How to find a girlfriend?
March 18, 2012 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Im 22 years old college male and never had a serious relationship. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

So I have been in college and never had a relationship with anyone. Well I did have a girlfriend back in high school but that was to show other people we are boyfriend and girlfriend. Nothing serious there. Im 22 and still a virgin. I don't have the courage to go up to a random girl and asking them out or even start a conversation. I goto school full time and work almost full time so don't have much time to parties and all that every weekend.

I have a small circle of friends, majority of em are guys.

PS: Im Indian living on my own and never had a experience in a dating world. What I found with indian girls is that they don't have sex before marriage and that is a reason I try to stay away from dating/asking indian girls.

So if you guys have any advice, I would appreciate it.
posted by Parh6512 to Human Relations (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What country/area are you in? (Advice if you're in India may be different than if you're in the US).
posted by brainmouse at 12:58 PM on March 18, 2012

Response by poster: Im in Buffalo, NY.
posted by Parh6512 at 1:02 PM on March 18, 2012

There's nothing wrong with you: having or not having had a relationship, sex, or anything of that sort doesn't change who you are. These things aren't really big deals, but I realize it might not feel that way to someone on the other side of the fence.

Anyway, don't sweat it, be yourself, and try to put yourself out there a little more -- make friends, get involved in activities as your free time allows, and realize that it's this way for pretty much everybody.
posted by un petit cadeau at 1:08 PM on March 18, 2012

You're fine, especially since you only recently made a large leap forward when you figured out how to move out of your conservative parents' house-- give yourself a big pat on the back! Based on your Buffalo address and that you're in school, I'm going to guess that you're in some kind of engineering field where there aren't many women and hence few opportunities for casual interaction; apologies if I'm mistaken. You need to offset that deficit by taking some humanities/arts courses, getting involved in low-key coed intramural sports (kickball, anyone?) volunteering and/or working in a place tolerates or encourages conversation, that's more gender-balanced and gives you things in common automatically. Take advantage of having your own place to invite people over for simple meals, potlucks, watching something on TV, etc. so that they reciprocate. Bottom line: look for ways to have casual encounters that lead to easy conversations.
posted by carmicha at 1:12 PM on March 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's nothing inherently great about having a serious relationship in your early twenties. Look around for good, fun, stable, entertaining, sexy people to gravitate toward, and do so with few (or no) expectations. This is a time in your life when you can learn a lot from nearly every relationship, romantic or otherwise.
posted by hermitosis at 1:30 PM on March 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

The best way to find somebody to be happy with is to be happy by yourself, and then put yourself around new people.

Weird but true.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:55 PM on March 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

1. Have your most fashionable friend give you a second opinion on your presentation and grooming, etc. You don't need to be super fashionable but you need to avoid things that make you less attractive than you are (clothes don't fit, bad hairstyle, etc.) This is just a sanity check to make sure there's nothing repellant about your first impression, and if you can update a few things in your wardrobe so you have a few very flattering outfits, girls will notice.

2. Try to hang out in mixed company as much as possible, take any opportunity to chat with girls in a friendly setting with no expectations of picking anyone up. Coed sports league or trivia night or something like that, not necessarily a party. Working a full course load and full time job sounds really hard, but hopefully you can dedicate 1 hour a week to this, since everyone needs to relax and socialize a little. You're practicing talking to women as people and working on your small talk without making it flirty, but once you're good at this, flirting will come so much more naturally.

3. Try online dating, keep it light and look for people who share your interests, and don't rule out Indian girls especially if you feel you'd have something in common with them. You can eliminate the very conservative ones by looking at their answers to questions like "do you think it's moral to have sex before marriage?", etc. But ethnicity alone will not always predict the answer.
posted by slow graffiti at 2:06 PM on March 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

>>I don't have the courage to go up to a random girl and asking them out or even start a conversation.

Stop that.

Sometimes you have to do scary things. This is one of those times. You can be afraid, but you can't avoid having conversations with girls -- not if you want to get over that fear, and not if you want to get a girlfriend.

Look, going up to a random girl and asking her out isn't going to be a great move anyway. But you need to get over your fear of talking with girls. Talk with girls at work, in class, at coffee shops, at church... whatever your thing is that you do. Go to parties and talk to them there. If you want to do this, you'll have to find the time. Then, when you have a conversational relationship and feel like you want to go on a date with a particular girl, force yourself to ask her out.

