“He’s Not Attractive Enough for Me”

I am a seventeen-year-old girl who is in a tight spot. There is this boy, “Tony,” who is smart, funny, super nice and caring, and has just introduced me to his family, who is also very nice. However, there is a slight problem….his face is not very attractive. I know it sounds horrible, and I try to look pass it but can’t. I am not judgmental, but his unattractive face makes him not datable. I feel embarrased to be seen with him around people I know and don’t want him to meet my extended family because of the way he looks. Should I end the relationship or just see if I can get through it?

I feel terrible, but I don’t want to keep dating him. Also, my best friend has been crushing on him for three years. — Not Attracted to His Face

First of all, not cool dating or pursuing a guy your best friend has been crushing on for three years — ESPECIALLY if you aren’t actually interested in him. And you aren’t. You say his unattractive face makes him not datable, but that isn’t true. Sounds like your best friend would like to date him, and who knows how many others would like to date Tony, a guy who is “smart, funny, super nice and caring.” Unfortunately, you aren’t one of those people who’s interested in him. That’s ok. You’re not a bad person for not being attracted to Tony. It happens. But do him — and yourself — a favor and move on. Give yourself a chance to go out with someone who really knocks your socks off, and give Tony the chance to find someone who truly digs him and values all he has to offer.

As you get older, you may find that your tastes and what you’re looking for change. It’s possible that you’ll place greater value on the attributes someone like Tony has over the good looks of someone else. A guy’s fantastic personality may be such a turn-on that it actually changes the way he looks to you. But you’re 17, and from what I remember about being 17, there’s almost nothing more appealing than a hot guy except a hot guy who plays hard to get. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who will avoid getting her heart broken by one of these hot, aloof boys, but if not — if, years from now you find yourself wondering where all the “good guys” are and where you can find someone who will treat you right, consider dating someone for the qualities that really matter in the long run — humor, kindness, compassion, ambition — and see if they don’t make a “regular” guy pretty attractive. Just don’t wait until those good guys are all snatched up!

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


  1. ele4phant says:

    Ahhh…..teenagers. Don’t date him. If you’re not into him you’re not into him. Its not fair to him (do you know how awful it is to be with someone who doesn’t find you attractive? Talk about a self-esteem killer), and its not fair to the numerous girls out there who do.

    Also, kind of shitty thing to do to your friend. I know, you can’t call a guy, and if you were genuinely interested in him it may be different, but you’re not. So you’re making her feel like crap watching you date a guy she’s crazy about that I assume she knows you’re not really all that into. Why would you do that? Not very nice.

  2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Go ahead and move on honey.

    And tell your friend your sorry for talking to a guy she likes.

  3. I wonder if the girl is dating this guy BECAUSE her friend likes him. It doesn’t really sound like she should continue dating the guy because of the situation with the friend. And she doesn’t even want to be seen with the guy. That is not a good position for either of you to be in.

    I don’t think attraction is the main issue in this case, but it is something to think about and I don’t think most 17 year olds have a realistic view of it. I’ve never thought that attractiveness is the most important thing, but before I dated one of my exes, I could not get past the fact that I wasn’t physically attracted to him. I loved his personality and so much about him, but I could not get past the fact I wasn’t attracted to him. I often felt I was forcing myself to like him. About 4 months after I met him, I decided I would give it a go and see if anything changed. I fell in love with him so quickly and I started to become physically attracted to him and I was so glad I gave him a chance. We dated for awhile and I thought he was really hot because I loved him for who he was. Looks fade, but an ugly personality only becomes more apparent.

  4. GertietheDino says:

    LW – You are shallow. Just admit it. I am guessing you only started seeing Tony because your friend wanted him but didn’t have the courage to ask him out. Let him go with the encouragement to call your friend. That can be your first step on the road to growing up and acting like an adult.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Honestly, I’m not sure it’s completely fair to call the LW shallow. You’re allowed to just not be attracted to someone physically. It happens. Now, the way she’s gone about it isn’t the smartest, but she’s 17. Cut her some slack. She’ll learn some lessons the hard way, I’m sure.

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Of course you’re allowed to not be attracted to someone. That’s not the only issue here. She says she’s embarrassed to be seen with him, which indicates that she’s more concerned with her reputation than this guy, her own feelings, or her relationships with other people (both this guy and her friend). I can cut her slack for having these feelings at 17, but it’s time for a wake-up call. It’s time to make some realizations and start growing up.

