Dating Tips: Appearing More Confident

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Regardless if you’re gay, straight, or somewhere in between, dating can be hard as hell.

Just the act of putting yourself out there in the hopes that someone might show an interest is a huge step forward, and sometimes working past that fear of rejection can eat away at your confidence.

Even if we don’t always admit it to ourselves, we all know that it’s natural to be somewhat nervous and excited at the same time about meeting someone new.  It’s all about stepping out into the unknown and not letting your nerves get the best of you.

But what steps have you taken to move past that in order to show that truly amazing person you know is lurking deep down?  How do you get past those nerves and give a strong first impression?  How do you act or react?

Like anything in life, if you can come across as confident in yourself and carry yourself well, then that’ll go a long way to attracting a potential mate.

And hopefully make that date you’re on go really well.  As well as any other area of your life.

Posture Matters

Body language is probably the biggest thing that can make or break a first date.  If you’re sitting there slumped over with your chin drooping towards your chest, then you’re making it look like you’re not interested or couldn’t care if this new person even likes you.

Instead, use your posture to show you’re interested in the other person.  Standing up straight says to the world that you’re present, and that you’re approaching the situation with strength and purpose.

Let your face communicate for you

Part of the way your date will determine if you’re interested or willing to engage with them is by watching your facial reactions during your conversation.  You want your face to project openness, honestly, friendliness, positive and an aura of being approachable. You want them to think of you as emotionally present and cute.

But if you don’t even smile at your date or be engaging, then it’s extremely unlikely the date will end well.  This isn’t a ‘fake it until you make it’ situation either, as that’ll come across as false and possibly make your date want to run to the hills.

Eyes wide open

Along with giving good face per above, you also need to learn how to establish good eye contact.  You can be as smiley as you want to be, but if you’re avoiding eye contact or if that gorgeous smile isn’t reaching your eyes, then your date will know something is up.

At the same time though, don’t take it to the other extreme and end up staring at them the entire night, as that’s just darn creepy!

Instead, learn how to gaze at the other person, and ensure you’re looking directly at them (preferably in the eye) to show you’re actually listening to and interested in what they’re talking about.  And when he cracks some cheesy joke that makes you laugh anyway, make sure you smile with your eyes as well.

Lean into them

Now, this isn’t to say you should drape yourself all over your date – well, unless it’s one of those dates *wink, wink* – but you should still use your body language to show your interest in the other person.  Be willing to lean forward slightly as they speak to you, nodding as they speak.

But be careful not to get too familiar too soon and invading your date’s person space.  It’s one thing to be flirty, but another to be leaping into their lap when they’ve just said hello.

Handshake, kiss on the cheek or a hug

On top of everything above, when you’re first meeting someone new, you also need to decide how you’re going to greet them.  Would a handshake seem too impersonal and send the wrong, unromantic signals?  Or is a kiss on the cheek or a brief hug too intimate?

Perhaps it also matters where you’re meeting on this date.  If you’re just meeting at a random cafe or pub, then perhaps a handshake would be more appropriate than a friendly hug or kiss.  But then again, it would also depend on your own comfort levels in showing affection in public.

(Clearly wouldn’t suggest a full on make-out session.. unless the date goes really well of course.  Haha)

In the end, a date of whatever sort is supposed to be fun and interesting, so why not put your best face forward to get things off to a brilliant start.  Use your nerves and that exciting feeling to your advantage, and just enjoy yourself.

This post was inspired by – Gay Dating: 5 Tips For Appearing More Confident – Gay Pop Buzz

Embracing Your Solitude

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It’s an age old scenario – you’re sitting alone in a restaurant, enjoying a quiet meal for one.  Perhaps you’re reading a book, or checking something on your mobile.  Perhaps this meal is a treat for yourself, and you’re having a lovely time.

But then you notice a glance from someone at a neighbouring table.  Without knowing your situation, they’re looking at you with pity. As if eating a meal solo means you must be lonely, anti-social, or socially unwanted.  That there is something inherently wrong with being alone in a public setting.

And they’re wrong, because it’s actually empowering to do things like having a dinner out alone, and that uninformed person is allowing their own insecurities colour their opinions.  They can’t even fathom actually spending time alone.

In fact, they’re probably afraid of being alone and are missing out on the best company they could ever find – themselves.

Spending time along doesn’t mean you’re being anti-social or ‘disappearing’ from action.  It just means you’re focusing on yourself.

And those who do enjoy their free time, they understand how a bit of solitude can be beneficial to them.

Recharging your batteries

It can be mentally exhausting to constantly having to be ‘on’ in social settings.  Keeping up engaging conversations, making people laugh, showing empathy when someone’s feeling emotional, generally trying to make those around you happy, and so forth…

It’s absolutely draining to say the least.

But by taking some time away from the social scene, you’re allowing yourself time to recharge.  To turn your brain off.  To focus your energies on your own happiness.

Reflecting isn’t just in the mirror

When you’re constantly on the go, you really don’t get much time to reflect on your life or think on where you want your life to go.  Instead, you’re constantly surrounded by others that take up your time and energy, leaving very little (if anything) for yourself.

By taking some time out for yourself, it allows you time to improve your own self-confidence, work through issues in the past, and start planning for your future.

It’s a golden opportunity that really shouldn’t be missed because it’s your life, and you’re the only one that can propel it forward in the future.

