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Am I unapproachable?
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why don’t guys approach me?” or can’t remember the last time a man showed an interest in you, your Approachability Factor might just need a little boost.
But how do you do that?
A well-meaning friend who casually advises, “If guys don’t approach you, just be more approachable!” only serves up vague advice on an undefined topic – which is super unhelpful, thanks.
Before we dive into mastering the art of approachability, let’s define what “approachability” actually means.
As an offline dating coach who’s been approached by hundreds of men without ever going online (and helped my clients get the same results), here’s my definition…
Approachability is creating a safe space for others to engage with you by removing barriers and lowering their perceived risk of rejection.
Approachability is a magical phenomenon that can only happen in real life – not online.
It involves intention, courage, and risk of in-person rejection – which means people place a higher value on that interaction (and, thus, a higher value on you) than they otherwise would swiping from behind a screen.
Growing up, I suffered from social anxiety – especially around men I was attracted to.
So, I would intentionally come off as unapproachable because I was afraid of feeling awkward and self-conscious around them.
It was a defense mechanism that enabled me to reject them before they had the chance to reject me.
Gradually, I pushed past my social fears and fell in love with the process of connecting with people, which raised my confidence in knowing how to talk to guys.
After feeling more comfortable around them, and people in general, I started thinking of ways I could help them feel more comfortable around me – i.e. how I could become more approachable.
All Readers Welcome
While this article was written with single women seeking men in mind, as that’s the perspective I can personally speak to, most advice is applicable to all genders and orientations.
So, if you identify outside of a heterosexual female, let me extend a warm personal welcome!
I’m glad you’re here and hope my content helps you achieve your love/life goals even faster.
- Camille Virginia
Why don't guys don't approach me? 10 (fixable) reasons
Before I reveal what makes a man approach a woman, we first need to cover the main reasons why you’re not being approached right now.
Here are ten (fixable) possibilities that guys may not be approaching you – yet….
1) You look lost in your thoughts
Good men often have a fear of creeping out women; they don’t want to catch you off guard and scare you.
Recently, one of my subscribers, a man in his early 30s, went through a cringe-worthy experience that taught him an invaluable lesson.
He shared that he had been trying the tips from my book, The Offline Dating Method – but unfortunately, he wasn’t applying them under ideal circumstances.
Parks can be a great place to meet new people, but they can also come with some risks.
Every female is acutely aware of news headlines about men doing bad things to our gender in the woods.
So, it’s one of the few places I don’t recommend approaching people when there’s no one else around. There’s just an inherent association of stranger danger that’s tough to overcome.
My poor male reader had been walking down a wooded trail and, in a moment of bravery, he stopped a woman who was running by to give her a compliment.
He had completely caught her off-guard and she immediately scolded him for approaching her. He felt absolutely awful.
It was a tough lesson for him to learn, but I can safely say he’ll never approach another woman who’s clearly lost in her own thoughts in the woods again.
Meanwhile, that woman may have been asking herself, “What’s wrong with this guy?” when, if the encounter had happened in a different location (like a coffee shop), she may have been more open to engaging him.
But she was absolutely right to put safety first and protect herself.
One possible reason why guys don’t approach you is that most men won’t approach a woman if she looks distracted. They simply don’t want to risk that same public shaming experience that my reader did.
So, the next time you’re out and about and catch yourself lost in thought, try to get out of your head and into the present moment.
2) You’re missing a statement piece
It’s human nature to want to blend in with everyone around us.
Conforming with a crowd makes us feel safe and accepted; we’re not challenging any social norms or making ourselves an easy target for outsiders. We’re just another one of the pack.
But constantly blending in means that, well, you’re never showing people what makes you unique and special – which is one of the aspects that men tend to look for in a woman.
Men are visual creatures and often motivated to act upon something they see – and clothing is one of the safest and easiest topics they can comment on.
Wearing a statement piece that makes you stand out – whether that’s yellow nail polish, a polka dot scarf, or a vintage emerald bracelet – instantly shows that you have a unique personality and aren’t afraid to show it.
I was reminded of the power of this tip one afternoon in the University Club of Chicago coat closet, after hanging up my bright red jacket in a sea of black ones.
However, if your wardrobe mostly consists of mainstream colors like black or white, or you’re donning jeans with sneakers like everyone else, you just aren’t going to stand out as easily.
You also are robbing men of something easy to comment on as a conversation starter.
3) You're searching in the "wrong" places
Let me first clarify that there are actually no “wrong” places to meet men – other than, perhaps, in the middle of the deep dark woods, as we covered in reason #1.
Having the mindset that you can only find quality men in specific places is only serving to repel them from you. It’s essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There’s no magical land of single men – they’re everywhere you are, doing the same things you’re doing!
