It has nothing to do with your looks, just so you know.
I had a male social media acquaintance a while back who asked me for my honest opinion as to why he has so much trouble getting women to pay attention to him for more than a second.
“Seriously,” he said. “If you were single, why wouldn’t you date me? Be brutally honest. I can take it.” (Spoiler Alert: He could not, in fact, “take it.”)
He asked me in the first place because I have a reputation for shooting people straight and giving bluntly honest advice, even if it isn’t always pleasant to hear. I now realize he hoped my brutally honest opinion would somehow be that the ladies have no idea what they’re missing because he’s perfect. However, there were real reasons why he has so much trouble, so I (tactfully) told him what they were — a bad habit of talking to women like they were children, among many others.
“Yeah, I doubt that,” he retorted once I was done. “I bet you just don’t like fat guys.”
Let the record show I in no way referenced this person’s weight or anything to do with his looks. I don’t have anything against fat guys, short guys, or guys who aren’t conventionally attractive, either. In my experience, neither do most women. It’s actually reasons like the following that keep men like my ex-acquaintance unhappily striking out with the ladies over and over again. Listen and learn.
1. You have mommy issues.
Back in my single days, I went out with many guys who turned out to be creepily attached to their parents, particularly their mothers. They saw themselves as exceptionally good, honest men who placed a high value on family. Women, myself included, saw overgrown babies with serious mommy issues. If you ever want to have a prayer of holding a woman’s attention, you need to know what the difference is.
Having a good relationship with your mother and caring about her well-being is great — commendable, even. Letting your mother control you like a puppet when you’re a grown man who should be thinking for himself isn’t so great. It’s not normal or healthy to need your mother to sign off on every decision you make, big or small. The same goes for needing to be in constant contact with your mother to the point where it’s interfering with the rest of your personal life.
Women are attracted to emotionally mature, independent men who have their own opinions and don’t still need their mothers to approve of all their choices. Your would-be wife or girlfriend isn’t going to be happy playing second fiddle to your mom, either. No one’s saying you have to push your mom out of your life or start ghosting all her calls if you want women to take you seriously. However, you might want to put up some boundaries if anything I’ve just said resonated with you at all. It’s better for you and Mom in the long run.
2. You’re too negative.
Nobody likes a Danny Downer, least of all a woman searching for the right man to date. However, a lot of guys with dating troubles tend to fall into this category without realizing it. How they don’t realize it is beyond my comprehension because these are dudes that complain a lot.
If they’re not complaining about how they can’t catch a break at work, they’re talking smack about every ex-girlfriend they’ve ever had. (Of course, they’re all “crazy.”) Every story either starts as a sob story or becomes one if you’re patient enough. I’m not quite sure what chronic complainers think they’re accomplishing by doing this, but they’re actually draining the life out of the other person and making them want to run far, far away.
We get it. Life’s rough and doesn’t feel fair a lot of the time. But you need to understand everyone feels that way sometimes. You don’t necessarily have to be a ball of blinding sunshine all the time, but it’s probably worth training yourself to be positive more of the time. A woman doesn’t say “yes” to a date with a man so she can spend her evening as a captive audience at the Crybaby Theater. She wants to have fun and potentially get to know someone pleasant who’s looking to do the same.
3. You treat women like projects.
Before I met my husband, there was this particular guy I was talking to for a quick second. He was nice enough. He was also smart, articulate, gainfully employed, and took awesome care of himself physically. However, he made one of the more common mistakes I’ve seen guys make over the years.
He took it completely for granted that women, myself included, are perpetually trying to figure out how we can better please whomever we’re interested in at the time. As a result, he drove me nuts with his suggestions on changing myself to better live up to his personal preferences.
One day, I casually mentioned that I have extremely naturally curly hair that I prefer to straighten. He responded by getting very excited and telling me he had great news for me — that he prefers curly hair on women, so I can finally throw away my styling tools. Oh, and he preferred sporty women with short hair, too, so maybe I should think about cutting mine into a bob.
When I told him I wear my hair long and straight because that’s what I prefer, he acted as if I’d spontaneously started speaking Chinese or something. The same thing happened when I didn’t appreciate his unsolicited advice on my dietary preferences, the job I had at the time, or my approach to my social life. He thought he was “just trying to be helpful.” I thought he needed to shut it and stay in his lane.
The idea of a woman styling herself according to her own aesthetic or making decisions about her life all by herself was completely foreign to this guy, and it was profoundly unattractive. Don’t be like him. Women aren’t projects. We’re people, and we want you to treat us like it. If we want your opinion on something very personal about ourselves, trust me when I tell you we’ll ask you outright what you think.
4. You can’t see past her looks.
Let me tell you a secret about the average attractive woman. No matter how badly you want to think otherwise, she’s not walking the earth unaware of the fact that she’s attractive. You’re not going to set yourself apart by interrupting her while she’s living her life to tell how hot she is, either. In fact, she’s probably heard it ten times already that day. She doesn’t want to hear it again while she’s desperately trying not to forget the milk at the grocery store.
If you really want to be different, try complimenting a woman on something else — anything else, so long as it’s also sincere. Is she funny, smart, honest, or wildly talented at something? Tell her that. Chances are people don’t notice very often, let alone comment on it, especially if she’s considered “hot” by society’s standards.
