Steve Schappell-My Blog

Friday, April 29, 2011

THE LIST…

This was something that my friend Trisha and I have talked about doing for some time now.  I was going to post on Facebook via the message option and then along came this blog.

We talked about listing what we are looking for in a person, put in list form and map it out.

These are in no particular order and are attributes and or items, if possessed, would be a deal breaker.  I realize that no one will have all of the following, but it may give you some insight into my inner workings.  I am leaving out items like an age range, height, and weight.  You’ll understand when you read it.

So without further Adieu, I present to you THE LIST….

-A Christian.  One who believes in the Lord and Christ regardless of what religion they are
-Have good morals and values at their core
-Loves kids
-Respects others
-Is compassionate and sincere
-Can be flirty and sexy
-Loves to laugh, in public or alone
-Confidence….(a really big thing for me)
-Comfortable for who they are in any situation
-Not jealous or possessive
-Accepting of others and their flaws
-Non smoker (major deal breaker if you do…will go no further)
-Likes to kiss, hold hands, and make out
-A friend first, then a lover, partner and best friend
-Enjoys long walks, the outdoors, hiking, the beach, or mountains
-Likes to try new things, not easily bored
-Not manipulative
-Comfortable in sweats and a T as they are dressed to the 9’s
-Knows their priorities in life and what they want
-Is romantic and will let the man take the lead…occasionally
-Enjoys movies
-Is honest and genuine, no pretense
-Likes to snuggle….enjoys hugs
-Can be intense about the right things
-Enjoys the small things in life and is optimistic
-Stays active and takes care of themselves
-Smiles
-Can get lost in my eyes and potentially see forever
-Enjoys sports
-Has a little bit of geek inside
-Accepts me for who I am
-Wants to be with a genuinely nice guy

Oh, I am sure there are more and maybe I will add to it.  But for now, this is THE LIST.  Any questions? 

Reflection....

I'll bring my geek out a little here...

Early on in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there is a scene with Admiral Kirk and Dr. McCoy in San Francisco.  It's the Admiral's upcoming birthday and he is given a pair of reading glasses as a present.  When asked by the Dr. how he feels, Kirk responds that he feels old....worn out.

Later near the end of the movie after the villain is dispatched, and the loss of Spock, his best friend....he watches the creation of the "Genesis" planet form.  (You have to see the movie to understand)
When asked by the Dr. how he feels, he responds this way  "Young.  I feel young...as when the world was new."

In  my last post, I had an interesting start to my week and had to change perspective.

Age is just a number.  We have all heard that.  I truly believe that I do not look nor act my age, and that can be a good thing.  As I get older and approach my birthday, I go through a short time when I feel old, slightly worn out.  The occasional daily pressures of work and home, obligations, fixing up the house, relatives, dating (or attempting to), can add up.

Inevitably  as we get older, our morality occasionally comes up.  Now personally  I believe I am still young and not yet at the halfway point in my life.  I intend to live past 100 or be swept up when Christ returns.  I'll take either option.  And knowing where I will go when I die makes death lose it's sting.  "O grave where is thy victory, O death where is thy sting."

God puts people in our life at just the right time when we need it, to remind us of what we have, to correct us, and to be there for us.
"Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.  And Friends are Friends forever cause the Lord's the Lord of them, and a friend will not say never, cause the welcome will not end.  Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hand we know that a lifetime's not to long to live as Friends."   Michael W Smith, Friends

Thank you friends for the cake today at work before my birthday and the card.  And thanks to my friends for a birthday dinner on Sunday coming up.  God continues to show me the life I lead is a good one, anchored with friends close and far away.  I truly and blessed.  And it does not hurt to be flirted with by women in their 30's, letting me know that there still is hope for me when God let's me know I am ready.

So how do I feel as I approach 45 on Monday?

Young.  I feel young...as when the world was new.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Perspective

Do you ever have one of those days?


First off, it's a Monday.   Strike 1

I'm feeling a little punchy, off-kilter.  There is a lot on my mind.  Work is busy right out of the gate, some Member issues, loans to prepare, weekend follow up.   Strike 2

Soccer game to reschedule.  Kids off school.  My son has a Lacrosse Game.  My daughter has soccer tryouts.   Strike 3

You get the picture.....

I have unfinished projects, like my basement.  My dad offers some suggestions on improvements, like changing my door to swing out, not inside.  I want to work on my front yard, but it seems to rain every time I have a chance, which is not too much lately.  I have plans for landscaping.


I feel like my house is falling apart while my ex-wife is pouring money into hers...new appliances, counter top, hardwood flooring all downstairs....while I have a broken spindle on my stairs, press and peel flooring that needs replacing and a basement to finish.

I may have staff changes at work and that may mean down some staff in May.  That means more hours for me, the Manager, to be there and see things through.

Nothing new on the dating front.  I am trying to plan a getaway, I mean really away across the country and cannot commit to the time because if possible staff changes at work.

