Dear Alice,

I can't seem to be noticed. I am told all the time that I am beautiful by my friends, but the guys don't even give me a look. I wear semi-sexy (nothing revealing, just flattering) clothing and I stay in style. I have been asked to participate in beauty pageants. I am an honor student and I am 5'9" tall. Why can't I get any male attention and how do I change this?

Dear Reader,

The objects of individuals’ attractions are dictated by the boundless assortment of characteristics that various people possess. Our attractions may be fueled by someone's "classic" beauty, or by the features of a person’s face, body, or gestures that make each person unique and intriguing. We may find a person’s sensitivity, creative side, intellect, humor, or engaging way of telling a story attractive. Similarly, there are people in the world who are attracted to your beauty, intelligence, and height — the three characteristics you mention in your submission — among others. However, whether someone expresses outwardly how attracted she or he may be to another person depends on many factors, including place, time, personality, and the assumptions we make about one another.

How would you describe your behavior in social settings? Are you warm and friendly? Do you introduce yourself and invite conversation, or wait for others to make the first move? How do you show people that you are interested in what they have to say? Think about what makes you feel good when you are talking with other people. One of the most successful ways to increase another person’s interest in you is to sincerely communicate your interest in that person. Although you may not realize it, you may be giving off signals that make it seem like you are unapproachable. By reaching out to people you’re attracted to with a genuine smile, you can show that you are accessible and down-to-earth. You might also be interested to know that some men report that they are hesitant to approach women they consider very attractive for fear of being rejected.

Sometimes reaching out can be challenging, though. Perhaps you’re nervous about your appearance and behavior to the point that you don't notice when you’re receiving male attention. One of the easiest ways to remedy this might be to change up the environments in which you typically hang out. Different types of men reside and hang out in different types of environments — test out different ones to see where you feel the most confident and comfortable and receive the type and amount of the attention you desire. Wherever you find yourself, there are sure to be lots of new, interesting people with which to share your experiences.

Have you tried talking with your friends about what it is that they were attracted to in you and how they think you are perceived by others? The likelihood is that there is more to their interest in you than how you look on the outside. They may have some insight into how you can receive more positive attention, using the same skills you use to make friends. And who knows? Maybe they'll tell you that they know of tons of guys who want to ask you out, but who just don't have the guts!

One concept to consider throughout this process is whether you truly want sexual attention, and if so, why. Are you looking for a relationship? Do you think receiving male attention may boost your self-confidence? Are you looking for approval or validation by others for some other reason? There might be deeper issues behind your question that can be explored in counseling or with other people you trust, to discover whether there are any extraneous issues at the root of your question. As an additional precaution, if you find yourself receiving undesired male attention and feel you might be in a harmful situation, you may want to reach out to a sexual assault program, such as RAINN.


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