I’ve met men in a bookstore, at the airport, volunteering at a cat shelter, walking down the street, and even in the greeting card aisle of the drug store.
As an offline dating coach, many of my female clients come to me with a mindset of “[insert place] isn’t a good spot to meet men.”
As in, “The grocery store isn’t a good place to meet men because everyone is focused on their shopping list.”
But that’s not a fact, that’s actually a limiting belief that may be why guys aren’t approaching you. They sense you’re not open to connection in those places.
Plus, I was once asked out in the deli meats section of Trader Joe’s by a lovely man who lived in my neighborhood, so there goes the grocery store theory.
Don’t limit your options by creating rules that aren’t even true.
Be open to meeting men everywhere you go so they can feel that you’re open to connecting with them.
Whether that’s at the post office, an art museum, a coffee shop, or even an Uber pool on the way to your friend’s birthday party (hey, it happened).
Chances are, any place men can be found is a great place to meet them.
4) You don't create space for them
When a client asks me, “Why am I the only woman I know without a boyfriend?” one of the first things I ask her is, “Have you created physical space to welcome him in?”
Up until modern times – as in, the past few decades – women were not as valued, protected, or given the same rights as men were.
So, we were constantly on alert for danger in a culture that only recently started holding offenders accountable for harming us.
Thankfully, right now is the safest time in history for women (though we still have a ways to go on that and the equality front).
However, the ancient instincts that kept us safe and alive over the past few thousand years – e.g. to blend in, not call attention to ourselves, and constantly anticipate danger – haven’t simply disappeared.
So, how do those instincts affect your approachability factor?
Many women subconsciously hold themselves in defensive positions (e.g. arms crossed), put barriers between themselves and others (e.g. surrounded by grocery bags on the bus), and/or don’t go places solo.
It’s similar to a cat arching its back and hissing at you – like, “Stay away, dude. I don’t feel safe right now” – but much more subconscious.
But, if you want to understand why guys don’t approach you – and, more importantly, encourage them to do so – it’s important to be aware of these natural tendencies and catch yourself when they start to kick in.
Try keeping your arms at your sides instead of crossing them in front of your body.
When riding the bus, put your bag on the ground instead of on the seat next to you, so that seat stays open for a potentially special someone to sit in.
Don’t surround yourself with a pack of girlfriends every time you go out; that makes it ten times more nerve-wracking for a man to approach you.
Try going solo to an event and strategically sit one seat away from a handsome stranger so he’s still within earshot of you.
5) You haven't made your presence known
Similar to not wearing a statement piece, another factor in being unapproachable is not allowing – or, heck, encouraging – men to see you.
It seems like everyone these days is always so “busy” (ugh, most over-used word ever), always on the move going somewhere, never having enough time in the day to get through your growing To Do list.
That means you often just have a split second to catch a man’s eye before he’s gone.
Clothing is a great way to stand out from the crowd – but it’s not the only way. I’ll show you more subtle ways to get a guy’s attention in the next article.
6) You always have headphones in
As an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), I get easily overwhelmed and overstimulated – and I know that I wouldn’t have survived in a world before headphones were invented.
My earbuds thankfully block out unwanted noises that are too loud or just plain annoying. I even sleep with them in, listening to white noise sounds to block anything that may try to disturb my beauty slumber.
But wearing headphones 24/7 when you’re out and about creates a huge barrier to engagement.
7) You look really uncomfortable
Another reason why guys don’t approach you is that you may be saying, “Back off!” with your body language.
As someone with anxiety, I naturally hold a lot of tension in my body and have had to learn to consciously relax when I’m out and about in public. Once again, my female self-protection instincts are always on alert.
Until I finally became aware of how I was holding my body, which was often in a standoffish way, I was definitely driving men away because I didn’t look relaxed or welcoming.
Because let’s be honest, I wasn’t either of those things.
General rule of thumb: If you feel uncomfortable, you look uncomfortable.
Whether you’re crossing your arms to provide an extra layer of protection for your body or pushing your shoulders up along your neck because you forgot your scarf, body language is a big approachability factor.
Let’s just say that no man wants to approach that woman sitting in the corner with a scowl on her face.
8) You’re glued to your phone
I know it can feel like everyone is glued to their phone these days, but that’s still a choice – and one that you can choose to do differently.
Besides, most people aren’t doing anything of real importance on their phones. They’re just using it as a crutch to kill time, feel less awkward, and/or play with while waiting for the train or standing at the dog park.
But seeing someone staring at a screen can still make you hesitant to approach; it feels like you’re interrupting something.
It’s impossible to tell if the person is composing a critical work email on a tight deadline or perhaps struck with the most brilliant idea for their new novel and need to text it to themselves before it disappears.
