Dear Wendy: “Why Can’t I Get A Date?”

I’m a few months away from turning 20 and I have NEVER had a relationship, serious or casual. I’ve missed out on all the dating during my high school years and I’m afraid that it’ll continue throughout my 20s unless I change something. I’ve always been open to a relationship but not to the point where I had “desperate” labeled across my forehead. I’m not looking for a husband but just someone to casually date. All my girlfriends always comment that they wish they had my personality and all my guy friends always call to do girlfriend-y type stuff (shopping for his clothes, eating out with him on his lunch breaks, etc) with me [rather] than with their own girlfriends, so what’s the deal? Physically, I’ve received flattering looks and enough compliments to at least qualify as decent-looking, I don’t have weight problems as I’m very active, and I was voted most fashionable in school, meaning I don’t go out looking like a dump. Aside from the physical aspect, I’m a great student, I am well traveled, and I can speak several languages. I’m usually very outgoing and make friends easily. I lounge around and watch sports with the guys and dress up for dinner with the girls, which is why I have just as many guy friends as I do girlfriends. To add a heaping pile of salt to my wound, my guy friends and my girlfriends’ boyfriends all say the same thing about me … that I’m the girl guys want to have as a girlfriend. If that was the case, then why oh freaking why can’t I even remember the last time a guy asked me out on a date? Really, I’m just tired of family members trying to confirm and reconfirm that I am not a lesbian, but just unlucky. — Only the Bridesmaid

I see a few things going on that may explain why you aren’t being asked out. First and foremost, you don’t mention any particular guy you’re interested in dating. If there’s no one getting you excited about a relationship — or even just a date — you probably aren’t sending out the signals that you’re available and ready for something. With all these guy friends you have, is there not one you could see yourself being romantically involved in? If not, then it’s time to expand your circle of acquaintances. If you’re in college, start a study group with some cute classmates; join a club or activity. Ask your guy friends or your friends’ boyfriends if they know anyone you might like whom they can introduce you to.

If meeting someone you’re interested in isn’t the problem, maybe you need to work on your “game.” I’m not saying you should play games, but why oh why are you only getting dressed up with the girls but looking “lounge-y” and sloppy when you’re with the guys? That doesn’t make any sense! If you want guys to see you as more than just someone to pal around with, start putting more effort into your appearance when you’re with them. Sex things up a bit — put on a little lipgloss, fix your hair, wear a cute dress. There’s nothing “desperate” about looking put-together. Your friends may be a little startled at first, but just explain you’re getting in touch with your feminine side. If you’re the catch your friends all say you are, it shouldn’t take more than a green light on your end to signal you’re ready to start dating.

Finally, give yourself a break. You’re 20, not 40. Plenty of people your age haven’t had relationships yet. I was 21 before I had my first real, serious relationship. Also, it may be your lack of experience that’s making you miss signals from your guy friends. Have you ever considered that when they ask you to do “girlfriend-y type stuff” with you, they’re flirting with you? I’m not suggesting you flirt back if those guys are taken, but that you may be getting romantic attention and not even realize it. And if any of those guys do happen to be single, it never hurts to say, “Are you asking me out?” I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is “yes.”

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at [email protected]