Confidence Building
For Men

How To Get A Girlfriend If You're Ugly: 5 Action Steps

May 21, 2024
▪ 15 mins read

“How to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly?” is a depressing thought. You may feel like you’re too unattractive to get a girlfriend, so what’s the point in trying to date? Or if you’re not a model-looking guy, right out of Love Island, you might want to shut yourself away and simply give up on dating.  

As a dating coach with over 15 years experience helping men, even those with little to no dating experience find relationships, you can expect me to be fairly solution-driven in this area! I’m not going to sugar-coat the advice I give you, but I’m also going to keep my advice practical. 

Yes, life isn’t fair. Yes it would probably be easier if your looks upstaged Liam Hemsworth, but if that isn’t the case, what are you going to do about it? 

(I hope it’s not give up!!) 

In this blog, I'll share my expert opinion on:

  • How important 'really' are looks to a woman? 
  • What’s a woman’s algorithm for choosing a boyfriend? 
  • 5 action steps to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly 

How Important Are Looks? 

Of course (annoyingly) good looks are helpful to a person's dating life. Here are some of the advantages:

  1. The “physical attractiveness stereotype” means that people often assume people who are conventionally attractive, also have great personality qualities. So not only do you look more attractive, but people will just assume you’re cool and a nice person too! 
  2. People who are conventionally good looking may also get preferential treatment, finding it easy to get into that trendy bar, or cool social circle. Helping the handsome men out there get a head start on meeting desirable women. 
  3. If you’re naturally good looking, you may well have had better formative dating experiences. The first girl you asked out said yes. No one pulled away and made a face when you tried to kiss them. When you were 6 years old, the cashier at the local store always gave you a lolly pop for being “such a cutie”. Generally you may enter into this world believing the world welcomes you! You face less rejection early on and develop more confidence with dating. The pick up artist industry would call you a “natural”. 
  4. On aesthetically driven dating apps you will have more women swipe right on your profile. Again a great confidence booster! (A survey from Bumble reported that only 15% of women would be interested in a guy who was 5’8” - ouch.) 
  5. Finally, even though things are somewhat improving Hollywood still prioritises casting handsome white men in leading man roles; reinforcing the idea that there’s simply one way to be good looking. 

However, whilst looks undoubtedly give a first advantage, not being conventionally good looking doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with women.

So how to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly? Well first of all I’d challenge you right now to think of a man who isn’t conventionally good looking who does have amazing relationships with women. This could be someone famous, or someone you know personally. The point is, I bet you can think of someone! This should start to show you that whilst good looks are advantageous, they’re certainly not the whole story of what makes a man attractive. 

There’s also a distinct difference between being “good looking” and being “attractive”. Good looks are your physical appearance, which isn’t the same as being attractive all round. Being attractive is holistic: It’s not just how you look, it’s your lifestyle, it’s your mind, it’s your success, it’s your confidence, it’s how you interact with women. So start thinking of your physical looks as just one slice of the cake, on how you become more attractive as a man. 

A woman shows a man something on her phone as she hopes he'll ask for her number
"That's my pet rabbit, Charlie, and my cat, Molly"

How does she choose a boyfriend? 

Men and women broadly want the same things in love: connection, sexual attraction, intimacy. However, what qualities they prioritise in choosing a partner differ in their hierarchy of importance. 

Stereotypically, men are considered to be more “visual” than women. That’s why the porn industry is dominated by male consumers, and why 50 Shades of Grey was a best selling book for women. (Whilst the hero Christian Grey is good looking, he’s also successful, daring, assertive etc. He is attractive all round, not just good looking.) 

Of course many women are also swayed by physical appearance, and the vast majority of men want more in a partner than simply good looks; however, get into the idea that women may well not evaluate partners in the same way you do. 

So just because you may really desire a partner who is “pretty”, don’t assume that her top quality in men is “handsome.” As I said before, being good looking is a helpful “foot in the door” of matches on dating apps, or a woman smiling at you across a bar, but it’s certainly not the full picture of what women find attractive. 