Getting in touch with yourself

Along with being mentally draining, being in constant social settings can also be draining emotionally.  Because if you’re constantly catering to other people’s emotions or being their ‘cheerleader’, that leaves no opportunities to keep in touch with your own emotions.

Time alone can allow you time to gain a better perspective about your own happiness, while learning about what upsets or saddens you.  No emotion is a bad emotion because the more you know how negative emotions can affect you, the better prepared you’ll be in the future to handle them.

And a true strength of character comes from being able to overcome the hard times in your life.

Doing things for yourself

Who hasn’t been out with a friend or a group of people and had to give into someone else’s desire while setting aside your own desires or needs?  Whether you realise it or not, we all compromise to an extent when looking for a common solution.

But when you’re enjoying your alone time, it’s all about what you want to do because you have the freedom to decide for yourself.  It’s not necessarily about being selfish, but if you’re continually giving in to someone else’s needs, yours will never be fulfilled.  It’s all about the freedom to do what you want to do.

This also means focusing on your own happiness, although it doesn’t mean you’ll completely ignore other people’s needs as well.  You should know what makes you happy, because ultimately you shouldn’t be relying on someone else to ‘make’ you happy.

Be more productive

We all have things we need to get done in our personal lives – laundry, groceries, house cleaning, and so forth.  And while there are some things that would be fun to do with another person, sometimes you just can’t be truly productive when you’re constantly in someone else’s company.

Their presence will become distracting and your ‘to-do’ list will just keep growing and growing.

When you’re alone and getting things done, you’ll find you’re more focused and able to get some work done.  And the only one that’ll be able to distract you is you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder..

How are you going to miss someone’s company if they’re constantly by your side?  And do you really want to spend so much time together that you run the risk of getting on each other’s nerves or possibly even getting sick of each other?

A routine is one thing, but being together 24/7 means you literally get no space for yourself or to take care of your own needs as per the above.  But when you’re spending some time apart – even if it’s just an hour a week – that time together becomes more important and you’ll appreciate it more.

Independence Day

The independence that comes from doing certain activities alone – like going on holiday by yourself – can be absolutely electrifying.  And not only will it help reduce any anxiety about being alone, but it’ll also boost your confidence.

And feeling independent can be truly empowering.

Stop apologising

Spending time alone means you don’t have to apologise to anyone for what you’ve done or about to do.  You can allow yourself the freedom to stop second-guessing your actions or worrying if you’re upsetting someone else by doing what you want when you want it.

Trust your own instincts

All too often we’ll stop ourselves from making a decision or taking a particular action because we haven’t run it by a friend or loved one first.  We’ll look to them for validation that we’re taking the right course of action, or perhaps for some advise on what to do next.

And sometimes that is the right thing to do.

But honestly there are plenty of times where we’re completely capable of making a decision without someone else’s input, or need someone else to validate our choices.  And when you’re spending more time alone, you’ll trust yourself more, and be more confident in making decisions without someone else’s two-cents.

This post was inspired by — When You Start to Enjoy Being Alone, These 10 Things Will Happen.

Friends Aren’t Always Forever

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Part of reason I wrote my recent post ‘Friendship Can Be Fleeting‘ was because I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the friendships that have dropped by the wayside over the past year or so.  And some of these friendships were ones that I had expected to last the test of time.

Growing up I didn’t have a lot of truly close friends.  Or at least nobody I could really call my ‘best friend’.  It was usually more about groups of friends all hanging out together, with some hanging out together more than others but I wasn’t always included in that.

But since moving to London, I’d met two different guys that I thought would be there until the end.  We’d talk almost daily about all sorts of shit, even if it was just to bitch about something stupid at work.  And it’s been the relatively recent loss of each of them that has been playing on my mind a bit.

Obviously when I say ‘loss’, I don’t mean that I misplaced them or they’ve passed away or something disastrous happened between us (at least not from my perspective).  They’re just not around any more.  The calls, texts, and messages have withered up and dried up.

And in one case, their profile has suddenly disappeared from my Facebook.

Man And Woman Help Silhouette In MountainsThe first guy is the one that hurts the most, as we’d been friends for over 8 years.  We’d always promised we’d be there for each other no matter what, even if one of us started a new relationship.

We’d been super close for many years and used to go away on weekends together (he lives in Scotland).  We even used to spend out birthdays together each year (2 days apart).

The last time we saw each other was on our birthday weekend in Brighton almost 2 years ago, and he’d been a bit out of it.  He finally told me a few months later that he’d been distracted as there was someone at his work he really fancied… and it was a woman.

I’d only known him as gay, so was a bit shocked initially but it didn’t change anything.  I didn’t care that he was suddenly interested in a woman instead of guys. I was just as encouraging regarding his feelings towards this woman as I would have been if it was a man.

Love is love, after all.

And all through the initial dating bits, I was still there as normal.  I listened to his insecurities and gave advise where I could, and so forth.  And I waited for details on how their first date went.  As normal.

But once they actually started dating, the messages from him slowly started to petter out until the point where a general message went unanswered by him for months. At one point when things were a bit rocky between them, suddenly he was there again to chat.. but then it was back to silence once they got back together.