I'm exhausted, tired and frustrated...and I have a birthday next week and feel older, not young like I normally feel.

PERSPECTIVE.....It's all in how you look at it.

I had no plans to write this, and then I was in the basement and it hit me.....God spoke to me in his own way and said "It's all in your perspective...look at it again." 

So I did.

First off, it's a Monday.  You got all your issues solved before 11 am.  And you opened 3 accounts today.  They were from your friend that you went on 2 dates with and kept in touch because you are a nice guy and it paid off.  Strike 1 and Strike 2 down for the count...

One soccer game solved and one two finish Tuesday.  My parents came to help out.  They got my son to the bus for the game and my daughter to soccer tryouts.  I was around after work to pick them up.  They were fed and were fine.  Strike 3 thrown out...

My dad is good with projects and wants to help.  He complimented me on my handiwork and will replace the door for me and secure my window downstairs.  He is retired and likes the work.  It keeps him busy.  He is also replacing the spindle for me.  Heck, I need to repaint them anyway, so I can go with a new color. 

Tonight, I got the kids, made dinner, worked some outside and started clearing the mulch and plants out front.  Did 2 loads of laundry.  Got their soccer and lacrosse bags ready, worked on Ariana's science project with her and wrote a blog.  Not to shabby for a few hours....

My house is not falling apart and I am choosing to spend my money on a vacation for my kids in June, home improvements and have money for friends, dates, etc.  My bills are paid on time and I have breathing room.  You cannot worry about what someone else is doing, I tell myself.

Changes at work may not be a bad thing.  We can bring someone in eager to work and grow my branch.  It can mean a new beginning and looks good for me if I keep a level head and work through it.

I have friends to hang out with.  I can re-work plans to take a vacation for myself and the dates will come.  Just take it easy, be confident, and they will come to you...

Finally, I am as old as I feel.  I have been invited to dinner Sunday for my birthday and am off Monday on my birthday to do...whatever.

Perspective...funny how looking at things another way make all the difference. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More "Nice Guy" follow up...


Normally, this blog is my writing and observations.  When I was doing some research for my post, I came across this from e-how.com and forgot to include it.  Here it is, along with some of my comments in italicized highlights....As always, I welcome your comments.  This first part comes from women.
Women need to find the difference between a nice guy and a guy with nice guy syndrome.
--The only thing worse than a bad boy is a guy who says he's nice but is just some wimp or a whiner willing to buy you dinner and tell you how much women hate him. I have spent many a date apologizing for women.  (Personally, I do not whine about my ex or other women.  I get asked questions about the relationship with my ex since it is out there on my profile and I have learned that my situation is very tolerable compared to most that have no assistance from their ex, or that he is a jerk...or other words I cannot print here.)
Those "nice guys" ended up being worse than bad boys. What's the point of that?  A wimp is not a nice guy. He is a wimp. Same with the whiners.  (I agree here.  You need to be confident in who you are and be confident when out.  People see that and are drawn to it.  No woman is going to like someone who whines all time either.  We have enough drama in our personal lives to throw more on someone else.)
Nice guy = a man who is smart, considerate, generous, charming, has a solid group of friends, knows what he's willing to do and communicates what he's not willing to do, can keep a job, is not going through self-created drama (terminal unemployment, heavy drinking, begging for forgiveness).  (AMEN.  Could have not have said it better.  And personally, that is who I am...)
A nice guy may have been dumped for bad boys in the past, but he doesn't spend the first date telling you about it. He spends the first date listening to you and sharing positive thoughts and experiences with you.  (Right again.  This IS paramount.  A man listens more when he talks less.  On my recent date I posted about, she did most of the talking and I listened.  And considering I talk a lot...well that's saying something!)

Continuing on from a woman's perspective the article mentions more after the first date and implores that if there is any kind of connection to explore it further.
Go on a second date. And a third. And a fourth.
Lust is easy to find. A good conversation and being treated well is harder to find. But how many of us have told a girlfriend after a date "He was great, we talked forever, but I just wasn't feeling it." So we didn't bother with the second date.
Women are ADD daters. If we don't get the addictive feeling, we get distracted.  But lust can build.  Many women meet men they want to marry but don't want to date. Read that twice. Does that really make sense?  (WOW.  This is how I feel... and I am a guy)
Lust builds.  A good night of conversation can lead to steamy post-date action.  Just not on the first date.
Go on a few more dates. See what happens. The worst case scenario is that you have a great time with a great man. And you can use that experience for when you find the nice guy who IS right for you.

Enjoy it.
Go through as many nice guys as it takes to meet YOUR nice guy. Those nice guys are going through the same thing. They want their Miss Right, too. And they likely have the same horror stories you do. And they are just as happy to wait for their soul mate. (Women aren't the only ones who have to kiss a few frogs to find love.)  (WOO HOO...Preach it sister!)
So be honest.  Meet good people.  Be good people.  And stay optimistic.  Everyone deserves a good person to be by their side for the rest of their life.
You deserve him. Have fun finding him. And have fun keeping him!