Instead of asking yourself, “how do I get a girlfriend if I’m ugly?” A better question is, “I’m not conventionally attractive, fine, what other qualities can I bring to the table and emphasise in myself as a man?” 

What else do women find attractive in men?

  1. Success : (I did say I wasn’t going to sugar-coat this.) Needless to say the vast majority of men who form happy relationships aren’t millionaires, and don’t own helicopters. So don’t let a lack of an Amex black card create a belief that it’s impossible to be attractive to women. Instead, take the best of the “successful man mindset”, be purposeful, work hard, and have a vision for your life outside of your relationships with women. Also consider how you can be bolder and more assertive in your life.
  2. Achievement : Whether you’re a broke-but-talented artist; a high-school sporting star; an available dad; or have a PhD; there are many ways to demonstrate achievement. Achievement suggests you’ve dedicated yourself to something; it’s also a very attractive quality as it suggests you are socially respected. 
  3. Social Skills : If you’re a man who makes other people feel at ease, is a great conversationalist, and always knows exactly how to interact with her; you will become a lot more attractive. The great thing about social skills is that they are learnable. They’re also one of the best ways to generate more attraction with women. 
  4. Relationship Skills : Beyond social skills, there’s also a lot to be said for how good you are at building relationships with women. Do you share her relationship goals? Are you able to resolve conflicts with her successfully? Do you find communicating with women easy? Again, a lot of happiness in relationships will come down to learnable social skills. 
  5. Physical Connection : Even if you’re not her type on paper, if you have a sparky first kiss, or a fantastic sexual connection, she’s likely to be able to let go of you for not being 6’ tall (or owning a helicopter.) 

So if you’re considering how to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly, focus on the wealth of variables that are within your control to become more attractive. 

Try these 5 action steps... 

Step 1: Improve your physical appearance (within reason) 

If you want to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly, consider simple lifestyle changes to improve your physical appearance. I’m not talking about having cosmetic surgery or taking hormones! Instead think about small lifestyle changes you can make to ensure a good first impression: 

  • Have an active lifestyle : Get outside in the fresh air, take up a sport, hit the gym. Apart from becoming more fit and muscular, simply the act of taking care of your physical body suggests you have good self esteem, which is within itself attractive. 
  • Eat nutritious foods : Again there’s a difference here between being “generally healthy” and “ripped”. Good nutrition can help you to look more attractive and younger. 
  • Wear factor 50 sunscreen : It will help you to look more youthful for longer.
  • Go to bed on time : Name me one person who doesn’t look 10 times better for a good night’s sleep?
  • Shower daily : Daily showers, using deodorant and an aftershave, and clipping your nails all show good grooming. For everyone, if you smell nice and look clean, this is a major step up in attractiveness without changing your looks.  
  • Good oral hygiene : Most important of all a good smile, and clean teeth, can add a lot to your appearance. 
  • Grooming : Get a haircut that suits you (and if you’re thinning on top consider shaving it off, and growing a beard.) 
  • Dress well : This doesn’t mean spending a ton of money on clothes. Instead it might mean that you read blogs and follow social media to become more aware of good men’s styling. You might also want to look through your current wardrobe and plan what items go together (rather than optimistically throwing some clothes on in the morning). If it’s affordable to you to do so, ditch clothes that are too loose or old and fuzzy. If you have a small budget to update your wardrobe, invest more in items that you’ll wear everyday (nice shoes, nice watch, nice coat) and that can dress up more basic high street buys for the rest of your wardrobe. 
The five stages of working with a dating coach
Click to learn more

Step 2: Build your wider lifestyle

Having coached thousands of men to date successfully, I know that all too often after college or university, social circles fall by the wayside. Apart from the mental health benefits of having a circle of friends (even just one or two) it’s also a way to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly. 

I know you want to be more than “just friends” with women, but having a good all round lifestyle (including female friends) will make you more attractive to women. Investing in your wider social and dating life (by going to regular meet-ups, taking up hobbies, and prioritising platonic friendships) will often pay serious dividends to your dating life.

