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UPDATE - Danielle H -

Dear Matthew,

I had attended your St. Petersburg retreat in June 2015 (two years ago). The only way to describe the retreat for me is that afterwards I began to see the world with a new set of eyes.  I have been meaning to write you and say Thank You.  

The retreat was bittersweet for me at first because my sister and I lost our dog Max during the day of the event. I had felt I failed him by not being there for him when he had always been there for me.  I do believe now that he did not want us with him since he knew we had just lost my parents dog (his buddy) a few month earlier. He had been getting older and was blind for the last 6 years of his life. Most people could not believe how he would keep pushing through his illness and thought he lived on pure love.  Having all these emotions already with losing him and stirring up more emotions with the retreat made it hard. But your staff was very helpful and supportive especially your father, Michael Roche and Patty Aizaga (volunteer). It was appropriate that Max passed during the retreat because he did represent what the retreat stood for. He truly loved life, people and no matter how sick he was, Max was always happy and literally smiled, which I did not know dogs could do. 

I was a very painfully shy kid. Even in my twenties I was still shy. I remember one day being out to eat with some friends and one girl said to me. “Danielle.  I know you are shy, but if I didn’t know you I would think you were a stuck up snob.”  She didn’t say it rudely, I didn’t take offense, but it did make me think. Did I really want people to perceive me this way?  That’s not how I am. For some reason that always stuck with me. I started to make small changes in myself. Going back to graduate school at thirty did help because it made me feel like I was back in kindergarten in the sense that I was starting from scratch knowing no one.. It made me force myself to meet new people, and because of that I met some really great people.  When I graduated in May 2008, the economy started to tank and it was hard to find a job. I wound up getting a job teaching at my undergraduate college, which really forced me to come out of my shell. The one part I always had issues with is socially, especially with guys. I would go to singles events and I would be able to start conversations but still come across as nervous. While finding different ways to meet guys, (online dating, singles events, speed dating, going out to bars.) I found it was easier to go up to someone at a single event then a bar, since you know they aren’t taken. 

Upon searching to find different ways to meet guys, I came upon your Get the Guy tour which then lead me to your retreat. Although I was told I was picky before the retreat, I do feel the retreat made me even more selective with the type of guy I want to date. I think that’s more about having standards. I took a lot of your advice about talking to people around you. I do talk to people in the elevators, and am actually surprised at how nice New Yorkers can be J I took your advice about the “hubs” and I became friendly with all the fitness instructors that I take classes with.  When I go to the gym I do take some classes that might have more guys, like boxing. Which I had taken before but it’s a lot more fun when you aren’t too shy to talk to the people in your class.  It’s nice actually walking into the gym and your fellow members and the staff genuinely happy to see me and welcome me warmly. There is this one guy at  the gym that I have like since the first day I joined. Physically he is what I go for. Maybe about 9 months ago he started teaching the spin class; of course I take to his class. I am even able to speak to him with out getting nervous, and look forward to him greeting me as I walk into his class. He does initiate conversation with me after class, as I get to know him I like him even more, because he is down to earth, friendly and has a very positive outlook on life.  I have not yet figured out to how to approach him and find out if he is interested. I don’t want to create an awkward situation. He is younger then me, although I have dated guys both younger and older, that may not be something he wants.

I’m still putting what I have learned from the retreat to use. I have been searching for a house to buy and received a complement from the realtor selling a house a few weeks ago. It was during an open house and I said hello to her and asked her for the info. A few minutes later she came up to me and said you have a very nice look to you, your eyes are very sincere. I thought well I guess I don’t look stuck up to people I don’t know anymore. Although I may not be where I want to be in life (married with kids), I am definitely happy/satisfied with my life and continue to grow as a person.

Thank you again for providing me with the tools to consistently push myself and grow as a person.

Sincerely,

Danielle H