Now, here is more from a Man's perspective.....

            Be yourself.  If you like who you are, stay that way.  Don't change for other people. The girl who is really worth your while will love you for who you are and nothing else.  (A simple truth that I am finally starting to live and not compromise on)
Start off slow. Talk to her about simple things. Some examples can be what music she likes, what she likes to do with her time, what she does over the summer.  Don't ask these one after another, spend time on each topic, maintaining an interest in what she is saying. Remember, this is a lengthy process, so don't screw it up early by wanting to rush. Once you've kept up with this for a while, you can start getting a little more personal about the things you speak about.  (For me, I sometimes cover this in emails and texts before we meet.  I like that you keep some of the mystery in and can talk more on a date to expand the topics...)
If she wants to talk for hours, tell your friends you're busy tonight.  Making yourself available to talk is a great way to show her you're there for her.  Although you're not dating, she'll be comforted knowing she has a person she can talk to.  Obviously, it will take some time before she confides completely in you.  Girls are naturally skeptical about trusting guys with the truth about themselves at first.  (And some guys are the same.  I tend to be "heart on my sleeve" guy and some of that has to change.  Too much too fast is a killer.)
Take the first step. If you are comfortable with the girl, and you feel that you can trust her, help her to be able to trust you.  Before you do this next step, make sure that she has confided in you a few things about herself.  Once this is done, set a date.  Don't be too forward. If she has done what was previously been stated, you will not be rejected.  (I need to try this and see what happens...)
Don't be the bad guy. Girls, as much as you don't believe it, like the guy who listens to them more than the tough guy. Yes, they want to feel protected physically, but nothing beats being emotionally protected. This is very important.  (Ladies, do you agree?)
She was willing to go out with you, so don't be nervous. You're in a good spot.  Remember though, the first date does not mean you're committed to each other only.  If you play everything right, when you say goodnight, you make the determination of the kiss goodnight.  (Hmmm, wise advice from someone who needs to keep it more casual)

Ok.  Time to move on and prepare for my next postings, as I begin to talk about the world of online dating....this will be good.

Happy Easter Everyone!!  Christ the Lord is risen today!  Hallelujah!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

You’re a nice guy, but…..

I’ve wanted to talk about this for a while.  Let’s get this rolling with a definition of sorts…

Nice guy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nice guy is a term in the general public discourse and in popular culture describing an adult male with friendly yet unassertive personality traits in the context of a relationship with a woman.  A typical "nice guy" is perceived to put the needs of others before his own, avoids confrontations, does favors, gives emotional support, and generally acts nicely towards women.  There is an active debate about whether the nice-guy personality profile may actually make a man less desirable to women romantically and/or sexually. Part of this debate includes speculation about possible hypocrisy among women in the dating world: that women may say they want a nice guy but won't date him or have sex with him, and rather subconsciously prefer men who are more confident and assertive but less considerate.
A common aphorism is that "nice guys finish last." The phrase is attributed to baseball manager Leo Durocher in 1939, though Durocher was originally referring to the opposing team rather than to male/female relationship dynamics. The full quote is, "Take a look at them. They're all nice guys, but they'll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last."

Now, let’s keep this rolling with some actual quotes I have received via text from some recent dates.  Apparently, texting is the new way to say no.  I used to be you met the person face to face, or called over the phone.  Now, we can text.  It’s new and improved and so impersonal…

“Honestly, I feel like I’m not ready to be in a relationship.  You are a very nice guy!  There’s no such thing as “too nice” so don’t ever let anybody tell you there is.  I enjoyed meeting you, but you’re not what I’m looking for…I have a strong personality and I need someone equally strong personality wise so that we offset each other…I’m sorry.  I hope you find the one you’re looking for.  Don’t sell yourself short and don’t take too much blame for past relationships!”

“Thanks.  I don’t think there is a curse involved.  I will tell you this…what I’m looking for in a guy is intelligence, sense of humor, ability to put me at ease and confidence.  If I don’t laugh during the first meeting, I don’t go on a second date.  You are obviously intelligent and have reason to be confident and are a nice guy.”

“You are a nice guy, but I didn’t feel an attraction.  Sorry.  You seem to have a lot to offer, but I’m not it.”

“I had a nice time and you are a nice guy, but I’m looking for someone different.  It was hard for me to tell you this.  We won’t be going out again.”



Ok. I get it and now so do you.  I keep hearing the same things in slightly different ways.  The broken record comes into play here.  I wanted to refer back to the definition and the words I underlined, then add my qualities to each of them.

A typical "nice guy" is:

Perceived to put the needs of others before his own
In my life, my kids come first.  I made that decision long before I divorced.  It became more evident when I realized that my “family” were the three of us.  I enjoy helping others and sometimes do that at the expense of my own time.  I am learning a balance between taking care of myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally with the needs of others.  I do like to make other people happy.  In a relationship, I work hard to put her first when we are together and try to see that their needs are met.

