So you’ve been hooking up with this guy for a few weeks, maybe even months, but it still hasn’t really progressed to the next level. He hasn’t asked you out to dinner, let alone asked you to be his girlfriend. You may have not even had the DTR talk yet. And this is about the seventh guy who has done this to you. WHAT THE EFF GIVES?
Before you get ahead of yourself and buy a house full of cats in preparation for your future days as a spinster, check out this list. While in some cases it may just be that the guy isn’t looking for a serious relationship, it’s also possible that you’re unintentionally acting in ways that put you in the hook-up or FWB category, rather than the girlfriend category.
1. You’re being THAT drunk girl (and talking about partying nonstop)
If your classic night out ends with you stumbling all over the place, hanging onto anyone who comes within a one-foot radius of you, or kneeling over a toilet (or not even making it to the toilet), then you may be labeled as THAT girl—and having THAT girl as a girlfriend can be an embarrassing burden. Who really wants to be the one who always has to clean up your mess and carry you home?
“Guys like girls that can drink and have fun—definitely a turn-on. But girls that are constantly really sloppy or talk about how sloppy they are are just a nuisance, more than anything,” says Mike from the University of Michigan. “A girl like that gets labeled as ‘that girl that threw up all over someone.’ When the only memory people have of you is vomiting—nasty—you're not girlfriend material.”
Nate, a student at George Washington University, agrees. “There’s nothing worse than when a girl is constantly the one being looked after by her friends,” he says. “Any girl who just fell and can't find her phone and is simultaneously throwing up everywhere… no thanks. No one wants to date a scene-maker.”
Kiko from the University of Massachusetts Amherst says being “that girl” won’t get you past the hook-up stage. “Girls that try to come off as that ‘party girl’ completely scream ‘I don’t want to be in a relationship, I just want to f*ck dudes every weekend,” he says.
Getting wasted every night is a bad idea for plenty of reasons, and talking about it all the time just makes it seem like you’re actually proud that you projectile-vomited in the corner of the bar. So turn it down from blackout to buzzed. You’ll come off as fun yet responsible, rather than fun yet always passed out on some random dude’s couch by midnight.
2. You act like you’re hot stuff
Confidence is an awesome trait, and no one’s saying you shouldn't flaunt it if you’ve got it. But if you’re constantly parading around like you’re on the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, confidence can turn into unflattering conceitedness.
“A girl that is obnoxiously loud and acts like she’s hot sh*t the first time you meet her signals that she is a b*tch,” Mike says. “You can’t really talk to those types of girls. Maybe guys would want to hook up with them, but more than likely they just can’t stand being around girls like that. It’s much more annoying than it is attractive.”
Would I have to constantly feed her ego? Would I always be waiting three hours for her to get ready to go out? That’s what your potential boyfriend would ask himself if you can’t stop bragging about that time you got stopped on the street because you were mistaken for Mila Kunis. If you look anything like Mila Kunis, that’s amazing and I’m jealous of you, but play it cool and don’t act like you know it. Being confident, yet down-to-earth, is a gf-worthy combination.
3. You talk more smack than Gossip Girl
If you’re always gossiping and talking behind people’s backs, especially about your own friends, the guys you’re around may consider you catty, shallow, and disloyal—none of which are traits of an ideal girlfriend. Calling Trang Pak a “grotsky little beyotch” at a frat party right after you were seen hugging her makes you seem mean and fake—again, not ideal.
Incessant gossiping may scare guys away because if they think you love drama (by talking about it and causing it), they might imagine that you would be hard to deal with in a relationship, or that the relationship would be full of fighting.
Instead of gossiping, your best bet is to engage in interesting conversation with a guy. “It’s true that you meet most girls in a party scene, but the ones that have always stuck out to me have been the ones that have talked to me about things other than the typical topics of conversation,” says Kiko. “One time I met this girl at the bar [and] we ended up talking about politics for the first 30 minutes of our conversation. I was blown away. Even though we didn't necessarily agree on everything, I was impressed by her knowledge and confidence to talk about it with a guy at a bar.”
He adds, “If you don't mention at least something that shows that you know that there is a lot more in this world than inside your college campus, then don't expect anything more than a one night stand (if that).
4. You look like you haven’t showered since the finale of Gossip Girl
“Damn, I want to cuddle with her and wake up to that smell all the time,” said no guy ever when you’re sitting in class, emitting fumes from a previous gym sesh because you forgot to shower… for the past five days.
