how to approach and how to make girls interested in you?
April 17, 2012 11:46 AM   Subscribe

how to approach and how to make girls interested in you?

Hi I'm going to be honest. I'm a 19 year old college freshman and I never had a girlfriend, not even hugged one. I don't have any friends that are girls and I have a hard time talking to them. I have a bit of social anxiety and I always feel that I have to say the rights words to make girls be interested in me. I don't have a great personality and I feel a bit of pressure. I have such a low self esteem that it's ruining me. There's this girl that I really like in class, but there is only 3 lectures left and a final before I might not/or never even talk to her again. What do I do?? I feel a bit depressed
posted by soul24rage to Human Relations (44 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Add her on Facebook!
posted by 200burritos at 11:49 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't make a girl like you. She either will or she won't. If you like her, then ask her to do something you like to do (movies, dinner, coffee), and get to know her.

Saying the right words is much less effective than listening to the person you like.
posted by xingcat at 11:50 AM on April 17, 2012 [23 favorites]


Going to agree with xingcat in that your wording of the question may be a part of the problem. You can't MAKE a girl interested in you, period.

The key here is to BE comfortable in your own skin.
Embrace your hobbies, your interests, your likes and dislikes.
Be naturally kind to everyone.
If you're interested in someone, use the best pick up line known to man. Walk up to that girl and say "Hi" and smile.

Your confidence, which is sexy, will radiate because you are happy with WHO YOU ARE, not trying to be someone else.

1) Confidence
2) Authenticity
3) Natural, no pressure approach
4) ???
5) Coffee date!
posted by THAT William Mize at 11:59 AM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


First, read and absorb Succeed Socially. Also, ignore any of that pick-up artist garbage floating around the internet. If someone/something is giving you advice with phrases like "friend zone," "ladder theory," "alpha," "peacocking" or whatever, don't follow it unless you want worthwhile people (men and women alike) to think poorly of you. Also, you'll run the risk of developing a lot of misogynistic ideas that you probably don't know are misogynistic.

Second: You can't make anyone interested in you. You have to be interesting. There was some great advice in this thread. And you can't (as in, it's not possible) to be just interesting to girls, so you'll want to focus on generally being interesting, approachable and fun. Again, Succeed Socially is a great starting guide on that for dudes in the exact situation you're in.

Also, just come up to her, introduce yourself if she doesn't know who you are, and ask her if she wants to get a coffee after class. If she says 'yes,' go have fun and try to just hang out and talk without thinking about dating or whatever. If that goes well, ask her on a date (you're new at this so I'd suggest you actually ask "would you like to go on a date to [place] on [day]?" instead of trying something, more, uh, complicated.) If she says 'no' to either part, I promise you that you will not die and after you get over the rejection, you will feel better about yourself for being brave enough to ask. And that'll make it easier next time.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on April 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


Approach her like you would a potential friend, and ask to do friendly things with her, like getting coffee, lunch, or going to a movie. If it progresses beyond friendship, happy days! If not, you have a friend who is a girl, who likely has other friends who are girls.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:00 PM on April 17, 2012


Girls are just people.

I know that it's hard, especially when the social burden is on the man to initiate first contact- But try to remember that all of these girls who you are building up in your head are people just like you, with the same feelings and wants and desires.

I would not add her on facebook- it's a passive way of getting to passively see what's going on in her life without becoming or even attempting to become a part of hers.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ask her to get coffee and study for finals together!!

Also, you are only 19, and there's hella ladies in college, you have plenty of time. It's okay, don't worry too much.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:04 PM on April 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


Listen to her when she talks. If she speaks up in class, try and parlay that into a conversation after class. Try to engage in an actual conversation and take what she has to say seriously. That's a really good start. Also, breathe.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:13 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dating Advice from 1944: How to Get Along with Girls

This excerpt comes from a chapter called “How to Pick Your Right Girl.”

“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage; half closed afterwards.”

Sooner or later, if you are “stuck” on a girl, you arrive at the crucial indecision, “Is she the right girl for me? Shall I marry her?”

Yours is an unbelievable lot, brother. You are required to decide for the rest of your life, at a time when you are bereft of reason. You are required to be impartial about the object of your love, when love prejudices you in her favor. Unfortunately, such is the cockeyed nature of things that every marrying man gets into this predicament.

What you seek in a wife is strictly your business. To rephrase the old proverb: one man’s wife is another man’s poison. But it is only fair to warn you that what you desire may not coincide with what you require. You may have no idea of what is good for you. Perhaps you need a woman to bolster your ego, but are masochist enough to “go” for a girl who slaps you down every time. Haven’t you seen that happen? Or you may need a girl to slap you down, but egoist that you are, you “go” only for “fluff” that flatters your vanity.

Before you make the momentous decision, you would do well to ponder the questions in this chapter. Obviously, you will not be objective; but it is of the utmost importance that you make the effort. To compensate for your prejudice, be extra hard in judging her.


There are 26 questions to ask yourself in the link above. Remember this is advice from 68 years ago. Some of it seems chauvinistic today, but you may just find that the majority still applies even in contemporary society.
posted by netbros at 12:15 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't have a great personality and I feel a bit of pressure. I have such a low self esteem that it's ruining me.

