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Recently, I was hanging out with a group of friends and having a great time when a guy we didn’t know came up to us and joined the conversation. I talked with him for a while and then drifted into other conversation. A good friend of mine who was there introduced herself but didn’t speak another word to him.
The next day he asked her out.
I don’t tell this story in an effort to throw myself a pity party, but I do wonder how this came to be. Not that my friend isn’t worthy—she’s pretty, smart, talented, fun to be around, etc., but they hardly even spoke, and yet something about her made him want to ask her, not me, out.
Not me, who had talked to him for a much longer period of time. Confusion ensued…
I have lived life thus far in a state of pondering all the reasons why guys don’t seem to like me or be attracted to me. I should rephrase. They like me, evidenced in the amount of guy friends that I have. I am really easygoing around guys and don’t really get intimidated or shy at all. Friends and family would say I have a lot of confidence and am a really hard-working go-getter. I also take pride in being independent and individualistic. I promise I’m not as conceited as I sound right now.
But there has come a point in my self-discovery at which I want to understand how guys view me and why that has never translated into a romantic relationship. I think I possess a lot of good qualities that, so far, have made me a good friend and would make me a good girlfriend.
I have always been the girl whose friends can get guys with a blink, even if they don’t want the attention. The same friend I mentioned earlier has had (let me count) six guys ask her out or notify her of their feelings toward her in the past three weeks. And she says she doesn’t even like it and wishes her life weren’t so complicated.
And I think, oh, to have the attention from just one of those guys…
I guess my questions are these: Why are there some girls who always seem to have guys after them and other girls can never understand why? And why is that girl that they’re going after never me?
As a firm believer in Jesus Christ, I really do trust that He has a perfect plan for my life, but I’ve just found it hard in the past few months to have patience and not let my frustrations rule my thoughts. I also want to gain insight into the dynamics of relationships and how I can trust God more in this area of my life. I would appreciate any advice you have to give.
The answer is simple: Pheromones. Duh.
Honestly, I can’t tell you “why” guys seem to like your friends more than you, but I hope I can help you expand your thinking.
As you mentioned, your friend who gets asked out all the time doesn’t even like the attention. This is a commentary you will notice throughout your life in many different scenarios.
“The grass is always greener,” and what we don’t have will always seem better.
Practically speaking, while I can’t tell you why certain guys like your friends and not you, let’s flip the table. Put yourself in the guy’s shoes. Do you have a crush on every guy you talk to? There are probably certain guys that make you want to cut off your hand rather than interlock with theirs.
Attraction, personality, chemistry, etc., do play a role in who we want to date, and while it seems unfair not to be “picked” when you had the long conversation and your friend JUST shook his hand (and probably batted her L’Oreal-double-thick-length-boosting-love-potion-waterproof-blackeyblack-mascara-laden eyelashes), the reality is, he still took interest in her. And that hurts. So I’m sorry. Maybe you should study exactly what she does and says, wear her clothes, mascara (obviously), talk like her, figure out her Social Security number, change your name to…
Wait. That’s what I do—please learn from my mistakes.
Truly, try to put yourself in his shoes and have grace for this guy. He saw your friend and, even though it was a brief interaction, she may have simply been his initial “type,” and he wants to get to know her. After he does, he might think, “Yeah she was intriguing at first but couldn’t hold her own in a conversation like that other friend of hers. Hmmm, I wonder what she’s up to tonight?”
Or he might not.
But the reality is that he has just as much of a choice to ask you or your friend out as you have a choice to say yes or no. But what I love about you is that you want to learn and grow.
That’s all you or I can do.
I would encourage you to read some of the archived posts I have on men and women so you can ask yourself if those things might be true about the men in your life. My father’s book Love and Respect is also really helpful in understanding male and female differences. Knowing this stuff now will give you a heads-up on how to interact with men and may open your eyes to some fascinating things about how God has designed you as a woman so you know how to articulate that when you do start dating.
What I really want to challenge you with (more than telling you what pheromone pills you can start taking) is to come to grips with where God has you. Since we aren’t God (shocking revelation, I know), we can’t always understand why He has us in our current season. I am almost 30 and, like you, I am a go-getter and enjoy my independence, yet I’ve always been excited for the season when I would do life with someone who wanted to do life with me. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have been dreaming about having pooping, crying babies my whole life, but the realist in me is now starting to wonder whether my eggs will even be awake enough to have little Joy-spawns by the time I get hitched.