I don't know how you got your girlfriend in high school, but this isn't going to just magically happen for you -- especially if you run away from opportunities.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:13 PM on March 18, 2012

Dude, you're not alone. I'm almost 26, and never even been in a relationship or a date! I haven't been kissed. No kidding. I have this insecurity/inferior complex, but I keep reminding myself it's more normal than I think - and when the right person comes around, it'll happen.

I broke my virginity at approximately 23/24. Not a bad thing :)

Don't let this get you down.
posted by dubious_dude at 2:23 PM on March 18, 2012

Join a club or activity that has female members. This will vary by campus, but you can check out a few and see which ones have a good balance of men and women, or even which ones have more women than men. Go to club/activity events and you have a natural topic to start conversations with: "So, how long have you been into vegan cooking?"/"I'm new to Habitat for Humanity, can you show me what to do where to bring these supplies?"/"Hey, that's really cool! Can you teach me your technique?"/"What's your favorite movie the film club has shown?" You'll start by talking about the shared activity, and then if you click with the person you're talking to, it'll feel pretty natural to ease into a more personal conversation.

You don't have to approach random women and ask them out. You do, however, have to find a way to get comfortable interacting with women. A shared interest or activity is an easy way to start.
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:45 PM on March 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

From personal experience, the best advice is to change something in your life.

usually, that means routines, and routines come with friends (or vice versa). It's very hard to meet new people in ordinary situations, surrounded by the people you are usually surrounded by. Your friends are probably brilliant, and I am not saying "ditch them". What I mean is, step out of your comfort zone. So something YOURSELF that is completely apart from your usual routines, your usual social circles. Join a club; go abroad to work; meet up with people you know online, or haven't seen for a few years.

Make a few simple changes like this and you can be a new you. the same you, but refreshed, enlightened.

Friends can be shackles. Break your own mould
posted by 0bvious at 2:51 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Judging from my own Indian friends, you are not at all an outlier, OP, if that makes you feel any better. Some of them were waiting for marriage (this changed, but that's another story), and pretty much all of them felt they didn't have the time to concentrate on relationships until they were through the toughest college years. Once they reached a "coasting" stage, or graduated from college, they went out a lot more, met people, and relationships just seemed to evolve naturally as a result. So please don't feel like you're a lost cause or anything! There's no hurry, you have plenty of time.

But! You also don't need to feel intimidated when you're approaching a woman. I think what is tripping you up is the "random girl" aspect of this. You are putting more emphasis on that than you need to. You are telling yourself that talking to a "random" girl, one you don't already know well, is weird.

You have "guy" friends in school, right? And how did you meet them, and start up conversations? Probably pretty random, if you actually think about it. Maybe you were assigned as roommates, had a class together, work together, or come from the same background. That's all random, too. But you aren't as intimidated by them. Why? Because they're guys, like you.

You're seeing women as another species. But they're just people, too. Talk to them just like you would the guys--about work and school and stuff. Maybe you'll find someone you have more in common with--not just work, but hobbies or goals, something you can build a relationship on.

But even if you don't get a "girlfriend", you can still have some "girl friends", which is good practice for becoming a better boyfriend down the line. And hanging out with both guys and girls significantly increases your odds, because as you meet THEIR friends you'll be meeting more girls, and eventually finding someone who clicks with you.
posted by misha at 2:55 PM on March 18, 2012

Since you haven't yet been in any close, romantic relationships, that means that you're relatively free of destructive relationship habits that fill the baggage that so many people carry around. So approach this phase of your life as a chance to give yourself a head start by developing healthy ways of forming and conducting relationships. The habit I want to advocate is respect.

It sounds like you're seeing women in terms of "potential girlfriend" or "girl willing (or not) to have sex with me." You say that you stay away from dating Indian girls because they generally don't want to have sex before marriage. That attitude is deeply insulting, not just to "Indian girls," but to all "girls." You seem to be looking at "girls" as things to have sex with. If your interactions with the women around you are based on that sort of assumption, that is a BIG turn-off.

Women are people, just people. We're not some different species that you need to have special skills to handle. Be a nice, decent person, reasonably thoughtful and interesting, and treat all the women you meet just as if they were REAL PEOPLE. Respect their thoughts, feelings, opinions and values in just the same way that you hope they will respect yours. If you can begin learning these habits now, your future will be bright.
posted by Corvid at 3:59 PM on March 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Dude, I'm in a similar position to you except I'm a female. I would say that you seriously shouldn't worry about this. This comes with time, and yeah, there are a lot of people that are in relationships at our age. BUT, there are also many people that are not in relationships at our age.

