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You Asked: Never Been in a Relationship

Dear Sugar —
I am in my early 20s, attending a good university but there's something that has bugged me for a long time — I have never had a boyfriend or had someone tell me that they like me and I don't understand why. I feel so embarrassed by the fact that all my girlfriends have had relationships or hookups in the past and I've had close to none. I feel like I'm pretty approachable but I don't understand why guys don't pursue me. People always say I look so "cute and attractive," and I certainly don't think I'm hideous so I'm just so confused. I know that being shy has a lot to do with it, so can you help me step out of my shell and be more outgoing around guys? — Shy Shelby

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Shy Shelby,

While I'm sure it's easy to compare yourself and your experiences to your girlfriends, keep in mind that everyone is different. Never having a relationship is nothing to be embarrassed about — finding love is not a contest. If you want to meet people, you're going to have to put yourself out there. Being shy might make this more difficult for you, but if you push yourself a little bit outside your comfort zone, I'm pretty sure it will pay off in the long run.

As E. Jean once said, if you place yourself where there are high numbers of men, it becomes a mathematical certainty you will meet someone. Since you're still in school, join a book club, or go to parties with your girlfriends, study in a cafe instead of your room, hit the gym or try to get involved in more school activities. If you keep your spirits and self confidence high, you'll become more approachable and you'll feel more worthy of the possibility of meeting someone. Be patient Shelby and when you least expect it, it will happen for you. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
Skilimit Skilimit 9 years
I understand you girl. I am 18years old I never had a boyfriends, never been kiss and never been on a date. I feel bad sometimes I would ask god why. I'm not ugly either I have had guys who told me they liked me. But I was scared to go out with them. I mean I was scared. As I get older I feel even worst. I don't want to be 20 when I have my first messy kiss. So my plan is to me single and die a virgin. I feel helpless in this situation. But you will find love just stop being so shy. Good luck and tell me how it turned out
thegiraffe thegiraffe 9 years
Here's a bit of perhaps offbeat advice. Guys have this invisible sensor for girls that 'want to be' pursued and they are (I think) a little turned off by that because they rather enjoy a (little) chase. This happens even to attractive or good-looking girls. So here's a trick. Walk like you don't care. Dress nicely, put on whatever makeup makes you feel good about yourself (or don't), i.e. make sure you look your best, go to any public place and just enjoy yourSELF. Smile, laugh, have fun, be aware of your femininity but: act like you're noticing everything in your environment except the guys in the room (except of course, in the corner of your eye you secretly are ;)). That kind of confidence has got to do it everytime. I had two acquaintances (girls) whom I both felt were pretty-average-looking, definitely not gooorgeous or anything (not to be mean but I must state this to make my point). But lo and behold! when they walked the street, every guy gaped. I wanted to know what they did right so I was kinda like secretly observing them. And this is what I came up with and I also think works! You said you're cute, attractive and approachable. But sometimes being approachable is the problem! Good luck!!
aaallison aaallison 9 years
All you have to do is smile at a guy. Guys are just as shy and if they see a girl smiling at them, that should give them the confidence to approach you since they know that you're into them too. It's worked twice for me and I am the shyest and quietest person you'll ever meet.
skiwi skiwi 9 years
this was originally going to be an anonymous thing when I sent my dilemma to dearsugar because I felt so embarassed but after hearing all your kind words i feel comfortable in disclosing who I am :) Dearsugar altered a few of the facts so that I would be kept anonymous (thanks dear :)). I'm really 18 years old and haven't gone to university yet. In my entire life I have had ONE fling w/ a guy but it was really nothing. Anyways just wanted to thank you all again for sharing your kind words! (ps that picture is quite dreadful no?) ;)
br0wneyed9irl00 br0wneyed9irl00 9 years
i'll turn 22 in a week and about to graduate college, and yet no boys populate my past. and i go to school that's predominantly male (only 30% girls), and i'm active in clubs with lots of guys that are cool and attractive, as am i. so why am in this, apparently large boat, with all of you? i don't have the answer. and sometimes it makes me sad: like when i go see romantic movies and think i'll never have that. but most of the time i'm happy. i have friends that would do anything for me, and fantastic dreams that i'm about to fulfill (after getting this pesky college thing out of the way). i can't promise that either of us will ever find a husband, but as long as you don't tie your self-worth to that, you can live a fulfilling life. besides, if i had a boyfriend i'm not sure i would feel as comfortable moving away in pursuit of life. i think we have to make our own happiness, so enjoy being independent while you are, and then, if you do end up with someone, enjoy that to the fullest too!
