If you’ve seen basically any teen romantic comedy from the late ’90s to early 2000s, you’re likely already familiar with the pick-me girl. You know, the girl who likes to drink beer and gets along better with the guys. All she wants to do is play video games and eat nachos with her bros because ~she’s not like other girls~. See also: the cool girl. The lesser known equivalent to the pick-me girl is the pick-me boy—a term quickly gaining traction to describe a dude who, well, really wants you to pick him.
If both of these nicknames are giving you major Meredith Grey, “Pick me, choose me, love me” energy, you’re not wrong. The key here is that both the pick-me girl and pick-me boy want attention—whether consciously or subconsciously—and while the goal is the same, their tactics definitely aren’t.
The pick-me girl’s M.O. is to separate herself from other girls to gain the attention of guys by liking the things they like and sharing their opinions, whether they’re being honest about these tastes or not. But when you really think about it, the biggest difference between pick-me girls and pick-me boys is that girls will subconsciously act the way they think men want them to act due to internalized misogyny. (When a patriarchal society tells you the most important thing to seek is male validation and you internalize that, this can be a result.)
Pick-me boys? Well, that’s just misogyny. He’s all about putting himself down in order for some unsuspecting person (you?) to build him up. It’s purposeful. You know the phrase “nice guys finish last”? Yeah, a pick-me boy probably coined that.
While it might seem like these guys are just low on confidence, there’s actually more to it than self-image. So before you get tangled up in a pick-me boy’s web, we’re here to demystify the guys who love to play the victim. From the meaning of pick-me boys to how to interact with one when spotted in the wild, here’s what you need to know.
What actually *is* a pick-me boy?
While the viral #pickmegirl hashtag started gaining traction on social media in 2021 and currently has close to 2B views on TikTok, the #pickmeboy hashtag is newer but still currently has about 370M views. Clearly, these are tropes people relate to, and understandably so once you break down the truth behind a pick-me boy.
The main trait in all pick me boys is excessive self-loathing. We’re talking over-the-top self digs to the point that it’s performative. These guys will say something like, “You’re so pretty—I don’t know why you’d talk to me,” or “Girls like you never like me because I’m so weird.” Gag.
The goal here—besides inadvertently making every single person in the room uncomfy—is to get the object of his affections to bend over backward to assure him that he is, in fact, worthy of someone’s time and attention. When a pick-me boy is doing his thing, you likely feel like you have no other choice but to defend him from himself. He says he’s ugly, you say he’s not. He says he’s unlikable, you say he’s not. He says you’d never date him, and next thing you know he’s defining the relationship and making plans for Valentine’s Day.
If you’ve ever left a guy on read only for him to flip TF out about how girls always treat him like shit, or you have a friend who always makes comments about how he’d be better for you than the assholes (his word, not mine) you normally date, I’m sorry to say you’ve met a pick-me boy.
What’s the issue with pick-me boys?
In the likely chance you’ve engaged with a pick-me boy before, chances are you know how overall icky the interaction(s) make you feel. It’s like you’re cornered into complimenting someone and before you know it, he’s somehow convincing you to go out with him because if you don’t, you’re a bad person.
In short, these pesky dudes can be manipulative AF. They’re like the ultimate compliment fishers, but in the process, they make you question yourself and your own worth. After so many interactions with a pick-me boy, it can be easy to fall under their spell. I mean, how many times can you tell someone they’re great before you actually start to believe it? It’s a thing, and by forcing *you* to do the assuring, these pick-me punks are sometimes able to twist the situation in their favor.
How do you interact with a pick-me boy?
Ideally, you don’t. JK. Sort of. As mentioned, pick-me boys aren’t always the healthiest to be around since they (a) suck up a lot of the energy in the room and (b) can be textbook manipulators. That said, not every pick-me boy is bad news—some really do just lack confidence. The thing is, confidence doesn’t come from the validation of others; it comes from finding your own self-worth. Yes, feel free to put that on a bumper sticker.
The point is, while pick-me boys aren’t necessarily bad people, their behavior isn’t exactly fun to be around. If you find yourself in a situation where a pick-me boy is pulling out his “I’m not worthy” moves, do your best not to engage in his games. Instead of constantly reassuring him, ask why he feels that way and maybe even suggest tactics he can use to validate himself (if you feel safe to do so, of course). Or there’s always that handy little block function on your phone. I’m pretty sure that was invented with pick-me boys in mind.
So say what you will about the pick-me girl, but I’d choose her bro-loving, beer-drinking self over the pick-me boy any day...
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