Dear Neil: Is there something that makes men attracted to women? Why is it that my best friend is hit on all the time (even as she gains a little weight), but I don’t get hit on at all. I am shy, and I just don’t have it in me to talk to a random guy without some encouragement, but I think I would know it if someone was checking me out. I am not fat or ugly, I don’t think. What am I doing wrong? Am I just not attractive or what?
Dear Feeling Rejected: This is less about attractiveness and more about being shy and held back. Almost everyone feels awkward and self-conscious when interacting with new people. It’s the person who finds a way to be natural and charming who has a distinct advantage in social situations. It will help you if you make a conscious choice to adopt a friendly, flirty, spontaneous, un-self-conscious presence around other people—especially men who attract you.
The secret a lot women don’t know is that many men are shy also, and sometimes they are grateful when a woman makes it easier to start up a conversation with her. If you were to walk up to a man who interests you, introduce yourself, ask him questions about himself (such as his job or career, what sports he likes, what music, what movies), you will have assisted him in breaking the ice. If you then tell him something about you (I’m a student, I want to travel to Europe, I enjoy tennis—that sort of thing), you’ll find yourself getting “checked out” all the time.
Try this, and keep doing it until you get good at it. What could you gain? A possible relationship. What could you lose? You open yourself up to potentially feeling rejected. Only you can decide if the risk is worth it, but if you ask me, you stand to gain far more than you would lose.
Dear Neil: I have been in a relationship for two years, and we spend much time in each other’s company. He has family gatherings that his five children and his ex-wife are part of, such as birthdays and holidays, and I’m not invited. This makes me sad, because my feelings are not being considered at all. What would you recommend?
Left Out in New Zealand
Dear Left Out: Your gentleman friend is not including you in his family get-togethers, and that makes you feel less valued and cherished by him.
Talk with him and tell him you’re feeling left out, and let him know that you wish to be invited to a lot more of his family get-togethers so his children get to know you, and so that you can begin establishing a relationship with them. Also, how about the two of you inviting his children over for a meal, one at a time, so that you can establish individual relationships with each other? His willingness to include you in his family will say a lot about what type of future he is considering with you.