Likewise, having a career, or side hustle, that interests you may not make you Christian Grey but it undoubtedly will help you authentically talk about yourself in a way that’s charismatic. 

Here are just a few of the action steps you can take to develop your overall lifestyle, and how they’ll help you to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly:

  • Meeting a woman who is a ‘friend of a friend’ means she’s more likely to give you a chance, rather than if you’d met randomly on a dating app. 
  • Friends give you improved social status, women may be suspicious of a man who has no social contacts, but really attracted to a man who is well socially connected. 
  • Having a good social network will mean that when you do meet women they don’t jump to being your number 1 priority (a near guaranteed way to lose attraction in her eyes). 
  • A good social life with weekly plans beyond “watch YouTube”, “do my chores” and “go to the gym” will help you to naturally have more interesting topics of conversation to share. 
  • Even if you don’t love your job, investing your time into a side hobby, or side hustle, will present you as a more purposeful man, even if it doesn’t bring in much extra income. (Bonus if it does help to grow your wealth too.) 
  • Being proud of your life may help you to be more assertive in your social conversations, another classically attractive male trait. 
  • A man who is participating in life, through seeking to be socially connected and having some interests, is often the minimum standard that a woman is looking for in a partner. You don’t need to have tons of friends, or be super accomplished at your hobbies (though again, both these things would help) but having “normal” social relationships is very important. 

This shouldn’t be taken lightly, in fact it’s been widely reported that people are lonelier than ever before. So what once may have been considered a “normal” level of social relationships, may not feel so attainable anymore. 

Even if you haven’t got the “friends and hobbies” building block of successful social relationships in place yet, please be reassured that you can develop this area. If you have a low mood, or struggle to find the motivation to get out of the house then it would be worth exploring talking therapies before dating coaching. 

Step 3: Get into a good mindset

It is easy to get into a bad mindset around dating, particularly if you’re questioning how to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly. Whilst in many, many ways good looking people get a leg up in life, you can’t lack a perceived lack of good looks get in the way of you reaching your goals. 

If you feel down about how you look, and fear it’s affecting your chances with dating, here are some good mindsets that may help you:

  • Sure, I may not be “classically handsome” but I like who I am. 
  • If a woman judges me on first appearances, then she’s not for me. 
  • I get that most women simply aren’t *that* attracted to men when they first see them, it’s on me now to communicate how interesting I am. 
  • People who are considered average, or less than average looks wise, get into relationships everyday. 
  • Everyone can think of a man who is sexy to women, despite not being classically handsome. 
  • I accept that no one’s perfect, me included, but that’s not going to stop me from reaching my goals. 
  • It may not be as easy for me to meet women as some other guys, but that’s okay I know how to put effort in. 
  • I’ve got this! 

No matter how tempting it is, don't fall into the “I’m too ugly to get a girlfriend” trap. Instead work on your self esteem, confidence and attitude: This will not only give you the strength to stay the course, but will also make you far more attractive. 

Start today by making a list of 10 qualities that you love about yourself. 

A woman flirting with an ugly man
Uh-oh — she'd pulled a hair extension loose

Step 4: Develop your social skills 

Women are often strong verbal communicators, who value men who are great communicators! Dating is often a communication skills exercise, and if she doesn’t “get” why you’re interesting and different, it will be hard for her to be attracted to you. More than this, if a man behaves in a socially unexpected way, this could signal danger to a woman.

(If you are naturally introverted, or neurodiverse, then I’d encourage you to keep investing in learning your social skills: My WingMan Club could be a great place to start.) 

On the flip side, there are many examples of men with totally average looks, but insanely good social skills who women just can’t get enough of. 