You need to like yourself if you want others to. I'd suggest tackling this first.
posted by Paper rabies at 12:16 PM on April 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


The easiest way to get people to be interested in you is to be interesting. Have interests. Act on those interests. You will find other people who share those interests and you will become friends based on those shared interests and perhaps more than friends.

Note that I did not say how to get "girls" to be interested in you. Stop thinking of "girls" as a thing distinct from "people". If you can get over that, you'll start to have female friends as well as male friends, and you'll discover that other than being shaped differently there is really a lot less difference between men and women than you think.


This girl in your class that you're crushing on: do you like her, or are you sexually attracted to her? Not the same thing. Have you had a conversation with her? (I mean a real conversation, not chitchat about the weather or did you do the homework or whatever. Although even that would be a start.) Do you know what she likes to do with her time, what her interests are, what her political or philosophical beliefs are... anything? Do you have anything in common? If the answer is "no" or "I don't know" then you don't like her, you're attracted to her. Which, yes, attraction is an ingredient in romance, but it's only one ingredient.

For now, worry less about how to get girls to be interested in you, than about being someone worth being interested in. (I am not saying that you aren't worthy, just that you may be hiding your worthiness under a bucket of social anxiety and poor self-esteem.) Be who you are, be proud of who you are, like what you like doing, be proud of liking those things, and like-minded people (of both genders!) will fall into place around you.

Worry less about finding a girlfriend than about finding friends who are girls. How do you make friends who are girls? The same way you make friends who are not girls. If you can stop treating the whole gender as some anxiety-inducing Other, and start treating them as individual people, suddenly you'll find that the girlfriend part becomes a whole lot easier.

It really is just that simple.

And just that difficult.
posted by ook at 12:16 PM on April 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


If there are only 3 lectures left, then there's not much you can do about this specific girl. You can, of course, just ask her out, but there is a 99% chance of the girl saying no to a guy she doesn't know at all, especially if he doesn't sound confident when he is asking her out out of nowhere. And if she says no, she is almost guaranteed to be in your class next semester or in the dorm room next to yours, or something like that, because life likes to play jokes like that.

That said, girls are people. Are you comfortable making friends with guys? If not, then just work on joining clubs and meeting all kinds of people, guys and girls, and practicing your social skills, practicing asking people to hang out after the club meeting is over. Ask everyone to come along - guys and girls. If you're comfortable making friends with guys, then join some clubs where there might be more girls, and talk to them the same way you would as if you were making guy friends. Don't try to think of ways to ask them out, don't only try to talk to the pretty ones you would like to ask out, but just be friendly and talk to everyone, and become friends with girls. We are not some alien creatures, and guys don't have to make girls interested in them. Guys just need to be fun, relaxed, nice, and social, and girls will want to hang out with those guys. And eventually one of those girls is going to like hanging out with you enough to want to date you. I know it sounds easier than it actually is in real life, but the take-away message is that girls are just people. Get them to like you as a friend, don't only talk to the pretty ones because that puts too much pressure on you.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 12:18 PM on April 17, 2012


Some bog-standard tips:

1. You are more average than you think - you are not a special snowflake, for good or for ill. I wish that when I was young and insecure I had been able to shake the belief that I was both Much Worse and Much More Unique than others, since it kept me from doing a lot of stuff.

2. Dress neatly in whatever style you favor; keep your hair neat for whatever style you wear (ie, neat for dreadlocks is not the same as neat for braids is not the same as neat for a crewcut). Brush your teeth. Shower and wash your clothes regularly. Clean your glasses.

3. Do stuff so that you have stories to tell. Do things sequentially so that you can build expertise and opinions. If you like zombie movies, see a bunch of zombie movies and figure out some things about them; maybe read a book about zombie movies. If you like to hike, make a bunch of hikes and notice things about them. If you like to cook, learn new dishes. If you can go places with a group of friends or people who share interests, do that; if not, go by yourself. Don't get stuck in a school-work-lab-home rut if you can avoid it.

4. You can be an interesting person who does interesting stuff even if you're attending Podunk State in Tinytown, SD. Just cultivate things that you're interested in.

5. Ways not to look physically off-putting: Don't keep the same haircut you've had since you were six (unless you're an advanced fashion kind of person and are doing it on purpose). Do try to have glasses that are current - and remember that many "neutral" kinds of small wire frames look dismal and unappealing even though you think that they are "neutral". Don't wear polo shirts unless you're really committed to prepdom - polo shirts easily look cheap, saggy and ill-fitting unless you're committed to choosing them and keeping them nice, but many young fellows wear a polo as a "nice" or "semi-dressy" shirt. Pay attention to your bag and shoes and so on - they need not be expensive, but they should be in adequate condition and not random. Don't have black puffy trainers; don't have a random black nylon bag that you got for free somewhere. Make sure your pants fit.

