Why Am I Afraid of Success?

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Most women tell me that a sense of humor is among the most attractive qualities in men. My ability to make women laugh is one of the few things I have confidence in. But I think I've discovered a loophole that prevents the "funny guy" from getting the girl.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm good at figuring out ways to wreck my few attractive qualities. My brand of "funny" must not be the correct brand of funny. I'm afraid I don't show a serious or mysterious side when I am the "class clown" at social gatherings.

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The other night my friend and I were barhopping. He's notorious for making me act like even more of a fool, but he also has this strange switch that allows him to turn off the bad behavior. So, we'll be in the corner making strange noises and cracking ourselves up one second, then when I'm starting to do it with a girl around he's like: "Dude, not here. Not now."

While we were out the other night, I was a little intoxicated and spotted a cute girl sitting in the corner by herself at a table. I approached her and said:

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"Hey, I'm an awesome dancer. Wanna see?"

"Of course," she replied.

I then launched into my horrible bouncy Riverdance move. She seemed to like it and she was laughing. In fact, when I stopped, she implored: "No, keep going!"

So I launched back into my dance. At this point, I knew she was enjoying it, but I also felt like I was painting myself into a zoo animal/circus freak. Was I just some strange beast that she looked at with curiosity and laughter? For some reason, I couldn't stop dancing, though. My friend came over to investigate/rescue me, but I pushed it further.

Recalling a "choreographed dance" that he and I made up in college, I said: "This is my friend. We do a dance together too, perfectly choreographed."

She told us to show her, but my friend said: "No, no, no," and ran off. Eventually, the girl got up and left, and I was completely thrown off by my friend's rejection of my dance request.

There's something inside me that's keeping me from doing things right. I do things well up to a point, though. That night I did the following:

1. Approached an attractive girl

2. Engaged her in an original way that got her attention

3. Made her laugh

But after that, I flatlined. I couldn't get a conversation going, couldn't try to get her number or anything. What I should have done is turn off the "dance switch." My friend was actually trying to help me, but instead of turning it off I slammed the gas for more ridiculousness and sabotaged myself. It was as if I was protecting myself with my buffoon side, and avoiding showing my serious "dateable" side.

Lately, I'm satisfied with a girl calling me cute, making a girl laugh, or just sleeping in bed with a girl to prove that we could have made out, but not actually doing anything. I don't take the next step of getting a number or trying to get a date. It must be that I don't want to deal with everything that will happen if it actually does work out, or — as one shrink once told me — I have a fear of success.

I use my potential to get to a certain point, and then walk away satisfied with half a victory. Sometimes I think: If I don't put my best foot forward, at least I can use that as an excuse if I fail because I wasn't trying my hardest. I leave behind many incomplete projects. I'm not sure how to conquer this habit or fear. I guess, like the remedy for any fear, I have to face it and raise the bar.

Are you ever satisfied with just knowing someone was attracted to you without actually going through with something? Is my constant self-sabotage about a fear of success? Would I avoid self-sabotage if I met the right girl? Do you ever protect yourself to a fault with your comfortable personality traits like I do with making girls laugh?

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens

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