Avoids confrontations
I generally do this now in all aspects of my life.  Sometimes confrontations are unavoidable.  At my job, I sometimes deal with unhappy Members and may have confrontations with staff.  I have it with my ex wife at times and occasionally with my kids.  In a relationship, I try and do the same thing.  Sometimes, the results are not good, meaning I should have had a discussion and not avoidance.  However when something ends like a relationship or a few dates, I walk away and do not burn bridges or bug the other person.

Does favors
I enjoy doing favors for others.  I like helping people out.  Whether bagging groceries for customers at Giant while working at Members 1st, helping neighbors or friends out with projects, or their needs.  In a relationship, I will do favors for them and work together for our mutual interests and likes.

Gives emotional support
I have compassion and listen to others.  In college, I thought should be a counselor because of the number of friends that confided in me and knew it would not go any farther.  I support my kids with my love and support, and believe I do that with my friends.  Yes, in a relationship, I provide emotional support through my words and actions.  I genuinely care about them and their kids (if they have them).

Generally acts nicely towards women
How can you NOT do this if you are a guy?  You need to treat women with respect and courtesy.  I understand that a lot of women are independent, intelligent and do alright on their own.  Still that’s not a reason to no open their doors, hold their hand and be a gentleman. 

So yes, I am a nice guy.  I always have been.  My parents and grandmother did their best to raise me that way, to instill values in me that I still hold on to.  I don’t make excuses for it, but I wrestle with it also.

Being a nice guy is part of who I am at my core and I am learning that I cannot change it for anyone.  I have tried before to please others and it only makes me worse.  Unfortunately, being a nice guy in my world means wearing my emotions on the outside at times, opening myself up to be taken advantage of, used and then thrown aside.  I have learned to “toughen” up over the years and have gotten better.  Except lately, I have opened myself up to more hurt because I am actively seeking a relationship, instead of focusing on myself and the kids and letting them find me.

I am also learning that when I am told I am a nice guy and it’s not working out, I tend to blame myself and learning that it may not be me that has a problem.  I often don’t look at their perspective.  What are they looking for?  Maybe I am not that and like an interview, I am one of many candidates.  Not a bad thing….and good to find it out sooner than later. 

My friends have been helping me to understand this and I am thankful for those who give me affirmation and support, like these examples:

“One piece of advice.... Don't try to change for anyone. Some lucky woman out there will fall in love with you for the way you are! You did NOT do anything wrong. You just picked the wrong partners thus far.”

“Sorry to hear of your breakup but nice blog...romance is so difficult for so many of us and I'm sure you're comforting and connecting with people through your posts. It’s easy for me to say now that there is light at the end of the tunnel since I have been fortunate to find my match this year...but it took me eight long years of dating after divorce and a whole lot of frogs to find my prince. Hang in there....it will happen for you. Don't know you well but from meeting you and reading your blog, I'm confident you are a wonderful person. Things will work out I'm sure of it.”

“Steve, it was indeed nice to see you. Thank you for still considering me someone you trust to share what is going on in your life. Yes, I have grown, but so have you! It is wonderful to see us learning through the relationships God has given us. Even if for a season, they heal and give us hope.”

I’ve made the decision to continue to be a nice guy and be myself.  It’s all I can be.  And I won’t change for anyone else.  I may bend a little, but not break.  And I have to understand that if someone else cannot accept me for who I am and does not want to take the time to find out, then they are not for me.  The more confident I become in myself and my abilities, the less I will feel like I need someone else.  But when that someone else comes along, they will compliment me and I them.  That friendship will grow and maybe turn into a partnership along the way.

As for me, this is one nice guy that will NOT finish last!

And then again....

After you're down a little, you get back up and move forward.  Last night I had a normal, relaxed, regular meet up after work that was promising.  It was our first meeting in person, after a few weeks of texts and an occasional call.  A casual meeting for drinks and talk that lasted until we were the only 2 people left except for the wait staff.

At helped to affirm that I can still be a nice guy and have an enjoyable time with no agenda or future plans made.

Now off to work and then an Easter weekend with my kids....and more rain here in the Northeast.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cha...cha...changes

Some days, things don’t go well.  Tuesday was that sort of day….again.

I came off of a busy weekend that included the following:
-Working late Friday and on Saturday and Sunday
-Late night bowling with friends until 2 am
-Out on a blind date Sat night (dinner and movie) in Lancaster, and then back to Harrisburg to meet friends until 1:30 am
-Hershey Bears game by myself Sunday afternoon

In the middle there was a “blind date.”  In this case, she knew what I looked like, but I did not know what she looked like until we met.  It was a case where we met online, talked during the week, emailed and then met.  It was interesting.  Dinner was OK, not great and I paid.  We went to the movies to see what she was interested in (“The Conspirator” and it was good).  She paid for her own ticket, which told me that it did not matter if I stayed.  Another date, another no connection.