      2. ReginaRey says:

        I would agree that some self-awareness and common sense is called for, here. Dating someone your friend is crushing on should be understood as a no-no, as should continuing to date someone who you don’t want to be seen in public with. I guess I just can’t get overly angry at this LW, because I remember how little I knew or understood at 17.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I can be empathetic with her being 17 and not understanding much about the dating world, but I don’t see it as a reason to sugarcoat things. She’s slowly turning into an adult, so she should start hearing and learning some adult standards of dating behavior. If an adult had written this letter, we would have all been flabbergasted, and I think the LW should know the extent to which her behavior is not acceptable in the adult world.

      4. I thought the same thing reading this. Sure have your priorities in a partner, but the way she described his lackluster looks just seemed very immature to me….

      5. ele4phant says:

        I want to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one. As I mentioned down below, my first boyfriend was a guy I wasn’t attracted to. He was attractive, I knew this because my friends would tell me, but I wasn’t into him.

        I was embarassed to be his girlfriend. I didn’t want my family to know about him. It didn’t really have to do with his looks or my reputation, but I didn’t want to be seen as his girlfriend…because if I was honest with myself, I just didn’t want to be his girlfriend.

        You of course could be right about her being fixated on what her peers would think, but I thought I’d float my theory.

        You’re also totally right that 17 is as good a time as any to get a wake-up call and only date those you truly are attracted to and want to be seen with in public.

      6. I completely understand. Actually, when I was younger, a lot of the “don’t want my family/friends to see us together” instinct turned out to be my fear that those who knew me well would see through my act. I could only fool myself into thinking I wanted to be with him if I didn’t have those who knew me calling me on it.

      7. I agree. I didn’t think her defining characteristic was being shallow. She’s 17 and that inherently comes with a level of shallowness in itself (from what I remember of being 17) because in many cases 17 year olds have not learned about the way the world truly works yet.

    2. ele4phant says:

      Eh, she would be shallow if she refused to even consider beyond physical attributes. It seems she realizes he’s a great catch, but she just can’t seem to find him physically attractive.

      That’s not shallow, its life. You can’t force attraction where it doesn’t exist, and you shouldn’t stay with someone just because they’re great in many ways but don’t do it for you physically. Physical attraction IS a big part of being with someone (but not the ONLY), and if its not there then move on. That’s a good lesson if you’re 17 or 37.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        I wish I’d realized a long time ago that physical attraction doesn’t get trumped by everything else. I really thought that if you had everything *else,* then physical attraction wasn’t that important. It took me dating two boyfriends who just didn’t do it for me physically to realize that’s just as important as personality and humor and intelligence and values and on and on…

      2. ele4phant says:

        I do think its important to realize that over time, we’ll all…how shall I say this gracefully…decline. Over time in a relationship, physical attraction may wane as other aspects become more important. But if its not there at the beginning, then move on.

      3. ReginaRey says:

        You’re right. We’re all going to decline, so to speak. But yes, I did mean more “if the attraction isn’t there from the beginning.” I feel like, for myself anyway, I need to start out *super attracted* to someone physically, so that when we both start declining, we’ve still got some mojo left for each other.

      4. I like hearing that take on it, because my experience has been the opposite. When I met my now fiance, I was “meh” about his face, but now after 5 years I think he’s very attractive. It was always the guys I was super attracted to that I got jerked around by…orrrr maybe I was just attracted to jerks 😛

      5. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        THIS! And that you’re not a bad person for not wanting to be with someone who is otherwise a catch.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I don’t think she is shallow based on this letter alone. Physical attraction is a very important part of any relationship and if she doesn’t feel it; she doesn’t feel it.

      She also points out how awesome this guys personality is so…

      1. shallow, yes. but that’s to be expected with most 17-year olds. it’s one thing to simply be unattracted to someone (we like what we like), but it’s a whole other thing to be embarassed to be seen with someone you basically described as an outstanding human being just because of the way they look (my guess – and age appropriate – she lacks self-confidence and self-esteem). But all that, including the level of shallowness, can be debated til we’re all blue in the face. one thing is for sure: she is a craptastic friend to both this guy and her best friend!

      2. Giancarla says:

        Thumbs up for your use of “craptastic!”

  5. lets_be_honest says:

    “fantastic personality may be such a turn-on that it actually changes the way he looks to you”

    SOOOOO True. (I added some extra o’s to speak your language LW 😉

  6. Hahaha, that tag line is hilarious.

    Seriously though, if your not attracted to him that is perfectly fine, just break it off with him, don’t tell him it’s because you think he is ugly though.
    This sounds like it’s going to be a TV show though, where everyone goes out with each other, and no one cares, and they stay friends. So I would go ahead, and give your friend the go ahead to date him if it really isn’t going to bother you, and you think they actaully are a good match. But again maybe you already know that he doesn’t actually like her so who the hell know’s what’s going to happen, but I’ll watch next week to see!