6. You don't sound like an entitled creeper girl-wise - hooray! Stuff with relationships that can happen: you can think someone is interested in you but she's not; someone can be moderately interested in you but choose not to pursue it; someone can be interested in you but be unable to pursue it for life reasons; someone can be interested in you and then stop. When these things happen, try to remember that girls don't "owe" you stuff just because you were nice to them or they were nice to you.

7. Beware of being a white knight. Many a nice young fellow without too much relationship experience has hurt himself in this manner. Don't try to "save" a troubled young woman, especially if she is the kind of troubled young woman who has no qualms about accepting meals and money and rides and hours of your attention. If you're interested in someone, don't give disproportionately, because you may end up feeling used: ie, if you're interested in a girl, don't buy her a bunch of stuff or drive her to New Orleans to hear this band (unless you really want to go) or talk to her for five hours on the phone when she's bored. There is a common dynamic among insecure young men and socially inexperienced/unethical young women, where the young woman will pretend to be oblivious to the fact that the guy is interested in her while accepting a lot of stuff from him as "friends". Then the guy feels either used or entitled or both, and it all ends in tears.

8. If you're at a loss for conversation, ask the other person questions. If you can't tell what they'd like to talk about, ask general questions - "what made you decide to take 'Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters: Neoliberalism Reconfigures Austen'?" Even a stupid/kitsch question will generally be well-received since it shows effort.

9. Always remember that there are a lot of girls, especially when you're 19. I wish I'd remembered this, because I got way too hung up on a few people.
posted by Frowner at 12:18 PM on April 17, 2012 [19 favorites]


You need to lower the stakes. I realize this is more easily said than done, but really lower the stakes. My guess is that you probably stay in your comfort zone (i.e., hanging out with your guy friends, doing guy friend stuff) but you're becoming aware that your socialization strategies for the comfort zone aren't helping you on the girlfriend front. That's okay. Don't beat yourself up over this. It's totally fine. You are not out of the ordinary at all.

It also sounds like you generally stay in your comfort zone until there's someone you're interested in romantically, like this girl in your class right now. When you're crushing on someone, your interactions with that person are going to be much higher stakes than you're ready for right now. You need to lower the stakes.

So try this: rule out dating, or being romantically involved with anybody, for the next calendar year. For the rest of the school year, you're not interested in anyone. You're off the market. Instead, you're going to make friends with women your own age.

Try this: there's a girl in one of your classes. You don't know her name but you recognize her and you're pretty sure she recognizes you. You're not interested in her, you're not attracted to her. There's no high-stakes interaction possible. She's just a person, like everybody else.

So when you happen to see her at the coffee shop (or whatever) your job is to go up to her as you're walking by and say something like "so, do you think [Professor so-and-so, from your class] has a whole closet full of Cosby sweaters* or what?" And then she'll say, "I know! and does he ever comb his hair?" And you'll say, "it's crazy. I'm Bob [or whatever]" and shake her hand and say "nice to meet you." Then walk away. That's it. You just did something outside of your comfort zone to help you get better at talking to girls.

Over time, as you repeat these kinds of minor, brief interactions, with all sorts of girls you're not attracted to, you'll have more things to talk about with them, which means you'll start having female friends. It's a lot like having guy friends, actually, and it will help you to feel like you can talk to that girl when it comes time to, because you've been talking to girls all along, bantering, making jokes, asking their opinions, and so on.

You're fine. You're 19, and from the outside this stuff seems a lot harder than it is. Don't beat yourself up because you need a little practice. It's totally okay. Just go out there and start making friends with girls. There's virtually no risk.

* That reference is probably super dated, but you get the idea.
posted by gauche at 12:32 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some really good advice so far. Maybe I can add a little reassurance?

I am 37. I've had plenty of girlfriends. I also have pretty good self esteem etc., but just like you, I feel nervous and insecure around women I'm attracted to. I still don't know how to ask a stranger out on a date, and the times I've actually gotten up the nerve to call someone I like have been few and nerve racking! As far as I can tell from observing others, we're totally normal!

So while you're building up interests and self confidence, and practicing thinking of girls as just like everyone else, and working on asking questions and active listening, don't forget to cut yourself a little slack. This stuff is hard.
posted by latkes at 12:35 PM on April 17, 2012


If you want girls to be interested in you, you have to be doing interesting things. And even better, if you go out and do interesting things, you will meet people who like those things and you already have something in common since you're doing a shared activity together you both actually enjoy (unlike school, where you're basically forced to be there), making them much easier to talk to. If you want to meet sporty-type girls, find a co-ed, intramural team to play on. If you want to find artsy-type girls, take an art class or go to a museum or exhibition. Join a club or organization or Meetup of people who enjoy that activity. Hey presto, you've got common ground and a basis to start a conversation.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:39 PM on April 17, 2012


I agree with Paper rabies. Shifting your relationship with yourself should be your first priority. Everything I do, romantically or otherwise, comes out painfully slanted as long as I'm letting self-critical neuroses run my life.

Have you seen a therapist about this?
posted by Estragon at 12:40 PM on April 17, 2012


What's the WORST thing that will happen if you don't approach this girl and ask if she would like to have lunch/coffee or something after class? You never see her again once the class ends. You'll never know if you had a chance with this girl.

