Why Pick-Me Girls Actually Get Picked

Everyone wants to be picked, so you can’t fault the Pick-Me Girls for nailing the technique.

By Andrea Mew4 min read
Pexels/Jean-Daniel Francoeur

As we know, sexiness shapes society. Not only is it built into our biology to seek out aesthetic beauty, but there’s also something otherworldly and, dare I say, divine about how we’re drawn to beautiful things, beautiful scenes, and beautiful people.

Feeling attraction to something beyond self-serving physical pleasures – food, beverage, a warm embrace, a good night’s sleep – is what compels us as human beings to accomplish greatness. To go beyond the confines that all other earthly species are restricted to.

It’s not a crime to want to look like the best representation of yourself or to prefer spending time with people who want to look like the best representations of themselves. It’s human nature. And yet, there are bitter bunches of people who hate to see a gal win. 

You know the put-down. Pick-Me Girls, or females who allegedly go “out of their way” to impress the male sex, face an unfair amount of scrutiny for what is mostly harmless behavior.

Love Me, Love Me, Say That You Love Me…

During the season 6 reunion of the popular Netflix series Love is Blind, two of the female stars began accusing one another of being Pick-Mes, which sparked another resurgence of internet buzz about the term. Periodically, people rediscover the concept of Pick-Mes, but despite recent hubbub, it’s nothing new. 

No, it wasn’t “born from irreverent discourse on Black TikTok” like Refinery29 falsely reported in 2022, nor does it have its “roots in Black Twitter” like Jezebel wrongfully published in 2023. The idea of the Pick-Me has no racial or ethnic origin. Wanting to be desirable and acting in a way that props yourself up as a preferable partner is just part and parcel of human life. 

It’s true, there are some Pick-Mes who genuinely put other women down simply to elevate their own status in front of men. But lately, it seems like this avant-garde expression to categorize women based on their behavior is getting way too amorphous, taking on endless definitions and completely misconstruing interpersonal attraction.

As the backhanded label suggests, anything that a Pick-Me does communicates the following messages to men: “Pick me! Love me! Choose me!” Sometimes, I guess, this means she’s acting like a total basic bimbo, and sometimes this means acting like she’s “not like other girls” or like she’s just “one of the boys.” Again, the definition has really lost a lot of its meaning at this point.

Nevertheless, when you hear someone complaining about Pick-Me behavior, they’ll likely bring up anecdotes like a woman trying to watch the game with her boyfriend and his friends or maybe ordering a malty beer at the brewery instead of a sweet, hard seltzer.

Look, she might not be doing it for the boys. But even if she is, why should you care? A woman showing interest in her man’s world is leaps and bounds more attractive than a woman who couldn’t care less. 

Why would a man want to be in a long-term relationship with someone who can’t give him the time of day when he’s pouring his heart out about the things in life that truly excite him? We can’t marry carbon copies of ourselves, so there are bound to be points of contention where one person is way more interested in a certain activity than the other. 

She Can Hang

Let me paint a picture for you: I don’t smoke cigars – nor do I have interest in starting – but you bet when my husband extends the invite for me to partake in cigar night, I’m there in a heartbeat. And it’s not an act of insincerity. 

I had never been around cigars before meeting him and had little to no understanding of the culture, but hey, I didn’t want FOMO and I didn’t want to seem like I couldn’t hang. Turns out, I grew to love the wistful, woody, spicy smell of quality tobacco, as well as enjoy the company and endless conversation.

Rolling with the punches, trying new things, and being open-minded about preconceived notions – these are all qualities that indicate to a potential (or current!) partner that you’ve got a balanced level of neuroticism and you’re able to hang. Instead of sending signals that you’ll add stress to his life, you come off as receptive, hospitable, and warm. 

Figuring out who you are and exploring what you like isn’t an identity crisis, nor does it signal that you’re trying to change yourself too much to impress someone and fit in. 

Yes, people crave validation. Sometimes, they crave way too much validation and wrongfully seek it from unfulfilling sources. But craving a healthy amount of acceptance from an in-group is totally different from reinventing your identity to please someone else.

Being too stubborn, unwilling to see the world from another person’s perspective, and perhaps acting like your identity is rigid and unchanging is actually what turns people off. No wonder the Pick-Me has so much more success than the black sheep who think they’re holier than thou for “not caring” about male attention.

Pick-Me Girls Win Hearts with Top-Notch First Impressions

What else might your quintessential Pick-Me do to (allegedly) seek attention from men? The Pick-Me Girl gets criticized for dolling up: taking the time to style her hair, putting together a cohesive and attractive outfit, and freshening up her face with routine skincare and/or well-applied cosmetics.

Again, what’s wrong with a woman wanting to look her best? People go to great lengths with their beauty-enhancing behaviors for many reasons, but from an evolutionary psychology perspective, many sociologists believe that physical attractiveness correlates with better health outcomes. Poor grooming habits could signal poor health. If feminists were actually honest about wanting women to thrive, they wouldn’t feel animosity toward women who spend time on their appearance and puzzlingly encourage people to go goblin-mode.

The Pick-Me Girl might also act like she’s more confident or optimistic – even if she’s not. Research shows that this quality is more attractive to potential mates. If you self-sabotage and dwell on the negative aspects of yourself, you’re no fun to be around for anyone. Optimistic women are perceived as less burdensome and are considered to be better long-term mates.

Furthermore, a Pick-Me Girl might act more playful and flirtatious. A playful man might signal to a woman that he’s not a threat to her, but a playful woman might signal to a man that she’s got joie de vivre. Psychologists have found that playfulness is one of the more attractive traits a person can have. Life will have its ups and downs, so wouldn’t you want to be with a mate who can help you weather even the worst of storms?

Ultimately, as the neuroscience and behavioral science researcher known online as Alex DatePsych once wrote, tossing around the “pick-me” label is a really funny insult because “it’s essentially saying, ‘you are behaving in a way that enhances your mating success while I am not.’”

This “shaming tactic,” Alex explained, “levies female social pressure to get her to change her behavior.” But that behavior isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, being a bit of a Pick-Me could raise your chances of finding and securing a long-term mate. 

Closing Thoughts

While there is certainly no objective, one-size-fits-all definition for attractiveness, people who look good (which usually means healthy) and people who act prosocial (which means looking beyond yourself) will get picked much more quickly than unkempt, stubborn, and potentially antisocial people.

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