David and I typically give friendly, nuanced advice backed by science. We also try to be polite and understanding of people’s dating and relationship problems.
We’re definitely not those “you suck at dating, now get with it!” kind of advice givers, even though we could easily join the chorus of dating experts sick of having to walk guys through every little detail of being attractive.
Yet, last week, like most weeks, people felt the need to take time out of their lives to write me nasty letters. However, I know why they do it. And, the reason they lash out at me is the same reason they’re single or in failing relationships.
A lot of men and women are single and hate it. So, they naturally ask the question, “why am I single?” Then, they go looking for answers. But, they don’t always like the answers they get. Hence, the nasty messages to me.
From my experience, when people are single and unhappy, they come at the issue from two opposite sides.
1. They Blame Others
When I was in university, I was completely convinced that I was single because I was great and everyone else was wrong for not seeing it. Sure, I wouldn’t have said those exact words, but it was my line of thinking. I see the same attitude out of men and women all the time.
“I can’t get dates because women only date jerks, not nice guys like me!”
“I just can’t get a date in [fill in city] because all the people here are stuck up!”
“I’m single because men just don’t appreciate an independent woman.”
“Society makes women hate fat guys, so I’m invisible to women.”
I’ve heard all of these statements or some variation countless times. Some are expressed more politely while others are relentlessly negative.
But, the implication is the same: I’m single because of some external factor. This could be societal norms, male/female attraction preferences, geographical location, and so on.
Of course, there might even be truth to the complaints. A guy living in a small town does have a more difficult time. A woman who has kids does date on hard mode. I’m not disputing that.
But, if you think you’re single solely because of external factors, you’re not going to ever improve your relationship outlook. Why? Because societal norms and attraction preferences aren’t changing anytime soon. You’ve ceded your dating success (or lack of it) to outside forces over which you exert no control.
2. They Look Inward
When I was in university, I was smart, hard working, and kind. Why couldn’t a woman see that and date me? Of course, I was also uptight, timid to make the first move, about 30 pounds overweight, and sweated so much at times, I’d have underarm stains.
So, naturally, I was single because women only dated losers and jerks and didn’t want to date smart, nice, hard-working guys like me! Yeah right.
I was single, which I know now, because women dated guys they found attractive. And, with my excess weight, bad attitude, profuse sweating, and timidity, I just wasn’t that attractive.
That’s why the second type of person asks “why am I single?” and looks in the mirror. They will see the good points (smart, hard working, kind), but they also find areas to improve. This is the type of individual who will ultimately improve their dating life.
David already wrote about the fixed mindset and dating, but I’ll give you a refresher. People who blame others for their problems have what psychologists call a “fixed mindset.” They believe that they “are who they are” and they can’t change themselves.
So, they are fat because of “genetics,” not because they overeat. They are timid with women, but that’s just their personality. And, so on.
People with a fixed mindset spend their time confirming their already held traits and finding ways to justify them.
So, a chronically single person reads one of my articles and, even though it’s not combative or mean, it still recommends personal change to be more attractive and what do they do? They deny it or refuse to believe it.
Or, the angry ones write me a nasty letter telling me how I’m an idiot for suggesting their trait isn’t attractive, even though every study out there and their own personal experience tell them it’s not attractive.
You can see how people with a strong fixed mindset have to blame the outside world for their troubles. If they truly believe they can’t change or change isn’t possible, then they only have one way to cope with loneliness and chronic lack of dates. That way is to constantly try to prove to others they they are “right” and everyone else is “wrong.”
The other option is a growth mindset. People who have this line of thinking are more concerned with reaching certain outcomes than justifying their current condition. So, a person with a growth mindset will look at the obstacle (a lack of dates) and find ways to change to overcome that obstacle. By the way, here’s a great talk on fixed vs. growth mindset. It’s worth watching if you’re confused or want to learn more.
For those with a growth mindset, defending their traits is irrelevant if those attributes hold them back from achieving their goals.
For example, a fixed mindset person would say, “I’m obese, so I’ll never get hot women.” He would then complain on social media about women liking jerks and being shallow and superficial. He might also post a few memes about how “fat guys do it better” trying to get women to accept him “as is.” Granted, he would never date someone he didn’t find attractive, but that’s another article!
A growth mindset guy would, on the other hand, work to lose weight by hitting the gym and eating healthily. He would accept himself and love himself for sure, but he would still recognize that ultimately being thinner is considered more attractive and healthier.
He knows that if he wants to attract beautiful women, he has to adapt to the realities…not defend himself constantly and try to badger others into changing their minds to pretend that he is the exception to the rule.
So, if you’re asking why you’re single, this article might get you angry, especially if you’re in the fixed mindset and blame others for your problems. You can probably tell me all the external reasons you’re single and they’re mostly things you can’t change.
And, you might get offended by me saying that you have room to improve. If it makes you feel better, I tell myself I need to improve on many things everyday.
But, if you are wondering why you’re single and want to do something about it, you can start by adapting the growth mindset and recognizing that you’re single, at least partly, because of you. But, that also means change is possible and within you. Adopting the growth mindset is liberating.
It doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect or go from unattractive to a stud overnight. But, it does mean, through a little effort, you can make small and large changes to become more attractive.