20130206112854socially-awkwardOh, and they’ve come to London together twice since they got together, and I only found out after the fact or once I’d seen it on Facebook.  There was no suggestion of me meeting his lady friend.

One of the last actual conversations we had, he was trying to get me to become Facebook friends with one of his mates up in Scotland (that I’d met once years ago).  Because his mate needed other ‘gay friends’.

Riiight…

He’d recently promised to be in touch on a certain day to chat.. but that was over a week ago and I’ve not heard anything.  It’s almost seemed like he’s tried to distance himself from all his old gay friends…

As for the other guy, well… I kinda saw it coming to an extent, as he’d done it before.

We’d first met over 5 years ago when I lived in Vauxhall, and initially we were casually seeing each other for a bit before he cooled things off because ‘he didn’t want a boyfriend’, and then ended up with a boyfriend within a couple months.

A year or two later we had a bit of a blow up after a night out at a club where he ditched me to head home with his ‘neighbour’ (he was single again at this point).  I wrote about it in a fit of anger at the time (click HERE to read), which he subsequently read and blasted me for.

That was the first time he’d ‘dumped’ my friendship.

Then a couple years ago he’d messaged me out of the blue, and after awhile we ended up being just friends again.  In fact, during a quite low period of mine he was one of the few people that had stayed by me, allowing me to rant and rave about my feelings.

39th-birthday-cheaters-250But then things started to change once he started working from home, as he stopping hanging out socially with me.  In fact, he wouldn’t even come out for my birthday last year because he wasn’t feeling ‘social’ and had too much work to do.

Communication between us started to become less frequent, and when I did hear from him, it was like he was completing a chore. Like he felt obligated to check in on me or something.

And when we would talk, he would always try to deflect any discussions about his life.  And would seem like he barely listened to what I was saying based one his responses.  It was odd.

In the last conversation we had end of July, he briefly mentioned that he’d started a new job and had moved flats to a different part of London.. over a month prior! And when I asked why he hadn’t told me sooner, he said ‘I’m telling you now’ as if I was prying.

During that conversation it was clear he wasn’t listening or interested in what I was saying, but when I’d said something about being unhappy at work, he responded ‘that’s good’. I’d called him on it at the time, but it was brushed off once again..

And that was it.  It wasn’t too long after that I noticed that he’d either deleted his Facebook profile or had blocked me.

Ummm.. bye?

Obviously I’m well aware that changes happen in all of our lives, and sometimes people do drift apart.  But regardless of how it happens, it still hurts when you’re the one left behind wondering what happened.

It can make life quite lonely when it feels like there’s nobody to talk to on a regular basis.

Friendship can be Fleeting

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Some friends come, some friends go.  And some friends are there for the long haul.  But sometimes, no matter what you do, the friendship may end.  It could be due to some toxic behaviour from one of you, or it could be a change in one of your lives.

It’s not a matter of loving each other any less, but being willing to understand when a friendship is at it’s end.  Or even recognising when it’s already over and not worth your time to try and save.

Regardless of how a friendship ends, it can sometimes really hurt and be confusing.  So here are a few things to look out for when that fleeting friendship is actually dying a slow death…

It’s exhausting

Spending time with your friends should be fun, exciting, and make you look forward to seeing them again, even when things aren’t going so well.  But if you find you’re coming away from seeing a friend constantly drained, emotionally and physically, it could be that they’re sucking the life right out of you.

Some friends are just emotional vampires, and any time spent together is all about them or their problems.  These people are needy and will latch onto anyone who’ll give them any attention.

Jealous of your happy

Whenever something good is happening in your life, one of the first things anyone wants to do is to share it with their friends.  We all enjoy sharing our happy moments alongside all the rest of it, and a true friend should be happy when something goes well for you, regardless of what is going on in their life.

But if that friend is continually trying to bring you down or is expressing jealousy because their life isn’t going as well as yours, then that’s not someone you want in your corner.  A solid friend should be a cheerleader for your accomplishments (and vice versa) without any thought about their own issues.

Always one-sided

Best_FriendsTruly good friends will always be there for each other through the thick and thin.  They’ll be their cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on, someone they can vent to, and ultimately, their rock.  We all go through tough periods and it’s important to have the right support when you’re going through a bad patch.

But if you find that you’re always listening to your friend’s issues and they aren’t letting you get a word in about what’s going on with you, then perhaps you need to let that selfish friend go.  Same goes if they never ask what’s going on with you (because they’re too busy talking about themselves), or don’t seem to even register what you do say (cause they’re not really listening).

Friendships may teeter back and forth, but ultimately it needs to truly be two-sided.

They put you down

All friends tend to roast each other to an extent.  It’s playful and always meant in good humour, never anything malicious or to purposely put someone down.  But sadly there are those out there who’ll always have something negative to say about you to bring you down.  Perhaps it makes them feel better about themselves, but regardless of why they do it, it’s toxic and they’re a friend you shouldn’t want to keep.

True friends always have your best interest at heart.

Mooches will always mooch

truly caresWe all have that friend who never seems to have any money on them to pay for drinks or dinner, or they say they’ll pay you back for those concert tickets but you never hear another word about it.  It’s one thing if it happens on occasion, but when it’s all the time it can become quite annoying to be chasing after them.

These people may not mean anything bad by it, and sometimes they don’t even realise they’ve done it.  But in the end you can only take so much of these flighty, forgetful friends.  And unfortunately, good luck getting your money back.

