Most collegiettes would agree that stereotyping people is ultimately more hurtful than helpful. Unfortunately, making assumptions and categorizing others is something we sometimes do even if we don’t mean to. It isn’t uncommon for a collegiette to stereotype a guy when she first meets him: “Even when I try not to stereotype a guy, I catch myself doing it,” says Alana, a freshman from the University of Kansas. “If I see a guy with an expensive watch, I’ll assume he’s wealthy. If I see a guy wearing a shirt with a stain, I’ll assume he’s a slob or lazy. But that doesn’t make it true necessarily.”
The frat guy, the momma’s boy, the dead beat, the womanizer, and the obsessed video gamer are just of the few of the categories we put guys in… but what about the categories they put us in? Are there things we can do to avoid being stereotyped at all? How do you get out of a stereotype rut once a guy has mentally put you there? These can be tricky obstacles, so Her Campus has broken down the seven main categories he puts you into and has provided tips on how to dodge them!
1. “She doesn’t know how to have fun.”
You’re most likely to end up in this category if you’ve spent every recent weekend in the library. Keeping up with academics and activities is awesome, and never something you should sacrifice. If you’re interested in a guy, though, you need to show him that you can take a break from the books every once in a while and devote some attention to him.
“I find it sexy when a girl is really smart and driven, but there is a fine line between driven and workaholic. Obviously, we won’t ever take a relationship to the next level if she’s always busy doing other stuff.”-Derrick, sophomore, Washington State University
2. “She’s hooked up with a lot of guys.”
If he thinks you’ve hooked up with a lot of people, guys may take notice (and might be intimidated!). Your sex life is your business, not his! But if it’s hindering you from a chance with your crush and you want to fix it, it’s best to be straightforward and honest so you can focus on the present.
“Most of the time it doesn’t bother me if a girl has been with a lot of guys, but I may be hesitant because it can be an intimidating situation to enter into. What if I’m not as good as the guys she’s been with before?”- Ben, senior, University of Missouri
3. “She’s out of my league.”
Collegiettes can occasionally be awestruck by a particularly awesome guy, so it’s no surprise that the situation happens in reverse, too! You may feel as if you’re unintentionally intimidating a guy that you like. It’s likely that he thinks you’re amazing and he’s nervous he’ll mess it up! Clearly, he has good taste. But he may need you to put him at ease so that you can reach a point where you’re both comfortable with each other. Approach him and make it clear to him that you’re interested – he’ll be happy to take the hint!
4. “She seems shy… I’m afraid starting conversation would be awkward.”
There’s nothing wrong with taking a while to warm up to people. But, shyness does have the power to intimidate a guy to the point of making him too uncomfortable to approach you. It doesn’t hurt to break through your shyness barriers every once in a while to get a guy’s attention. It may not always pay off, but it will give you more confidence to push yourself out of your comfort zone in the future!
“If she barely talks at all when we first meet, I’m way less likely to approach her again in the future. It’s not really her fault, but I just would want to avoid the potential for awkward silences.” –Taylor, sophomore, Oklahoma State University
5. “She seems like one of my boys.”
Uh oh, you’ve been put in the friend zone when you’re interested in more. You probably have a lot in common with this guy and it’s really comfortable and easy when you two are hanging out. Unfortunately, right now he thinks of himself as your boy friend instead of your boyfriend. To fix this, you’re going to have to initiate some flirtation or be stuck in the friend zone permanently.
“Sometimes, I honestly just don’t see it when a girl likes me. Unless she’s obviously flirting, I’ll just think of her as a friend. If she’s more open about how she feels or drops some hints, then I will catch on and maybe be interested too.” –Luke, junior, University of Kansas
6. “She comes with too much drama.”
It’s not breaking news that guys generally prefer to avoid drama and gossip, especially when it doesn’t pertain to them (quick tip: get rid of any pettiness in your system before you see the guy; vent to a friend, your family, the mirror or an animal instead). If you get caught in a bad moment when you hate on a friend, the apple of your eye may temporarily view you as Regina George reincarnated. Luckily, with an attitude adjustment and a golden rule mentality, it only has to be temporary!