Anyway, my point in the overshare is because I get it. I get your questions and uncertainty that can come in different forms depending on what stage of life you are living. But I’ve also come to a place where I trust that God is a good God and that He is ultimately in control.
God isn’t trying to trick you or hurt you, but a broken world with humans who can make their own choices will often result in many of us feeling pain and rejection. Right now you are experiencing the pain that comes from feeling unnoticed and unvalued.
I encourage you to take your “un” feelings to God.
Read Scripture and see what it says about the truth of who you are. Then figure out if you believe what it says about God’s delight in you as His child. Guess what? He made you and called you good. And Carrie, I believe it.
From my heart,
Do you trust that God is good?
Do you trust that He has you in your current season of life, but is not punishing you or out to get you?
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Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.
I love it that you asked the question if I trust that God is good. Over the weekend a 17-year-old local kid that I knew was killed in a dirt bike accident. Of course the question why comes to mind before anything else. When praying about what to write for my post the next day that would somehow bring some sort of comfort, every song I heard was about just how much God loves us and how good He is. Every scripture that was read, everything I heard on the radio. He is jealous for me.
I know it’s off topic, but yesterday I was reminded again that even though I have no idea why or how, He is still good.
Also, I’m right there with you on the not sure about dirty diapers, but would like for my body to keep the option open for me as I get up in my years 😉
(Q1) Do you trust that God is good?
We have to trust God and His timing; learn from my mistakes here, His timing is always better than “our Timing.” Trust in His prefect love; we may not see it and may not understand it, be assured, God wants what is best for us!
(Q2a) Do you trust that He has you in your current season of life, (Q2b) but is not punishing you or out to get you?
A) Trust God will have us in seasons of our lives to grow us into the people He wants us to be. We need to focus on Him! Remember Peter talking with Jesus and was able to walk on the water toward the Lord until he too his eyes off Jesus, then he started to sink and he called out for “Lord save me” and Jesus did (loose paraphrase from Luke 14:28-31). God always answers our prayers, but the answer can be “yes, no, not yet.” Seek His will
B) Know also that God never “is punishing us, or is out to get you.” Sadly I do not have a direct scripture for this statement; however, in the old testament under the old covenant, most of God’s promises started with an “If you… I will….” Under the new covenant ‘He did everything already’ for us and we are merely called to “follow Him” and “Walk in His ways.” Under the old covenant, there were plagues, earth shakings and a lot of wandering around because of the sins of the Israelites, but the biggest majority of the troubles they had were the consequences of their own sins and direct disobedience for the commands God had given them. Under the new covenant Jesus has already paid the price for all — not some, but all — our sins. We have to live with the consequences of the decisions we make because just like the Israelites we are a stiff-necked people! Or at least I can assure you; I am stiff-necked and have a plethora of consequences I have brought onto myself.
(Q3)Why are there some girls who always seem to have guys after them and other girls can never understand why? And why is that girl that they’re going after never me?
Sheepishly this is too often a visual stimulation (not sure how to word that and not have it be offensive to all women) in the beginning, but then after getting to know some of them, the old saying “Beauty is only skin deep” is all too true. I am trying my hardest to not end up living on the corner of my roof (Pro 21:9, 25:24). Please do note, men deal with this too; there a lot of handsome guys out there that always seem to have the women flocking to them, some are great guys, some not so much. The door swings both ways for both sexes I guess.
There are always some pretty women who come to our “Singles Events” or studies, movie nights, dinner nights, etc…. Typically I am a visually stimulated individual (duh, I’m a guy), but I am also a total people watcher. I don’t care how pretty you are, I will never approach a woman unless I have had a couple good opportunities to see how she reacts to different situations; does she love God, is she a servant, is she teachable and a good disciple, is she there to be on display or is she true to who she is (no, I am not against getting dressed up, but coming to a Friday night study/gathering dressed like Cinderella is a bit much, save that for date night).
