Girlfriend Potential

Hi Guys,
I have a dilemma which I’m hoping you can help me with.
I am an outgoing, outwardly confident girl. I enjoy meeting new people, and I make friends with both guys and girls very easily. However, I have no success when it comes to dating and love. When I examine my relationship history I am forced to conclude that guys see me only as a friend, or perhaps as a potential friend-with-benefits-not that I go for those types of arrangements. Although several males have made sexual advances towards me-so it can’t be my looks that are the problem, right? I’m in good shape and reasonably attractive- they just don’t seem to see me as having girlfriend potential.  I have met lots of guys that I find attractive, but there seem to be only two outcomes. Either they become a good friend but seem oblivious to my flirting-some of my male friends end up asking me for advice on how to approach other females they are interested in, for goodness sake!-or they respond to my advances, we have a brief fling, but it never develops into a serious relationship because the guy ends it. I am 99% sure this is not a sexual chemistry problem-never received any negative feedback, anyway! Every single time a guy breaks up with me, he has wanted to remain friends, in fact most have strongly stressed that point, and most of my exes remain buddies with me.  This leaves me with two possible conclusions. Either I am attracted to the wrong sorts of guys, i.e. emotionally-unavailable men, or there is something about me that means guys just do not see me as a long-term prospect.
My question is, what qualities does a girl have to be seen as girlfriend potential? Are there certain behaviors or personality traits that might make a girl seem like a great friend, but eliminate her as a dating prospect? Any advice?


Dear Jess,

Thanks for writing. Your dilemma is not that uncommon. And at least one of your suspicions is correct. (It does sound like you’re attracted to the wrong sorts of guys.) But there’s more to it than that. Let’s start with our shallow answer.

If a guy finds you attractive, hot, sexy, or any other superlative, you automatically have potential as a girlfriend. Potential is the key word here. If potential doesn’t morph into a more certain standing you’ll end up either being a short term, or long term booty call. That’s not typically what most women are hoping for. Sure physical chemistry can be a great part of a relationship, but it’s really only one piece in a larger equation of trust, respect and love.

What really struck us about your question, was how willing and available you seem to be for these guys. This might be part of what’s going on for you. Just like nice guys can be cursed, so can nice girls. You sound like a very nice girl, and guys can sniff these girls out from a mile away. They are an invaluable resource as you’ve realized, because most guys have no clue about women. (They need advice from a woman and you’re giving it to them. That needs to stop.)

It sounds like you feel reasonably comfortable with your looks, and your ability to converse, so maybe it’s the way you carry yourself that’s causing the problem. This doesn’t mean you lack confidence, but it sounds like you’re making it too easy for the men you meet. Guys like somewhat of a challenge, and making yourself too available, at least at first, is going to keep heading you into familiar territory. And how many new guy friends do you really need??!! Let the guy do the pursuing! Let him make the advances!

We don’t believe in game playing, but a little mystery is okay. We also think you might want to hold back your eagerness to connect emotionally, until the man you’ve just met proves himself to be a worthy constituent. That means evaluate each person, and if they really have boyfriend potential, then proceed slowly. If they don’t, have a good time and move on. And definitely don’t go out of your way to prove you’re a cool girl. The right guy will know you are.

But let’s get back to our initial point. Yes, you are going after the wrong guys. This is easy for us to say, but difficult for you to change. However, start becoming more aware of your patterns. Become more aware of red flags, or other signs that tell you the same old thing is happening again.

Be positive Jess. Just by being out in the world, eventually you’ll meet the right guy for you. But it’s your job to recognize when it happens. Think about all these trials as good practice. All of these dead ends are getting you more prepared for when you finally do meet a great guy. It will happen!

Best of luck and keep us posted.


8 Comments on Girlfriend Potential

  1. Wow guys, thanks for your incredibly perceptive and helpful comments.
    I’m not so sure about the “nice girl” tag. I’m certainly not very ladylike, and never hold back from making a filthy joke. Since the start of my university years I’ve been thought of as “one of the guys”. I never thought that by being so open and approachable to men that I might be sabotaging myself. I also recognise that I have been pursuing emotionally unavailable men and blatantly ignoring red flags, hmm, maybe it’s not just guys who like a challenge!
    I’ve probably put off decent guys simply because in social situations I’m often hanging with ex-boyfriends, right? Especially when some of my exes are, to be honest, downright cocky.
    I don’t think it will be easy for me to change my behaviour, but I’m going to try to be a little more mysterious from now on, and let the boys pursue me, haha! And if any of my guy friends asks me for dating advice, I’ll tell them to head to the internet with their questions.
    I’m going to try and identify patterns in my behaviour. There are a few guys I have met recently who I am interested in, but I should really eliminate them as prospects based on your advice.
    Will keep you posted.

