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Sex + Relationships

How (Not) To Ruin A Relationship Before It Even Begins

Trying to reel a guy in can be much like the sport of fishing itself – you wait patiently, do what you’re supposed to do (look pretty and engage in conversation), pray that he takes the bait, and when he does, try not to get so excited that you scare him away.  It’s questionable whether or not fishing is actually a sport, but for our sake, we can say that fishing for guys is. We’ve made a game of it, and because there isn’t exactly a rulebook, there are a variety of ways to get a guy’s attention.  For most of us, we rely on the tried-and-true techniques of looking hot and being outgoing and charming.  But if you watch MTV for a while – specifically Jersey Shore, The Real World, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, Next, etc. (the list goes on and on…), you’ll learn that there are girls who get guys’ attention using antics that are really weird or just plain stupid.

Because the attention-grabbing techniques that Sammi Sweetheart and Snooki use always seem to involve someone getting knocked out or soaked in vodka-soda, Her Campus is here to set the record straight.  As you set out on your search for the perfect guy and a perfect relationship to follow, keep in mind that no self-respecting collegiette™should do the following in order to appeal to a certain guy (unless he’s an Italian-gorilla-juicehead-type)…
Hook up with another guy to get his attention.
You know, it’s the “I’m going to make out with Aaron because he’s really hot, and then maybe Johnny will see that other guys think I’m desirable”-attitude that just kind of backfires.  If you’re macking it with one guy, don’t be fooled into thinking that will make another guy want to swoop in.  Her Campus Real Live College Guy Ryan says, “I salute her ballsy guy-catching nature, but if she’s willing to play one random guy just to catch the attention of another, I’m going to question her character.”  These attention-demanding hookups only make guys hesitant to get involved with you – sure, they show that you’re hot and you’re wanted, but if Johnny is the one that holds your interest, make sure it’s him you pursue, and not his frat brother Aaron.
Try too hard to be a “bro.”
A girl who is able to have a beer, watch football and lounge around in sweats is appealing to guys, but only to a certain extent.  It’s when you start picking up the “bro” lingo (e.g., “Sweet, dude.  Awesome, man.  Yeah dude she’s so hot, go for it, man.  I’d hit that”…etc.), and habits (being comfortable burping/farting in front of them) that it starts to get a little weird.  Kyle, a junior at Boston College, has one thing to say about a bro-ed out babe: “You’re a girl, act like one.”  Remember, he likes you because you’re not a guy.
Wear revealing clothes.
We’ve all seen it (if not at our own campus bars/clubs, then at “Karma”): shirt down to here, skirt up to there, shoes too high to walk in, and maybe a little back/midriff showing.  This ensemble screams LOOK AT ME! to guys, but to Ryan, “not in a ‘I want to start a relationship with you’ kind of way.”  It really is okay to leave a little to the imagination sometimes (fine, Halloween is the only exception), or you risk being mistaken for actually…

…being a sl*t.
“It ruins the game,” says Kyle.  Believe it or not, when it comes to the “chase,” guys enjoy putting in a little bit of effort.  It makes the reward that much better, especially if he’s really into you.  Sleeping around or going too far on the first night won’t get you too many honorable mentions (especially if you start making your way through entire frats or groups of friends), and it certainly won’t help you land a long-term boyfriend.

Get [email protected]$t3D!!!
Having fun is one thing, but being a sloppy mess on the dance floor is another.  Imagine his frustration as he tries to get you to dance with him, when all you can do is shake your head belligerently or teeter back and forth in your stiletto heels.  It’s okay to drink, but “composed is key,” notes Kyle.  A bit of a buzz can be helpful when dealing with a cute guy, but know your limits, and don’t act like an idiot by reaching the point where you’re stumbling down the boardwalk stairs and face-first into the sand.
Play dumb.
No one wants to talk to someone who’s totally clueless or ridiculously boring.  The “dumb” façade is as annoying to guys as it can be to girls.  If you’re smart, embrace it.  If you’re a little nerdy at heart, show him that side of you.  Whether he’s into it or not, he’ll be experiencing the real you – not the one that’s, “like, OMG, like I get sooooo silly when I’m drunk, [giggles incessantly] and I start to, like, um…forget things!!!!!!!! Wait – where’s my phone?!?!?!?”
Be presumptuous about the status of your relationship.
Being open with him and talking about a potential relationship is one thing, but hooking up with him one night and waking up the next morning assuming you’re BF/GF is a little different.  To Ryan, inquiring means you’re interested: “If she’s curious enough to ask whether I’m single or not, she’s usually inquiring about whether she should go further with her flirting. I’m all for it.”  But just assuming that a hardcore relationship is in sight is likely to freak him out and chase him away.  Guess you’ll have to wait a few more days to change your Facebook status…
Drunk dialing/texting/BBM-ing.
I guess this is an embarrassing way to, as Ryan sees it, “say how [you] feel, even if [you’re] sh*t-faced when you do it,” but it’s all about the delivery.  Sure, alcohol is uninhibiting, and at 2AM, you can’t help but express your feelings – or arrange for a booty call – but messy, incoherent messages like, “i wnaT 222to seeeeee u. wre aer Y0u????????” will leave you feeling straight-up mortified the next day (unless you allow your drunken self to delete your inbox/outbox before you can realize the damage you’ve done), regardless of whether or not you ended up meeting up with him. If you’re going to operate your phone in a drunken state, check for typos, too many repeated letters, and unwarranted punctuation.