(Spoiler alert: neither of those is ever the case with anyone you see standing around staring at their phone).
Screens are a universal barrier to approachability, and a crutch to mitigate social awkwardness/discomfort.
So if you’re wondering why you aren’t being approached yet now thinking back to all the times you whip out your phone in public, start by keeping that little device in your purse the next time you head out.
9) You have Resting Bitch Face
Sometimes you have a bad day or get deep into thought, and the expression on your face can look like…well, very off-putting. It’s unintentional of course, but, unfortunately, it also makes you unapproachable.
Now, I’m not saying you should go around with a fake smile on your face if you’re not genuinely feeling happy.
I remember riding the train to work the morning after my boyfriend had broken up with me (he’d realized, six months into our relationship, that he “didn’t want anything serious right now” – insert eye-roll).
I was staring off into space, feeling completely devastated, when suddenly the man standing next to me said, “You should smile more.”
Lucky for this man, I was too tired to engage him on the topic, so I just shot him daggers and turned away.
Outside of times I’m experiencing acute heartbreak, I try to keep a friendly face on when I’m out and about because I’m generally a happy, friendly woman.
It’s not about being inauthentic or faking an emotion, it’s simply making it a point to think of things that bring me joy so that that positivity naturally comes across on my face and I feel more approachable.
You can always find something to be happy about or smile about – whether that’s a little Dalmatian puppy walking past you, the sun finally peeking through the clouds, or a street performer playing your favorite song.
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Another aspect that can create an unapproachable facial expression is negative thoughts.
False generalizations about men (“Men can’t be trusted!”) or even about yourself relating to men (“Why aren’t men attracted to me?”, “Why don’t guys ask me out?” or “Why don’t guys want a relationship?) tend to come across your face and turn off quality men.
They may not know exactly why, but just know that they don’t feel comfortable or welcome in your presence.
10) You don’t make eye contact
The last reason why guys don’t approach you is that you may not be giving them the signal that it’s safe for them to do so.
Eye contact can be completely terrifying, I completely understand. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I couldn’t comfortably make eye contact with men I was attracted to until I was in college.
Even now, every once in a while, I’ll be caught off-guard in locking eyes with a handsome man and turn bright red before having to turn away.
There are many ways to master the art of eye contact by practicing subtle but powerful ways to get comfortable with it.
The key is to start gradually, as in holding it for fractions of a second longer, then work your way up from there.
Because sometimes a man just needs a two-second glance and a smile from you in order to feel comfortable approaching you.
The never-ending battle for your attention
Your attention is pulled in a million different directions every day.
Which means even when you’re out and about you’re likely “tuned out” in some way in an attempt to cope with it all – from a pop-up ad on an online article to the bad driver who just cut you off on the freeway.
That’s part of why online dating is so hard: each person on the app is competing against tens of thousands of other people, with little to represent themselves save for a few pictures and a short bio.
When you’re out and about in the real world, maybe you love listening to your favorite podcast while on your weekly grocery store run.
Or call your mom every morning while walking the dog.
Or use your lunch breaks to check in over text with your BFF about how things are going with the new man she’s dating.
All of these actions pull you out of the present moment and make it hard for you to notice the people around you, let alone create an actual connection with them.
Technology may provide endless ways to contact each other, but it will never fulfill your innate human need for in-person connection.
Simple daily habits to attract men like a magnet
The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to encourage other people to approach you and engage on a meaningful level.
You can overcome the barrier of not being approached by guys by getting into the state of Magnetic Approachability.
This state is when you’re as comfortable and confident in the company of strangers as you are sitting on your couch at home curled up with the latest copy of People.
To put it in scientific terms, only after you reach a certain level of social security can you then move on to the next levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Love and Belonging (e.g. feeling seen and accepted) and Self-Esteem (e.g. connection with yourself and others).
If you’re nervous about chatting up strangers, my approachability tips will be since because they are all done without saying a single word.
You can even do some of them before evening leaving the house.
Because if you’re like most women, you prefer the man to approach you. But first, you need to give him the signal it’s safe to do so.
5 magical benefits of having guys approach you
Now that we’ve covered the key reasons why guys don’t approach you, you can start to shift into a State of Magnetic Approachability.
Once you discover how to be approachable, you can expect to see some incredible results such as…
#1 Enjoy zero risk of rejection
A man’s decision of whether to approach you or not usually boils down to how much risk he thinks it involves. He doesn’t know you yet, so engaging you risks rejection or even public humiliation.
That’s why when you give him the right signals that you’re open to engaging, it lowers his perceived risk of rejection, which can make him more willing to go for it.
Inspiring a man to approach you gives you the luxury of avoiding that gamble yourself. He’s assuming 100% of the downside in that moment, so remember that every time a man engages you.
On some level, he’s likely nervous, but felt you were worth the risk – so please be kind to him.
#2 Feel socially confident around anyone
My social anxiety used to make me very uncomfortable around people, especially large groups.
When I first moved from my hometown of Portland, Oregon to the big city of Chicago in my 20s, I’d never taken public transportation before.
The L train commute during rush hour, with hundreds of people jammed into a small space together, was a truly terrifying experience.
But, after a few weeks of riding the train twice a day to work and back, I became desensitized and even comfortable with the crowds…
..even to the point where I’d spot two inches of available space and squeeze myself in, touching seven strangers in the process with zero hesitation.
Upping your approachability factor will help get on your way to the same level of social comfort – without having to brave big-city train transit at rush hour.
#3 Never feel “invisible” again
When you’re out with a friend and a man approaches her, but not you, it’s easy to have defeating thoughts creep in, like, “Why don’t guys approach me? What does she have that I don’t?”
My approachability techniques will help make those days a thing of the past.
Your presence will no longer go unnoticed; you’ll be the one who stands out from the crowd and silently commands the attention of great men.
#4 Attract the right man like a magnet
When you become approachable, a whole new world of quality, available men will open up for you.
And not just any men; I’ll show you my three-part process for how to attract the right man, so you can spot if a guy has the potential to be a good partner for you from your very first conversation with him:
One of the best parts about my approachability techniques is that none of them require you to say a single word. So even if you don’t know how to talk to guys, you can still apply all the tips.
#5 Get more time back in your day
I once heard a rather odd, yet very on-point, phrase about the passage of time…
“Life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.”
And it’s so true!
When you were a kid, think about how long time felt. The school day often felt like several days rolled into one, and summer vacation seemed like an eternity.
But now that you’re older, time is going by so fast that it’s easy to forget what month it is (“It’s April already? Didn’t I just celebrate New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago?”).
Technology has connected everyone around the world, with a constant feed of information, news, and communication inundating our inboxes, phones, and eyeballs as we ride the waves of the internet.
I remember in 2003, I received an Instant Message from my friend Adam who was visiting Italy with his family.
That same year, I texted back and forth with my friend Eli who was on vacation in Hawaii. Being able to instantly reach my friends who were on completely different landmasses from me absolutely blew my mind.
Now, I send out my email newsletter to people in over 130 different countries with the click of a button and think nothing of it (although, when I do think about it, my mind is still kinda blown).
But the hyper-connection capabilities have come with a cost: Everything feels like a flash in the pan.
Netflix drops a new blockbuster movie which is a big deal for a week, with all your friends talking about it – but a few days later everyone is on to the next big series or breaking news event or celebrity dating gossip.
Time is speeding up for all of us, and, unfortunately, many of us are spending it on aspects of life that don’t get us any further toward our goals, living our best life, or becoming our best selves.
But one aspect of becoming more approachable is in being more present, which has the added benefit of slowing down time in a great way.
Being consistently present, instead of getting lost in worries about the past or what’s coming up ahead, can lead you back to those childhood days when you were simply focused on the here and now.
For example, when your first-grade teacher was reading you a story, you would simply sit and listen to the narrative.
You weren’t mulling over what to make for dinner or thinking about that tight proposal deadline your manager just assigned to you.
Being present will also feel like you have more time in your day. Noticing the things and people around you throughout the day increases the number of experiences you remember.
The more daily experiences you remember, the more you’ll feel like you’re getting more time back in your day.
Slowing down time will also make you feel like you have more time to devote to your goals, which is one of the ways to make a man commit without pressure and can also lead to a happier and more fulfilling life for you.
Note: Being present and slowing down time only works for experiences that engage you on a sensory level – i.e. not from behind a screen.
Offline dating is simply creating real-life interactions, which can be achieved using my approachability tips, so you can attract men like a magnet – without saying a word.
Conclusion: Why guys don't approach you- and what to do
It’s a little-known fact that men tend to be even more afraid of rejection than women are. Plus, they have the added pressure of trying not to creep you out and risk being publicly shamed for it on top of that.
If you catch yourself asking, “Why don’t guys approach me?”, it’s likely safe to assume that you have some room for improvement on the approachability front.
Here are ten reasons why guys don’t approach you right now; see if any of them resonate with you:
- You look distracted
- You're missing a statement piece
- You're searching in the wrong places
- You don't create space for them
- You don't make your presence known
- You can't live without your headphones
- You look really uncomfortable
- You're glued to your phone
- You have Resting Bitch Face
- You don't make eye contact
Luckily each of these factors is fixable when you understand why guys don’t approach you – and what you can do about it. Once you apply just a few of the tips, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:
Coming up next...
The next article in our series is How to Be Approachable (without saying a word): The Ultimate Guide – where you’ll discover…
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