pick-me girl

What Does It Mean To Be A Pick-Me Girl?

Relationship Experts Explain How To Know If You Are A Pick-Me Girl?

You might not have a ton of girlfriends, for starters.

Amanda Pasciucco, PhD, LMFT, CST and Owner of Life Coaching and Therapy was interviewed for this article by Addison Aloian, published on April 28, 2024 in

You know her, you (probably don’t) love her: She’s the pick-me girl. She’s not like other girls. In fact, she isn’t really friends with girls, and she definitely isn’t a “girl’s girl.” Instead, she likes to sit and talk negatively about other women while watching football over a pint of beer with the guys—and she makes it her entire personality.

The pick-me girl goes “out of her way to stand out from other women in a way that is often for the male gaze, acceptance, approval, attention,” says Amanda Pasciucco, PhD, LMFT, a sex therapist based in West Hartford, Connecticut. It’s not exactly a ~good thing~ to be this type of girl, since they often cater their personalities to men.

Wondering what, exactly, a pick-me girl is and—gulp—if you are one? (Don’t worry, I won’t tell.) Ahead, experts explain the pick-me girl and pick-me boy labels, share common signs of pick-me girl behavior, and potential solutions to work on that part of yourself that’s screaming “pick me!!”

What is a Pick-Me Girl?

The pick-me girl tries to establish themselves outside of the typical normal behaviors for women and girls, says Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, PhD, a professor of relational and sexual communication at California State University, Fullerton. “A lot of it is rooted in insecurity, low self-esteem, and competition,” she adds.

The goal of the pick-me girl is to be the one who gets picked by the gender of their choice, according to Betsy Chung, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and relationship expert based in Newport Beach, California. She might say something like, “I’m not like other girls,” or pretend to be chill around guys when—surprise—she’s not chill. She also may pretend to be into hobbies that the guys around her like, such as sports, or act like she’s “not into drama,” Pasciucco says.

But just because a woman is into sports or has other hobbies that aren’t traditionally feminine doesn’t mean she’s automatically a pick-me girl. She’s only a pick-me girl if she isn’t *actually* into said hobbies, and is just pretending to be so that she can cater to the interests of guys.

The origin of the term is actually from a season two episode of Grey’s Anatomy, where Meredith told Derek to “Pick me, choose me, love me,” but it’s recently gone viral on TikTok. (There are over 480,000 posts tagged #Pickme on the app.)

What is a Pick-Me Boy?

The pick-me boy is similar, except that they’re not seeking male validation—instead, they’re trying to impress women. He might say something cringey, like working the fact that he’s “a feminist” into a conversation, Suwinyattichaiporn says. This boy might also degrade other men, or try to appeal to women by claiming to be attentive or caring about growth or going to therapy, Pasciucco adds. A more obvious example would be going out with his guy friends and trying to outdrink everyone to impress women at the bar, Chung adds. Essentially, a pick-me boy is something of a chameleon. He can either be super macho or very sensitive, depending on the type of girl(s) he’s around.

What’s important here is that just because a guy is a feminist or cares about going to therapy doesn’t automatically make him a pick-me boy. What does, though, is if he doesn’t *actually* care about those topics—and instead is just advertising it to get approval from women. It “enforces gender stereotypes” by appearing to subvert them for personal gain, Pasciucco says.

Signs of a Pick-Me Girl

There are a few tell-tale signs that might point to someone being a pick-me girl. Experts say to watch out for these:

  • She doesn’t have close girlfriends, and she doesn’t consider herself a “girl’s girl,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.
  • She constantly needs validation and affirmations (“you’re so pretty, you’re smart”) from the men in her life, either her guy friends or romantic partner(s).
  • She talks negatively about other girls in front of guys, especially a guy’s ex-girlfriend or potential romantic partner, and she’s not aware of the impact her words have on them.
  • She’s really competitive. Maybe she doesn’t want another girl on her flag football team because she assumes the other girl is not athletic or doesn’t know how to play.
  • She tries to let everyone know that she’s “different” from other girls, maybe through her hobbies or interests. For instance, maybe she likes to say she’s “not about drama unlike other girls,” or she’s always talking about sports to her guy friends, Chung says.

Why is Being a Pick-Me Girl Problematic?

The whole concept of the pick-me girl is based on seeking male validation. It stems from internalized misogyny, gender stereotypes, and sexism. “That perpetuates the stigma that masculinity is better,” Pasciucco says, because the way women think they have to stand out to men is by appealing to their interests. It rejects a type of femininity, Chung adds.

Being a pick-me can also be a symptom of “having low self-esteem [and] feeling very insecure about your identity,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. Sometimes, they have broken families or don’t get enough attention from their dads, so they seek it externally to feel better about themselves.

“We live in a society where women and girls were taught since a young age to be a certain way—to be nice girls,” Suwinyattichaiporn says, adding that it feeds into the idea of packaging yourself a certain way to get a boyfriend, and that’s how you’re considered “successful.” “[The concept of the pick-me girl] is rooted in misogyny and female competition. Pick me girls may talk negatively about feminine women in order to distinguish themselves to be ‘different.”

And above all, it’s presenting yourself in a false way for attention, Chung says: “At the end of the day, what you’re doing is you’re showing a less authentic version of yourself.” That can lead to inauthentic friendships and relationships, especially once you get close enough with someone to share your insecurities with them. And, of course, it’s just not nice to put other women down, regardless of who you’re with, Chung adds.

