Stop Staring & Come Talk To Me Already!
November 25, 2012 3:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm a 20 year old girl going to a business school in a busy, big city. I get stared at by certain guys--eye-fuck, if you will--but I NEVER get asked out by the guys at my university. It happens with a whole lot of gorgeous, outgoing guys, ones I'd love to try and date! However, it never progresses a whole lot, and I am tired of feeling that I am just eyecandy (I'm being a humble-brag, I know, but forgive it this one instance!). What can I do to get guys to actually start talking to me, ask me out, make deeper connections?

I'm 20 years old, attractive in a non-traditional way, silly, talkative, outgoing, and come across confident. I talk to anyone and make myself open and approachable to most. I have been single for a pretty long while! I don't mind this as much as I used to, but I notice that at my university, there are tons of gorgeous, sexy, well-dressed, confident-looking guys who love to stare at me invitingly and make sure they walk around me, and talk to people with one eye on me, and generally make me uncomfortable (but turned on, what can I say.) This is kind of exciting and I sometimes feel flattered, but nowadays I feel very saddened and creeped out. Because I know if I were in some way different, perhaps these guys would approach me and talk to me.

I can tell that I am intimidating. I'm not super cool or anything nor am I always a fierce dresser, but I'm known in campus for being intelligent, outgoing, a great speaker/presenter, outspoken, and also really "different". I know I have the reputation for being too energetic, too expressive, intense, blah blah. I've been trying to change my reputation from being "crazy" to "spontaneous", from "exhausting" to "energetic", and from "ridiculous" to "non-traditional and creative."

This has been really hard. I've always found it hard to make lasting friends and definitely have a hard time dating. Though I know its a learning process for all, I do feel it has been harder for me. I sometimes have a hard time shutting up when I am nervous or anxious. It is annoying even to me. So I do understand that some guys are put off by this--and though I'm working on it, I realize I'm not ever going to please everyone.

But then there are these guys at my university- hot, with lots of friends, they're well-known for being funny, I know they are popular with the girls. All they ever do is stare! And find ways to be around me, and it is becoming super obvious to me and my friends. I realize that this may sounds silly and conceited, but I realize I'm pretty and fun to look at--I really just want some of these guys to approach me and talk to me. How can I do this?

I'm leaving the country soon for about 5 months to study in France. I want to know how I can be more approachable to guys, more socially appealing, less risky to talk to. How I can be dating-worthy to the general guy population. I just feel that my reputation for being a wild-card and different makes me unapproachable.

I feel frustrated with the ways in which I've dealt with guys and crushes. I am tired of having weird, silent, eye-fuck type of situations with guys, and I want to meet and date guys at my school. I want to be someone that guys who are attracted to me will ask out. I know dating is nerve-wrecking and I've had my fair share of rejection--but my mutual stares and blushing, and smiling back--shouldn't that encourage a guy to at least talk to me?

Am I sounding crazy, here? I hope my concerns are clear. :( I just feel like a freak so much of the time, and totally undateable/unloveable because of this. Feeling flattered because of the stares are one thing--BUT THERE'S TONS OF HOT GIRLS EVERYWHERE! I know there's more to me than just wank-material. I really want to show guys this.

btw: some of these guys are in my classes, but because we've established the weird silent eye-fuck situation, everytime i see them we both get nervous and I get very awkward. So it makes it tough to even talk platonically. I couldn't talk to them first...I'd get awkward and I think it wouldn't be "me".

Hope I don't sound crazy, but I've had difficulty writing this and explaining this. :( Thanks!
posted by rhythm_queen to Human Relations (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I couldn't talk to them first...I'd get awkward and I think it wouldn't be "me".

There's a very good chance that they feel exactly the same way. Talking to guys first is terrifying, & I have definitely been in your situation - and at twenty, I don't think I would have had the nerve either - but it is so, so invigorating to make the first move with guys.

Plus, if you're as pretty & fun as you say you are (and I believe you!) they might assume that you have hundreds of guys chatting you up. On the flipside, you can be fairly confident that they don't have hundreds of girls chatting them up.

You don't have to be incredibly witty and confident to start a conversation - if they're into you, they'll probably latch onto anything, even a comment about the weather - but somebody needs to start it, and it might as well be you.
posted by littlegreen at 4:13 PM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

I couldn't talk to them first...I'd get awkward and I think it wouldn't be "me".

Get over this.

If you think you're unapproachable for whatever reason, then you need to make the approach. Starting a conversation with someone you might want to date makes everyone (even dreamy guys) nervous. If you have class with them you have a built-in conversation starter. Try it like this:

"Hi! I'm rhythm_queen. What did you think of that pop quiz/test/paper/lecture?"