  7. Is this even a real letter? Come on. Don’t date someone you’re not interested in. And especially don’t date someone your friend wants to date. You should know those simple things by 17.

    1. Temperance says:

      When I was 16, this guy that I thought was ugly and dorky asked me out. He was weird, too, but hey, no other boys were interested, so we started dating, even though I didn’t actually LIKE him that much. We dated for over a year, because I was happy that someone liked me.

      I would not do that now, but as a teen, I was concerned with others’ opinions of me and dated a guy that just all-around sucked (he ended up CHEATING on me with a girl with POODLE HAIR!) while being ashamed of it. I sucked 10 years ago.

  8. ReginaRey says:

    Oh man, this takes me back.

    LW, when I was 17 this kid asked me to prom. I’d known him since we were in 2nd grade, and I’d always thought he looked kind of like an alien. I never told anyone that, of course, but some of his features just seemed…off. He was pretty short, really skinny, had some acne…I mean, this dude fit the bill of “awkward high schooler” really well. But he was also really smart, and popular, and funny, so I agreed to go to prom with him.

    And then, I started eating up the attention. I got so excited by the prospect of a guy (finally!) liking me “for real” that I started liking him “for real.” And then, we started dating. And then the liking turned into loving, and the physical stuff stopped mattering to me as much, because I was so high off of all the young love floating around.

    But then, as time wore on and we grew more comfortable with each other, my initial lack of attraction to him seeped back in to our relationship. And I started to pick on it — His early receding hairline, his teeth, his slow-growing beer gut. The nagging should have been a huge sign to me, up front, that I wasn’t satisfied in our relationship (for a lot of reasons, but yes, some of them physical). Eventually, we did break up, and I realized what I should have all along, which brings me to…

    I was a teenager throughout our 2-year relationship, and I’ve grown quite a lot since then. One of the biggest lessons I learned from that relationship (among a lot of big lessons, I’ll admit) was one that some people might call “shallow,” but that I think is really important: You cannot manufacture physical attraction for someone. You can definitely become more physically attracted to someone by becoming attracted to their personality, but you can’t force yourself to be physically attracted to something you aren’t. A romantic relationship needs chemistry. It needs a spark. You NEED to want to make out, to have sex, to jump each other’s bones. That’s what makes a romantic relationship…romantic, in large part. You need everything else TOO (similar values, interests, personalities, views on social life and marriage and kids and blah blah blah)…but you can’t forsake the physical. You need both.

    So if you don’t feel anything physically for someone, stop feeling guilty and just move on. And yeah, don’t break the girl code anymore, especially for a guy you’re not attracted to.

    1. This is really true, and I like the way you explain it. It took me several relationships to figure it out. I am now with someone who is an amazing person on the inside AND who is really attractive to me, and it’s a beautiful thing.

    2. I did the same thing with my first boyfriend, RR. I wasn’t physically attracted to him, but I liked everything else, and we did fall in love, but yeah… the attraction thing was always missing.

      And it’s not to say that he’s necessarily UNattractive, just that I wasn’t attracted TO him.

      Attraction is a strange thing. I’ve been very strongly attracted to guys who on some level I know aren’t “conventionally attractive” and my girlfriends would wonder what the hell was going through my head, but dang, I couldn’t help it.

      1. I always used to be attracted to “conventionally attracative” guys (NOT baby looking, a nice manly man), up until I met my husband. He´s far from conventionally attractive, but he drives me crazy! (and usually in the good way ;))

    3. ele4phant says:

      I was the same. I wasn’t attracted to my first boyfriend AT ALL. He was an attractive enough guy, but he did nada for me. But he liked me, and I’d never really had a boy pay attention to me before, so there you go. I was just not into it – even now when talking about my early dating days with friends sometimes I even forget about him.

      Eventually we broke up, and then I dated a guy who I was nuts about (despite the fact he was a huge jerk – that’s another lesson for another day).

      1. Yeah, I went too far in the other direction with my next guy – I was super attracted to him, but he was lacking in the “everything else” department. It’s hard to find the right balance!

      2. Avatar photo gillociraptor says:

        Same here. My first serious relationship was with a guy who never did it for me, physically speaking. All my friends would tell me how cute and handsome he was, and my response was never, “Yes, he is; I’m so lucky!” but usually, “Really? You think?” That really should have told me everything I needed to know…

    4. I agree. The moral of today’s story is: don’t force what doesn’t come naturally. It’s chemistry, it’s either there or it isn’t. The few times I’ve tried to feel what just wasn’t, I would literally get sick to my stomach, or worse the longer I settled. Talk about a real mojo killer…

  9. Avatar photo theattack says:

    First of all, it doesn’t sound like you’re in a relationship with him.