What's the WORST thing that will happen if you DO approach her? She might say no, and you'll never see her again, but you'll know that's because it wasn't right for the two of you. You won't regret not having even tried to find out.

AND, with the second option, she might just say YES! And then you have, at the very least, a friendship with a girl. Which could become more than that.

Worst case scenario from then on? She stays a friend rather than a girlfriend.

Or you both get attacked by zombies. But hey, you'll be fighting off zombies with a friend at your side!

It's just logical that approaching her is the best course for you and for the survival of mankind in the coming zombie apocalypse, right?

So, my advice--try this at the next class:

If she makes a comment in class, pay attention. Approach her at the end of class, using that as an opener ("When you said x about y, I agreed with you..." or "I never thought about x that way before.") Try to be honest in your reaction--don't suck up too much and gush about how her comment was the most insightful ever in the world.

Segue into, "Hey, do you have another class now?" If not, ask if she'd like to head over to some place on campus nearby for a drink or bite of something. Don't make it anything elaborate.

If she does have another class, ask if she'd want to meet up later, "Hey, I enjoyed talking with you--you want to get together later?" will do.

What if she doesn't say a single thing in class? Well, you can even approach her about that. "Hey, pretty boring lecture, huh?" whatever. Just go from there, using your class experience to build on a conversation.

And remember the world will not end if she says no, and no one will think any less of you for having asked her. This is not junior high, where people actually care about who's popular and who's not. In the real world, we've all felt insecure, we've all been attracted to people...it's a level playing field.

You can do this. Good luck!
posted by misha at 12:40 PM on April 17, 2012


Coming from a girl who's roughly your age: if you want to go talk to her, just talk to her. She's not going to automatically assume you're hitting on her. Start off small by asking innocent questions like "do you know when project x is due?" and "hey, do you mind helping me with this problem?" Trust me, it won't be as weird as your mind makes it out to be.
posted by instantfail at 12:43 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You can, of course, just ask her out, but there is a 99% chance of the girl saying no to a guy she doesn't know at all, especially if he doesn't sound confident when he is asking her out out of nowhere. And if she says no, she is almost guaranteed to be in your class next semester or in the dorm room next to yours, or something like that, because life likes to play jokes like that.

Don't be afraid of this! Eventually, you're going to make a friend who is a woman, and you will ask her out and she will say 'no' and, what, are you just going to stop being friends with her because of that? (The answer is 'no.')

A guy who has the capability to take rejection smoothly and not take it as an assault on his masculinity (or whatever) and doesn't pester is a guy people like. I don't know if you know this -- and Frowner speaks of it above -- but a lot of dudes think they're entitled to attention, or dates, or whatever. And when they ask out women, and women reject them for whatever reason, they become (or, rather, actively demonstrate that they already are) assholes. Because of that, some women will just sort of stop socializing with guys who have asked them out. They're not being mean, they've just had a lot of shitty experiences with the context you created (i.e. having to reject you) and are rightfully on their toes. So don't take it personally and if they're giving off "leave me alone" signals, don't assume you did something wrong or are so unlikeable or whatever. But please do leave them alone.

Now, if they don't do that and you can demonstrate that having asked them out changes nothing, you've maybe made a friend (or kept the one you already made and asked out.) And who doesn't like friends? Plus your new friends often have other friends who are looking to date a good guy and, hey, how about that, there you are being a good guy and also single.

(Of course you should never make friends on the basis of the latter scenario. In fact, you shouldn't be making friends based on what you can get from them at all.)
posted by griphus at 12:45 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You want to read, and apply, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was written back in the 40s but it is 100% applicable today. Also, much of what people are saying above will be found in this book.
posted by COD at 12:57 PM on April 17, 2012


Hi I'm going to be honest. I'm a 19 year old college freshman and I never had a girlfriend, not even hugged one.

I was there-- didn't have a girlfriend until I was 24. For me it just took breaking the shitty pattern my life was in, making new friends, and just generally being a more interesting person, and then I just started dating naturally without really making it 'a thing' to find a girlfriend.

Just relax, be patient, be yourself, keep busy, find a hobby. Make lots of friends in general. It'll happen for you.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on April 17, 2012


I have a bit of social anxiety and I always feel that I have to say the rights words to make girls be interested in me. I don't have a great personality and I feel a bit of pressure. I have such a low self esteem that it's ruining me. There's this girl that I really like in class, but there is only 3 lectures left and a final before I might not/or never even talk to her again.

Also, this is the kind of thought pattern I was in for years, and it's just the absolute wrong way to think about it. Just be yourself, and make friends with people you are interested in. Forget whether they're male or female. Just be friendly. Go to parties, talk to lots of people. You don't want to try and trick someone into 'liking' you. You're just trying to find people that you get along with and spend more time with them. If it ends up being a relationship, great, but if it's not, that's cool, too. You just need to take the pressure off of yourself. You aren't on a timer.
posted by empath at 1:12 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


>You can't make a girl like you. She either will or she won't.

I don't think that's exactly true.

