DEAR SUSAN: Those supposed "bad boys" are filling some need in girls' lives that makes them take notice — and feel special. Maybe it's only the cheap rush of danger; maybe it's sexual, but without a doubt, something strong gets their attention! (And nice guys rarely come on as strong!) Males who see themselves as "nice guys" should give up trying so hard to BE nice — and DO more. An interested person is an interesting person! Be the guy who's doing things in the world, who's truly interested in his work, who makes things happen. And guess what — he's nice, too. Females are drawn to a man who's interesting. And when niceness is also part of his persona, they'll fall at his feet.
DEAR BLOGGER: Here, here! It's about time nice guys got wise to the drawing power of the bad boys! Instead of focusing on their niceness (which the girls interpreted as being bland) the nice guy needs to be bolder and more assertive, less fearful of offending or contradicting. As you say, blogger, the good guy needs to learn from the bad guy: Take chances; do interesting things; have opinions. Show yourself to be a distinct person, involved in the world and interested in many things. Nice doesn't mean dull and boring. Make your life interesting for yourself and you'll attract like-minded friends (of both genders). In this world of sameness, have the courage to stand out. Be yourself — interesting, yes — and nice.
DEAR SUSAN: You advised the newly single woman to focus first on friendships and let dating come later, since she needs a support system most of all. And you're right. She can begin dating later, when she's more settled. But it's not easy. Making friends as an adult (no longer a student) takes conscious effort because most people have already established relationships that claim most of their time. That effort requires some time alone with your thoughts to come up with a plan of action. To help, the book "MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend" describes how Rachel Bertsche transplanted to a Midwestern city and went about creating a network of good friends. (Her system included once-weekly "friend-dates.") And as you're building friendships, you'll learn to take turndowns less personally and cast a wider net than originally planned, to avoid depending on a sole BFF. It's worth the effort!
DEAR BLOGGER: Your posting is the stuff of dreams — made solid, no airy-fairy phrases that boil down to empty cheerleading. On the contrary, your suggestions are solid, well-thought out and eminently doable. It's almost a given that many readers besides the newly single woman who inspired your advice will benefit from your words — myself included. One can never have too many friends, but going about finding them seems to get more and more difficult each year, given familial and personal obligations that proliferate. Even the oldest of friends can at times feel tiresome and outdated, despite the emotional attachments that anchor them in place. Refreshing one's roster of friends can call for annual culling and at least semi-annual rethinking. But don't be hasty to toss overboard.
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