hlewis hlewis 9 years
I have the same feelings! I am 20 now and never have had a boyfriend. I often feel lonely when surrounded by college friends who have boyfriends. I know how it feels to be surrounded by couples with you being the only single one! But, I have faith that it will happen one day. When I finally have my first boyfriend, he'll be just right!
tikilite tikilite 9 years
I met my first boyfriend, and later husband, just before I turned 24. I admit that prior to that, it was very frustrating. I had a lot of friends, and was told frequently that I was "beautiful," why didn't I have a boyfriend, then? Friends and family all excused it with "She's picky." But, I sure didn't think that was it! I agree with the comments about finding something else that consumes you and makes you happy, first. My main piece of advice, though, is Don't Settle. Don't let all of that frustration turn into a misplaced gratefulness that someone asked you out, and date someone just because he's interested in you. The One for you absolutely will come along. I totally believe now, that those years of waiting were so that I'd be available and the person I was when I met my husband. So, even though it's annoying to hear, don't worry! You're still beautiful and funny and interesting. You don't need a guy to validate that. Relationships cause slow downs and detours in your road to finding out who you, yourself, are. You're not less because you haven't had a boyfriend, in fact, I think you can find that you are more!
silly_pickle silly_pickle 9 years
Asia84, I think we're meeting all the same guys. School is a great place to meet guys, and with the spring semester starting soon, hopefully you'll have some new guys to chose from in your classes. Maybe bring a school newspaper to class with you and comment on something in it? Hint around an upcoming sporting event at the school, I know football is over, but there is probably something else going on. Ask a question about a paper due date, or if they have a copy of something. Clubs and groups may be a better place though, dating a guy in your class may not be good if it doesn't go anywhere, just be prepared to see them every week, but it's not so bad, you may end up getting a friend out of it. I once had a professor who said "stop flirting with each other! Wait until the end of the semester to ask each other out!" Kinda made me laugh, but it's true to a point.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Don't feel bad. I did the polls on here and found out that i didn't get laid all of 2007! (lol) i find that guys are the following: -in a relationship already ;he's happy and that makes you sick ;he's unhappy and willing to screw ya anyways. makes you sicker! -he thinks he's a player/pimp. ;he wants to run wild and free, can't be tied down ; he wants to be f*ck-buddies -he's been hurt of just got out a bad relationship ;he just doesn't want to commit to anyone new or my favorite one that i see happen everyday at work: -HE'S GAY and looks like Johnny Depp!- all VERY tragic to a single gal. you're in school, so you have an advantage; you're surrounded by guys who have potential to be something great, and you can use the professor's crappy teaching methods as a conversation starter.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
You aren't alone. I'm 21 next week and never so much as held hands with a guy. I have no advice (obviously!), but I know how isolating it feels to watch your friends out there in the dating realm. I've always just considered it the result of my perpetual shyness and high standards, but really I'm not worried. At least when I'm finally in a relationship one day I'll have learned from the mistakes of my friends! Hang in there. :)
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
I'm in the same boat. NEVER had a boyfriend. Oh well maybe things will change but sometimes I feel too alone.
elmendoa elmendoa 9 years
get a makeover! work out! confidence is SO SO important.
SparklinSeahorSe SparklinSeahorSe 9 years
don't worry. it's honestly more common than you think! i'm 20 and have never been in a relationship. i didn't have my first kiss until i was 18. it's something i've always been embarassed about but i try not to let it bother me. i know i'm beautiful. people tell me all the time. i just have high standards and have turned down alot of guys for dates. i'm also shy when it comes to boys and am never one to chase after a boy or even hint to him that i have feelings for him. about a month ago i decided that maybe it is better being single... that way i can be free to mingle and flirt without someone being jealous of me. and i can spend all my time with my girlfriends without feeling guilty. and since i made that decision, do you know what's happened? now i have TWO boys who are both wonderful and fabulous and both want to date me right now! now i don't even now what to do! so here's the thing: live your life for you. enjoy it. YOU are an amazing person. do all of the things you've always wanted to do. and when you're least expecting it, BOOM mr. right will walk into your life! i swear it's true. and it's easier to hear than to do, but i promise you: there is someone out there for you! just make sure that you are honest with him when you finally find him, otherwise he might not understand why you're acting so silly!