7. “She seems too clingy.”
You may be in this category if you’ve gone on one date and are already gushing to him about your Pinterest wedding or ideas for future kids’ names. Commitment can be intimidating for anyone – guy or collegiette. Even if you aren’t talking about a future with him specifically, discussing such serious plans of your own can still freak out a new beau. There’s no established ‘right time’ to bring up marriage or long-term commitment, but be smart about it (and know that a first date is definitely not the place)! Otherwise, you’ll come across as clingy and desperate. If you do happen to accidentally let slip the location of your destination wedding and you sense his fear, laugh it off and reassure him that you aren’t trying to rush into anything. This is your time to get to know each other and have fun!
If any of this seems familiar to you, you may have been put into one of these categories. Never fear! If a guy is worth your time, he won’t write you off based on a label. Your place in a category won’t be permanent: “If you care about him and he has the wrong impression of you, then ask to speak with him about it. Explain your side of the story, that’s the most you can do. And if a guy is just being a jerk, forget it, he’s a lost cause,” says Jessica, a senior at Ohio University.
If you have yet to meet a potential Prince Charming, you can still avoid being categorized by one without changing who you are. Consider these tips:
1. Make Time for You… and Him
“I once started talking to a cute girl in the library in hopes of getting a conversation going so I could possibly ask her out. When I began talking to her, she looked like she wanted to bite my head off for disrupting her studying. I get that sometimes we all need to focus on our work, but don’t completely shut me out!” – Jake, freshman, University of Missouri
Tip: If you absolutely don’t want to be bothered when you’re studying, go to a place where you won’t be approached (an empty room, your own bedroom, a cubicle-style desk in the library). You won’t get interrupted and you won’t have to snap at a guy who admittedly has bad timing, but just who wants to get to know you. Can you really blame him? This way, you won’t accidentally put off someone who might be worth your time later on.
2. Find Your Courage
“If a girl comes up to me and starts a conversation (when she had seemed shy during a first meeting) I would find that really flattering. I would probably just assume that I had caught her off guard the first time and I’d admire that she was giving it a second go.” –Michael, senior, Drake University
“If a girl is super shy, I don’t want her to change her personality and force her to be someone she isn’t. I would just ask that she try her best to open up and get to know me better too.” –Ben, senior, University of Missouri
Tip: Have a few small talk-y questions prepared if a cute guy approaches you. Don’t be afraid to answer a few questions yourself, either. And don’t worry if you feel yourself blushing – your rosy cheeks will only make you look cuter!
3. Be Genuine and Don’t Focus on the Negative
“The best way for a girl to prove to me that she isn’t [dramatic] is by being consistent. If you go out of your way with some grand gesture to prove you’re a nice person, it’s going to seem phony. Start with small and random acts of kindness here and there to show that you’re consistently nice to people and that it isn’t just an act. And please, for God’s sake, do NOT talk about your friends behind their back around me. I will literally run away.” –Danny, junior, Mississippi State University
Tip: The easiest way to show you aren’t a drama queen is also the most obvious: try not to focus on the negative. It’s normal to feel anger or jealousy towards another collegiette from time to time, but it takes an awesome collegiette to put that negativity in its place and avoid spreading it around.
4. He Needs To Work For It
“Any genuine girl that meets a guy would make him pursue her a little and spend a lot of time with him before deciding if he’s good for her or not. If I sense that a girl is ready to marry me after just a few minutes, she definitely hasn’t tried hard enough.” –Ben, senior, University of Missouri
Tip: It’s fun to think about wedding bells and babies, but don’t undervalue yourself by making it seem like you’ll get hitched to the first guy in line! As a collegiette, you have time to be picky about finding the right one for you (and so does he)—enjoy it!
The bottom line: whether it’s fair or not, sometimes our actions or appearances cause the guys we meet to label or stereotype us. Many times, the fact that he’s making judgments about you means that you should run for the hills. But, if you meet a guy that is really special but you somehow give off a bad first impression, it’s definitely possible to turn things around so that he can get to know the real you!