And this certainly takes things to a whole other level.  To guys, sexting = booty call, and nothing more… unless those sexts get passed around to all of their frat bros and cause a huge scandal.  Then it’s your problem and a BFD.  Either way, sexting a guy tells him you want him, but guys like Ryan will assume that “neither of us wants a relationship in that situation.”  Sexting early on in a relationship is risky because there’s a lack of trust; no matter how much you like him, if you don’t know him well yet, he shouldn’t be trusted with such a revealing piece of information. You never know whose hands that photo might end up in, so think twice before snapping a pic.

Reveal your baggage too early.
Honesty and openness are two things you want to have in a relationship, but dishing about your parents’ divorce, past relationship issues, border-line eating disorder and anxiety issues after date/hookup #1 only tells him one thing: GET OUT NOW.  Ryan feels that, “Typically, if she reveals her baggage too early, that means she has a few too many screws loose in her head.  [She] can end up clingy and just as emotionally wrecked over you.”  If you’ve got issues, ease him in and convey them in a civil, un-smothering manner – and don’t take the drunken-divulgence approach we see happen with Sam and Ron every weekend at Karma.  No guy wants to start off a relationship with a girl who already seems to be broken.

Other girls find it annoying to hear you talk all about your awesome wardrobe, your killer style, and your really super expensive makeup collection. Guys hate it even more.  No one likes a self-centered bragger, and that certainly doesn’t qualify you as “girlfriend material.”  Ryan puts it simply: “[email protected]#* that noise.”

Be a tease.
A little “I know you want me” teasing never hurt anyone, but when you let the mind games begin, prepare for him to split.  Ryan says, “I’ll put up with it for a little while but I’ll lose my interest shortly after. I’m not into playing games. If you like me, say it. Don’t have me bend over backwards to ‘prove my love’ to you.”  He wants you, and you know it, so don’t dangle yourself in front of him…for too long.
Being too unavailable… or available.
Saying you’re busy every time he texts you to hang out tells him you’re just not interested.  At the same time, jumping at every opportunity to hang out with him, going home with him at the end of every night, learning his schedule and then coincidentally running into him on campus, etc., gives him no opportunity to pursue you.  One college guy tells us he likes “a little chase,” but Ryan admits that he “won’t wait forever.”  Be available enough to show him that you’re into him, but busy enough to make sure he sees that you’ve got your own life to focus on, and your world doesn’t revolve around him.
Impressing guys certainly doesn’t have to be all that complicated.  Some tactics we employ to get a guy’s attention work better than others, but we all know that at the end of the school week, the last thing we want to be doing is calculating another math problem, let alone “our next move”. Forget about the strategies you see being abused on MTV, and just be yourself.  Being hot isn’t about playing the part; it’s about engaging a guy and offering him what you have to share – whether it’s your super-cool style, your sexy attitude, your laidback demeanor, your nerdy side, your self-deprecating sense of humor, your astute wit, or all of the above.  So, actually, I take it back – the Jersey Shore girls might, after all, have something of value to offer us as we set our sights and pursue the guys of our dreams: “Do you.  Just do you.”
Anonymous college guys
Ryan Joseph, Her Campus Real Live College Guy

Lauren Kaplan is a senior majoring in English and Dance at Emory University. She is originally from New Jersey, and has loved living in Atlanta for the past three years. Lauren thinks most fondly of her two favorite places - her childhood camp, Camp Wayne for Girls, and Margate on the Jersey shore - from which she has derived a love of friends, family, and the beach.
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