You can behave in ways that generate attraction; what a woman feels toward you at Time T might be very different than what she feels at Time T1, if you've said things, or done things, that she finds attractive, and said or done them in a way that she finds attractive.

Particularly with women, your perceived attractiveness is easily modified by your behavior.

>Also, ignore any of that pick-up artist garbage floating around the internet.

There's certainly that option. Note, though, that with sufficient practice and the proper attitude, much of it can work really, really well... and consistently.

When it comes to experiencing emotional response, humans are usually much less special-snowflakey than most would like to think; we all have patterns, and these patterns can be elicited, triggered, and directed.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:29 PM on April 17, 2012


You can, of course, just ask her out, but there is a 99% chance of the girl saying no to a guy she doesn't know at all, especially if he doesn't sound confident when he is asking her out out of nowhere. And if she says no, she is almost guaranteed to be in your class next semester or in the dorm room next to yours, or something like that, because life likes to play jokes like that.

And the response:

Don't be afraid of this! Eventually, you're going to make a friend who is a woman, and you will ask her out and she will say 'no' and, what, are you just going to stop being friends with her because of that? (The answer is 'no.')

A distinction needs to be drawn: Asking people out cold is almost always a bad idea unless you are already in a culture where that's normal. If you've never talked to someone at all, asking her on a date is liable to seem weird because it gives the impression that you want to date her for a bad reason: you think she's easy and her personality doesn't matter; you are a sexist creeper who values women only for their looks; you are en entitled creeper who thinks that any women ought to go out with him blind just because he's so special. It also sends out "this guy does not know how to read social cues, which means that he might turn into an asshole or a stalker" vibes, because it's a very uncommon behavior most often engaged in by creepy men. It's not that only creepy dudes do this, but mostly creepy dudes do this, and it is so unpleasant to be stalked and harassed that many women would much rather not take any chances.

Even I - a butch queer woman with no beauty to speak of - have been asked out cold by creeper men who then flipped out like ninjas when I said no. And I emphasize that I am a butch queer woman who is not thin and has glasses. So it happens, and it happens all the time.

About this girl: I assume that you like her not just for her looks but for a specific reason. So try this: Say to her, "You made a lot of good comments in class - like that time when you said [X clever thing]. It would be great to talk more about [thing]. Would you like to get coffee some time?" Then follow up with actual times. And use whatever youth-appropriate language you use. Now, this is not a date, which is actually good. It's also flattering - you've noticed things she's said - but flattering about something other than "hur-hur, I think you're hot". And it suggests that having coffee with you will be interesting rather than a total drag, even if it doesn't go anywhere. Suggest coffee on/near campus too, so that if it's awful you both have an out.
posted by Frowner at 1:43 PM on April 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oops. The stuff right after "and the response" should be in italics!!!
posted by Frowner at 1:43 PM on April 17, 2012


Note, though, that with sufficient practice and the proper attitude, much of it can work really, really well... and consistently.

For a dude like our OP, who has limited social experience with women and not much of a sense of their perspective, books that tell a guy that in order to impress women they need to be openly condescending and dress like an Ed Hardy catalog model moonlighting as a stripper are probably second-best to just giving up.
posted by griphus at 1:49 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for all these wonderful response. I feel a little better now. I agree that you can't make a girl like you even though that wasn't my intention. I'm a poor storyteller so it is kinda hard to talk to girls. I'm going to work on myself, try to be confident and hopefully have the time of my life here. However, I have a question. what happens after you get to the real conversation. I mean, what do girls are generally interested at. I'm only interested in like soccer and people relations in our school. Not like celebrity and tv dramas and etc. Do I have to be interested in what girls are interested in to make a real conversation? How do I be interesting?
posted by soul24rage at 2:06 PM on April 17, 2012


Oh nvm I've seen the post of griphus.
posted by soul24rage at 2:09 PM on April 17, 2012


I don't understand why sarahnicolesays to not add her on Facebook. My current boyfriend and I were in class together, I added him on Facebook. After looking at his Facebook profile, I liked what I saw enough to go after him. He never would have even thought of me in a girlfriend way if I hadn't expressed interest in him by looking him up and adding him. Just add her and write something on her wall. "haha, i can't study for the [our class] final because i can't stop watching this (insert video of cute puppies/kittens here)"


The internet is a great way for socially awkward people to make a good impression. You can gauge more about her interests and lifestyle from her Facebook page than you will be able to in the next few class meetings. Maybe she likes Dexter as much as you? Oh wow, you went to the same music festival two years ago! There will be something you can start a conversation with (and if there isn't, you weren't compatible anyways).
posted by 200burritos at 2:17 PM on April 17, 2012


Different girls are interested in different things, and I am sure there have to be girls at your school who are interested in soccer and people-relations as you say you are. Do you attend soccer games locally? Any soccer game not held in a monastery is bound to have plenty of single ladies in attendance.
posted by aecorwin at 2:18 PM on April 17, 2012


I am not ever interested in all the same things as the people I date - and vise versa - but I find those things, at least some of them, interesting because I find the person I'm dating interesting.