They’re overly demanding

It’s one thing to be a bit needy on occasion during a rough patch, but it’s completely different when you try to fully monopolise a friend’s time to the point where they can’t maintain other friendships or relationships.

When a friend is overly possessive, it generally means they’re insecure about your friendship and they’ll allow their jealousy to show.  Some may get so attached that they’ll freak out at the thought of you having other friends (let alone a relationship), and they could even try to sabotage things.

Best thing to do – run away.  Now.

Life moves on

Sometimes a friendship will end solely because life has changed for one or both of you.  People will change and grow over time, or perhaps one of your interests have changed.  It may suck when it happens, but it’s not like there’s a particular thing you can blame it on, as it just happens.  Some people just drift apart.

A lot of the time when this happens, one or both of you will be singing the hymn “We need to catch up soon!”, but it never really happens.  It could be that one of you has found a new social circle, or there’s a new relationship that’s occupying their time, or you no longer live near each other.  It’s just life really.

bad-friends-pic-3It’s ok to feel sad or confused when a friendship ends, but allow yourself the time to get past it.  Understand what changed and then move on.  There is no point dwelling on something that has already happened and can’t be changed.

This post has been influenced by – http://www.thelist.com/17938/tell-friendship/

Be Happy – How to Stress Less

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Life can be stressful and chaotic, but generally only if you allow it to be.  Sometimes you need to just slow down and take things one at a time.

They say that people’s lives can become happier once they’ve decided to be happy.  That may be simplistic, but perhaps it’s a matter of facing life with a more positive outlook.

Give yourself a clear direction

All too often, life can get muddled and a lack of direction can cause stress in our lives.  Who hasn’t complained there wasn’t enough time in a day or how the week has flown by.  Your week was the same length as anyone else’s, but the difference is how focused you’ve been during it.

We all have things we’d like to achieve, but sadly most don’t take the time to set a clear plan to reach that target.  It’s time to get focused, clear your conscious, and really understand what you want to achieve and why.  Otherwise, you’ll continue to flounder and not get anywhere.

Focus your productivity

If-you-do-not-change-directionIt’s all too easy to get bogged down in the minute, unimportant things that clutter our ‘to-do’ lists, which means we just end up leaving the important stuff to the end.

This will leave you constantly feeling like you’re not getting anywhere because the big items continually get moved to the next list.

Instead, focus on the big things first.  If something is truly important, urgent or difficult to complete, then prioritise it.  Because generally when you complete the big stuff, the smaller, less important things can sometimes fall to the wayside.

Perfection doesn’t exist

Everybody is way too obsessed with getting things in life absolutely perfect all the time, which in turn may hinder the progress you’re trying to make.  And way too many of us focus on the destination or end result without enjoying the journey along the way.

When working towards a goal or target, there’s never a guarantee of progression or even success at achieving a specific outcome.  If life was truly set out as a check-list of how to get ahead in life, we’d all be super successful and presumably ‘happy’.

But the reality of it is that there are no rules on how to succeed or to be happy, and no two people’s ideal of ‘perfect’ will be exactly the same.  Just enjoy the journey itself, and allow yourself to learn from the progress as it happens.

Forgive and forget

NEGATIVEWe all do it – continually replay the day’s events or some unpleasant conversation over and over in our heads to analyse each detail.  But other than dealing with immediate issues, what’s the point in reinforcing the negative aspects of your day, letting them to lay heavy on your heart.

It may sound easier than it is, but you’ve just to just let it go.  All of it – the regrets, the snubs, the rude or disparaging remarks, the distractions – and allow yourself to end each day cleansed of the negativity.

And this includes your own untrue or negative thoughts towards yourself.  It’s all the same in the end.  When you change your thoughts, you change your life.

Same goes for stress

Life is a challenge, and it can get really hard along the journey.  And that’s okay, as it’s the stresses we face daily that build us up and make us stronger to better face the even harder challenges up ahead.

The point is not to let the stress take you over and ruin your day.  Which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Think about stress as if you’ve reached a room with 2 exits – one that relives the stress of the day, and the other where you move on with your life.  Why wouldn’t you take the second door?

One step at a time

Some say one of the steps to happiness is having a fit, healthy body, but is that just enforcing society’s ideals on how you should live your life and look?  We all know that a good workout is great for your peace of mind (as well as your body, obviously), and the endorphin release can help sharpen your mind’s focus.

CarrotBut is that it?  Is that the answer to all of our problems and the key to happiness?  Hardly, but it is important to take care of yourself – both inside and out, mentally and physically – and regular exercise of some sort can only be a positive thing.

Just don’t get so wrapped up in ‘being fit and healthy’ that you become oblivious to other factors that contribute to your happiness.

Treat yourself

It’s endearing to do something special for our loved ones, but when was the last time you did something special for yourself?  It doesn’t have to be anything big but something simple like taking a walk, doing something you truly enjoy, reading a book, making your favourite meal, and so forth.

All too often we spend our energies putting other people’s needs ahead of our own, almost to the point where we forget to take care of our own happiness.  It’s not necessarily about being selfish, but you do need to put your own needs first on occasion.

K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple…

Way too many people will over-book their lives to the point where they literally have zero wiggle room when things pop up.  They’ll organise their diaries to the point where they have to book time in with friends or loved ones weeks or months in advance.

