I don’t date

Looking for letters. Try to stump us.

Dear Meredith,

I am a 22-year-old single art student. In my group of friends, I am known as the Oprah or Dr. Phil because I give good advice. I help my friends with their love lives and get excited for them, but I haven't been in a "relationship" since the fifth grade. I've had depression and anxiety since I was 15 and it feels like they get in the way of my confidence. I want to avoid online dating and do it the traditional way, meeting face-to-face. I always wanted to meet a guy in a library or a coffee shop, but haven't had any luck finding Mr. Right. What sucks about having a mental illness is that sometimes I feel tied down with a ball and chain strapped to my ankle. And whenever I find the confidence to talk to a guy I like, I feel stuck.

Recently, I went on one lunch date with a friend of a friend, but I wasn’t interested in a second date. He was full of himself. I spend a lot of time fantasizing about a perfect boyfriend; we travel the world with our friends and make each other's lives more colorful. I also have dreams about my past crushes. I hate how I've craved for those dreams to come true. I don't mind being single – I've been doing it for 12 years. But how much longer am I going to be alone? What should this depressed girl do?

– Alone


First, make sure you're getting the treatment you need. I assume you're in therapy/have a doctor who talks to you about your depression and anxiety, but if not, seek help. Self-care is the most important thing.

Moving on to the dating. Please know that with that one mediocre lunch date, you proved that you can do it. You had a meal with someone, decided you didn't like them enough to see them again, and then you moved on. That's like .. 99 percent of the dating experience. You try to interact with someone for an hour and then walk away. Please give yourself credit for making it happen.

Also know that many single people would prefer to date without apps and to run into a sexy soul mate in a coffee shop. Or a bookstore. Or in some meet-cute kind of way that they can tell their grandchildren about years later. But it’s a busy world, and meeting in real life can be a challenge. Also, those romantic meetings aren't as perfect as they look in the movies. If you meet someone at the library, you have to decode that person's intentions. On an app, you can assume (to some extent) that the people you meet are on their phones to date. My advice? Have first dates in all of those lovely places. Tell the people you meet on the apps that you'd like to get together at a coffee shop, the library, etc. Then you get to live the fantasy.

Try not to label yourself as "the friend who gives advice but never dates." Sometimes when we make sweeping generalizations about our romantic lives, we make all of the negative things come true – whether we want to or not. You are someone who wants – and is capable of – finding love. You just don’t know when it's going to happen.

– Meredith

Readers? Advice for someone who has labeled themselves as the person who gives advice and never dates? (I swear I'm not fishing here.)