“Guys like girls that put themselves together nicely,” Mike says. “If a girl is well-put together and cares about herself, it’s a very positive sign for girlfriend material. But, if a girl walks around looking like complete sh*t all the time, not showering, clearly kind of dirty, she turns guys off.”
This is not to say you have to curl your hair into perfect ringlets every day and never touch a pair of sweatpants. As Mike advises, “you don’t have to put on pounds of makeup either. Guys will notice that, too. Overly done, obvious makeup is not a look guys want to be around every day.” It’s all about finding that natural balance… and maybe a good perfume.
5. You have a campus-wide reputation
Just like you may write off a dude who has hooked up with half of your friends and is always seen bringing a different girl home every night, guys may be reluctant to date a girl with that reputation. Even if you're interested in settling down, getting around a lot tends to signal that you’re not looking for anything serious or exclusive.
“Many guys don’t want date a girl who is a prude, but also don’t want a girl that your boys have heard SEVERAL stories about,” Mike says. “If you ask your friends about a girl and they can give you graphic stories on graphic stories about things she’s done... she's been around too much. Girls can get around, but keep it discrete. Once all that spreads, she’s not dateable in the eyes of most.”
If you had a wild run of hook-ups and earned yourself a reputation, but are now ready for a relationship, then tone it down and lay low for a bit. Hang out with the guys instead of hooking up with them, and you can reinvent yourself à la Jay Gatsby.
As for having sex the first time you get with a guy, the boys we interviewed are in consensus that this is not a deal-breaker in deciding whether or not you are girlfriend material. Kiko explains that though it may leave little to the imagination, first date sex is situational. Mike agrees. “If you like the girl and it just so happens that the first time you hook up you have sex, then maybe it’s a sign you get along well,” he says. “Guys do like a bit of a challenge, so not having sex may lead to more hook-ups until it does happen. But it really depends on the individual. Some guys just want to hook up and are not interested in relationships, so many times it has nothing to do with the girl. It's completely dependent on the situation and people involved.”
6. You never put down your cell phone
“There’s nothing worse than a girl that is clearly glued to her iPhone,” Kiko says. “Yeah, you know who you are, ‘girl that tries to be clever and not think I notice you texting at least three other guys.’ You're showing to me that you have other options than me and that after we hang out you're about to go to the next guy… some girls think they're really sneaky about this too, which just makes it worse.”
Plus, if you’re always texting or tweeting or Instagramming when a guy is trying to talk to you, it makes you seem uninterested and not invested in what he has to say. And if he can’t count on you to be there to listen and talk, he may think he’s better off keeping you in the FWB category.
7. You don’t get along with his best friends
“If she doesn't get along with your close friends, chances are she's not ‘the one,’” Nate says. “A guy may think that she's chill, but if all of his closest friends (who know him the best) don't see it, then she's probably not girlfriend material. Or, the dude will date her anyway and realize she is miserable three months and six expensive dinner dates later.”
Try to make an effort to get along with his crew. If they are unbearable, then you may want to reconsider the guy because, as Nate points out, those are the people closest to him, who he chooses to surround himself with. That can be a red flag if every single one of his friends drives you crazy—maybe he will, too.
8. You’re way too clingy
If you’re clingy when you’re just casually hooking up, your guy—especially if he likes his space—may be freaked out that the clinginess would only increase if you were to date. In the movie How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, one of the major tactics Kate Hudson’s character uses to freak out Matthew McConaughey’s character is constant nagging, checking in, and invading his plans and his space. Being unbelievably clingy can send some guys running for the hills.
If he doesn't respond to your first text, there’s no need to quadruple text him. If he has a guys’ night planned, don’t try to get invited or make him feel bad about not hanging out with you. Making it clear that you enjoy spending time with him but have your own life and respect that he has his is important for many guys.
On a similar note, Kiko says it’s admirable when a girl has her own strong interests and real aspirations separate from the guy’s. “It shows that if you were to be in a relationship with this girl, she would have other things to focus on other than the relationship,” he says. “Typically, when girls have nothing else better to do than focus on their boyfriends, they complain, and ain't nobody got time for that.”
This list is definitely not true for every single guy out there—every guy has his own preferences and pet peeves. However, if you notice that you’re guilty of a lot of these behaviors and are stuck in the friend or hook-up zone, making a few easy adjustments can go a long way. And, if all else fails, you always have the cats to fall back on.