So if you go on a date with someone and she's obsessed with Twilight (I have no idea if this is realistic - just pulling out a random example), you can still ask her about Twilight, and what she likes about it, and which book or movie she likes best and why, even if you are not interested in Twilight. And her answers will help you understand her as a person. And that will guide whether this becomes someone you want to keep dating or not.

So no, don't just talk about soccer and hope for the best, ask her about what she likes, and then listen to her answers. Maybe you'll discover some new things to be into.
posted by latkes at 2:18 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a poor storyteller so it is kinda hard to talk to girls. I'm going to work on myself, try to be confident and hopefully have the time of my life here. However, I have a question. what happens after you get to the real conversation. I mean, what do girls are generally interested at.

Do you know what people (not just girls) like to talk about more than anything else? Themselves. You don't need to be a good story teller, just be a good listener, and ask good questions, and remember what people tell you.

But really, it sounds like you just need to make more friends in general. Add people on facebook, go to more parties. Remember people's names and faces.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that the point of all of these "you're not a special snowflake" comments up above is intended to reassure you that, pretty much no matter what you're into, there are girls out there who are into it too. There are definitely girls who are interested in soccer. There are men who are interested in cooking and women who are interested in science and girls who love video games and men who love My Little Pony. Really, whatever you like, it is very very likely that other people your age like it too.

How you be interesting is to like yourself and to let yourself be okay with who you are. Let it be okay that you're into soccer and maybe some girls aren't but others definitely are. The only thing you have to be is yourself, and being yourself will bring you the opportunities, the friendships, and the loves that are right for you.

And, if you like, let yourself be introduced to things that your female friends are interested in: do this not because you're trying to be more appealing to them but because you're trying to learn whether something your friends like is something that appeals to you.

Consider that you're being tongue-tied because you feel all this pressure to be interesting and to keep the conversation going and to be interesting to a girl when you don't even know what she thinks is interesting.

You could ask her. She might be interested in anything. Some of those things might be things that you're also interested in. Some might not. It's okay either way. She's one girl out of millions of women your age. Get to know some of them. They're just people.
posted by gauche at 2:34 PM on April 17, 2012


I don't understand why sarahnicolesays to not add her on Facebook.

Because hoping that this is the sort of person who thinks friending a person she has never spoken with is an endearing sign of affection is slim-to-none. Rather, it can easily come off as voyeuristic and frightened, neither of which are particularly attractive qualities.

You are a woman who messaged a dude. That's sort of rare. However, most young women I knew in college were getting regular friend requests from Some Guy On Campus who, usually, just wanted to fuck and saw this as the most efficient way to get in touch about said potential fucking. If the OP finds himself in the "ignore this creep "pile, he is worse off than when he started.
posted by griphus at 2:55 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


(I would, however, certainly encourage the OP adding a person on Facebook after having a conversation with them. Preferably within a day or two, while you're still fresh in their mind.)
posted by griphus at 2:57 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


what happens after you get to the real conversation. I mean, what do girls are generally interested at. I'm only interested in like soccer and people relations in our school. Not like celebrity and tv dramas and etc. Do I have to be interested in what girls are interested in to make a real conversation?

You're not getting it. At all.

"Girls" don't exist, okay? They are "people." They have varied interests, just like regular people do. Some of them like soccer; some of them like celebrities. Presumably you will have more in common with the ones who like soccer.

You don't have to be interested in "what girls are interested in". You have to be interested in what the person you are talking to is interested in. If you're not, then talk to someone else.


Also, please cut out the self-denigrating "I have a bad personality" "I am a poor storyteller" blah blah blah. If you say that shit often enough it will eventually come true.
posted by ook at 2:58 PM on April 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


In addition to all the fine advice in this thread, I want to add a component that was crucial for me: Work out. Exercise. You don't have to go crazy or be 80s Schwarzenegger, no way. But better if it is some reasonably significant effort.

1) There isn't really a way or method to talk to people. At the same time, there are infinite ways and methods. Your connection to people is - in part - a manifestation of the emotions you are signaling and they pick up when they are around you. (E.g. body language, speech patterns.) Being fit increases your physical and mental fitness, you become more comfortable both in your body and you are also simply more collected and calm. It just happens.

1b) More specifically, the exercise will take the edge off the anxiety, you will radiate more calm, and your personality will flow better.

2) Being physically fit increases the chances that a girl will find ways to talk to you. Of course.

3) Regular exercise takes willpower, and being fit displays that you have this willpower, and this is very attractive.