I have been asked by a couple of ladies in my circle of influence, “Have you considered asking ‘So and so’ out?” Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no; there are some women I am simply not attracted to, I can give no specific reason, I am just not attracted to them. I have tried to spend more time with a couple of them that I was not “interested in” until I found out they were “interested in” me; neither worked out well, but thankfully I do have a couple new closeish friends I didn’t have before. I would not suggest ‘forcing’ yourself to like/love/marry anyone for any reason; marriage is hard enough taking two imperfect people and making a perfect union before God’s eyes without starting out loving that person naturally.
There are probably certain guys that make you want to cut off your hand rather than interlock with theirs. -– Harsh; can’t imagine that thought going through someone’s head, but perhaps, we are created different.
…, but the realist in me is now starting to wonder whether my eggs will even be awake enough to have little Joy-spawns by the time I get hitched. — Absolutely adorable comment!
“L’Oreal-double-thick-length-boosting-love-potion-waterproof-blackeyblack-mascara-laden eyelashes” — Awesome description! Although I don’t think I would ever notice it.
@Aron, thank you for explaining this from a males perspective. I have a question for you. I recently had a guy ask me out and we have had three dates. However, he has not given me any indication that it is anything more than a friendship. We both have a good time. Would a guy ask a girl out if he wasn’t interested?
Thank you for the question Shay; typically I would say no, a guy would not ask a girl out unless he was interested in dating her. BUT I have seen it happen where a guy would ask a girl out just to get to know her better, other times she was unbeknownst to either one of them used as a female friend to have around. As men are wired more for a shoulder to shoulder friendship/relationship and “We men” may not understand we are leading a woman on to something that may not be going anywhere. This is one of the reasons I limit my time to almost zero one-on-one time with women unless she is someone I would consider dating, but I have seen others hurt — both men and women — because intentions were not defined ahead of time. I hate to make a date sound like a business proposition; but by the third or fourth date a relationship should be defined or the one-on-one dating should be stopped and group dating should be re-implemented to protect both from any pain.
Joy had a great video on March 15th for her ‘Facebook Friday’ that addressed this issue somewhat. Here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/loveandrespectnow/posts/405643282794771
I added another one of my longwinded comments to it, then shared it on my FB page and had some pretty good conversations about it. If the link doesn’t work for you, reply to this and I will copy/paste that text in so you can read it.
If you have not yet attended a Love & Respect conference, please do so. I cannot suggest reading the book as I have not yet read it myself; Yes, I am one of those “why read a book when I can watch the movie” kind of guys…. 🙂
I hope this helps.
Carrie, thanks for the honest words! I really think that this speaks to something I have been sitting in a lot. “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Isn’t that so true?
I think there are is also room for obedience to hold our thoughts captive when we start comparing or wondering about the other side in a way that puts our present circumstance in a bad light. Like Joy said, there is no problem with growing and desiring to ask questions but be careful to try to solve the problem. I say this because trying to fix or change me is where I try to take control and stop trusting in where God has me. It’s a fine line. Does that make sense?
Either way, thank you for sharing because it made a lot of sense!
I am a girl like Carrie’s friend and it has been a struggle. In the past, I naively assumed if I did everything “right” – didn’t flirt, dressed appropriately, openly treated everyone with the same sibling-esque friendliness and attention – I would not get undesired male attention. But it didn’t work that way. Every time it happened, I used to feel guilty because I must somehow be responsible for attracting their attention and then disappointing them when I wasn’t interested.
In my experience and from what my brother-friends say, is this seems to be a matter of perception. When a man perceives that a woman has qualities he values, he tends to pursue her at least enough to see if she is interested (and to see if his initial perception is accurate). While there are certainly ways women develop and display positive qualities, other significant factors are A) what men are looking for and B) how they perceive women.
I love the point you make about pheremones. I have spent years trying to figure out how we can bottle this and sell it at Nordstrom in the purfume seconds. There would be an age restriction. Only girls where their eggs were in a time crunch could buy it. Not young, pretty girls that get the guys on their own
Oh! And it will be all natural, of course. So even portlanders can buy it:) Joy, want to be my test subject…
There is so much to say about the “friend Zone”. It’s quite a dynamic of human relationships. My 16 year old son is convinced it’s a new concept- one that I’m unfamiliar with. 😉 The “Friend Zone” on You tube is an interesting study too. Lots of sentiments on the subject- I have used social media as a launching pad for our dialogues. There is the lament that nice guys finish last. Friend Zone feels like a prison. There is instruction how to identify it, how to avoid/escape it, and analyzing it-like war -whats the best way to win @ love. Questions arise like: what defines the player from a friend? Where is the happy balance of building comfort(trust) vs. creating attraction (chemistry)? Are the players just enjoying the pursuit, toying with the idea of commitment but not interested in it? Are the ones interested in commitment not good at creating the excitement of pursuit? The extremes seem to range from LJBF “let’s just be friends” to the other end which ends up being manwhore. Males struggle with conflicting messages girls send in the friend’s zone too. Some women just want male attention and confirmation they are attractive but not really serious- the flirt. Other women make themselves sooo available -they gush, it ruins the chase/pursuit and make the man feel obligated more than they were ready for.