  2. Jess-are you sure a committed relationship is what you’re after? Maybe you yourself are ambivalent and your ambivlence keeps playing itself out in the sort of men you choose. I find that people generally get what they want if they truly want it, at least in terms of friendships and love.

  3. I think your advice here was spot on. One thing that I think many people tend to do is to push things when it comes to relationships and love. And really, love or a relationship cannot be pushed.

    I think many women have a huge fear of being single and not finding a partner with whom to share their lives. This often leads to women trying to ‘find’ relationships–rather than allowing a relationship to develop organically, without pushing it.

    The right partner is out there for everyone–I’m convinced of that. In fact, I think each person will come across many potential partners in her/his life. When I stopped looking, stopped trying to make men fit into a mold I’d created, and allowed love to just happen, then it came.

    Also, it’s not so bad to start a relationship off as friends–it may start there but who knows where it might end up? I know that any relationship that works has to have strong friendship at the core–and I think that many relationships that fail, DO fail because of the lack of this friendship aspect.

    As always, this was an interesting read! Keep up the great work.

  4. Like what Melinda says, you’re answer is spot on.

    I used to have a male best friend (the only male best friend I ever had). It was great and he treated me just like one of his buddies. One of the things I learned from him and his buddies is, men don’t like to have their girl buddy as a girlfriend because it doesn’t feel right. (That’s their answer, not my observation) As you mentioned, guys love a bit of challenge and mystery. You don’t get that with your buddies – with your buddies, they know already about your dirty laundry. I don’t think that’s sexy at all.

    I guess patience is the key. You can’t force these things to happen. It will come your way when it’s meant to be. On your first date, you just can’t dump your whole life story – you have to keep some things to yourself and let the guy figure you out.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Again, I am going to have to agree with The Guys. [man you give out some awesome advice!]

    And Jess, I have similar issues as you do. I am more of a tom-boy and that usually lands me in the Friend Department when it comes to finding a boyfriend!

  6. My physicasl therapist, (he’s single, i’m a widow) continues to flirt,..touch me in various ‘proper’ ways, and calls after the PT office closes from his work. He seems real nice polite ect. But i spent yrs as a attorney and I know how men can be NICE to get sex! He reminds me how much we have in common- music & hiking ( when I heal). However, Because of ethics he cannot date me until we are done. He has outright asked to be invited over, and or hang at a party w/my friends So why is he referring to me as his buddy at the office.? Why not keep it just professional.
    That said, because his casualness is BLURRED with his professionalism, so his intentions are too blurred!! He compliments me often, and REALLY listens, genuinely caring. However he seemed to get upset that i did not take to him coming over to my beach house. I am concern about becoming casual sex before i am healed and he can date me. Does he use ‘buddy’ as ‘he thinks of me as SEX’ or just a way to bridge between professional & potential date?

    i have 7 months of PT after this last surgery.

  7. @Kara……
    Why else would he be calling you outside of work? Is there another possible reason for that? So what happens when he calls? What do you talk about? How long? To us, even a phone call outside of work shows that he’s interested in you……The term buddy could mean almost anything. We get the sense he’s trying to move this from a purely professional relationship to something else. What that is, is difficult to determine since he’s still your PT. It’s an odd term frankly. You ask: Does he want just sex? It’s possible, but until you stop seeing him as your PT you’re not really going to know. Asking for you to invite him over suggests he wants sex, unless he’s just afraid to be seen out in public since he’s still your PT.

    Here’s what we suggest: Let him take the initiative. If he asks you to go out with him, or go bird-watching or something like that, then he’s probably interested in more than sex. If he wants to just come over and hang out, or have you come over, it’s probably sex that he’s after. But remember Kara: Guys want sex. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You want the guy to be attracted to you, and to want to have sex with you. You just want him to want the entire package, not just your body. Question: How old is this guy? (And if you’d like to share: How old are you?) It will help us assess the situation better. Thoughts? Questions?

  8. Bongstar420 // February 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm //

    Balderdash! I do not like women making me work more than necessary or not being 100% open and honest with me. Hence, my long standing singleness.

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