My friends ask if I get hit on a lot and I don’t. They are dumbfounded. They say, “I can’t believe men are not all over you because you’re strikingly beautiful.”
Men don’t approach me. Ever!
I know I must be sending out weird vibes. How can I overcome my awkward, scared nature when I am in the company of men?
Beverly W - Chicago, IL
I could toss you a trite and simplistic tip like, “a stranger is a person just like you. They feel awkward and scared, too” but it won’t help guys approach you in public.
Never in all of history has it been tougher to meet people out in the world than it is now. The following might seem like a random tangent but bear with me.
The #metoo movement has caused a new awakening around consent, which is awesome! We needed it. Men are rising in the public eye in droves and they now understand that some of their actions toward us can feel threatening.
While you might be smiling at that cute stranger, that doesn’t mean that you want to give him your number, accept that drink, or take that dance. It might instead mean that you’re just being polite because you’re at work. Or hey, that you’re afraid he’s a predator and don’t want to offend. A lot of dudes who weren’t wise to these daily realities for us are now aware, and the truly nice ones out there—which I firmly believe includes most men—don’t want to put that kind of stress on you.
#metoo has highlighted that we don’t appreciate unwarranted attention from creepy guys, period. Unfortunately, this has been interpreted as “don’t approach me at all, in any way, ever” by a lot of well-meaning dudes, and thus walking up and saying, “hi” now seems to be off the table.
Maybe he wants to strike up a conversation with you in Trader Joe’s, but now he’s wondering if that’s kosher. He might be thinking:
“I shouldn’t insert myself into her day.”
“I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.”
“I don’t want to be that jerk.”
Even if you’re giving off steamy come-hither signals just short of setting your blouse on fire, that cutie the next aisle over may still hesitate. Why? Because no one’s explained to him that, as long as he’s polite and doesn’t push you if you don’t seem interested, it’s still completely fine to approach women. What’s not fine is not taking no for an answer.
Also, keep in mind that rejection is never fun for either sex. Think of it from a guy’s perspective: Are you her type? How will you know unless you talk to her? Is she going to want to talk to you, or is she going to ignore you or tell you to piss off? It’s crazy stressful!
Think back on these things when you’re out in public. If you see someone cute that seems to be checking you out, try something as simple as a genuine, warm smile (not a “customer service” smile, if you know what I mean) even if it feels awkward and strange to flash one in his direction, and some friendly body language (no crossed arms, angling your body towards him, etc.) This will help him pick up on what you’re hoping to project—that you want to be approached, and that it’s okay for him to do so.
If you’re feeling extra bold, walk up to him and say something so he knows talking to you is okay. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering line—it can be as simple as, “Hey, do you happen to know if the stone fruit is good this season?” while you’re standing over peaches. It’s on you to make the move now, and that can be a really good thing.
Another option? Online date. If that seems too scary, I can help you succeed at dating to get to your love here.