mlen mlen 9 years
don't stress so much! i felt the same way in college- i had never dated anyone before college and no one had really ever been interested in me as more than a friend. the first guy who was interested in my in college i dated, but about a month in i realized that dating someone just to date someone just wasn't worth it! so i went back to my single status for a good long while. after college i had a couple long term relationships- i'm single at the moment and sometimes i still have that same anxiety, because i just don't seem to meet the guys as easily as some of my friends! they'll be single for all of a week and then they have guys beating down their doors.. i can go months with out anyone remotely expressing interest! part of it i know is that i am shy when i meet new people. after i'm around them for a while i loosen up but at first i'm very shy! so it makes it a bit harder. but ya gotta just hang in there... cause i have been and i finally have a date saturday night with a guy i like!
pixelsugar pixelsugar 9 years
Don't feel bad, that's the worst that you can do. You need to be secure with yourself and be confident. I know from my experience that happiness and confidence attracts men. That's why people say you can find love easily when you're not looking for it. Keep your head up, you'll find the right guy eventually!
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
I think this is very common in this day and age, even though you think it would be the opposite. The truth is that many guys don't have the guts to approach women! They are as insecure and afraid of rejection as many women are. It also doesn't help if you as a woman are also shy, so it's like you can't win. I feel like men of the past like our parents and grandparents days were much more brave when approaching women and they were also much more serious about relationships. I'm sure if you truly think about it you can remember opportunities that you may have had to date but the guy for whatever reason wasn't up to your standards. I think this is a good thing because trust me when I tell you, many women who are dating and ALWAYS seem to have a man often settle a lot and who wants that! I say focus on making yourself happy. Take this time to get to know yourself and try new things and while your not even looking I'm sure an opportunity will come along where you can meet someone your interested in. Try to come out of your box a little, men are clueless, when you see an interesting guy SMILE at him and don't turn your head away as soon as he notices your looking at him. They need to know it's OK to approach you. I know when your shy it's easier said than done but try it a couple of times and see what happens. Good Luck!!!
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Don't feel bad, not all relationships are good or fun. They take work. Don't salivate over what someone else has, for you it might be totally different. Don't look for a relationship because you feel you need to have one or out of pressure, but because it's a time in your life you'd like to experience. You'll be in a good place when you can feel good single and just as good with someone.
fadedblue fadedblue 9 years
It's not as crazy a place to be as you think. One of my closest friends just recently got a boyfriend after graduating and moving out of state to teach. And she was THAT girl, with the looks, the intelligence, and the sweetness and everyone always wondered (including herself, and boy did we have some heated conversations, esp. the "what do you know, you're dating" fight =P) why she never dated anyone during high school or college. I think it's a myriad of factors. I think for her it was maybe b/c she was also a little shyer, not really the one that would pursue or be aggressive. Also the community of people we were a part of was just not conducive to her meeting the kinds of guys that she would have wanted to date anyway. So for her, moving to a totally different place was just what she needed to kick start the dating wagon =). But that aside, having a boyfriend isn't the be all and end all. You're in the prime of your life right now and while it'd be great to share that with someone, it's also amazing that you can actually have the freedom to do whatever you want without having to be held down. And I think that when you find yourself happy and content with what you have, that other things, like boyfriends/relationships, will be easier to come by too. So anyway, maybe try to be a little bit more open and go outside your comfort zone about meeting guys...but also have fun with it and just take it as it comes.
foxfire274 foxfire274 9 years
I was in the same boat a few years ago. I was 24 and never had any kind of relationship. I met a guy while working and he asked me out. I turned him down because I was terrified. I'd never been on a date! I talked with my friend and she convinced me to give me to take a chance. I went back and told him the truth, I had never dated and I was nervous. He was cool and after emailing a few times we went for coffee. That was 4 years ago and we just got engaged. I was always waiting for something to happen to me. I would see couples and it would drive me crazy sometimes thinking what was wrong with me. Then work took over my life, and I loved what I was doing. I stopped focusing on what i didn't have and started focusing on doing things that made me happy and brought me enjoyment. You attract what you put out there, IMO. I know it sounds totally cheesy but oh well. It took a little push from a friend too, to get me out of my comfort zone. Like someone else said, there are no magic answers. Don't spend your life waiting for anything or anyone.
lemuse20 lemuse20 9 years
I can relate to you, my dating list is quite scarce and it can be embarressing, but I'm not letting it get to me, I won't let how many guys I've dated define me. And when it comes to overcoming being shy, the way I think about it, if you ever want to be in a relationship with a guy, he's going to have to see the real you sometime, so you might as well just be yourself sooner. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and know who you are, and people can take you as you are or leave you, but it doesn't matter because you know who you are and there's someone out there who's going to like you for you... so don't be afraid to open up a little and put yourself out there more, if you get shot down a litle (which Im betting isnt likely) it's ok, just keep rolling. Life's too short to be worrying about what other people think.
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