How to deal with being an unattractive woman?

I'm not ugly but nowhere near hot or pretty. I am a very average, plain girl. Whenever I go out with friends, I am always overlooked by men who stare at my pretty/beautiful friends. I know it is only natural for men to want to stare at the more attractive girls...but it makes me feel like sh*t every time. I am very outgoing with my friends and with people I interact with but no one has any idea of the internal sadness I feel.

How do I accept being unattractive in a society that places so much emphasis on looks? Especially for women? Everywhere I go, I see beautiful women who I can never compete with. I curse the heavens for my evil genes! I rarely get hit on by men and if men approach me, it is to ask me to put in a word for them for my attractive friends. I never let anyone know how much this hurts me; I always put on a smile but I can only take so much. Today, I came back from hanging out with a bunch of friends and I think my brother noticed how sad I look. He always makes fun of how plain I am but today he was like “well...you're not plain/ugly” like he actually noticed how sad I look.

I hate how this has gotten to me because I am a strong person and I don't want this to consume my life. I know I am unattractive. Please do no tell me looks do not matter or that looks are subjective or “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” We all know looks matter, especially if you are a woman. What I need help with is how to deal with being unattractive. I don't like how it makes me feel. How do I stop thinking about this, and focus on the more important things in life? Every time I think I've made progress, I see a beautiful girl at work or wherever and all the men looking at her and it reminds me “oh right...I'm still unattractive and looks still matter a lot.”

I think this also makes me paranoid because I can count on one hand the number of times men have hit on me and of those times, I'm always thinking “what does he really want?” This makes me think of possible future relationships. Am I going to forever question a guy's ulterior motives? Will I always think that he has “settled” for me?

I clearly have a ton of insecurity issues. How do I learn to accept myself?

Updates:
Thanks everyone for responding; I really appreciate it. I think what many of you said is right...that I just need to try harder. Deep down though, I think there is a bigger issue of low self-esteem that I need to work on.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Firstly, realise that being attractive is a totally subjective thing and no-one will please everyone. Although there are some that please a lot of people, everyone will feel unattractive at some point. And being 'attractive' is different to being good-looking, because it is to do with a lot of things, not just your physical appearance. Guys flirting with girls in bars is a difficult issue for friends. Sometimes, if I get hit-on a lot one night, my friend feels invisible, but the next night we go out she will get more attention and I feel like crap. I don't know how it works. It mystifies me, especially as I often get more attention when I have gone out spontaneously and look kind of a mess.

    Secondly, there are NOT THAT MANY stunningly attractive people out there! So don't feel like you are the only one who is not pretty. Loads of people are unnattractive and the vast majority of the ones I know have long-term boyfriends/girlfriends.

    Thirdly, you don't have to accept something so subjective and superficial about yourself if you don't like it. Don't give up on feeling attractive. Maybe you aren't the type of girl who is interested in clothes or makeup or hair, and I'm certainly not suggesting you change anything more drastic than that. But changing the way your hair is done or something can make a huge difference to your appearance and can make you feel better. In my first year of college, I became friends with a very unfortunate looking girl. She wasn't just plain, she was ugly, which sounds harsh but it was true. She was never going to be good-looking, but she also dressed herself so badly. We all went shopping and I suggested she try some outfits- and she looked so much better. Yes, she still had an unfortunate face, but suddenly you noticed that she had a good waist and had a kind of slim elegance to her. Find what your good features are (EVERYONE HAS SOME) and emphasise them. A lot of attractive people are just people who have learnt what to emphasise and what to downplay, often with help from others.

    Finally, a lot of girls find it hard to trust guys and question their motives, whether they are pretty or not. It depends on past experiences, and good looks do not protect you from bad ones. I think the only way to get over this is to build up good experiences, but it takes a long time and is hard to do.

    You sound like you're brave and strong. I hope you can learn to feel comfortable in yourself.

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    • To be honest, I am more awkward than unattractive...as in, I am very uncomfortable with myself. I have an underbite that gives me a terrible smile and I feel it messes up my face. That's why I always avoid mirrors...I don't know; I just never feel like a normal girl. I'm going to try harder with the make up and maybe different styles; I recently just started some of that and it has made some small changes. But thanks very much for your response; it's motivated me to try to change what I can.

What Guys Said 2

  • I don't think I'm an attractive guy myself, but you know what? I've caught girls checking me out before and I'm willing to bet there are even more that have stared or looked that I never even knew were looking much less were even there. Just because guys don't really hit on you doesn't mean no one finds you attractive. Maybe it's the expression/sadness on your face that turns them off/away? If you're always walking around looking sad, that's not going to increase your chances of being hit on or approached. Also, who knows, they may just look at you and think you'll reject them or maybe they're too shy to say anything to you. It's not always your fault. Don't think like that. You'll be fine. How old are you anyway? Do you have any pictures? I'll give you my honest opinion if you'd like..

