Always single


Always single


your avatar   "Lonely heart", 26-year-old man

I've never had a girlfriend before. I never even thought I could get on with members of the opposite sex because I have never had the wit for relationships to go further than friendships. I can't even get further than asking for a girl's phone number.

I am shy and it has dominated my life. I just fear of rejection if I go further with girls. I don't have the wit to ask a girl out and even when I do it we just go out as friends and I am too afraid to go further. Sure I have spoken to counselors and GPs about my anxiety and it has helped me in some ways to cope.

There are many times when I don't want a girlfriend and feel OK about being single. There are also times in my life that I just give up and think I will always be single. Many times I get lonely. I am a student and I don't work at the moment so I just feel that I don't have enough money on me to have a girlfriend, as I need to pay for the outings, eating out, entertainment, etc.

Why am I always single? Why will no one go out with me?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Lonelyheart,

I know just how you feel. I know EXACTLY how you feel.


Because I used to be there myself.

Your cry for help could have come from me when I was a teenager and for a few years after that. I was a student too, and every day at University I looked at all the girls, and wanted one to cherish and love for my own. They all looked lovely and desirable to me, and I tortured myself, dreaming about them. But talking to one was agony. I was even worse off than you are, because I didn't even consider asking for help. I didn't think help was possible.

Now, when I look at old photos, I see that I was quite a reasonable-looking guy. Then, I knew myself to be ugly. I was very good at sports, but knew that I was awkward and ridiculous. And my academic performance was better than most people's, and yet I knew that I was stupid.

Oh yes, I know exactly how you feel.

Now, I am 58 years old. I have been married for 34 years to the one woman, and she is happy with my company. I have three wonderful children and four delightful grandchildren. People admire me and look up to me in a variety of fields. I give public speeches at 'Toastmasters', write books, teach classes, help people like you who are in distress.

If I could do this, so can you. I am no more special than you are.

Here are a couple of facts to help you, just for a start.

1. You are not alone. There are millions of lonely, shy people. And approximately half of them are female. That's right. Many of those young women you admire from afar feel exactly the same way as you do. They are not looking for someone who'll shower them with gifts and take them to expensive places. They are not seeking brilliant entertainment. They want what you want: love, mutual commitment, companionship, friendship. Like you, they are afraid, afraid of being hurt if they give their affections and then are treated with a lack of kindness.

2. You are the kind of person who'll make a perfect partner for a woman. The lady-killers that have all the girls running after them are vain, selfish and arrogant. They spread unhappiness wherever they go. But a person like you... Let me put it this way. Suppose tomorrow you developed the ability to read minds. As you are standing next to a girl, she is thinking that she wants to spend her life with you, her dream is to make you happy. What would be your reaction? I think you would instantly commit your life to making her happy, and that 50 years later you'd still keep this promise. Because she had liberated you from your loneliness.

So, because of your present suffering, you are actually the best kind of young man for a girl to team up with. And the other way too: seek out the shy girls, the lonely girls. Just be aware, many of them hide their pain by pretending to be chatterers, or social butterflies, while underneath feeling lonely and ugly and stupid.

How did I break out of my loneliness? I decided to learn how to approach girls through experience. Once a week, I found a girl who was not TOO scary. Perhaps she was a little fat, or had glasses, or always sat in the back of the class saying nothing, or didn't wear the latest fashions. I'd approach her, and stammer my way through a conversation. At the end of five minutes or so, I asked her to do something with me: go to the beach together, or come with me to the Athletics Club barbecue, or just for a picnic in the park. To my surprise, the only ones who said 'no' already had a boyfriend, or even a husband. I never received an unkind rejection.

Now, I didn't look on these occasions as attempts at finding a life mate, but as LEARNING EXPERIENCES. Each time, I thought deeply about the time I had shared with this girl, and worked out what I might have done wrong. Then, next time, with the same girl or with another one, I'd modify my actions. Isn't this how you learn any skill?

The result was that I acquired a whole lot of 'sisters': girls who were friends, but not girlfriends.

This changed as I grew more confident. And at last one of them showed that she liked me a lot, and we became a team, and as I mentioned, we have now been married for 34 years. About 30 of my 'sisters' came to the wedding.

Worth a try?

Mate, you didn't post an email address, so I can't write to you directly. However, please email me if you read this reply, and let me know your reaction.

Have a good life,

Bob Rich

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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