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The Secret Truth About Trying Too Hard With Guys


You meet a guy at the bar and he invites you to his date party. You automatically think that means he wants to date you so you text him over and over again trying to hang out. And when that doesn’t work, you move on to the next one—someone, anyone to be your boyfriend.

If finding a boyfriend is at the top of your to-do list, you should probably cross it off right now. Trust me, there are way better things to do with your time. The guys aren’t always going to drop what they’re doing and sweep you off your feet; it’s a shame, we know, but this doesn’t mean you have to put all your energy into desperately searching for “the one.”

We talked to college girls and guys who shared their experiences about girls who didn’t get the “be a little mysterious” message. Marla Martenson, matchmaker, life coach, speaker, and author of Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate Is Waiting, tells us the secret truth about trying too hard.

What qualifies you as a desperate collegiette?

Going for what you want is good, but trying to turn every man you meet into your boyfriend is not. Although you might want a boyfriend, you don’t need one. If you’re always searching for a man to complete you, you could be a desperate collegiette (but don’t worry, Her Campus is here to help you!). This desperation can come in many forms: asking everyone you know to set you up on dates, fantasizing about your future with guys you just met, texting every guy in your phone hoping one of them will profess his love to you, or going home from the bar with random guys.

Marshall, a student at the University of Michigan, tells us how he feels about desperate collegiettes. “We were hook-up buddies, I thought I had the perfect thing set up and then one night she just broke down crying asking to date me and then called and texted, making it painfully obvious she was struggling to make something more out of it than what was there which made her so much more unattractive.”

Lesson learned: If you’re just hook-up buddies, that could be all you are. Don’t assume every encounter you have with a guy has the potential to turn into a real relationship.

“I was tutoring this guy and started to like him. I knew I shouldn’t cross the professional boundaries, but for some reason I thought it was okay to drunkenly call and text him asking him to come over. I would also see him at the bar all the time and asked him to walk me home once. He said no, so I went home with his roommate. Now he thinks I’m crazy,” says Christina*, a collegiette at Michigan State University.

Lesson learned: Your sober instincts are probably your best instincts. If you can’t stop throwing yourself at guys when you start drinking, you might want to start limiting your alcohol (which you should be doing anyway to stay safe).

Michelle*, a student at the University of Michigan, says, “I had a huge crush on a boy in my class who told me he didn’t have time for a girlfriend. I still continued to invite him out with me all the time and asked him for help in class. I did anything I could to spend time with him even though I knew he didn’t like me.”

Lesson learned: Don’t play dumb and pretend like you need him to be your study buddy just so you can spend time with him (plus, that’s so Mean Girls). If he says he doesn’t want a girlfriend, he doesn’t want a girlfriend (or he just doesn’t like you).

Why do you keep trying too hard with guys?

It’s likely caused by low self-esteem.

Martenson says, “Young women often derive their ‘worth’ from whether or not they have a boyfriend, and who that boyfriend is, how good looking, wealthy or popular.” Come on, collegiettes, you’re awesome and you know it—and you certainly don’t need a man to prove it. “When that special person comes along, he will be a complement to your life, the icing on the cake, not the cake,” Martenson says.

Your self-esteem is fine; you’re just looking to have fun.

If this is the case, enjoy the hook-up and then move on. It’s when you’re having hundreds of hook-ups with multiple men that you’re crossing the line between enjoying some fun, casual kisses and using make-out sessions to fill a void.

You think you need to try for the guy in order to get the guy.

It makes sense; you try harder in school to get better grades, you try harder at practice to beat the track record, but if you try harder at getting the guy, he will run in the opposite direction. Make him chase you!

You’re needy.

Sometimes, we think we need a boyfriend so we try to pursue every available guy even when we don’t actually like any of them. Carly from the University of Michigan noticed she was leaning towards desperate when she used to think, "I want a boyfriend" in general instead of "I want *Hot Boy John* to be my boyfriend." If he’s really the right guy for you, he won’t be replaceable.

What is wrong with pursuing guys all the time?

You could get a bad reputation.

What words do guys associate with girls who try too hard? “Overbearing, overwhelming, annoying,” says Jeff from Michigan State University. I highly doubt you want to be called any of these things. They certainly don’t spell ideal girlfriend to me. Give him a reason to call you outstanding, amazing, wonderful.

Trying too hard to land yourself a man can also send the wrong message. If you seem overly eager, you might not be sending out “girlfriend material” vibes. The less that guys see you as the relationship type, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to see themselves in a relationship with you.

Independent woman? Not you.

If you’re always on a manhunt, people might start to think you’re dependent on guys for everything. You’ve got the personality and the drive to succeed, but you’re holding yourself back by waiting around for a guy to somehow make you better. Make Beyoncé proud!

It’s tiring.

You have enough on your plate and don’t need to add boyfriend searching to the mix. It will just complicate things. “I always have to have at least one guy I’m talking to or texting or something. It makes me feel special. I like to have more than one though so I can switch to another guy if something doesn’t work out with one of them,” says Courtney, a student at Grand Valley State University.

You’ll lose more than you’ll win.

“Instead of having fun with my friends when we go out on the weekend, I always find a guy to talk to for the night. I end up ditching my friends for the guy because I love the attention he’s giving me. It always ends with me upset, my friends mad at me, and me still alone,” says Natalie*, a collegiette at Western Michigan University. If it isn’t worth the fallout, it probably isn’t worth your time.

What are some easy ways to stop being so desperate?

Improve your self-esteem.

“A great exercise to do to raise your self-esteem is to write down five wonderful qualities you possess and five things you excel at,” Martenson says. Post this list where you can see it every day and instead of turning to a guy when you’re in need of a mood-booster, value your own excellence. “Feeling great about yourself and what you are up to in life gives you the power and ability to stand on your own two feet and not desperately seek a boyfriend to complete you,” Martenson says.

Quit cold turkey.

You don’t want to spend the rest of your life chasing guys, so just stop. We know you can do it! Next time your roommate’s boyfriend says he’s bringing over guys you’ll probably like, smile and say thank you but when they arrive don’t eagerly rush over to them. If you’re the type of girl who thinks every guy you meet could be your future boyfriend, have a more nonchalant attitude and enjoy the moment without trying to plan the future. It helps if you don’t talk about every encounter with a guy like it was a magical made for TV moment.

If you text multiple guys for attention, you should try putting your phone away when you know you’re more likely to text them (when you’re around couples, after you start drinking, when you’ve just heard bad news about something). A fun thing my friends and I recently started when we go out is a phone swap. This way you can still get a hold of your friends but you won’t be able to text boys because you won’t have their numbers. If going home from the bar with random guys is your problem, make a pact with your friends that no girl goes home without another. The extra reinforcement and buddy system will help you succeed.

Stop trying to prove yourself to everyone. Be your own person.

“Realize that you are a special, unique individual with your own talents and strengths and are not required to prove yourself to anyone,” Martenson says. Once you get this idea in your head, you can pay more attention to improving your single self and let go of the constant need to have the boyfriend of the year. Martenson says, “You are good enough to have a boyfriend, the career you choose, and the life you desire!” The important thing to remember is that you are good enough to have a boyfriend, but you don’t need one in order to be good enough. “Don’t look to the world for your validation; everything that you need is within you!” Martenson says.


*Some names have been changed

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