Talk a little bit, see if you're clicking and then (if you want to) invite him to spend more time with you. The "if you wan to" part is not trivial - there's a bit of desperation in your post, and keep in mind that you want to be with someone who is great. Think of yourself as checking them out to make sure they meet your standards.

You may not be 100% authentically "you" in whatever sense you perceive that to be, but you will still be you. And you'll be you talking to the hot guys you're interested in!
posted by jeoc at 4:16 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Couldn't you try out a more structured activity in order to meet people? Maybe join a club or society or something?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:16 PM on November 25, 2012

I think it's important to realize the fact that it will be difficult to essentially force someone to act upon a corresponding gender role. Guys don't have to be the first to be ask someone out. Is it expected by society? Yeah, usually - and it makes the whole situation suck.

And by the way, if guys are having trouble working up the courage to even make a move on you, consider the fact that they might be taking your glares (eye-fucking?) as something that is the complete opposite of "ask me out, please".
posted by Evernix at 4:18 PM on November 25, 2012

I really just want some of these guys to approach me and talk to me. How can I do this?

Talk to them. It's not like they'll ignore your existence if you say "Hi."

I couldn't talk to them first...I'd get awkward and I think it wouldn't be "me".

Then to be frank... what makes you think you could talk to them second?

Get over who talks to who "first." You want to talk to someone, go talk to them. If nothing comes of it, then hey, nothing comes of it. But it beats standing around wishing-you-were-talking-to-someone-but-not-talking-to-them.
posted by valkyryn at 4:21 PM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

If you come across as outgoing and confident, the guys you aren't talking to probably assume you aren't because you don't want to. So use your personality to your advantage! A simple, "Hey, what's up?" can work.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:35 PM on November 25, 2012

It's very possible you're being misled by the spotlight effect and illusion of transparency. You should try to ignore, um, almost everything you're intuiting about these guys, and go make friends with them. It has a hokey title that makes it sound disingenuous, but How to Win Friends and Influence People has a ton of very sincere advice about how to handle conversations with strangers positively without awkwardness. Once you're having a friendly conversation you won't have to guess as much about what they're thinking, and inviting them to do something with you will be more straightforward.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:36 PM on November 25, 2012 [7 favorites]

Forget any preconceived notions of who should initiate conversation. Take action! Any time you see an attractive guy checking you out, walk over, introduce yourself in some conversation, then give your number (or ask for theirs). It might be uncomfortable the first few times, but gets easier with practice. Believe it or not, it's flattering for us guys when some one notices us and takes action. We're just people, who doesn't like attention?

You may have a few dud-dates, or awesome ones, or average. It's OK. That uncomfortable "I'm out of my place" feeling means that you're learning something new.

In my view, if you aren't crossing your own comfort zone, you aren't learning! The night is young, go out and prosper!
posted by Giggilituffin at 4:40 PM on November 25, 2012

So, DON'T think all these guys are always noticing/thinking/caring about me?!


Haha, you are possibly very right. Not everyone is always thinking about me, and maybe these guys aren't thinking about me the way I think they are. And that maybe, makes things easier for me around them! They can still think I'm pretty without wanting to jump my bones (which yes, I do imagine they want to do with me... Maybe I just have a dirty mind.)

I just notice, though, most of the time I've tried to ask guys out, it's ended in rejection. Maybe I go about it too strong? Maybe I'm too intense (definitely, I am)? I don't know why. I'm trying to change up the way I think/the way I go about dating. I'm going to try talking to more guys, making eye contact, smiling, etc. I seem to be able to do that to everyone except the guys I'm most attracted to.

posted by rhythm_queen at 4:49 PM on November 25, 2012

And that maybe, makes things easier for me around them!

I'd hoped that might be the outcome of downplaying your assumptions. :)

[M]ost of the time I've tried to ask guys out, it's ended in rejection. Maybe I go about it too strong? Maybe I'm too intense?

Well, the simple explanation is you overestimate their interest. This happens to guys all the time--probably the vast majority of the time. But that's why I suggested the Dale Carnegie book. He'd have you initiate genuine, innocent conversations that have to do with the other person, their interests, etc. That's not a strong come-on at all, and gives you a lot of opportunity to walk away as you determine the guy's not for you and/or not interested in you anyway.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:03 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

You seem to spend a lot of time thinking about what other people think of you, what your reputation is, etc, which is very normal (especially at your age). But it would probably help both in dating and maintaining long-term friendships if you spent more time focused on others. Put conscious effort into being a good listener. Don't talk about yourself excessively. Learn a couple new things about the people in your life every day.