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  • I'm kinda the same way =P, but, I've never been hit on to my knowledge. Just use what you got, and beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, I used to like this girl that no one liked very much. So, yeah =3

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    • Thanks for reading and responding :) You're cute; I wouldn't worry about it. And I bet there are girls in your school who think so too but girls rarely initiate so that's probably why girls haven't hit on you. I don't really agree with beauty being in the eye of the beholder b/c...I feel that I'm just one of those awkward unattractive people that everyone can probably agree on being unattractive. Idk; I'm realizing more and more that I have inner self esteem problems to work on.

What Girls Said 5

  • Honey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You could think you're crap, and some guy will love you for who you are. I think little of myself physically, but I get told by many guys that I'm attractive. I'm missing one quality, though, that you are as well: confidence. You have to have confidence in yourself, in who you are, and accept that there are things you can't change. Play up what you have and let the little things slide. SO you have a big butt/small boobs/average body? Play up your best feature, which could be your eyes, your hair, your BRAIN. Be fun to be around, have a confident personality, and looks won't be the thing that makes or breaks a relationship. Looks can only get you so far, after all. True compatibility in a relationship comes from many other things.

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    • I'm very intelligent, funny, kind, accomplished, capable...but at the end of the day, I still feel unwanted/unattractive and it bothers me that despite all of what I have, this is the thing that seems to matter most. I know that everyone I have come across always really enjoy my company since they tell me that they always have a great time with me...I think I am beginning to realize that I am putting myself down more than I should. Anyway, thank you for your response; it has helped :)

  • I had the same experiences through out my life, I was always the ugly one of my friends and never got "hit on" and was actually bullied pretty bad for my appearance. My appearance did bother me a lot so I tried my best to be more physically attractive, by losing weight, wearing makeup etc. I was still unattractive but having tried my hardest and best was all I could do, none of this is my fault and it is completely out of my control now, I accepted that, this is the way I was born and being depressed, worried and ashamed of my looks will not change them.
    What I've learnt in my life is that there is so much more to life than just being physically attractive and finding an attractive partner. I've learned to emphasize other qualities about myself, such as having a good sense of humour, being kind, generous, sticking up for yourself, being strong and going to school to have a meaningful career. All of those things will give your life more depth and meaning, not dwindling on such superficial things such as physical attractiveness (that with time will fade away, anyway).
    when I'm older I want to have lived my life in such vapid ways I want memories that I did something with my life maybe made a difference in my community, helped people or animals.

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  • For the plain girl. U not alone in dis world. As i fel exactly da same as u do. Evry word u sed sounded like it was mine. I also just want the same to learn to deal with being ugly. I also am a very strong person. Well i guess all ugly people are as the world doesn't leave us much choice but to be strong. We the ones who always has to work hard to get anything we want and to top it all we are made ugly which makes life a whole lot harder. This is something pretty people won't and will never understand. To live in our world. Looks matter and thats the truth... nothing else. Evrytin else we hear is just to make us feel better. But we know better.

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  • I know exactly how you feel =)...glad to know its not just me, girl- I hate it when peple try to make me feel better by saying dumb stuff about the eye of the beholder etc. we all know that certain people are more universally attractive and socially, as well as with the opposite sex, it makes life easier for them and makes life harder if you're not that lucky...the only way to really deal is to accept it, I've found...but it doesnlt stop me feeling jealous or coming home crying sometimes when I spent ages getting ready only to be ignored for other girls all evening...thats just life for the 'ugly duckling' girls I guess xxxxxxxxx

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    • Also- its not just low self esteem, donlt blame it on that- I was totally in agreement with you until you said that- the truth ios some girls (like mself) also will always be the ones standing by, ignored no matter what and its not because we lack self esteem, I know girls with low self esteem who still get more attention from guys- its simply about looks

  • I understand how you feel. I feel really ugly a lot too mostly because of my weight, but logically I don't think there are many people that are truly ugly. Ugly people are rare, most people are average-to-plain-to-cute. It sounds like you consider yourself plain...all you have to do is emphasize your best features and fool the rest with confidence. If you have a nice body - play it up. If you don't then go to the gym to create a hot body. Get an amazing hairstyle and always stay on point. Maybe with extra effort you can be super attractive.

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    • I don't consider myself an ugly person. I know I have a lot going for me...but I am a very plain girl and I just feel so inadequate...like I can't measure up to all the other girls I see. And since society places so much value on a woman's attractiveness, I sometimes feel very worthless despite everything I have going for me. But I know there are some things I can do to make it a little better and I'm going to try harder doing that; thanks for reading and responding :)

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