we'd all feel much better after a turndown if we chalk it up to some other, mysterious personal reason -- a refusal, not a rejection. Makes all the difference. -- From the 'Single File' Blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Salve for a tender ego -- and it happens to be the absolute truth! In most situations, a turndown is because of other circumstances, not personal dislike. And yet so much of the pain in the single community can be traced back to refusal. Added to the hurt and discomfort of being part of a society that encourages two-by-two lockstep in all things, the unmarried must deal with a diet of refusals as part of their dating world. Not easy, not confidence-building, not a fun way to go through your days. The Deitz antidote is to consciously decide to put dating on the back burner (!) and consciously explore your city, your town, your neighborhood in a totally different way. Naturally, you've got to make the exploration with a totally different mindset: more open, more curious -- and more adventurous. You've got to be willing to follow through on your discoveries. For example, if you come across an offbeat bistro with an unusual menu, you've my permission to seat yourself (yes, alone!), order a glass of wine and invite the chef to share his life story -- and maybe some of his favorite dishes. (Don't forget to make these expeditions with a pad and pen.) Who knows what can come of these lone expeditions? He might ask you back to meet his family and have supper with them! It sure beats another dreary blind date, no? Think about it. Hard.

DEAR SUSAN: I haven't had a sexual partner for a long time. Years. Not a "can't get laid" thing. I just don't think most opportunities look like enough fun or have good enough prospects to pursue. But on the other hand, to be such a purist as to put myself in a category of "celibate for life if I don't find my soul mate" is unacceptable. I reject relations with the available women because on some level they frame the relationship as doing me a favor. What an insult. If they're not equally desirous of me, do me the favor of not doing me the favor, please! I've had lots of fun with lots of women. I wouldn't dream of making a permanent commitment to someone who hasn't proven to be a good partner in sex. And freshly laundered cotton sheets, please. What is this "sweaty sheets" thing? Lose weight and get in shape! -- From the 'Single File' blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Listen to the sound of two hands clapping. Mine, actually, showing my deep and sincere agreement with every one of your thoughts about Sex (capitalized for its huge importance.) The physical side of relating has enormous implications in so many nonsexual aspects of a relationship. I firmly believe that a harmonious sex life is vital to a well-rounded relationship, unless of course both partners consider it unimportant. (The crucial thing is that both partners agree -- nothing else.) Doing the male a favor is an antiquated view of sex. It probably dates back to the Victorian era when "nice" women didn't do -- or enjoy -- such things. But then was then. And today we've gone to the other extreme, where the under-30 set makes too little of sharing their flesh, is too willing to bed down without knowing or trusting each other. Not good, not good at all. But then, I'm not of that generation. Comments?



We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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