Also, try to tone down your mental script that talks so much about who and what you are, and just go out and live your life. To be honest, you kind of sound like the people I've met in life that made me think "they're trying to hard". Just be genuine with others and with yourself, and people will be drawn to you.

Also: ask guys out. You can do it, really.
posted by imalaowai at 5:34 PM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

I just notice, though, most of the time I've tried to ask guys out, it's ended in rejection.

That's pretty much par for the course. One reason making the first move is scary is that it usually doesn't go anywhere. That's life, though. And in a way, it's freeing— you can talk to people, even flirt, without having to know ahead of time you want to go out with them.
posted by hattifattener at 5:41 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Speaking as someone who may-or-may-not fit the other side of this (I won't claim one way or another about being handsome as you'd decide, and I make it a point to avoid doing the 'make efforts to be around someone and stare at them thing', but I definitely have a taste for the non-conventionally attractive and will admit to looking at people who catch my attention more than I otherwise would), here's what generally goes through my mind in these instances, and my motivations therein:

"Hey, she's kinda cute. Oops, better make sure I'm not staring at her. I don't want to make her feel awkward. She definitely looks interesting, though. Especially since it looks like she's {reading that book I found interesting, doing something I enjoy doing, etc}. I wonder if it'd be an appropriate time to say something/introduce myself. Wait, she *is* reading/studying/listening to music/talking to someone. Nevermind, then. I'm not about to intrude on her day for my own sake. Shame though. I wonder what she's like."
(And really, that last bit about not wanting to be that guy that bothers women when they're doing other things really does end that train of thought basically every time.)

In other words, it's that I'm curious and potentially interested, but sorting though the question of saying anything myself, and erring on the side of not being intrusive. (Not that I'm claiming my experience is universal, mind you)

So what should you do in response? I'd say to focus on being able to make a clear and overt move/statement of desire/intent. "Hey, my name is rhythm_queen. What'd you think about {Thing foo that interests me that happened which I think we share}?" Or even "Some weather, huh?". That way it's clear that you're interested and open for conversation, they can react according to their intent and desires, and you collapse this quantum state of uncertainty.
posted by CrystalDave at 6:17 PM on November 25, 2012

I could try to offer you advice about how to better broadcast subtle messages of "Please come talk to me" but I think that might skirt around the obvious solution, which is to take matters into your own hands and be more forward than perhaps you are normally. You may have to step outside gender roles and be the asker rather than the askee.
posted by deathpanels at 6:31 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

did you ever check out that "hey, whatcha reading?" thread on here a while ago? official policy is don't talk to women unless they show some sign of interest. so, to get these guys to talk to you you'll have to show some sign of interest first.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:06 PM on November 25, 2012

I've been trying to change my reputation from being "crazy" to "spontaneous", from "exhausting" to "energetic", and from "ridiculous" to "non-traditional and creative." (rhythm_queen)

Does this mean that you currently have a reputation for being "crazy," "exhausting," and "ridiculous"? Most people I know in big busy cities are not actively looking for new acquaintances, and will go out of their way to avoid crazy, exhausting, ridiculous acquaintances. Also, most people I know in business school are pretty buttoned-down, or at least take care to present themselves that way on campus.

In other words, your question assumes these people have some unexpressed desire to engage with you in a more meaningful way, and it's worth considering the possibility that "silent eye-fucking" is exactly as far as they want to go with you.

I'm sorry, because I'm not saying a kind thing, but one of the benefits of polling randoms on the internet is you can hear hypotheses that wouldn't be polite to advance in person. It's always up to you to decide how accurate they are.
posted by d. z. wang at 7:16 PM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

I just notice, though, most of the time I've tried to ask guys out, it's ended in rejection.

You don't necessarily have to start an interaction by asking someone out, but if you can start the ball rolling in some way, you'll both be better off.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:35 PM on November 25, 2012

That was pretty unkind. I know that people also find me very smart, dependable, capable, funny, kind--I mean, I work with people at school on projects, group work, assignments, whatever constantly, and I also participate very avidly in class. So although I can be excessive when I talk, and crazy excited about things and emotionally involved in everything, I also know people respect me academically and like to work with me.

Though I know you were being well-meaning, I did state that I am aware that these things are probably not great being crazy and silly and exhausting and intense are things I find relevant in a dating scenario--and though you ARE probably right, it's not all that I am. And I find it hard to help being this way--trust me! I'm working on it! Going to therapy and counselling sessions and taking meditation mindfulness classes.

