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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
I’ve read some of your articles and I believe you can help me. A few months ago I met Debbi, who shares many common interests with me. I like everything about her, such as her personality and looks. But I think I’ve already messed up. Hopefully you can help me to bounce back.
Debbi and I met in a bar and she was initially interested in my friend. Somehow we ended up talking, and I got her phone number. Later in the week I invited her over to a friend’s party. She showed up a little tipsy, but not completely drunk. She practically threw herself at me, but nothing happened between us. She ignored me for about a week, then out of the blue all she did for two weeks was call me every day wanting to talk for hours. That’s when I decided that I could really see a future with her. Then I did it: I told her I had feelings for her.
I called Debbi the next day but she was at work, couldn’t talk, and didn’t phone me for five days. What did I do wrong? I thought she felt the same about me as I did about her. I felt so stupid for opening up to her. Finally she called me and told me that she’d been busy and in a depressed mood. We got together at my place, kissed and that was all. She later revealed that when I told her my feelings for her it was a shock and she didn’t know how to respond.
Doc, I feel that telling Debbi my feelings set me back a few steps because she’s still acting standoffish. At this point what can I do to finally reel her in? Or is it a lost cause?
Lukie - who’s trying to back-peddle
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I think it’s very sweet that Debbi shares all these common interests with you. But I’ve got news for you -- there are lots of great relationships where the people involved have absolutely no interests in common. And the reason is because the woman has extremely high Interest Level.
I know you like everything about Debbi; otherwise you wouldn’t be talking about her, right? But instead of that, you should be telling me about all of her buying signals. What have I told you guys again and again? YOUR INTEREST LEVEL DOESN’T MATTER. ONLY HERS MATTERS.
As a matter of fact, Debbi was interested in your friend first. So how did this thing do a flip-flop? Why did she forget about your buddy? Or did he reject her, then she had two more shots, you were sitting there and she decided that you looked good too?
But you were so desperate that you didn’t care that she was chasing your friends. You invited this babe to another friend’s party. So now you’re doing a group date. That’s another cardinal rule you broke – NO GROUP DATES. But the good thing is that Debbi wasn’t completely bombed when she showed up.
Of course nothing happened when she threw herself at you. A gentleman would never take advantage of someone who could be the president of AA.
After vanishing for a few days – probably with one of your good friends -- finally Debbi broke down and called you every day wanting to gab for hours. To you Psych majors, inconsistent behavior means one of two things: you’ve got a woman with low Interest Level or a LOON on your hands.
Nevetheless, you see a future with Debbi. Dude, you can’t get to the first date with this girl and you’re already marrying her? Hel-lo?
The truth of the matter is that it didn’t hurt at all that you told Debbi you had feelings for her. Because her Interest Level had already dropped to 35% and then it plummeted to 5% after you shot your mouth off. Remember, you should never try to keep somebody who doesn’t want to go out on the first date.
Debbi was at work and couldn’t call you? You’re trying to soften the reality of the situation here, Lukie. She could have called you at lunch. She does get a lunch break, doesn’t she? Or, because she misses you so much, she could have told her boss, “I’ve got an emergency! Can I take five minutes off and run outside to the parking lot to talk on my cell phone?” Hey, she’s really into you, Lukie!
What did you do wrong with this girl? You never got to first base, man. Worse, you didn’t even hit the ball! You thought Debbi felt the same way about you? How can you tell -- by her actions? Or because all she can pull is a disappearing act?
Don’t worry about feeling stupid for opening up to Debbi. The good part is she won’t remember a thing about it because the next day she’ll have a hangover.
Now she’s depressed. So she’s an alcoholic and she’s popping pills for depression. Booze and pills -- there’s a great combo for a successful long-term romantic relationship!
Of course it was a shock when you revealed your feelings to Debbi, for one simple reason: hers weren’t the same as yours. That’s the NUMBER ONE FACT in the Dating Dictionary, Lukie. You better memorize it. Even if her Interest Level was 95% and yours was 85%, it still wouldn’t have worked out, but at least it wouldn’t have been as bad.
You think your big mouth set you back a few steps? Pal, you mean it set you back 100,000 miles! Sure, she’s standoffish. Her behavior is bound to waffle because her Interest Level is south of 50%.
Lukie, why would you want to reel this girl in? Why would you want a woman who has so many issues in your life? Like the great Doctor Freud once said, “Are you being rational?”
Here’s the best thing you can do: buy a bar.
Remember, guys: candy’s dandy, but Jack Daniels is quicker.
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