I can recommend rock climbing. It's very meditative, gives a big endorphin kick, and the climber's physique is very attractive.
posted by krilli at 3:05 PM on April 17, 2012


Hi there. Oh man have I been in your shoes. I'd like to suggest that you look at this from another direction:

Dating people CAN be about finding one person you realize you're into and trying in some reasonable and respectful way to inspire a reciprocal interest. But that's basically the hardest way to go about things, and can come from a place within your mind and heart that isn't always in your best interests. You can't help it when you see somebody and you're attracted to them or find them to be really good as a match in any number of ways, obviously. BUT you can try to refocus your energies and approach your romantic life differently as a general rule that involves NOT worrying about that one person, which is what I'm about to suggest that you do. I used to do what you're now doing all the time. It was a nightmare and with one exception it never resulted in me dating the person I was interested in and that one exception was a total fluke holy shit never again in a million years will the coin flip result in it landing on its side type of situation. so try this:

First of all, try to be totally honest with yourself about your feelings. Yes, your desire for this person is legitimate, fine. But why only her? I don't mean that you should try to date a million people, but if you're open to dating someone, why only consider her right now? when you ask yourself this, don't let yourself answer with a large list of her amazing qualities. I'm sure she's fantastic, but she's also human and flawed and there are also a lot of really amazing people out there you're probably not seeing because you're fixated on this one. So instead of asking yourself what's great about her, ask yourself why you don't see the great qualities of anyone else. Often times, focusing so strongly on one person like this can be less about her and more about you. You say you're insecure, which I can empathize with really strongly, and I know for me that I often lived in a mental state of "who else could fit me? if not her, maybe I'll never find someone that fits me!" Don't let yourself believe this for even a second. Be open to the idea that you're kind of a baller and given the chance there are a lot of people out there who will see what a baller you are and resultantly do all kinds of great things for and to you and allow you to return the favor. That's step 1.

Step 2 is simple: stop worrying about what to say to any one girl. Just go out there, and talk with people. Don't look at every conversation as an opportunity to impress someone and hope it results in interest, just go out there and have fun talking with people and listening to them about what they're interested in and engage with them on topics you both like to talk about and see where that goes. with anybody. The major thing that too few people realize is that those guys who are really good at talking to girls? the ones who seem to have no shortage of girlfriends or just hookups? They're not looking at girls and saying "not this one. or that one. or that one. or that one. OH there's a good one" and then zeroing in on that one person like a homing missile and flexing some kind of incredible social muscle that results in sex or love. They're just going out there and being open to what comes and somewhere along the way someone seems to dig what they're doing and it seems worth pursuing so they do. Again, the idea here is openness. Be open to people the way you'd like them to be open to you, and be open enough to your own baller nature to realize there's totally stuff for them to find attractive about you. You may be out and just talking with someone about... whatever you're into because they're into it, too, and somewhere in the middle of a conversation you realize you're both smiling an awful lot and having a good time and the next thing you know you're kinda into that person and just maybe they are, too.

Step 3: stop hoping for a relationship. Take things in their natural order, my friend. If you're talking to someone and it seems to be going well, just ask them on a date and don't worry about it beyond that. If they say no, it's not a big deal. You gave it a shot and what's the worst that happens? you didn't make a lifelong friend? whatever, you'll have friends in your life, you don't need all of the people in the world to be your friend. You honestly lose nothing if they say no and if you handle it reasonably (meaning you ask with the understanding that they have every right to refuse and simply smile and say "no problem" if they do) then chances are all it will be is a tiny awkward moment you both laugh about and forget. not. a big. deal. If they say yes? fuck yeah, you baller, you. now just go on a date and have fun and don't worry about anything past that. your only goal is to have fun with a person who wants to go on a date with you, and see if they want to go on another one after that. this way, you're working on smaller, more manageable steps and not looking for some more complicated and difficult end game. just try to have a nice conversation, ask for a date, and if they say yes go have a nice date. it's really easy.

step 4: Your social anxiety. this isn't always the easiest thing in the world, and I feel your pain on this one. You'll have to just work on it, and trust me that it gets easier with practice. The biggest thing is to let yourself focus on enjoying the conversation. Don't focus on what they might be thinking about you while you're talking. focus on what they're saying, and if it interests you then keep talking and tell them it's interesting. tell them why. ask them questions you honestly wonder about. if it relates to your life, find a way to bring that up without interrupting them or dominating the conversation. you guys are just sharing info, you know? she tells you what she's thinking, you tell her what you're thinking. sometimes that results in a really nice conversation, and sometimes it doesn't. if it doesn't, just move on. it happens. if it does result in a nice conversation, maybe it'll lead to you guys connecting in a way that a date can happen, and go you if that's the case. you have nothing to lose. you will not "miss an opportunity" or "ruin a possible whatever." you're just talking. find what there is to enjoy about talking to people, and especially about listening to people. good listeners are hard to find. try to be one.

Now, because I figure you still really want to know what you can do about this ONE girl, let me say this: have a conversation with her. listen to her and engage with her at the level she's comfortable with. if it goes well, and you think she might have an interest, ask her out. if she says no, just accept it. that's the way it goes, and you can move on.

and that's the last thing you need to do. the crucial step 5:

Recognize that anyone. ANYONE. who isn't interested in you isn't actually worth the trouble after all. The right person for you, the one who is worth caring about and wanting to be with, is the person who sees what's awesome about you. I, to this day, have to remind myself of this all the time. It's so easy to fixate on someone we think is amazing and want to be the one that amazing person wants, but that's bullshit. You know what's amazing? people who value you. that's why friends kick so much ass. People who aren't into you? They're not monsters or assholes, they're just not that great. the great ones can tell what a fucking baller you are, so long as you let them see it. And when you get that, when you find the person who thinks you're a baller, THEN you'll be like "holy shit, ok THIS is what I wanted. man, there are so many suckers out there, but this one thinks I'm the shit and how fucking cool is that?!" Again, this is about being open to how great you are (which is a running theme here, I know, and for good reason) and giving other people the chance to see that and react in a way that makes you realize they're into you. If someone isn't into you, then they don't see how awesome you are and that's their problem. You ARE awesome, so they fucked up. oh well. they're not bad people, they just missed out. move on, sir, and find the one that gets it right. it won't take long if you're open to it.