Sunday night, I sent a message to someone online that lives close by.  She responded quickly and it escalated to emails, texts, a call and then meeting for Breakfast Tuesday before work.  Again, all initial signs indicate a positive start.  From my end, things seem to go well.  Conversation, laughter, hug goodbye. “Can I see you again?” “Sure” and then a few hours later, after texting about meeting again, I get what I always get lately “I am sorry, did not feel a romantic connection.  Hard for me to write this…..etc”

For now, I’m done… 

Disappointment one after another… 

You’re just meeting the wrong people, someone told me…

I’m trying to hard.

It’s not fair.  My ex left me for someone else and is still with him 3 years later.  She has someone.  I apparently cannot sustain a relationship past 5 months.  My ex girlfriend already has someone else.  I’m tired of being given the “Nice Guy” speech or lately just texts again.  I’m tired of feeling lonely and have no one to share it with.  Trying to shake that everyone I meet I compare to my last relationship.

I don’t want pity from anyone.  I want a relationship.  I want to date someone.  I want to be happy again.  It’s selfish, I know. 

It’s not the right time.
They will find you when they are ready.
You are a good person.
It will happen when it’s ready.

All nice affirmations told to me by people who already have someone.

So allow me to hurt.  Allow me to make wrong choices.  Allow me to keep trying, keep failing in hopes of succeeding.  Allow me to feel disappointment….

God is bringing me closer to him and closer to the brink where I acknowledge my sinful nature and cry out for him.  He will break me and then hold me.  He will pick me up, dust me off and strengthen me.

Maybe I need a break from everyone and everything.  Time to heal.  I just want to be accepted for who I am and have someone see past my exterior to who I am inside.

One day, maybe

Monday, April 18, 2011

The seven levels of friendship


Seven…it’s often considered the perfect number.  (Mine for the record is 3…)  In the Bible, for example, the number 7 is used frequently from Genesis to Revelation.  I have also learned that Seven is used all over in society, especially when it comes to self-help and healing.  A recent google search found sites and/or books devoted to the following:

-Seven levels of intimacy
-Seven levels of communication
-Seven levels of change
-Seven levels of healing

All of these had the word “levels” in common.  So, it got me to thinking.  I have always had different “levels” of friendships throughout my life and now through this blog, I can lay them out. 

Of course, these levels may vary for you, and you might not agree with some of my choices, so I welcome your thoughts.  I have always had 7 levels, but only recently found out how many others use 7 as the amount of levels in their topics.  I will start on the outside and work towards the center.  So now class, let us begin.

Level 1: General Friends
For me, these are people I meet or interact with on a daily basis, but have no connection beyond that.  For example, some of my regular Members who visit my Credit Union branch that I know on a first name basis.  I would not necessarily ask them to coffee or call them to go bowling, etc, but know a little about me and my kids, and I know some things about them.  These are “surface” friends and not much more.

Level 2: Work Friends
They say that next to your family, you spend most of your time at work.  So my work friends are like another “family” in some ways.  We get along some days, disagree at time on other days, sometimes spend birthdays together, have lunches, or occasionally meet after work with our families.  We get to know about our kids, spouses, girl/boy friends, and share some experiences.  If you work, you have these friends, and while not everyone you work with are on the same friendship “level,” it’s nice if you have some you genuinely get along with.

Level 3: Activity Friends
For me, these are friends that I enjoy doing things with.  Like my Hiking club for example, or with the Singles Group I belong to, or other friends that I go to amusement parks with, etc.  I usually only see them at activities and don’t spend any time with them outside of that.  I only recently realized that when I sat down to compose this. 

Level 4: Outer Circle Friends
In this level, these are my friends that know some things about me, spend time with my occasionally, but due to circumstances on either side, I have not let into my inner circle. 
These are friends I can hang out with, who text me and ask what I am doing tonight.  Some over time move into my inner circle, but for now are on the outside, but are friends none the less and I too am grateful for their presence in my life. 

Level 5: Inner Circle Friends
Moving onward, these are my friends that know more details of my life, some of my “skeletons in the closet,” have had shared experiences with, have run wild with at times, and have stood by me though circumstances in my life both good and bad.  I have also allowed them into my inner circle and have let down my guard for them, and they have never betrayed it.  I have several of these, and I know that everyone does.  Be thankful for them because for others, they are few and far between.

Level 6: Close Friends
In our life, we many only have one or two close friends that know us almost better than we know ourselves.  And you know what I am talking about.  Someone who understands you, gets you, accepts you for who you are, keeps your secrets and knows your fears.  It’s everything you want in for Level 7 (see below), but without the dating and or intimate relationship.  For me, I am fortunate to have one such Close Friend that I have known for 27 years since college.  I am grateful to God that she is in my life and is someone I trust completely.

Level 7: Girl Friend/Best Friend
NO VACANCY-Position was filled on 11/24/2012
This is the obvious and closest level for me.  Next to my relationship with God, and then my kids, this would come next.  This would be my partner in crime, my best friend and one day, a life companion.  She could be a close friend and have all the characteristics as Level 6, and would be someone that I trust completely and love deeply.