A lot of my energy is who I am. I find it so hard in life when people constantly tell me to tone it down. It's so fucking frustrating because I have so much to offer.
posted by rhythm_queen at 8:13 PM on November 25, 2012

I really just want some of these guys to approach me and talk to me. How can I do this?

If you're an outgoing, attention-attracting person, then most guys won't want to engage with you for the first time in public, because you might turn them down in an outgoing, attention-attracting way. Nobody wants to feel humiliated like that. So, they'll make obvious and extended eye contact, making it clear in a reasonably non-attention-grabbing way that they're interested, in the hopes that if you're interested too, you'll use your outgoing, attention-attracting personality to start the conversation. If you don't, they'll just assume you're not interested, and move on.

You'll get what you want by approaching and talking to them. Easiest answer in the world. Can't just think and wish really hard to make the life you want; take the risk and get over it. You don't have to ask them out, just start conversations.

A lot of my energy is who I am. I find it so hard in life when people constantly tell me to tone it down. It's so fucking frustrating because I have so much to offer.

If your value-add, as it were, is to be full of joie de vivre all the time, then you're going to have to accept that 99% of guys who find you physically attractive will find your personality exhausting/intimidating. Not because you're an energetic girl, specifically, but because you're at an extreme personality type, and you're not going to have much company at that extreme.

In short: either make the first move, or you'll have to wait for the guy who will make the first move on you, and at your personality extreme (based on what I'm reading, anyway) that will take a rare guy.
posted by davejay at 10:03 PM on November 25, 2012

I remember your recent question in which you said you have problems making friends in general. So it seems the problem goes well beyond guys not asking you out. If it's hard to make regular (non-romantic) friends, then it's not hard to imagine that it's even harder to find your way into dating situations. Without knowing you and observing your interactions with other people, it's hard to understand the dynamic that is causing these difficulties you describe, but it does sound like your intensity might be a factor. Sometimes people who "try too hard" turn other people off because they come across as odd or quirky. Maybe you project more passion (enthusiasm in general, which could also apply to romance) than most people are comfortable with. I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe this is a "less is more" situation. Have you tried toning things down, just to see how that plays out, even if that is not your natural state? Is it also possible you are coming across to people as somewhat arrogant? I'm not passing judgement myself of course but just in reading things you have written, you do seem to like to express to other people how highly you regard yourself. I think it's absolutely great that you think highly of yourself, but expressing that too often and too overtly to other people could be a turn off to them. It could be thought of one type of "trying too hard". Anyway, just some thoughts and hope they might be useful in some way.
posted by Dansaman at 10:17 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't know you, so I have no idea whether your level of exuberance would commonly be considered "over the top" (as if there's a universal standard for that). I am assuming that you know how to tone it down at least enough for things like job interviews, and you aren't splashing your innermost confidences all over people on the first meeting or the like.

With those caveats in mind: if you like who you are and don't want to change that, consider making peace with the fact that you're appealing to a niche market, and that if guys you approach find you too intense or coming on too strong, quite possibly they're not compatible with you anyway?

I'm a geeky and enthusiastic type, and it took me a while to find my people. But it was so, so worth it to wait for the folks who appreciate me for all that I am.
posted by Someone Else's Story at 11:56 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Funny timing.... Was just talking with a colleague, mentioning that another colleague tends to come across as intense, etc., that it can get exhausting in some haste, but she has plenty of friends, is married. I've always thought that all we can do is be ourselves.
posted by ambient2 at 1:37 AM on November 26, 2012

A lot of my energy is who I am. I find it so hard in life when people constantly tell me to tone it down. It's so fucking frustrating because I have so much to offer.

It's great that you have so much to offer, but please consider the fact that other, quieter people also have something to offer, and that good relationships require both parties to feel appreciated and valued.

If you're not happy with the number of rejections you're getting, then you're misreading some signals here; devote some your energy into figuring out why. Learning to temper yourself and read people will help you personally and professionally as well.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:27 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's so fucking frustrating because I have so much to offer.

This attitude is *terrifying* to those of us who don't have it - we might think we don't have a lot to offer, or we might think what we have to offer is not that great, or we might think we don't deserve the awesome things other people have to offer.

I don't want to say "tone it down" (because I have no idea what you're like IRL and so can't say what might need "toning down," if anything), but maybe reframe this, internally, as what other people might be able to offer you. And not just romantically, either.
posted by rtha at 6:46 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

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