Dating site gives hope to those stuck in ‘friend zone’
The ‘DocTor’ is in
Harris O’Malley‘s successful “Paging Dr. Nerdlove” website offers practical advice to thousands of lovelorn geeks from around the world. Here are some of his tips: Eliminate self-limiting beliefs because they are only going to hold you back. Put the time in and practice approaching new people and making connections, and don’t be afraid of rejection. The first 1,000 rejections don’t count. Abandon ideas about the opposite sex and approach each person as an individual, with unique tastes, thoughts and ideas. Reject the idea that the alpha males or alpha females always get the girl or guy. What’s attractive about them is confidence and assertiveness. Be honest about what you want, whether it’s a relationship or a one-night stand. Don’t dismiss someone because he or she is already in a relationship. Make a new friend, because, chances are, he or she has friends to introduce you to.
BesT places in ausTin To meeT people
Classes such as dance, martial arts or acting
Amateur sports leagues
Volunteering At bars such as Kung Fu Saloon, Recess, Eastside Showroom or Shangri-La. “Look for something that has something going on other than just drinking and the meet market, ”O’ Malley says.
‘lifestyle is the biggest thing that i advise people on.’
most of his life, Harris O’Malley was terrible with women.
A textbook geek, right down to the glasses, the red hair and the oversized comic book collection, he had a hard time talking to women, getting phone numbers from them and forming healthy romantic relationships with them.
“I was trying to be the ‘Nice Guy,’ “O’Malley says. “I spent so much time in the friend zone I could declare residency and run for political office. I had all these really bad hang-ups about what I thought women wanted, or what I had or didn’t have.
“And just a lot of it came down to the fact that I had adopted this idea that I was the one that was bad with girls and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.”
About a year and a half ago, he decided to take all of his mistakes and successes, everything he had learned, good and bad, about dating in the 21st century and he turned it into a wildly successful blog for lovelorn geeks and dweebs.
He took on the persona of Dr. Nerdlove and began writing advice columns and recording podcasts on drnerdlove.com.
O’Malley, 35, who: lives in Austin, is always very careful to point out that he is not a doctor of any kind, but he’s probably studied enough and conducted enough field research to earn a degree in dating.
O’Malley’s site, Paging Dr. Nerdlove, which consists of articles offering general advice, a popular write-in column called “Ask Dr. Nerdlove” and a regular podcast, has attracted international attention and gets about 141,000 unique visitors a month.
And his audience is growing by 40,000 to 50,000 visitors every month, he says.
The journey from that geek who was unlucky in love to the Dr. Nerdlove his readers
know and love has been a long one. And it’s a journey O’Malley is very open and honest about in his blog entries.
“I started off with every problem that most of my readers have,” he says, noting that his geeky audience tends to suffer from social awkwardness, low self-esteem and a belief that being a geek is a bad thing. They need to embrace it, he says.
At 26, he had what he calls his “Batman moment” at his brother’s wedding. He and a friend, who “attracts women the way cheese attracts mice,” went after the same woman and O’Malley lost, he says.
“There I am in the hotel room having my dark night of the soul and thinking about what I’m going to do about this and Googled ‘how to get better with women,’ “he says.
He was immediately linked to Neil Strauss’s “The Game,” which claims to unlock the secrets of pickup artists and has spawned an entire community that trades tips and tricks for seducing women.
“Instead of a bat crashing through the window, it was dodgy books,” O’Malley says. “It was a sign: I shall become a pickup artist.”
At that time, he says, there wasn’t a lot of dating advice out there for men, and O’Malley fell into the pickup artist community, which uses a lot of canned scripts and routines to approach women. While he picked up a few useful pieces of advice, like how to dress fashionably and brush off rejections, he was appalled by many of the attitudes, which he says are based on a misunderstanding of evolutionary psychology and the belief that women are only attracted to alpha males.
“I didn’t like what it was about and what it was doing to me,” he says. “There were a lot of really messed-up attitudes about women. It puts people in competition and presents sex as an adversarial process.”
He didn’t like that a lot of the advice out there treated women like a monolithic entity and encouraged manipulative techniques.
“I thought that there had to be a better way than this,” O’Malley says. “I started hanging out with friends that are naturally good with women. I started reading a lot, especially social psychology, and started learning how to relate to people better.”
He also turned his dating life into an experiment, making detailed notes on what worked and what didn’t when approaching new people. And, perhaps most importantly, he did a lot of work on himself, seeking out new experiences, taking classes and traveling.
“Lifestyle is the biggest thing that I advise people on,” he says. “You can either get really manip- ulative — that’s the path I took and it almost led to a breakdown — or you can become a more interesting charismatic person who lives an interesting life. If you live an interesting life, you’re going to attract interesting people into it.”
It worked for O’Malley. He got married last May to a longtime friend. A lot of his advice to readers centers around how to get out of the friend zone and how to avoid it all together.
“I basically married my way out of the friend zone,” he says. “It’s like having a best friend over for a sleepover that just never ends.”
O’Malley seems surprised about his success with Paging Dr. Nerdlove, which he works on fulltime, and the audience the site has generated, especially its popularity with women. Because so much of the advice is about how to be a better, more attractive person and how to be better at communication, it naturally translates well to both sexes.
“A lot of my audience is straight ... males, but it really applies to a lot of other people,” he says. “I’m not going to try to be all things to all people, but I’m going to try to help as many people as I can.”
Harris O’Malley: “I started hanging out with friends that are naturally good with women. I started reading a lot, especially social psychology and started learning how to relate to people better.”