First year — No boyfriend?

Dear Alice,

After reading several letters on your site I decided I just HAD to write you. I am so lonely. I'm not ugly or a loser or anything; in fact, I'm an attractive, upbeat, and outgoing first-year college student. But no matter what I do, I can't get a guy to be interested in me as anything more than a friend. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. There are a lot of guys I'm interested in, but none of them will give me the time of day. There is one guy I really like. He is a senior and he is president of a fraternity. I see him every now and then and I've been dying to approach him, but I'm not up for rejection. I guess I should just do it, right? I mean what do I have to lose besides my pride... I'm just kidding!! But, seriously, what should I do? I bet you think this is a pretty lame problem compared to some of the serious questions you get, but for me this is as serious as it gets. Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Infatuated to the nth degree

Dear Infatuated to the nth degree,

Though you might think that your question is silly, you can rest assured that it’s far from it. Most people feel lonely from time to time, but there’s a difference between being alone (e.g., without a partner) and feeling lonely. Even those who have a partner can feel lonely. While creating meaningful social connections can help to chip away at loneliness, having a significant other isn't the only way. Taking steps to find things you enjoy and working on building your confidence are good first steps. That being said, when it comes to talking to Mr. President, "just doing it" doesn't sound like a bad idea. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Whether you go for it or not, remember to take care of yourself first — whether that's focusing on boosting your self-esteem and confidence, being a good friend, or adjusting to college life. Also, learning to be with yourself, discovering your likes and dislikes, as well as understanding your feelings and beliefs may not only help improve your relationship with yourself, but it may also make you more attractive to a potential partner. Have you thought about joining a recreational sports team, taking fitness or art classes, or joining a club that you find interesting? Finding others who share your common interests, whether romantic or not, may help alleviate some of those feelings of loneliness. And as you become busy with being alone — but not lonely — maybe Mr. Right will be waiting in the wings to ask you out when you least expect it.

Back to the apple of your eye — what happens if you do approach him? Who knows, your boldness might just wow him. However, even if he says he's not interested, don’t let it bring you down — be proud of yourself because you tried! Though you say you’re not up for rejection, it’s good to remember that if your interest is rebuffed, it certainly doesn’t translate to a personal judgment (i.e., that you’re not good enough) nor does it need to result in lost pride. Feeling prepared in this way may make you feel more confident going into this conversation!

If you find that your fear of rejection becomes overwhelming or you want new tools to boost your self-esteem, you can try reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional who can help you work through these feelings. If you’re looking for more advice on how to put yourself out there, you could check out the Finding a Partner category in the Go Ask Alice! Relationships archives. 

Here for you,

Last updated Oct 22, 2021
Originally published Dec 01, 1993

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