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"I'm 18 and never had a boyfriend"

I'm an 18 year old college freshman, just finished with my first semester. I'm beginning to feel a bit down about the fact that I have never had a boyfriend, kissed a guy, or been involved with any guy in any way. No guy has ever asked me out and I have never heard about any guy even having a crush on me. I was ok with this through high school. I had a great group of friends and plenty going on in my life. I barely noticed that I didn't have a boyfriend. Now, I don't want to feel like I "need" a boyfriend; I know that I do not need a guy in order to define myself.

However, I would like to have some experiences that it seems like all girls my age have already had. I'm also beginning to wonder if I will ever get those experiences at all. I am fairly quiet, which I think is a big problem. I'm not really able to go up and start a conversation with someone, but if someone talks to me, I'll eagerly respond. I just don't know what to do.

Everyone has always given me the typical advice and most everyone I talk to says that I need to go up to guys and start flirting with them. I am just not comfortable with that, though. Am I really that abnormal? If I'm not, then when does the fact that I've never even kissed a guy or gone out on a date stop being normal? I really don't know what to do.

2 Jan 2006
Name: Anne
Age: 18

Dear Anne,

Just so you understand how NOT abnormal you are, yours is the fourth letter of its kind that I've received in the last few weeks. And believe me, there's far more than just four of you out there who are all feeling the exact same way.

First off, there's really no such thing as normal. As I've said before, we all grow, learn and experience things at our own pace. What's "normal" for one person might not be standard for someone else. Don't be so quick to assume that you're damaged goods or an atypical 18-year-old just because you've yet to have a boyfriend.

One of my closest friends a beautiful 26-year-old has never had a boyfriend, either. And she experienced her first kiss just last year at the age of 25. Another friend of mine had her first relationship when she was 21, a senior in college. And at the age of 18, I was my ex-boyfriend's very first kiss! See, we all develop and go through things at different times; I'm a firm believer that we experience things when we're ready to experience them. Your time will come, that I can promise you. And when it does, I have a strong feeling that it will have been well worth the wait.

It sounds to me like you're a fun-loving, confident girl. I love that you realize you don't need a guy to define you that tells me you're self-assured; you know who you are and don't plan on changing for anyone! That's great. I also think it's fantastic that through high school you say you didn't even notice the fact that you didn't have a boyfriend.  Once again, this shows me you're okay with yourself you know how to stand on your own two feet and what's more, you're able to cultivate meaningful friendships. Do you know how many people can't do that? There are so many millions of people out there who don't believe in themselves, are lacking self-confidence and feel as though they need a significant other to feel good about themselves. But not you! Kudos to you for that.

But you know what? None of that will matter if you don't start seeing in you what I see, and that's a beautiful young girl full of self-confidence, poise and individualism.

And that needs to be your very first step in meeting guys. You need to believe in yourself, love yourself and realize your incredible grandeur, worth and strength. I know you're worthy of being loved, now you just have to know that, too. Think about it; how many times have you been attracted to a guy who didn't like himself? A guy who exudes insecurity and uncertainty is just not appealing. Well the same goes for you. So it's time for you to realize your magnificence, and start emanating it.

And rather than wait for the boys to talk to you believe me, I know it's more comfortable and less threatening that way practice emitting your confidence by approaching them. I know it's scary, and easier said than done, but its well worth the risk. What's the worst that can happen? The conversation's a flop? The two of you don't hit it off? Okay, well then you're no worse off than you were before you started the conversation, right? Right! And what's more, the more you approach guys, the less scary it will become and the more practice you'll get at doing it. And as I always advise, fake it till you make it; fake confidence and coolness when you're talking to members of the opposite sex and pretty soon, you won't be faking it anymore, you'll be a pro!

And lastly, please, please, please stop putting so much pressure on yourself. The less you think about the fact that you don't have a boyfriend, the more likely you are to meet someone. Things always happen when we least expect them to. And I guarantee you, this will happen for you.

Always believe in yourself, and never question you're normalcy. You're the perfect you!

Good luck!


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