There's a movie called Zero Effect I'm fond of, and he has a line in there that applies to so many aspects of life. " Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them." inscribe that on your brainpan, and go forth.

Lastly, and this can't be stressed enough, please listen to everyone above when they tell you to avoid the PickUp Artist crap. It's toxic poison designed to subjugate women and you're better than that, you baller you.
posted by shmegegge at 3:22 PM on April 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I came here to say exactly what ook said. Girls are people, and people have all kinds of different interests. If you find someone who likes soccer, that's a starting point for a conversation.

Not like celebrity and tv dramas and etc. Do I have to be interested in what girls are interested in to make a real conversation?

You are stereotyping all females when you say this. I am female and I for one could not care less about celebrities or TV dramas. Also, it's OK if the person you like doesn't share all the same interests as you--asking about the other person's interests is also a way to have a good conversation.
posted by Lobster Garden at 3:22 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


A few other posters have said that 'girls' are one big group who all like the same thing. This is definitely true, but I think that advice on its own isn't enough.

It's very easy to grow up with the idea that all women belong to this cohesive group, that they’re all the gatekeepers of sex and relationships, and that it’s the job of the man to somehow impress them enough to convince one of them to go on a date with you, where you then have to continue to impress her enough to maybe kiss her, or go on another date. Sex is often thought of as something that women enter into reluctantly, and only when they can get something from the guy.

This is Completely Wrong.

Women don’t all like celebrities and fashion and gossip. Some women drink beer and would rather change a tyre than change their outfit. Some women are introverted and quiet around strangers. Many women very much enjoy sex and will actively seek it out – this doesn’t make them slutty, it makes them human. Some women sit at home and play computer games.

Clearly, there’s no way to get all women interested in you. The important thing, which other people have pointed out, is that you should do things that YOU are interested in. This will make you interesting, and this will make SOME women interested in you. The only way to find out is to talk to them – ask them questions about themselves, and share a little about yourself (be careful not to dominate the conversation).

It gets better. At 17 I was very nervous around women, I didn’t really understand them at all and approached it in a way very similar to you. A few years have passed and I’m very happy with my love life, mostly because I’m very happy with my life. This will change, I promise, but it will only change when you change your approach.
posted by twirlypen at 5:34 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lots of good answers here. Ran across this thread on Reddit today which seems very pertinent.
posted by idb at 10:40 AM on April 18, 2012


I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but is English your second language? I'm just getting a slight second language vibe from your responses. If English is your second language, cut yourself some slack, especially if the women/people you're interested in are native speakers.

Please listen and take to heart one of the main themes of all the comments so far - women ('girls') are people, just like you, with a variety of interests and anxieties. When I was 19 I was profoundly awkward and had a terrible time romantically. I can guarantee you that a significant proportion of the girls in your age cohort are just as confused and nervous about dating as you are.

So slow down. Listen, really listen. Take it easy on yourself.
posted by nerdfish at 10:45 AM on April 18, 2012


You cannot make any one particular girl interested in you. You can make yourself more attractive and successful with women in general. Try not to get fixated on one girl, try to approach as many as possible. Even guys who are very successful with women get rejected the vast majority of the time, they just hit on lots of women and take rejection lightly.

If you read a book like Dating for Dummies you'll find a lot of sensible advice at length. In general though, I think the big four tips are:

1. Approach lots of women
2. Act confident
3. Have entertaining things to say
4. Dress and groom well

People often say "just be yourself" which I never found very helpful. Instead, try to be the best version of yourself you can. Play up your strengths, minimize your weaknesses.

One tip for things to say is to think in advance things like:

What was the most interesting thing that happened to me this week?
What curious thing did I see lately?
What did I see in the news or gossip sites? (If you don't read them, you can start?)

Work up these stories to be interesting, just as if you were telling them to a friend or family member you're comfortable with. Imagine telling them to a pet dog or cat if it helps. Then work them into the conversation.

Also don't forget to ask questions. Suppose you saw a good movie recently. Work out how to say a little bit about the movie in an interesting way, then ask her what movies she likes, or what was the last movie she saw.

You don't necessarily have to be interested in "what girls are interested in", they don't expect a guy to be interested in makeup or shoes. But it does help if you can be interested in something girls and guys are both interested in, and it can give you an advantage if you can talk about these things. It may be worth it to start reading the news or watching popular TV shows if it gives you more content to talk about.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:45 AM on April 19, 2012


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