So there you have it.  It’s interesting to note that the friendship levels are fluid and can constantly change, depending on time and circumstances.  For example, a work friend may become an Inner Circle friend over time, or that Activity Friend may become an Outer Circle friend as you move beyond the activity.  Or that close friend may become that Level 7, of which there can only be one at a time.

I certainly do not look at my friends and classify them in my head.  Good morning there Work Friend and not an Inner Circle Friend….Nah, I am not that anal.  When I thought about this topic and really looked into it, of all the friends I have, they fit into all but one of these categories.  And like I said, I welcome your comments.

Until later, my friends….

PS: I can see it now as you read this…”Hmmn, wonder what Friend level I am?”  Hint: You can be more than one at any given time. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Threads......and some loose ends

It has been a long week so far but I'm not complaining.  Work is going very well this month and I'm pleased.  We're busy and I have a good staff that I work with every day.  I'm working on another blog post and should have that up by week's end.  There are days I wish I had more time to sit down and pour out everything that's inside my head, but one day at a time.

I am excited for Thursday.  I will be at Messiah College for a Special Olympics event.  This is a charity event that Members 1st helps with, along with many other groups and organizations.  I attended last year for the first time and knew I had to participate again.  Athletes from across the state come in for a day of track and field events.  As a volunteer, you get paired up with a buddy and cheer them on at their events.  It's an amazing and humbling experience spending time with people who are always happy, content and not asking to be treated any special way.  I leave with an appreciation for what I have: friends, family, my kids and my overall situation.  As a charity event, my hours don't count for the week, meaning I cram 40 hours of work in 4.5 days.

Tonight was my haircut appointment and a follow up with the woman I went on 2 dates with last month.  As you recall from my earlier blog about closure, I was hoping to obtain some of that tonight.  I also mentioned  that we continue to play a game called "Words with Friends" over our smart phones.  That game has a chat feature and we had a change to talk there.  In fact, she contacted me to assist her in opening accounts for her and her kids with Members 1st.  So the appointment went well.  I told her she did a great job last time so of course I would come back.  She admitted that she thought I might cancel and was checking all week.  For me, it's nice to have another friend, even if it is every 5 weeks. 

As I continue to move forward, I'm getting better at adjusting to changing situations and not look so hard for someone to fill a void in my life.  My best friend told me that she observed I was living to find someone and trying to hard when it did not work out.  She has seen growth and progress that I am not looking so hard and letting things unfold in God's time,


I ran into a friend this week while at work.  She read my blog over a week ago and sent me a nice message of encouragement and she talked about her situation.  I had a chance to thank her in person and she gave me some good advice.  She told me to let them come to me and not seek them out.  She talked about a guy she went on a date with and was kind of "aaah."  She then spent a year traveling outside the country, exploring, and growing.  She came back, connected again with the same guy, went out again, and now they are together.

The encouragement I have been receiving keeps me going and focused on delivering well written and insightful posts.  I am working on a post about one of my favorite and infamous topics "Being a nice guy."  It is both a blessing and a curse at times.

Until next time, be good and be happy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

DIAMNDS—they really were her best friend…

It’s time to add a little laughter to the mix here and bring it up a notch from all the introspection of late.  This goes back to December 31st, 2009 and into early January 2010.  My only regret is that I no longer have the texts to prove it.

To my friends Dini and Vivian, this is for you, as you remember this all too well…

On December 31st, 2009, I attended a New Year’s Eve party outside Harrisburg at Felicita Resort.  I was with a group of 20+ friends.  This was an event organized by one of my friends who is an organizer of an area MeetUp singles group.

While there, I made my way to one of the portable bars in the far corner of the room.  There was an attractive woman in a black dress, who happened to be the bartender at that station.  I said hello and requested a drink.

Her first question, “Are you single?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Can I have your number?” was the next thing she said.

Well, that threw me.  I have been known for going out of my comfort zone and putting my number out there early on, but OK.  I was willing to give it a try.

I went back to her station two more times that night and we exchanged numbers.  We talked a little about my kids and her son, and agreed to call.  She was done before midnight and left to go home.  I enjoyed the rest of the evening with my friends.

The next day, I called her in the afternoon and we talked a little more and agreed to meet for dinner Monday night in Harrisburg at a place called RockBass, along the river.

So Monday came and we met after work.  The dinner went well and during our conversation, some interesting things came up.  First, she said that while the place was nice, she pointed out some things like part of the ceiling was dirty, the inside seemed dated, etc.  She also talked about a previous boyfriend who took her to the Bahamas several times.

When we left, she wanted me to call again.  We got into our cars and I followed her out of the lot.  I noticed her license plate that read DIAMNDS.

When I got home and settled in, I called her and asked if they were her best friend.  She replied that they were.  Her next comment was one for the ages.

“How would you like to pamper me?”

