Ask The Advice Goddess 8

I am a thirty-year old single woman. A married female friend of mine recently set me up with a guy. The three of us went to lunch. I like this guy -- he's nice and very cute. But he didn't ask for my number. I'm not sure if he didn't because he wasn't into me, or because the situation was a little weird, what with my friend being there too. I'd like to see him again if he's interested. Now what do I do? --Maxine, SeattleWhen men dream of having a threesome, their fantasies don't usually include egg salad on toasted rye.Getting acquainted with a stranger is awkward enough without bringing along an third party to witness the ordeal. This kind of encounter probably triggers traumatic flashbacks of you and your eighth grade crush being driven by your overly-inquisitive mother to the school dance. Your matchmaking friend might have seen better results from her efforts if, after introducing you, she'd suddenly remembered an emergency appendectomy appointment.To find out if there are any possibilities for you with this guy, call him up and invite him to join you for a casual drink after work. If he has any interest in you, and was simply put off by the uncomfortable situation, he'll be glad you asked. If he keeps stalling or says no, move on.In the future, if this woman offers to fix you up, ask that she give you and the intended guy each other's phone numbers so you can at least make it through lunch before you start incorporating multiple partners.***I'm a guy in my mid-thirties. Recently, I met this great woman, she really liked me, everything was amazing, then I just dropped the ball after she asked me to spend to summer with her in Paris. I realize that this has been a pattern in my life. I keep getting great opportunties with great women, then I always mess them up...I usually just stop calling and fade out of the picture. I think this may have something to do with the feeling I have that I'm not who I want to be yet. I guess I feel that women I like either see a diamond in the rough or they are falling for something that's not really there. How can I stop sabotaging every good opportunity I get? -Max, DetroitWait too long to start living, and when you boast to a woman about how big it is, you'll find yourself discussing the dimensions of your prostate.Like the eponymous board game, life goes on and on and on. You won't be done "becoming" until you're dead. But the past is gone and the future is at the mercy of wild-eyed dictators with itchy trigger fingers on aging black-market nukes. So it's pretty important that you start living in the here and now.You questioned the judgment of these women because they liked you so much more than you like yourself. But maybe they knew something. Maybe they were just looking for a nice, interesting flesh-and-blood guy with potential -- not a perfect person who can't possibly exist. They accepted you as a work in progress.Until you do the same, you can't begin to like yourself. Instead of judging yourself so harshly, try to look at life as Mahatma Ghandi did: as "an endless series of experiments." As long as you're not smoking a lot of pot and sleeping your days away, you're moving your life forward. Even failures are productive, as a process of elimination.Take stock of your accomplishments. Pat yourself on the back for what you've done and set goals for the future. Reward yourself for your achievements -- even the smallest ones, like mailing out a few letters and resumes to try to get a better job.When you start dating a woman you care about, after you know her well enough to confide in her, explain your pattern. Getting it out in the open may help her to help you avoid repeating it. But the ball is really in your hands.When you find yourself approaching the point in a relationship at which you usually cut and run, monitor your actions daily so you don't repeat the past. You might write a reminder to yourself on your bathroom mirror in grease pencil to motivate positive behavior.As in your career, don't expect complete change overnight. But realization combined with effort may help you form a bond with a woman while good sex is still more important to you than a good night's sleep.***Got a problem? Ask Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, box 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com

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