    Second, while you can become more attracted to someone over time, you might not be able to do that if you’re embarrassed to be in public with him. You’re concerned about what the general public thinks about you and your relationship, which is something that only maturity can get you through. Let this guy go, date someone who you’re proud to show off, grow up, and then when you’re older, you can look back and wish you had the opportunity to date a nice guy again, because all of them will somehow disappear.

  10. kerrycontrary says:

    You’re seventeen, date a guy you think is hot and makes you go weak at the knees. Wendy is right though, your ideas about what makes a man attractive changes over time and someone’s personality can make you attracted to them. As long as you aren’t 35 and dating men for the way they look/the size of their wallet then wondering why you can’t get them to commit you’ll be fine.


    What I wouldn’t give to be 17 for a day again and get that super nervous feeling around a guy. It was terrifying then but it would be fun now, just for a little bit 🙂

    1. ele4phant says:

      Word – I don’t really want to be 17 again, but in retrospect it sure was fun.

    2. Bahaha I had that feeling on and off about my now-gf all last year. I was… 22.

      And it’s super fun and SUPER stressful.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        same, at 30. I hope those butterflies never go away!

    3. Oh, god, you couldn’t pay me to be 17 again.

  11. lets_be_honest says:

    I’m sure if you really did like him, his looks wouldn’t matter much either. At least for me, it didn’t. I dated the sweetest, coolest guy ever in high school. Just thought he was the best and was so beyond attracted to him. Well turns out many of my friends couldn’t believe I was dating him because he wasn’t “up to par” looks-wise. I was shocked because all this time I found him to be incredibly cute, but turns out he was just cute to me (I’m sure others too, but you get my point). Just hung out with him last night actually, still a great guy.

  12. If you think his face is that jacked up that you don’t want to introduce him to your family & you feel embarrassed being seen with him, then you should let him go. It’s the right thing to do for yourself, for “Tony”, and also for your poor friend.

  13. Avatar photo dandywarhol says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at this letter and response, only because my boyfriend’s name is Tony. Awww poor Tonys of the world.
    Anyway, LW, let him free and let your friend, who is actually attracted to him, date him. You’re 17, you don’t need to be worrying about long term relationships! Go have fun with someone you find super hot.

  14. This is an awesome opportunity for you to practice being an adult, LW.
    Break it off with this guy, but don’t tell him it’s because you think he’s ugly.
    Encourage him in the direction of your friend.
    Apologize to your friend, and let her know you’re cool if she acts on her crush. Then be cool when she acts on her crush.

    Seriously, when you’re seventeen, why worry about sticking to a relationship that isn’t working for you? I made that mistake in high school, and I missed out on a few months of fun times with girl friends being sad about a guy and a relationship that weren’t worth the trouble.

  15. Nectarine says:

    All that matters: “I don’t want to keep dating him.”

    It is possible to be into someone even if they’re not terribly attractive, but that’s not the case here. If it was, you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with him.

    People break up with people for all kinds of reasons, and most of those reasons (yours, for example) don’t make the dumper a bad person. Continuing a relationship with someone you don’t want when you know your best friend has been smitten for 3 years, however, is a little slimy. Break up with the guy for the sake of everyone involved. But please, please, please, heed the advice of other posters on here and don’t tell him it’s because you think he’s ugly. Tell him you’re just not feeling it. (I would also say make sure your best friend knows she’s got a green light, in case she thinks Tony, as your ex, is officially and forever off-limits to her.)

  16. Nectarine says:

    Oh, and a relationship should NEVER be something you have to “get through.” If you’re regarding your relationship with the same enthusiasm that you would, say, a root canal, that’s a pretty big hint you need to MOA.

  17. For some reason this reminds me of something my best guy friend once said to me.

    We were out one night at a bar and he was absolutely sh*thoused drunk and for some reason goes to me “Jessibel, do you think I’m hot?”
    Normally he would never ask something like this because he has self-esteem oozing out of his ears, so I teased him a little bit and said “well, when I first met you, I thought you were one of the ugliest emm effers I had ever met in my entire life. But now that I’ve gotten to know you, I think you’re pretty hot” He replies, with a shocked and stricken look on his face “You like me for my PERSONALITY?! That’s the meanest thing you’ve ever said to me!”