There’s no spontaneity, no last minute plans, no spur of the moment day trips, and literally no room for yourself.

How is that really any fun?

Obviously you don’t want to go so far as to under-plan your life, but do allow yourself a bit of regular breathing space and time each week to focus on you.  It gives you more flexibility in your own life, and when those surprise invites pop up you might actually be able to accept them.

This post was influenced by – 9 Things Happy People Do to Stress Less.

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Digital Dating – Tips for Your Online Profile

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In this day and age, it’s rare to find anyone who’s actively looking for dates, mates or anything in between who doesn’t have an online profile of some sort.  Hell, most partnered or married guys I know have one as well (joys of open relationships..).

No matter what you’re looking for – casual dates, random hook-ups, something more long term – there’s something to be said about how you present yourself online.  Your online profile is like your calling card, and if you leave it blank or too vague, then you may not get the results you’re looking for.

I don’t think there’s an exhaustive list of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ when it comes to all this, but it doesn’t hurt to bear a few things in mind when creating your online presence.  It’s all about giving a brief, general snapshot of yourself to get someone interested.

Put a clear profile photo

The whole point of a profile picture is to determine compatibility and whether you’re attracted to the other person.  If you’re not willing to show who you are, then why the hell are you even online to begin with?

awkwardAdmittedly, it could be the situation where the person isn’t out for whatever reason and is afraid if they’re found online they could lose their job, family, or any other things.  Or perhaps they’re married/partnered and only online looking for a bit of fun on the side, and they’re afraid their ‘honey’ will catch them (run away.. run far far away..).

But then there are those who’ll refuse to put up a pic or even sent one once you’re chatting, but insist that you should meet.  At your place because they can’t host (or be seen with a man in public..).  All without you know what they look like.

Sounds like a recipe for trouble.

Know and disclose your status

It’s astounding how, in this day and age of awareness, that there are still guys out there who don’t know their HIV status and don’t do anything to find out.  It may not be ‘fun’ getting yourself tested, but isn’t that better than suddenly finding out you’ve been infected and have no clue when or how?

Not only that, but there seems to be this ignorant stigmatism that anyone who’s HIV+ is somehow ‘unclean’.  It’s not like it’s something you can wash away with a  vigorous shower.  And let’s be honest, you’re more likely to get infected by someone who doesn’t even know their status than someone who’s aware, on meds, and probably has a low/non-existent viral load because of it.

And if you don’t want to date someone who’s positive?  Well, then don’t.  Just don’t be an uneducated idiot by using the word ‘clean’.

Preferences don’t allow racial profiling

grindrEvery guy out there has an idea or fantasy of what their perfect guy looks like, and for many that can include their potential partner’s race or ethnicity.  Who hasn’t seen profiles with ‘No Blacks/Asians/Arabs/etc’ on them.  And all that’s doing is limiting yourself to your own prejudices.

Types can change over time.  And just because you hadn’t previously had experiences with someone from a certain ethnicity, it doesn’t mean that you won’t in the future.  And to specifically put that on your profile, then you’re just showing how closed minded you can be.

And on that note….

‘Masc4Masc Only’ or ‘No fats, no femmes’

Once again, regardless how much you may say this is your preference, but to someone reading you profile it could be a blow to their self-esteem.

images11One of the great things about life these days is there are no set rules for what is masculine or how a man should act.  Life is quite gender fluid, even if it’s within your own gender.  It’s buying into and reinforcing those gender stereotypes we’ve all fought so hard to get past.

And though you might say it’s not your problem, by being dismissive and bitchy towards someone you may not be physically attracted to just reinforces the body-shaming issues they may already be dealing with.

If someone you’re not attracted to gives you a compliment, then just politely accept it and move on.  Simple.

Don’t massage the figures

We’ve seen it.. guys who lie on their profiles about their age, weight, height, or even their cock size all in fear of being rejected.  However, what’s the point?  All that’ll happen is you’ll end you being rejected for lying about any of those things, and not the item you had issue with itself.

If there’s something you’re afraid guys will judge you on, then why not just omit it to begin with?  If it’s something that comes up in conversation down the line, then you can choose whether you want to reveal the information.

And along the same lines, what’s the point of using a photo taken several years ago that no longer looks anything like you?  All you’re doing is setting yourself up for awkwardness later on and possible rejection.

In the end the best thing to do is just be honest, project a positive outlook on life, and ultimately just be yourself.  Because after all, it’s the real you want them to fall for.

This post has been influenced by — Five things no gay man should put on their dating app profile

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Dating Tips for the Gay Singleton

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Whether you’re newly single or have been single for what feels like an eternity, getting back into the dating scene can seem intimidating.  Some seem to think that the second you become single that you should be immediately jumping on the apps or hitting the bars looking for your next relationship.

However there’s no set rule as to how long you should stay single before jumping back into it all.  Or even what you should do to get back out there.  Sometimes taking that time to be single and enjoy your own life can be beneficial, and your body/mind/soul will tell you when it’s time to get back in the game.

Now, I’m no expert on the dating scene – if I was, I probably wouldn’t be single myself LOL – but here are a few tips on how to put yourself out there and maybe actually enjoy it.

Don’t stress about it

characters-couple-happy-love-single-Favim.com-57296All too often when guys try to get back out there after a period of singledom, they tend to put too much pressure on themselves to ‘get it right this time’, so to speak.

Let’s be honest – dating can be awkward, uncomfortable or downright silly at times, and there’s no point adding pressure on yourself to ‘do well’ right out of the box.

If anything, you should be allowing yourself to just have some fun, see where things lead you, and not worry if it could end with a marriage proposal let alone a second date.

The more you stress over it, the more uncomfortable you’ll feel about the date and the more reluctant you’ll be to even bother trying.

Get out there and mingle

It’s never easy getting back out there on the scene, and one of the difficult things is figuring out where to meet new, interesting, compatible people who you might be interested in romantically.  And asking your mates if there’s someone to set you up with isn’t an option, as it could make them uncomfortable.

Instead, get yourself out there and mingle with people you wouldn’t normally meet on a regular Friday night at the local pub.  Perhaps joining a social group with a similar interest could open up a whole new world of people that you could relate to. And if you don’t meet anyone romantically, it’ll at least give you an opportunity to meet someone for a new friendship.

Speaking of new friends…

All too often, guys will go looking for a new romantic partner without allowing themselves to be open to a new friendships.  Not every new guy you’ll meet will be compatible romantically, so why would you limit your ‘search’ to just new romantic partners?

The best ideas for gay datesWhen going out on the scene again after a break, it’s inevitable that you’ll meet some amazingly interesting guys but there won’t be any romantic spark.  Or perhaps there’ll be guys you’ll meet you’ll initially be interested in but it doesn’t turn out.

No point just dropping them on the wayside, as you never know when you’ll meet that great new best friend.

And perhaps that might be the best approach to take, just looking for a new friend or two, and see where things lead.

Go out and have fun!!

Way too often, guys will plan dates as a way to make a good first impression on the other, and will make choices about the date with only that other person in mind.  Or they’ll act a certain way because they believe the other guy will like them more for that ‘first date persona’ than the real them.

Don’t allow the date to be more about one or the other person’s interests, but instead organise it around something you both enjoy.  Talk to each other during the planning stages to figure out some common interests and go from there.. even if it’s just going for a pint at a pub.

Learn from the rejections

Let’s be fair, not every date you’ll go on will be a home run.  And sometimes it’ll be bad, really bad, ending in you being rejected by the other guy.  And that is ok.  Rejection is part of life, especially when you’re out there trying to date, so why let it get you down?

Instead try to learn from it.  Accept the rejection for what it is – incompatibility – and a way to learn more about what you do want in a new partner.  The more you think on it, the less likely you’ll be to move forward and meet someone truly interesting.

This post has been inspired by — 5 Gay Dating Tips For Men Who’ve Been Long Term Single – Gay Pop Buzz

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Dating and the Fat Man

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The other day I was surfing around a site sent to me by my fellow blogger Ivan (ivansblogworld.wordpress.com), and the below article title caught my eye.

7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

YES!!  I’m not the only one who finds it a struggle!  Maybe this would be the article that would truly get me.

Quick recap – I’m a 43 year old fat gay man who’s never been in an actual relationship.  I’ve only ever dated guys casually for a bit before they would claim I was getting ‘too attached’ and only wanted something casual.. which usually ended with them having a new boyfriend within about 6 months.

So.. I opened this article hoping to gain some mutual insight into what I’ve gone through in my dating life.  That it was going to be validation for all the years I’ve felt marginalised for whatever reason.  And as I read the first couple of lines I thought I’d found a kindred spirit as there were a lot of similarities.

fat-manBoy… could I have been even more WRONG!!!

The more I read, the more I realised this wasn’t me or my experiences.  Instead, this was someone who’s allowed himself to become so dismissive of himself, his weight, and the gay community that he’s allowed his negativity to feed into his own fat-shaming.

It was to the point where he was obsessive about it.  And he was absolutely adamant that this was the truth for all chubby gay men out there.

Well, No.  His experiences sure as hell haven’t been mine.

So based on his article, I’d like to give my experiences over the years and how I’m feeling.  These aren’t facts or anything other than my observations, and I would never allude that anyone else should feel exactly the same.

Smaller Target Audience

I learned after a few years (and a bit of heartbreak) that there really is a smaller target for bigger guys like me, regardless of what type of guys I found physically attractive… and it sure as hell wasn’t other bigger guys like me (lesbian bears, as I like to call them haha).

At first I thought, because of my own fat-shaming, that I’d have to settle for whomever was willing to have sex with me.  That I was truly ugly and unattractive, so I’d have no real choice in the matter.  But then I found the bear community and the chasers… and I was meeting some pretty gorgeous guys.  And who’d complain about that?  😉

Loneliness is best served cold.. with gravy

Like probably a lot of people out there who have weight issues, I tended to turn to food as compensation when I was feeling down or bad about something.  It was an instant gratification while trying to justify my bad food choices.

Who munches on celery sticks when they’re feeling down?  LOL

Fat_ManBut this is something I’ve recently started working on, mostly because I was starting to feel like my weight had gotten out of control (partly due to quitting smoking I think).  I’m taking it day by day to ensure I’m making good food choices and pairing it was regular exercise (walking part way to/from work).

It’s only been about 2 weeks, but I’m feeling good about it and need to keep it going.

I’m one hell of a hermit

I don’t think I’ve used my weight as an excuse not to go out and be social.  Instead I’ve allowed my laziness to justify why I’ll spend a weekend at home having a Netflix marathon alone.

I think my hermit-ism is more due to my own feelings of being left out by people, and not taking the issue in hand to do something about it (see previous post).  I know there are places I can go and potentially run into someone I know (KA in Soho for instance), but I’ll let my laziness to justify why it’s a waste of time spending an hour travelling into town on the ‘chance’ of meeting someone I knew.  Or someone new.

And that’s not good.

I do alright, sexually.. sometimes

I know I sometimes moan about how I’m not getting laid as much as I’d like to, or even as much as I used to a few years ago.  But at no point have I ever said it’s because I’m fat.  Sure that may limit my possibilities, but it shouldn’t ever stop me.

And no, unlike the original article’s author, I have never paid for sex.  Fuck no.

Instead I know my lack-luster love life is down to my own laziness and not putting myself out there as much as I used to.  If I’m sitting at home all the time, how am I going to meet someone one new and exciting?  Sure, there are the dating apps, but mostly I’m only going to get the same group of guys within my immediate area.

naked-men-in-bedA compliment is a compliment

I’ve never been that great at accepting compliments from guys, mostly due to my own low self-esteem.  Usually I’d just assume they were saying these things just so they could have sex with me (and some of them might have been..).

But I think I’ve done well to get past that somewhat and accept a compliment for what it is.  And if the other person isn’t being sincere, then that’s on them.  I’m not going to spend my precious time over-thinking everything a guy says to me just to figure out if it’s real or not.

We’re homophobic towards each other

I’ve been living out and proud for over 20 years now, and it still never astounds me how much as a community we put ourselves down by ostracising our own sub-sects or stereotypes.

no fatWho hasn’t been to a Gay Pride and watched as all the muscular pretty boys in their little hot-pants get all the cheers and catcalls, while anyone who doesn’t fit that ‘society-approved norm’ basically gets ignored.

However I won’t allow that to affect how I feel about myself.  I go to Pride most years and have a laugh, usually ending up at the bear bar drinking in the streets with everyone else.  And I just get on with my life without allowing other people’s perceptions of who they think I am stop me from having fun.

Never assume to know someone

True, I look like the stereotypical little bear, but that doesn’t mean you know who I am based on someone you’ve known in the past who has a similar look.  Or that because I’m above a certain age with a bit of grey in my beard that I must be a ‘daddy’.  Or that because I’ve attended several naturist parties that I’d be interested in going to an orgy.

It’s all bullshit.  Not one aspect of my life wholly defines me as a person.

BUT…. if I’m being truly honest, I’ve been just as guilty of it as anyone else.  I would see some pretty, young ‘twink’ and immediately think they must be a self-absorbed, fashion-obsessed, obnoxious airhead.  Or that some beefy, muscled out gym-bunny must be dumb as a bag of hammers.  And so forth.

Sadly, this is something we all have to struggle with on a daily basis.  We’ve grown up buying into the stereotypes just as much as we’ve been fighting to get past them, and sometimes still treat people of similar backgrounds as gay clones.


So… what now?

Well, not much really.

It’s not like I wrote this to work through some issue or to justify my actions.  It was more of an exercise to prove that not everyone’s experiences are the same, no matter how many factors you may have in common.

CarrotHowever I do think it’s helped show me that, although my dating life is pretty stagnant at the moment, it truly hasn’t been all that horrible.  That despite never having that relationship I’ve always wanted, I still have met some amazing guys – and yes, some assholes too – that have made the journey so far worth it.

Yeah, shocking as it is, I’m actually feeling somewhat positive about my dating past and the potential for the future.  And that it’s just a matter of getting my lazy ass out there again. LOL

Source: 7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

Stopping Self-Sabotage

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We all have things in life we’d like to achieve, be them certain dreams or goals, but never reach them.  Or perhaps started multiple projects but never finished them.  External factors withstanding, it may be the only thing that is standing between you and your success or progression in life is YOU.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions or even being the utmost capable, you could be sabotaging your own success.  And this could be from a variety of things – negative self-belief, unhealthy behaviours, fear of failure (or success), or any combination thereof.

This lack of confidence in yourself means you are your own worse enemy in your life, and maybe it’s time to tame that vicious beast once and for all.

Discover the ‘why’

Surprising as it may sound, some people actually self-sabotage out of habit or to keep themselves within a certain ‘comfort zone’.  It’s not necessarily intentional, not do they even really realise they’re doing it, but it can become somewhat routine.

One of the hardest things to determine is why you’re doing it and identify the areas it’s affecting.  You have to really dig deal inside to identify the basis for feeling unworthy or for shooting down your own success before you’ve even tried.  It could just something as simple as your own inner negativity attacking yourself due to a fear of rejection, ridicule or any number of self-limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from achieving your goals.

When in doubt, write it out

Journal_writing_coffee_journal_millsOne of the many benefits of keeping a journal, be it online in the form of a blog or even an old-school physical notebook, is that it allows you to fully explore things you’re feeling or situations you find yourself in, and you can take your time to extrapolate how you think or feel about them.

Basically, think of it as free therapy.