Now at this point, I had already put 2 and 2 together and realized that I had neither the money nor the time to support where she was headed.  I, however, decided to follow along and see where it went.
“And how would I pamper you?” I replied.

She said, “I like good friends, spending time shopping, and an occasional allowance.”

Our conversation ended shortly after that, as she had to run, but before we did, I wanted to see about making plans for Saturday.  She told me that she was going shopping in King of Prussia and would let me know.

So the next day we started texting.  I wanted to know more about how I could pamper her (I was not being mean, but I was now curious and still not believing what I heard the night before)

Starting with her comments in italics, the texts went something like this:

“I’m looking for a cashmere coat at the King of Prussia mall.  And if you want to pamper me, I could use a new pair of boots.”

“How much are we talking about here”

“Well a new pair of boots costs between $200 and $400 dollars.  When can I get the money from you?”

Well, I work late this week, but might have some time Thursday night.”

“Thursday night may not work for me.  Where do you work at?  I can meet you for the money.”

“OK, we’ll see.”

CUT TO THE NEXT EVENING…

“How have you been?  Can I get the money from you?  I don’t think we can get together Saturday.  I am shopping with my friends and want to get a new coat.”

“I don’t have that $200 to $400 for a pair of boots.  I’m not meeting to give you the money.”

…..Wait for it…..it came a few minutes later…

“Don’t ever call or talk to me again.”

And that was it.  All she wanted was boots, at least to start.  It really happened.  And I learned a valuable lesson…. Alcohol and a beautiful woman do not always mix, especially if it involves pampering or a new pair of boots.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

“Next Please….” Dating is like an job interview…

This is an interesting topic and one I have wanted to talk about for some time.  I hope to do it justice.  I wanted to juxtapose the ideas of dating and a job interview and see how similar they really are.

So class, let’s begin.

Step 1:  Begin your search

When looking for a job, most people start by reading the want ads in the paper or going online to see job postings.  Others go to employment agencies or job centers to see what is available.
When dating, some people start by reading personal ads in the paper or going online to dating sites, Facebook or Craigslist.  Others go to bars, church, or the supermarket to see what is available.

Step 2:  Submit your Resume and hope for a return call or email

If you have not already done it, you polish your Resume and prepare it to be mailed the old fashioned way or sent electronically.  You draft a cover letter and tailor it to the position you are seeking.  You then send it off and hope for a return call, email, or letter that will talk you to the next step.
When dating, you create your profile that tells someone about you.  A snapshot of who you are, personality, your kids (If you have them), your likes, hobbies, etc.  You also tailor it for different sites and often adjust an email or correspondence to the person you are seeking or are interested in.  Then you send it off and hope for a return email, call, IM, or some correspondence.

Step 3: You arrange a time and place for the Interview---and prepare

So you receive that call or message and arrange a time that is convenient for both of you to meet.  Usually at their place of employment or at a location that favors the company you are meeting with.  Once that is done, you prepare.  You learn about the company, talk to others who work there and get ready.
When dating, you receive a reply message, or get a call, or begin texting and if your conversations go well, perhaps the next step is to arrange a time and place to meet that is convenient for both of you, usually at a location that favors the other person and not yourself.  Then you prepare.  You read their profile, learn more about them, talk to their friends and get ready. 

{Editors Note:  I will cover this later, but I believe there are 4 dimensional levels we use during the dating process that I will elaborate on another time.  These are Visual (Their picture), Written (Their profile or emails), Verbal (on the phone), and Personal (meeting in person)  All are essential in the process and help to weed out and find things are rule someone out as a potential relationship.}

Step 4: The Interview

Finally, the big day arrives.  You dress for success.  You arrive early.  You put your best foot forward.  You want to say and do all the right things to be noticed.  You choose your words carefully, try to remain relaxed and confident, and ultimately the one they choose.
When dating, is it really any different?  You want to make a good first impression.  You want to do the right things in the hopes of a second interview and ultimately be the one they choose.  All the while understanding that maybe they are interviewing you as well and hope that you ultimately choose you.
There are exceptions to this of course.  Some are interviewing to just get experience.  Kissing frogs to find a prince.  Others want to have a few interviews, have fun and keep searching.  Eventually, the right two people interview together and then….

Step 5: You receive and offer…and accept

Good news, they want you to start.  You negotiate a salary, decide on terms, get a starting date and then enter a probationary period and if you “pass” become a permanent resident until things change, either by you or by the company.
When dating, the purpose of a first date is to get a second (in most cases).  And after the second date, a third, etc until you receive an offer….and accept.  Either side can make the offer, and when accepted, you negotiate terms, boundaries, get a starting date and enter a probationary period that if you pass, you become a permanent resident until things change by either your or by them.

I recently had an “Interview” last Friday.  It began following the steps I listed above.  First was my search online using a free site that I will talk about another time.  I found her, saw the photos, read the profile and sent a message.  We corresponded back and forth, I extended my number to talk more or text.  She texted and then found me on Facebook.   I accepted her as a friend and we agreed to meet at a location close to her that I chose.  Then I prepared by reading her profile again and messages.