    He’s just the greatest friend ever. 🙂

  18. Superb advice, Wendy.

  19. “A guy’s fantastic personality may be such a turn-on that it actually changes the way he looks to you.”

    This. This happened to me. I had no intention of dating my current Special Friend when we met. He’s a cute guy, but it just didn’t do it for me. However, after a year of realizing how caring, thoughtful, honest, funny, smart (i could go on and on) he is, HE IS SO DANG HOT TO ME NOW! It’s awesome.

    1. Temperance says:

      This happened with Mr. Temperance, although his bad haircut and general lack of fashion sense when we met were a huge turnoff. Now, almost 8 years after we met, I am really into him and I love it.

    2. Does anyone else watch Dr. Who? Amy Pond has the perfect quote about that:

      “You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick? Then there’s other people, when you meet them you think, “Not bad. They’re okay.” And then you get to know them and… and their face just sort of becomes them. Like their personality’s written all over it. And they just turn into something so beautiful. Rory’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever met.”

  20. Temperance says:

    It’s okay not to be attracted to a guy. You don’t owe a boy attention just because he likes you, which is why I am guessing you are dating him. If you don’t like his face, you don’t, and it’s kind of mean to date him.

    You do owe it to your best friend NOT to date the dude she likes, though. Basic girl rules, c’mon now! I dumped a friend for trying to hook up with my very recent ex in the past, so be aware.

  21. Why is the most interesting tidbit at the end?

  22. AnotherWendy says:

    LW, it’s ok to want to break it off for lack of physical attraction. You’re 17, these are the years where you figure out who you are, who you like to spend time with, what you are attracted to and what you’re not, and also you learn by making mistakes, and you make bad decisions sometimes out of a lack of maturity or knowledge that is due to the fact that you are a teen-ager. And that’s ok, learn from the mistakes and you’ll turn into an awesome adult! Just dating is good, it doesn’t have to turn into a relationship every time. And when he wants a relationship and you don’t, it’s ok to say that you enjoyed the dating but you don’t see it becoming a relationship. You don’t have to give specific reasons, just repeat that you enjoyed the dating but don’t see it becoming a relationship.

    Also, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt with your friend since you never mention whether she said she was ok with you dating him or not. I’m hoping you talked and she told you to go out with him if you wanted to since in three years of her crush, he never showed any interest in dating her. It reminds me of a situation from my college days: My friend/roommate liked a guy and wasn’t getting anywhere with him although she was really trying! She had him over for dinner at our place and he and I just clicked. Half way through dinner she called me into the kitchen and told me since he had given me more attention in half an hour than he’d given to her in a month, she had no problem stepping out of the way if I was interested in him because it was clear where his interest was. (By the way, he and I ended up married six months after that dinner and it lasted for 20 years and we have a daughter almost your age that we both happily co-parent now. And my friend is still happily married to the guy she ended up with a few years after the dinner.)

    Good luck to you LW!

  23. I imagine the LW reading the comments and scoffing “that’s like so yesterday!” because the first thing that crosses my mind when I think about being that age and younger is that we basically made a big deal about something one day, just to completely forget about it the next. I don’t know how many 17 year olds would take anything too seriously and you know what, they shouldn’t. Maturing and being responsible isn’t all that fun and she has all her adult life to act like a grown up (which is a pretty long time compared to the teen years, obviously). Even if she dates this guy or a “hot guy”, you can’t predict that she’s going to get her heart broken and you can’t protect her from it either. And even if she doesn’t like this one guy, that doesn’t mean she will pick a wrong guy next. Like where did that come from?

  24. Why would people rush to mature and grow up so fast?

  25. fast eddie says:

    I was an ‘ugly’ teenager, skinny, non athletic, wore glasses and excelled in math and science. Thankfully no girl in high school wanted to date me. It left me to explore many other things in life and some of them made were profitable. In my 30s social norms changed and I had lots of lovers to treat extremely will. Now I sleep peacefully with a fat portfolio. Justice is mine at last.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Ha! I have a friend who says his downfall began when he lost his virginity in high school. Grades dropped, sex haze set in. You have a really going point here Eddie.

  26. stilgar666 says:

    teenage girls are psychopaths.

  27. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Weird. My post in this thread keeps disappearing.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Uh oh. How bad was it?

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I didn’t think it was bad. If anything, it was actually pretty damning of men. “Whoa. At last, proof that women can be just as vapid and shallow as men.”

  28. How come nobody gave all this great advice to the poor guy who had obese women that he wasn’t attracted to hitting on him?

    But I agree. LW, if you’re not attracted to him, don’t date him. There will be plenty of opportunities to ‘settle’ when you’re a few years down the track.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *