I am 19 years old and have never had a girlfriend. I had friends in high school that were girls, but nobody in a romantic way. I’m friendly to everyone but can’t seem to make a connection. Every time that I’ve demonstrated interest towards a woman, she runs the other way. It’s hard to meet other people because I’m not a party kind of person. Is there a way to reveal my nature in an attractive light? -Lonely in Langley

Dear Lonely in Langley,

You should know that you aren’t alone. There are plenty of students who haven’t had a steady relationship by the time they reach college. Despite popular myth, college is not a guaranteed aphrodisiac.

Laying that reality for the love boat, there are still many ways to get a ticket to the cruise. It sounds hokey, but be yourself. You don’t have to be a party type to find a girl – try hanging out at locations you find comfortable. Maybe a coffee shop downtown would suit you, or even one of the many campus events.

There are also some pre-picking up efforts you can try before going to your dating hot spots. First, you could go out with your friends for a mall excursion and pick out a new shirt or accessory that makes you irresistible. It is also usually helpful to ask your friends for some tips they could see working for you. Perhaps, you could work with them on a new smile, something that makes you a new hunk of the century that anyone would die to ride off into the sunset with.

So you have a place, a new charm – maybe that special cologne – now you need a line. Avoid any typical pick-up lines or winks or pelvic gestures. Your inner self is always best.

Imagine it – she is right there, unaware of your gaze, deeply involved in the rapture of Hemingway. Simply take your coffee cup, ask if the seat next to her is taken – not the seat at her table – but one at an adjacent table. Then after several minutes, you may want to ask her how she likes the book. It is key for you also to have a book out, then you look less like someone hitting on a girl, and more like someone getting to know a girl.

At the end of the conversation you may want to suggest going to an on-campus event. You might say, “Hey, this weekend there is this show. It reminds me of what you were talking about. Just wondering if you might be interested.” If you don’t ask for a number, you may let her avoid a level of discomfort. Girls are sometimes cautious and offering a public place to meet without demanding any personal information may increase her chances of taking your ticket to the love boat.

A couple of key reminders – don’t try to be someone else because it is you she will eventually date. Relax. If the conversation has pauses or your first try is a refusal, you can always try again. The dating game is a frustrating time for everyone, and – unfortunately – it isn’t like the movies. There are many no’s before a yes.

Got a love and relationship question that’s literally, ummm … burning? Ask the Love Goddess herself, Robyn Tanner, at ctfeats@hotmail.com.

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