But like Joy says arriving at that place “that God is a good God and that He is ultimately in control” brings a great peace in the midst of all it. Seeing yourself the way God sees you is transforming. Intimacy with Lord will carry you through all seasons of your life. And there are times it feels like the Lord has hemmed you in and blocked you from your “lovers”. Lovers can be: work, friends, family, intimate relationship etc. all the substitutes that take His place. Having the awareness that God is able to hem you in so that your relationship with Him will transform is important. He will cause you to no longer call him “Master” but rather “Husband”. Those are marks of maturity in the Kingdom of God! Sometimes God just wants you all to Himself. 😉 Perhaps the challenge is to discern the ways God is pursuing you.
First thing that popped into my head? Quite possibly, the guy was directed by the Holy Spirit to ask her friend out rather than her.
It happens. All the time. In forming relationships, I believe the Spirit is very present….ESPECIALLY, when there is a good match being made(; If you get what I mean.
God has more to do with things than we realize. And we have more to submit to Him than we realize.
If you want a guy to notice you, move about six inches closer. There are always many reasons why a guy asks one girl out and not another, but I might suggest that you not worry about who/when a guy will ask you out. I’m not trying to be insensitive here, but what I am saying is that confidence is attractive. Most guys can tell if a girl is really focused on him. I believe there is an instinct within a man that he wants to have to work to gain your attention, and to win more time with you. This isn’t to say change who you are, but in gaining the attention of guys, less is often more. That’s my take anyway.
@JOY, thanks for the clarification. Yes, I did. Let me rephrase what I was saying. A few thoughts that I have are these.
1. One way to draw a guys attention is to move in closer in conversation, and playfully joke with him more. I’m not suggesting that you change the DNA of all interactions, but if what you’re doing isn’t working, it might be time to do something different.
2. Another possibility is that instead of being completely engaged in conversation with him, back off a little more, and give him less energy in the conversation. Make him work to gain your reactions. Once again, doing something different.
If a girl gives a lot of attention to a guy, he may get the idea she’s interested. My experience is that guys like to take the initiative, and if we get the vibe that a girl is giving us more interest than we give her, we often step back. (I will also say that there are some guys who wait for the girl to make the move, but from Carrie’s question, it doesn’t sound like those are the guys she is talking to. The guys she is talking to are confident enough to ask a girl out after meeting them.)
Finally, (I did not share in my previous comment), I would say that this is a tough place for a girl to be, and I feel for her and others in the same position. Although I gave a few thoughts on doing something different, I would conclude by saying stay true to God and yourself. I know those are cliches in society today, but mentors in my life call these moments living in the winepress. I believe in these seasons or times of frustration, God is using these situations to press the best wine out of us, and we have the opportunity to stay true to God and ourselves in these times. It is painful, but I believe worth it.
I’ve been following this blog for some time now but this is the first time I’ve actually felt compelled to share a comment. The reason being is that Carrie’s question resonated so much with me. Carrie, thanks for asking your question, I’m sure it resonates with more people than you could imagine. Joy, thanks for your (as always) thoughtful and encouraging answer.
The main reason I wanted to comment though was to share some of my story and offer some additional encouragement to people feeling like Carrie. I share this having been where you are and asking the same questions you are. All through high school and college I was that girl who had some great guy friends but whose friends always got the guy. I understand that no matter how secure you feel about yourself or how certain of your identity in Christ you are…after a while you can’t help but ask these questions and even begin to question yourself sometimes. But here’s my encouragement, about 8 months ago I started dating my best friend…who I had been in the friend zone with for about 6 years prior to that. And the great part is, we already had this great foundational friendship we’ve been able to build on. Now I’m not saying it’s going to work out just like that for everyone but that’s how it worked out for me. In hindsight, I’ve been able to see other benefits like, you know all those nasty breakups your friends may have been through? I count it a blessing that maybe I’ve been spared for some of the bad relationship baggage that goes a long with that. The best part about is that I never saw this blessing coming but God had plans and he was working things out in his time and it’s better than I could have imagined.