People that have FWB (friends with benefits) or whatever else, put themselves out there. You can't expect to have that stuff if you remain in one place (your place) and do nothing but go to school and work.

There isn't anything wrong with you or anyone else that's in their 20s and hasn't been in a relationship before. People don't say 'look at that loser, he/she hasn't been in a relationship before.' Most people won't care.

The relationship and hooking up stuff will come with time. As others have suggested, continue to put yourself out there to meet more people of the opposite sex but don't view this as strictly for the purpose of dating. View this as an opportunity to get to know more people in general. Change your routine as someone wisely suggested.

P.S. I responded to your other question about moving out of your parents place a while ago. Congratulations on moving into your own place. It seemed difficult at the time for you, but you did it. This question is also something that you can work towards changing even if you don't know how to approach it. Use the fact that you moved out as proof that things get better when you are willing to take chances even if it takes a while.
posted by livinglearning at 4:08 PM on March 18, 2012

What I found with indian girls is that they don't have sex before marriage and that is a reason I try to stay away from dating/asking indian girls.

That's a big generalization. All "indian girls" don't do one thing or another. If you want to date an Indian girl, treat them like any other girl. I understand sex might be an important part of a long term relationship for you and that's fair, but don't exclude a whole group of people from your options because of this.

I agree with some others above that it seems like you're treating women like another species or something -- don't be afraid of talking to women. Try cultivating friendships with women first.
posted by sweetkid at 4:47 PM on March 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

In order to meet someone to date, you need to start putting yourself in a position where you're meeting new people, as often as possible, in environments in which it's expected that people will talk to each other. Like parties. I understand that you don't have time time to go to huge parties every weekend, but presumably you'd have time to go have a drink or two for someone's birthday, right? Because if you don't have time for that, you don't actually have time for a girlfriend.

So, if you're looking to meet women, you need to seek out a circumstance that most people avoid - the party where you only know the person who invited you. This is the best possible situation for meeting potential partners, because it forces you to mingle. But you don't get to go to these kinds of parties if you hang out with a closed group all the time. So the first step is to make new friends, of either gender, that are not part of the group you hang out with now.
posted by Ragged Richard at 4:49 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have no fear, there are many guys out there who have been in the exact same position. It's not that uncommon to be a virgin at 22. You're still really really young. So you have plenty of time to meet the right girl. It would definitely help if you start to put yourself out there a bit more by being active about going up to women. But I'll admit, that can be very daunting if you don't have the right personality for it. Honestly, I think your best internet dating. Disregard all the negative things you've heard about it. It's much easier to approach women online then it is to do so in person at a bar, or the super market, etc. Many people have formed amazing relationships via online dating. I met my wife online. Give it a shot. There are some free sites out there, and then there's the big paying sites. I'd try a couple of them. I think okcupid and plentyoffish are free. Or at least they used to be. If you can't find a free site, join for 6 months or something that reduces the cost for a longer membership. You have to give it a good fair shot. It may take time, but I really think internet dating will produce much better results for you then just going up to random women. Other then a little cash, you have nothing to lose. So get out there and find your other half!
posted by ljs30 at 5:41 PM on March 18, 2012

I think internet dating or speed dating is a good option for someone who is shy and has a hard time going up to girls and asking them out. If nothing else, it gives you a chance to practice dating. Also try not to stereotype girls. Sure some Indian girls want to wait until marriage, but some don't. In college, I knew an Indian girl who was engaged to a man much older. Her parents had arranged the engagement. The only problem? She fell in love with a white guy from with the biggest southern accent you ever heard from North Carolina. I've never been too sure who was more upset, his white Southern parents or her traditional Indian parents. The Indian girl and the souther boy have now been married for over ten years, but I'd bet money that they probably had sex before they got married.
posted by bananafish at 7:32 PM on March 18, 2012

I don't have the courage to go up to a random girl and asking them out or even start a conversation

Try doing it without the courage. Turns out its one thing you don't need to ask a girl out.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:57 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Just found out my religious friend is (sort of)...   |   How much does it cost to create one job? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.