Social skills do take time to learn and develop, so here are some strategies to begin developing the advanced social skills women love:

  • Take up a hobby like Toastmasters to improve your public speaking skills. 
  • Read books about social skills development.
  • Read fictional books: Often a great way to improve your vocabulary and have things to talk about! 
  • Try to go to at least 2 social activities a week to make sure you’re getting enough exposure to new people. 
  • Try social activities which have pre-built existing communities you can tap into such as CrossFit or Salsa. 
  • If you’re having difficulty meeting new people then read my blog about developing better habits for your social life.  
  • Get used to asking people for their contact details. Even if it’s for a purely platonic coffee, you want to get used to trying to move social acquaintances along to being friends.
  • Go to speed dating. Even if you get zero matches, it’s worth it for the practice. 
  • Try stand up comedy, or go to watch comedy nights. People who are funny, are often considered attractive. 
  • Consider getting coaching. Coaches can help to give you the technique, motivation and accountability to give you the level up you need. If you’d like a free 30 minute consultation with me, or a member of my team you can apply here

Step 5: Be proactive

If you wait for the women who choose you, you may be waiting a long time. 

For over 15 years I’ve taught men and women how to meet one another in real life and if there’s one gift you can give to your dating life today, learn how to meet women in the real world. Here’s why. 

  • Even with professional photos, some men just won’t perform that well on dating apps. If you’ve made all the obvious changes to your profile, and the matches are far from rolling in, swap your focus to real life meetings.
  • Meeting women in real life gives you the chance to connect with far more women. You have many many more rolls of the dice. 
  • Women who you meet through friends of friends, or mutual interests, are more likely to give you a chance.
  • It’s easier to convey who you are, and what’s attractive about you, in person. 
  • It’s incredibly rewarding to develop your social skills in this way; even when you don’t get dates from your conversations with women, you will often learn something about yourself. 
  • Start with simple non verbal gestures like smiling and making eye contact with women (in fact, do this with people generally.) 
  • In person you have the full force of your charisma, your tone of voice, your body language to show how attractive you are. 
  • Bottom line, if you’re waiting on women to choose you (because you don’t know how to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly, or you fear rejection) you’re already seriously limiting your dating results as a man.


In summary, yes you can get a girlfriend even if you’re “ugly”: Women are attracted to a broad range of characteristics. Heck if she got to know you, she may like you right now! So do what you can to present yourself in the best way possible, develop your lifestyle, build your skills, don’t get psyched out and you can get the relationship you want. 

A man talking to a woman on a park bench
Transfixed, Mark barely noticed the searing pins and needles in his left arm

How To Get A Girlfriend If You're Ugly | FAQs

How to get a girlfriend if you’re ugly and shy?

If you’re ugly and shy, don’t let this become an excuse for you to not try to work towards your goals including getting a girlfriend. Whether they’re “true” or not, consider whether labelling yourself ‘ugly’ and ‘shy’ is helpful to your self esteem, and therefore your overall attractiveness? Probably not. There are many shy men in happy relationships, and many men who aren’t classically handsome who are a hit with women. Instead focus on what you can change, whether that’s taking up new hobbies, improving your social skills, working on being more assertive, or personal style; there’s a lot of leavers you can pull to boost your attractiveness with women. 

How to get a girlfriend in middle school if you’re ugly?

Most people feel unattractive or awkward during their teenage years, so if you’re in middle school try not to judge yourself as ugly or unattractive: It doesn’t feel like it today, but most people settle into their looks, and who they are a little later in life. Likewise, whilst you may be keen to have dating experiences, and get a girlfriend, don’t rush or pressure yourself to get to this goal; you have literally decades ahead of you to figure it out! Instead use that drive you feel today to improve to help set you up for later success. Sorry to sound like your mom here but study hard, be interested in learning, stay fit, say yes to social opportunities, and yes take the risk to ask her out even if she says no. These small habits you create today will help your romantic success later in life. 

How to get a hot girlfriend if you’re ugly? 

Women are attracted to a wide range of characteristics. That mean there’s plenty of “hot” women who are dating “ugly” men because they were charmed by his personality, impressed by his success or loved his confidence. Fundamentally, if you become better at initiating interactions with women (both online and most importantly in real life) you give yourself a far better chance of getting a hot girlfriend. Also, if you don’t want people to judge you entirely on your looks, consider the possibility that you might also have a rewarding relationship with a woman who is not conventionally pretty, but who you find fun, witty, and sexy in her own right. 

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