How come every time I do a bad thing, and vow to change, I never do?

Posted by pronota @pronota, Jun 2 11:04pm

I’m about to graduate from high school in a pretty unfortunate state. I’ve lost all my friends, and have gained a reputation as a womanizing, rude guy.

To add some context, I’ve had 4 experiences that contributed to that (unfortunately true) label.

- My sophomore year, this beautiful girl liked me, but I only wanted physical contact, so we talked for a year and a half, and eventually she moved on.
- My junior year, me and another girl entered a friends with benefits relationship, but she felt used and left. Her entire friend circle hated me since.
- My senior year, I blatantly told this girl I would hookup with her. Nothing bad came from this, but it’s still bad.
- And again, I told another girl I’m only talking to her for a hookup. Lost most of my friends here.

Here’s the catch, I never actually felt any attraction of that sort to them. I know if the time came, I wouldn’t actually commit to anything. Moreover, I don’t consume porn, or have any weird fantasies that could contribute to my perversion. I’m still a virgin, but that doesn’t really bother me either.

Finally the piece that sealed everything. This beautiful angel of a girl liked me at one point, but at the time I was chasing the junior year girl, so she moved on. Soon after, I realized I liked her, but it’s too late. But not just a small crush, I REALLY liked her. But after everything, and an awkward confession and distancing myself, she finally began “ghosting” me. And it hurts. A lot.

I feel bad about all these. I think I genuinely do (I haven’t been the best mentally thus the “think”). I wish I would have never met any of these girls, nonetheless talked to them. It makes me sick and disappoints me. It truly is not who I want to be, and certainly not how I want to be remembered.

Past the long context, here’s my question: After each of those events, I swore to change and become a nicer guy, but I ended up repeating my behavior. Why can’t I authentically enact positive change? What can I do? Is this something I really have to leave up to time to reconnect with my friends? Thanks for reading this long essay

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Hello @pronota it seems like you know what you want to change about yourself. I think identifying that is a good start. I am no therapist but I do have life experiences. I think you need to start focusing on you before you can move on to a relationship with someone else. I would start with prayer and focus with Gods help. I have learned that putting God first has helped me tremendously. God has shown me the right path to take and my life has improved. The next thing I would do is talk to an actual therapist if you are able to. They can help you emotionally and help you get through what you are feeling. You can also research the internet to find books on self improvement. There are many things you can do to improve your situation. The key is you wanting to actually change and it seems like you already have that. Take the next step and keep moving forward. I will keep you in my prayers and I wish you well in your journey. You can do it! 🙏


Some hints from a much-older guy:

1. Figure out what you're getting from your current behaviour (ego boost, thrills, compensate for low self-esteem, attention-seeking, whatever).

2. Find alternative, less-destructive ways to fill the same needs.

3. Gradually substitute the new ways for the old ones, rewarding yourself for successes along the way, and picking yourself up again after the inevitable slides backwards.

Your self-destructive behaviour is fulfilling needs that you have or think you have, and until you address those needs, attempts to change yourself cold-turkey will probably keep failing. If you have access (financial and otherwise), a psychologist can make a good coach for this journey, but you can also try it on your own or with peer support.

Best of luck!


You do a very good job of expressing your experiences and concerns.
I'm not sure that life ever becomes less confusing than what you've shared and it can be very hard to learn new behaviors when we've done everything we know to do.
And making mistakes means you're alive and really trying.
Here are some important things to work on:
It's really hard to make our inner thoughts be quiet so we can hear what someone else is saying.
Lots of things in life can't be fixed, but sometimes it really helps when someone just listens so maybe just try to listen a little bit better as you get to know people.
I think it's going to work out well for you.
Let us know what happens.
Good luck!


@pronota - It is difficult to admit our own faults and recognize there are things about ourselves that we both want to change and need to change. Most of us don't recognize these things in high school. By posting what you believe are your shortcomings before you have graduated high school is not only a positive step in the right direction, it is before many of us find the ability to do so.

As someone who just celebrated their 20 year class reunion, it is stunning how quickly time goes when you finally stop for a minute and reflect.

While none of us are medical professionals on Mayo Clinic Connect, we are a community of members who can share life experiences to help guide one-another on difficult journeys. Now that you have verbally shared what you consider some of your flaws and regrets with the community, have you considered having this same conversation with your friends? In my own experience, it can be liberating when you open yourself up to your friends. In my experience, I've had it go one of two ways: My friends openly listened, appreciated the honesty and it strengthened our friendship. Or, I opened myself up and realized they were not as great of friends as I thought. In both cases, it was nice to know regardless of the outcome. You may find support in your friends who then may also be able help you on your journey. Or, you may find out that the next chapter of your life will be finding a stronger group of friends who you can be more honest with.

Have you also considered speaking with a therapist who is trained to help guide people to make positive changes? You've already taken the hardest step of admitting a fault you would like changed.


I spent many years using sex to avoid my feelings. While that may or may not apply to you, it might be worth considering.

Talking to a therapist never hurts.

I wish you peace and good health.


@pronota Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You express yourself very well, and show you have thought a lot about this concern.

A few thoughts came to mind as I read your post. As a young person, you are going through many fast changes right now, both socially, physically, and emotionally. Cut yourself some slack. Make small changes one at a time. Don't aim for huge steps. You'll find it easier to make small steps, and be patient doing that! Look at where you want to be in the long term, as far as your behavior, and again, take those small steps. Do these ideas sound doable?


Simple and easy answer, which covers all to a therapist.

My main concern is how you didn't see to feel anything for any of these girls.

That could be an indication of various problems, including serious ones.

I would get into counseling and work it out.

My father (who divorced my mom) was a womanizer.

A bunch of guys I knew growing up were womanizers.

The thing they all had in common? Their relationships were definitely not fulfilling.
And worse...they were all generally unhappy people.

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