I arrived early and we met and had dinner.  The conversation went well and flowed on a variety of topics.  There was eye contact, positive body language and non-verbal cues and it all seemed to go well.  We then went for drinks nearby, closed out the place, said goodnight and she asked to keep in contact.

That weekend, I sent some texts and left a message.  I received one text back and I was trying to set up a second date on Sunday afternoon or during a weeknight when I did not have the kids.  I learned the results of my “interview” via text on Monday morning.  It read in part “Hope you had a nice weekend.  To be honest steve while i find you to be a nice guy i am going to pursue someone else I find I am more compatible with.  Ull do well since you are a good guy.”

Ok.  Glad I found out early and I’m not upset.  She was interviewing me and others and chose someone else.  That’s how it goes, and you move on.  Funny though, I got told it again…that phrase “I find you a nice guy.”  Remind me to talk about the nice guy problem I have another time.

So that’s my view that dating is like an interview.  I hope you agree with me, and if not, I welcome your opinions.  Thanks for reading and we will talk again soon.

And now the circle is complete….A brief follow up to Closure

I recently wrote that everyone wants closure when a relationship ends, but we do not always get it.  Fortunately for me, I had some last weekend.

My ex-girlfriend came down for a short visit last Saturday.  She was returning items I left at her apartment and she was picking up items I had in my basement storage for her.  We had agreed a few weeks earlier to keep the day open and she arrived in early afternoon.

I admit that I had mixed feelings.  I had not seen her since January, when we met for a date after our initial “need some space” weekend.  I also admit that to me, she looked great.  Maybe it was the time apart, or that she had changed her hair, had new clothes and flashed her smile.

We initially got caught up, and then loaded up her items and I turned in her apartment keys.  We talked some more and she filled me in on her kids and all they and she was up to.  Now, we had talked and texted periodically during the last few months, and I’ll also admit that I was holding out the briefest hope that maybe, just maybe, there could be some reconciliation.

Through my blog she learned that I had gone out on 2 dates and seemed a little surprised that I was dating again.  I said, “Well, it was only 2 dates,” and she replied that if I was online and out on a date, then I was dating again.

Then to my surprise, I learned that she too has moved on and was starting to see someone else, but keeping it slow.  She admitted to having her defenses and walls up, but I saw something in her that told me this may develop into something.  Our distance when we were together was a blessing and a curse.  And now, at long last, I finally realized that the curse had won out and I was finished.  She did not want to say too much as not to hurt me anymore.

She left soon after that.  I had one last hug and then she was out of the door and out of my life for probably the last time.  Oh, I cried and called my best friend and poured it all out.  Thank goodness if you are lucky enough to have a friend, who listens, cares, understands, and keeps it all to themselves.  If you do, then you are very lucky.

I sent a text later in the day letting her know it was great to see her, admitted that there were times I missed her, and wished her well in her new relationship.

I am happy because I got that closure that not everyone receives.   I also know that if I never see her again, it will be OK because I have memories, photos and a few months of happiness.  I also realized that I am completely ready to move forward but did not understand that until after we met.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This blog is not about you….well maybe.


The following is an editorial note not only for my regular readers, but for anyone new reading my page who may be interested in dating.  (Allow me to explain)

Sometimes this blog is personal…very personal.  My goal is to blend the amusing and lighthearted along with the introspective and serious.  So far, so good.  I have received messages of encouragement from people I have not talked to for years.  Today, I received a nice message on Facebook that said in part I am comforting and connecting through people in my posts.  That amazes me and I am grateful.

I made a decision early on not to use people’s names in this blog out of respect for others.  My only exception may be if I am mentioning a friend and something they said or an experience they had.

My other motivation for writing about this came talking to one of my close friends over the weekend.  I asked her if I might scare someone who is interested in me away after  they find out I have a blog.  I recently added some new Facebook friends and one case, they changed their mind a little when they learned about the blog and thought that they might be the next posting. 

Look, my last relationship was publicized on Facebook and should have been more private.  I was very excited and happy, and as Michael W. Smith said in a song “I wanna tell the world.”  She was a more private person and I should have respected that more.  After that relationship ended, I promised myself that I would not post personal information like that and keep my dating life private.

There are two friends of mine on Facebook that I feel are doing it right.  Their relationship status is not posted or says “single.”  They let some of their photos do the talking, from a profile photo of two people, to occasional listings that are not “in your face.”  I like how they have blended it and I am going to take a page out of their book whenever I get involved again.

So back to the editorial at hand.  Whenever I start dating someone again, I will not use this blog as a commentary on the relationship.  I will keep that private, unless they feel it is OK to mention some of it.  I am sure I will find someone who not only will accept me for who I am, they will also be OK with this blog since it is also part of me.

So no, this blog is not about you.  But as I am finding out, parts of this blog relate well to others, and that was one of my goals.

This ends my editorial…I will now go back to my regularly scheduled blog.