When it comes to this sort of journaling, it’s more about allowing yourself the space to write freely and express yourself openly without concern of judgement or over analysis.  You may want to keep all this person and for yourself (as opposed to publishing online for the world to read.. ), but this a decision only you can make.

And it’s not about being creative or writing to an audience.  This is truly and only about you and how you’re feeling or thinking.  It’s all about the expressing of your thoughts.  It could just a couple lines, or a couple pages.  Or it even could just be a doodle.

It’s your journal so you make the rules after all.

Don’t talk yourself out of it

Whether you realise it or not, you talk to yourself every day.  We all tend to have an ongoing inner monologue going on as the day progresses.  It could be about your behaviour, something you’ve overheard, thoughts about what to have for dinner, criticism of your own performance, or any number of things we all think about daily.

Self attackUnfortunately, this inner chatter can frequently turn negative, which in turn can demolish your self-worth and self-esteem.  And sometimes you don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s too late, and you’re already reinforcing any negative limitations you’ve placed on what you’re capable of in life.

It could arise in the form of guilt over some past experience, anxiety over something still to come, or hopelessness at our current situation.  Basically you have to be more aware of how often you talk down to yourself in your head, and actively adjust to thinking differently to build a more positive attitude about yourself.

No more apples and oranges

be diferentWho doesn’t compare their lives to those around them, and then start feeling inadequate or lazy because we haven’t achieved the same levels as someone else.  By doing this, you’re saying to yourself that the other person is ‘worth more’ than you, that they’re better than you.  And it’s utterly unrealistic.

This constant comparison is demotivating and will only lead you to feeling worse about yourself.  You’re lessening your own self-worth along with your own beauty or potential for greatness.  You need to remember that everyone is different, and that is what makes your life so unique – nobody else in the entire world has lived it!

So instead of imitating someone else’s success or behaviours, be true to yourself.  Realise your own authentic self and be proud of what you’ve achieved, or where you’re headed in life.

Be your own best friend.

You’ve all heard this before – you need to stop giving everyone else around us all of your life, time and attention, and start focusing on yourself.  You need to start allowing yourself time to be self-nurturing and truly enjoy your own company.  Spend quality time doing what YOU enjoy, and stop trying to please everyone else around you.

a789bff55ac029875a2b8c3a39e681d2Self-sabotage causes us to overlook other people’s issue or mistakes, and then tear yourself down for doing the exact same thing.  Is this right or fair?  Of course not because it just reinforces those negative limitations you’ve placed on yourself.

Instead, take the time for self-discovery.  Enjoy the journey to exploring yourself and your true potential.  Remind yourself regularly (if not daily) that you are an amazing person and you deserve to be the best ‘you’ you can be.

This article has been influenced by — http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/stop-sabotaging-yourself-5-easy-steps.html

Stepping Up to Mental Wellbeing

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Everyone deals with stress, anxiety or depression in different ways, and there’s no true set rule on how to deal with any of them.  We’ve all read countless online self-help articles touting themselves as being the ultimate list of how to do this or that.. when in reality, most are just rehashes of the same things over and over again.

One thing does ring true though regardless of which articles you read – If you don’t at least give them a shot, then you’ll never know if they truly make you feel more positive about your life, or even help move you down the road to your own happiness.

Side note – Happiness isn’t necessarily a destination, but more of a state of being.  And everyone’s ideal of happiness is different, so find your own happiness. 🙂

What is mental wellbeing?

Per the below NHS site, mental wellbeing is defined as such:

“Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. But it’s far from the whole. Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are too.

“So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.

“Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult. But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”

Sarah Stewart-Brown, Professor of Public Health at the University of Warwick

Like anything in life, the more you put into something like your own well being, the more you’re likely to get out of it.  And if you’re waiting on someone else to ‘give’ you happiness, you’ll be waiting for your entire life.

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Steps to Mental Wellbeing

Below are a few suggestions we could all take to boost how we’re doing.  As previously mentioned, this isn’t an exhaustive list and some may work better for some people than others.

Connect with others

All too often when we’re feeling down or a bit blue, we’ll find ourselves pulling away from our loved ones.  Instead reach out to the people around you, be them family, friends, colleagues or neighbours.  Just be willing to make that step to open up the lines of communication.

Be active

This isn’t necessarily about going to the gym or starting some massive work out regime.  It’s more about just finding an activity that you enjoy and incorporate into you daily life – take a walk, go for a bike ride, go for a swim, and so forth.

Keep learning

Sometimes all you might need is to boost your own wellbeing is to engage your mind in something constructive.  It could be learning a new skill, taking a hobby class , getting that certification you’ve been dreaming about.  Or maybe just read that book gathering dust on your bedside table.

Volunteering your time

Being a volunteer in any capacity can not only help you feel like you’re contributing more to your community, but it’s a goldmine for networking.  But you don’t even have to go so far as to actually volunteer – sometimes the smallest thing, like smiling at a stranger or giving a kind word to something, can make the world a difference.

Be in the present

This could be called ‘mindfulness’, but it’s mostly about being aware of what is going around you at any given moment.  This can include the world around you, local/national/international politics, your thoughts or feelings, and most importantly, your own body.  However, don’t allow yourself to get so immersed in this that you block out other parts of life, as that’ll have an averse affect.

This post has been influenced by — Five steps to mental wellbeing – Stress, anxiety and depression – NHS choices

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