I’m not saying you can never compliment a woman on how she looks. However, you should probably avoid bothering random women while they’re busy minding their own business. Most of us don’t like it and aren’t open to it. You’ll also have better luck if you compliment one of the personal choices she’s made about her looks. She’s sick of hearing about her eyes, and she in no way wants to hear about her ass. Instead, tell her you dig the way she does her makeup or love the shade of Day-Glo pink she dyes her hair. She’s more likely to appreciate it.
5. You’re needy, desperate, or clingy.
We get it. When things do seem to be going pretty well with a particular woman, you’re excited and want things to work out. Some guys really do seem to think the way to do this is to cling to us like nervous baby koala bears, though. It’s like they think that if we have two seconds to ourselves, we’ll forget they exist and be on to the next thing (or the next guy.) It’s weird, and it comes across as super insecure — not a good look on anyone.
One of the guys I dated in college was like this, and it honestly gave me the creeps. The clinginess only got worse the longer we dated, too. It eventually got so bad that I had to refuse to tell him in advance what classes I was signing up for because if he knew, he’d sign up for the same ones at the same times with the same teachers.
He was also over at my house so often, it was like he lived there. I can actually recall this one time he kept making excuses not to go home, although I wanted to go to a friend’s house to study. At some point, he fell asleep on the couch while we were watching TV, and I took the opportunity to sneak out the side door. I literally left this dude asleep on my couch and snuck out of my own house so I could see a friend without having to listen to him whine first or try to tag along.
Now, I’m not saying every clingy guy (or girl) is as bad about it as this particular person was but use your common sense. You most likely can’t stand it when women are clingy or majorly insecure to the point where they can’t let you have any time to yourself. Well, women don’t like men who are clingy either, so check yourself before you wreck yourself.
6. You over-rely on alcohol.
I want to clarify that I’m not saying you can’t drink if you want to make a favorable impression on women. However, this may be a good opportunity to take a second look at how you use alcohol, especially if you’ve ever had anyone else in your life express concerns.
If you’re the type of person who can’t loosen up or have a good time at all without tying one on, I’m talking to you. You’re not fooling anyone, least of all any of the women you’re trying to date. You’re also making a terrible impression. No one thinks you’re a bad-ass for having a drink in your hand every time life requires you to be even moderately interactive with the rest of the world. If anything, you’re making the opposite impression — that you’re insecure and quite possibly incapable of dealing with difficult feelings in healthy ways.
There’s good news, though. Women like men who aren’t afraid to be open and vulnerable. We don’t mind that you get a little anxious in social situations or stressed out about life in general. We feel that way, too, sometimes. We’d also rather see you open up about whatever’s troubling you than claim to feel otherwise and guzzle booze to avoid dealing with the real issue.
7. You’re a terrible listener.
This seems to be less of a problem for men today than it used to be when I was younger, but I still run into a fair number who have no clue the world doesn’t revolve around them. So, you love golf and are super-proud of how things have been going at the office lately. Great. We’re happy for you, and we like to hear you talk about things that get you all jazzed up about being alive. Read the room, though.
No one likes one-sided conversations, so pay attention to whether there’s enough give-and-take going on. If you feel like you’re doing all the talking or realize you’ve been going on about a single aspect of your own life for a while, switch it up. Ask your date about herself. Then actively listen to what she says. Put your phone down. Give her your full attention and show genuine interest in whatever it is she’s sharing with you. Don’t interrupt her when she’s talking.
Many people are often guilty of simply waiting for their turn to talk when they ought to be listening attentively. Admittedly, this is something I have to be careful of myself, but it’s worth learning how to do it. So many people — especially women — go through their lives not feeling heard, so any guy who can set himself apart in this regard is way ahead of the game.
8. You’re on the stingy side.
My ex-husband showed me what kind of man he was early on in our relationship, and I really should have paid attention. He wasn’t just frugal or careful with money. He was a major penny-pincher. After our first evening out together, he complimented me on what a cheap date I was because I suggested a mid-priced Chinese restaurant to go to for dinner and drank diet soda with my meal instead of ordering wine.
That seemed like a profoundly weird thing to say to someone you’re allegedly interested in, but he was always an awkward sort of guy, so I let it go. I kept letting it go when he also turned out to be the type to “forget” his wallet a lot. Before I knew it, I found myself stuck in an unhappy marriage to the stingiest person I’d ever met in my life. He wasn’t just stingy with money, either. He was also super-miserly with his time, affection, emotions, and patience.
Don’t be like my ex-husband. Most modern women in no way expect a man to pay for everything all the time, but we don’t like tightwads, either. It’s fine (and even commendable) to be frugal and careful with money. Your every thought shouldn’t revolve around spending as little of it as possible, though, especially when it comes to other people.
If life’s taught me anything, it’s that you only stand to gain when you’re generous with the other people in your life. No one’s saying you should be willing to spend over and above your means trying to impress a woman you’re dating, but you definitely want to avoid coming across as a cheapskate. Otherwise, you’ll leave her wondering why she’s worth so little to you.
Again, if you’re having trouble holding a woman’s attention, the chances of it truly being about superficial things like your looks or job title are extremely slim. Most women care a lot more about how you treat them and approach life in general.
So, start there if you’re looking to make improvements. Always be on a mission to better yourself, listen more, and get better at considering the needs of others. You might be surprised how quickly it makes a difference.