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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

The Awkward Girl’s Guide to Meeting Guys

We wish having a guy bump into us in the hallway, help us pick up our books, look into our eyes and immediately fall in love with us was something that actually happened in real life, but flirting usually takes a little more work than that. It’s not necessarily a piece of cake for anyone, but it can be even harder if you’re a self-proclaimed “awkward girl” or “shy girl,” or you’re even just someone who doesn’t go out as much. No need to fret, though—we’ve come up with some proven tips to help even the most introverted girls get their flirt on!

Get his attention

Sometimes it can be intimidating to be the one to start a conversation, so let him come to you instead! Carole Lieberman, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets, suggests you wear something with your favorite band name, TV character or city on it. This way, she says, a guy will feel more comfortable striking up a conversation.

“For example, if a girl is wearing a sweatshirt with ‘Sorbonne, Paris’ on it, it’s a no-brainer for a guy to ask, ‘Oh, have you been to Paris?’” she says.

Lucy*, a junior at McGill University and a self-proclaimed “homebody,” has had success with this method. She says she and her boyfriend met because of the sweatshirt she was wearing one day.

“I was studying at a café wearing a Shameless sweatshirt,” she says. “It’s one of my favorite shows. It’s one of his, too, apparently, and he started a conversation with me about it. Didn’t take long for us to hit it off!”

If he seems interested but isn’t making a move, it’s on you to step up and start a conversation! A simple hello will do just fine, but if you’re looking for something a little more outside the box, try commenting on his textbook (“Is that organic chemistry? I took that course last semester and totally hated it!”), his meal (“Here’s a hint: if you ask for the fries without salt, they have to make a whole new batch for you.”) or even what he’s wearing (“I love your shirt—I’ve been a Pink Floyd fan since forever!”).

Find an awesome wingwoman

There’s no better way to feel comfortable flirting than having a great wingwoman beside you. Patrick Wanis, PhD, human behavior and relationship expert and author of Get The Man You Want!, suggests bringing a girlfriend along with you when you go out to bars.

“Go out with [a friend] who’s the opposite of you, someone who’s a little more outgoing, so they’ll be there… you’ll feel safe,” he says.

He recommends you and your friend talk to a guy you’re interested in, and make a plan for her to leave once the conversation starts flowing (like decide that when you clear your throat and tuck your hair behind your right ear, she will conveniently remember that she has an exam to study for or a dance class in the morning and duck out).

“She leaves and you have the chance to connect further with this person,” he says. It’s a great system because while you end up alone with the guy, “you start with some sort of support, some sort of security.”

Have positive body language 

Making yourself approachable doesn’t take a lot—it only means keeping an open stance and being sure you have nice posture.

Denise Christopher, a dating and relationship coach, says the way you carry yourself speaks volumes.

“Never slouch,” she says. “Slouching closes your body and draws your energy down. Instead, pull your shoulders back and hold your head up.”

Smiling is another way to show your interest in a guy. “[It] conveys openness, warmth and a sure way of showing you are friendly and approachable,” Christopher says. “Men love a pretty smile. There is a certain amount of intrigue behind a woman who is smiling.”

Not only is a smile a woman’s best and easiest accessory and self-confidence-booster, it will make the guy feel special, too, and he’ll be more likely to approach you and begin a conversation.

Play up your best feature

Lesli Doares, a marriage consultant and coach, suggests you play up something about yourself that you really like.

“It can be either a physical feature… or a personality feature,” she says. “Then [you need] to learn to play that feature up.”

It might be your eyes, it might be your witty humor, it might be your hair—whatever you think is your best quality, learn how to use it to your advantage. As soon as you can express that confidence you have in yourself, guys will see it and be attracted to it, too.

Learn to laugh at yourself

Oh man—you just spilled your coffee all over yourself and the cute hipster guy at the counter totally noticed. You have two options: crawl into your invisible tortoise shell, or laugh it off.

Embarrassing or awkward moments are a part of every single day you’ll ever have, and a friendly, flirtatious woman will learn to deal with them gracefully.

Doares says that learning to laugh at yourself “à la Jennifer Lawrence” is part of what makes you a good flirt. “The more comfortable you can become in your own skin, learning to really like yourself… is what makes [you] interesting and attractive,” she says.

No flirting technique has a 100 percent success rate, and it’s only natural that sometimes things don’t work out. But if you never take the risk and try to step outside your comfort zone, you’ll never know! We all have our silly or weird quirks, but in order to step out of your shell, you’ve gotta embrace them and learn to use them to your advantage. Whether it means wearing that “nerdy” Big Bang Theory T-shirt you love so much or highlighting your “too-small” ears with some earrings, embrace who you are, and flirting will become second nature.

*Names have been changed.

Sophie van Bastelaer is a proud Belgian-American studying International Development, English and Women's Studies at McGill University. Whenever Sophie starts to get gloomy with the state of the world, she thinks about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, which probably means she's too obsessed with Love Actually. She also enjoys the rain, putting on a British accent, binge-watching trashy TV shows and experimenting with any and all kinds of baked goods (focusing especially on that prime chocolate/peanut butter combination).