I needed this blog post. I swear I think Carrie was in my brain when she was writing this lol.
I do trust that God is good, but I get so caught up in the things that are “wrong” with me for the guy not to like me in that way that I forget that God has a perfect plan for me.
I do believe that He has me in this season for a reason and is not punishing me. He knows that I have been really hurt in the past and even though things may not pan out the way I want them to now, that it’s okay. He’s just easing my way back into it. 🙂
@Katy, I love you being honest and sharing your heart. I really feel like you are not alone and I hope the other comments encourage you. We all need to grow and be willing to change, but to think something is “wrong” with you is not what God wants for you. I’m glad you recognize that, but it’s so hard to shake the thoughts. Trust me!
How do men respond to stories like this? Does it make them want to take another look at some women? Does it make them want to take more chances on dates to know that some girls would be receptive to requests from a wide swath of gentlemen, not just a few select guys? Or is it quite the opposite – does this vulnerability make men feel like if a girl like Carrie just isn’t generating any interest, there must be something wrong with her?
My two cents are for Carrie: you basically just described the woman I’m going to marry in a couple months. She always had these feelings about herself in relation to her friends. Now, if I do say so myself, she has scored quite a catch. The point is this: being patient can be lonely and painful, but worth it.
In my experience, guys under 35 are much more emotionally fragile than their female counterparts, a phenomenon many other young ladies have corroborated but are equally confused about. Maybe it’s a big lack of good, strong male role models for our generation, leaving the boys to flounder on their own while the feminism of the 70’s and 80’s gave us gals parents who raised us strong on purpose. What this means for you is that many socially vulnerable guys will choose who to pursue based on who will help build their confidence and ego. Don’t let the peacocking fool you, they’re nervous! So, like the old “dumb blonde” stereotype, guys often go for the girls who are less confident, out-going, and successful than they are so that it will be easy to impress them and be worshiped with their heart-doodling adoration. Like the Love & Respect book describes, males crave respect. The guy who spent plenty of time talking to you might respect you a lot–but feel he can’t compete with you well enough to “come out on top,” so he comfortably confides in you and then tries to play He-Man in front of her. When you’re onto ’em, you’ll probably end up feeling a bit of pity for them. But know that over time, as they do this over and over and over again, their confidence grows and eventually they work their way up to the level they feel they now can go after the kind of girl they REALLY want. Which is more like you. So know that by the mid-30’s you’ll be out of this drought and with a guy who worked hard to deserve you. Meanwhile, if you’re humble enough before God to be humble in front of guys for their sakes, moreso than your own reputation, you can help them out by not being better than them at everything. Including the manly stuff, like sports or something, ‘cuz then they got nowhere to go. Do activities or have conversations they excel at, so you’ll have opportunities to tell them you admire them, and once in a wee while, hold back a bit from the free-throw line. They like to feel helpful and heroic.
I’ll end with an example: I once had a boyfriend say to me, “I know you’re an independent woman and all, but PLEASE let me help you carry things so I can feel useful.” Ha ha ha! I was so impressed with his emotional awareness and ability to articulate his feelings so clearly, for a guy, that I was moved to do so. And, because I loved him so much, I deferred by choosing to act a bit more demure from then on, out of respect for him without feeling like it degraded me. And it worked beautifully. He knew what I was capable of, and respected me greatly for it, but I think respected me even more when he saw that I could put it in, or take it out of, my pocket at any time. As the Love & Respect book points out, humility is a very clear display of self-control/power.
So be amazing enough to make room for others to be amazing, too! With God there is abundant supply, so we needn’t compete with one another.
” I am really easygoing around guys and don’t really get intimidated or shy at all. Friends and family would say I have a lot of confidence and am a really hard-working go-getter. I also take pride in being independent and individualistic.” Unfortunately, I think this is the ‘problem’ for some guys. They may feel intimidated by this.