Shy Guy Wants to Be Noticed

Q: Can you help me figure out how to get noticed by women? I'm not bad looking, but when I go out with my buddy, he seems to get all the girls talking to him. I try to talk to a girl, and she answers my question and then moves away, closer to my friend. I asked my sister, and she said I should try dressing better. I think I dress OK—jeans, T-shirt, tennis shoes. I wear deodorant. I think I might come across as nervous because I'm so used to getting ignored that trying to talk to a woman takes all the guts I have. Then when she ignores me, I don't even want to try anymore. My friend seems to draw them in with his big smiles and putting his arm around them almost right away. I can't be fake like that. What do I do? --Kyle, 20

Dr. Susan: Be yourself, but possibly a better-dressed self. Your sister might be right that your t-shirts aren't doing that much for you. But the big piece of advice I have for you is to stop going out with your buddy. When I was single, I went out to a couple singles events with a very extraverted, un-shy woman friend of mine. It seemed like she attracted all the guys with her easy smile and whatever seductive attributes she had going for her, while I tended to stand alone a lot of the time. I learned to attend events on my own and did better. Research has even shown that when two people of unequal "attractiveness" are together, that's exactly what will happen.

I understand your coming across as nervous, and the only way around that is practice, practice, practice. You don't have to be a fake like your friend. Plan ahead and practice some lines so you have something interesting to say. Above all, don't be so ready to give up. You wouldn't be happy with the kind of woman who ignores a guy just because he's nervous.

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