Why is the Term Pick-Me Problematic?

The term itself is problematic, too, though. First of all, it’s a way to label and objectify someone based on one component of their identity. “We all have so much underneath,” Pasciucco says. “[Using this label is] minimizing, and it doesn’t see women as complex human beings.”

It can also be harmful for women who “don’t necessarily understand their personality development yet or why they are seeking external validation,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. Plus, it’s a negative descriptor that might be stamped onto someone just because of their genuine interests.

“While hanging out with all guys or wanting to be with men isn’t necessarily a bad thing, what’s harmful is someone condemning another person for their preferences,” Pasciucco says. It insinuates that girls have to conform with what’s considered traditionally feminine in order to be normal or considered a girl’s girl, Suwinyattichaiporn adds.

For instance, if a girl has a lot of guy friends (and not a lot of girlfriends) in school because she loves playing on the different sports teams, it would be problematic to call her a pick-me girl instead of realizing her interests simply differ from someone with more traditional “girly” interests, Suwinyattichaiporn adds.

What if I’m a Pick-Me Girl?

If you’re reading this and some of the signs sound a *bit* familiar, it’s okay. You may have not realized that you exhibit these types of traits until they were laid out in front of you. JSYK, there are some pick-me elements that might be inherent to one’s personality, but others can develop over time, Suwinyattichaiporn says.

For instance, say you’re a true pick-me girl, a.k.a., you like sports because your guy friends like them. When this identity starts to include gossiping about girls in front of the guys to make yourself look better, “that’s where it becomes a problem beyond your personality” interests, Pasciucco says.

So, if you think you might be a pick-me girl—and again, it’s okay if you are!—there are a few things you can do to implement more healthy habits.


First, look into how to increase your self-esteem and self-worth so you can start not viewing other women as competition, Suwinyattichaiporn says. Try journaling with the following prompts she recommends: What kind of relationships with women have I had in my life before? What are some of the trigger points I experience when I talk to other women? What do I want to manifest in the future of what female relationships look like for me?

You can also try confidence journaling, which consists of writing down three reasons why you’re great, Suwinyattichaiporn says. It can be simple, like “I’m a great friend,” “I’m a great listener,” “I donated money today that made me feel helpful,” or “I cooked amazing pasta last night.” Once you do it frequently enough, you’ll realize all the amazing things about yourself. Confidence journaling “allows you to become more self-assured,” which will help you “seek external validation less,” she says.


You can also try meditating on some powerful affirmations. For instance, if you struggle with body image issues and find yourself comparing your body to other women, instead, think positive thoughts about your body as you meditate. Maybe you start with the affirmation, “I love my body,” Suwinyattichaiporn suggests.

Make Some Girlfriends

This one might seem obvious, but becoming friends with other women is nurturing and very helpful in personal growth,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. To do that, you can join a walking, running, or hiking group around you, or even try group fitness classes and ask a girl in your class if she wants to get coffee afterward, she says.

Speaking of friends, if you have a gal pal who exhibits this pattern of behaviors, have a low-key open dialogue about it to help her overcome her insecurities, Suwinyattichaiporn says. Being that supportive female friend (she may not know she needs) can show her it’s possible to have a whole crew cheering her on.

Pick Up A New Hobby

“When people do things that they are passionate about, they’re less likely to be looking at other people and comparing themselves to others,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. Her advice is to try a bunch of different things, and see what sticks. You can start with different categories of your life, so if you’re into exercising, try joining a pickleball group. Or, if you’re into arts and music, consider taking a class. Without trying, you won’t know what makes you happy and what’s a good way to spend your time.

Shift Your Internal Dialogue

If you’re ruminating on comparing yourself to another woman, stop the internal conversation, Pasciucco says. Instead of criticizing her personal interests, for example, shift your mindset to think instead: “I appreciate that she has freedom to choose things that aren’t what I like,” she says. “Work on becoming conscious—stopping, taking a breath, and observing if you’re being critical.” Intentionally rejecting those knee-jerk negative reactions is the start of “trying to find a way to uplift other women,” Pasciucco adds. Plus, the more you practice this mindset shift, the more natural these positive thoughts will become.

Work With A Therapist

If you’re not already in therapy, find a therapist who will focus on helping you “recognize and build on your strengths, but also learn how to accept weaknesses,” Chung says. “The goal is really to be able to trust that you have value simply by being yourself.”

Be More Intentional About Your Relationships

The first step: Taking stock of your current connections. Ask yourself, “When do I feel uncomfortable in a relationship—and why?” and “How do I present myself in a relationship—am I showing up authentically?” If you find you’re chasing attention and approval from others, that may be something to talk to a therapist and/or do some deeper reflection about.

“If it feels like you’re doing too much and you’re doing things that go outside of your personal values, that might also be a sign that you’re trying to chase approval, rather than showing up authentically,” Chung says.

If a relationship feels one-sided—even if it’s in your favor—it might never develop into a super deep or intimate connection because “you’re basically just in a relationship with yourself,” she explains. Pick-me peeps tend to operate based on what the other person wants, and they end up melding into that, rather than being themselves. Ultimately, you won’t feel fulfilled by being another person’s dream personified because it’s not what you actually want.

Remember, it’s not about guys picking you—it’s about you picking yourself.

About the Author:

Addison Aloian (she/her) is the assistant love & life editor at Women’s Health. Outside of topics related to lifestyle, relationships, and dating, she also loves covering fitness and style. In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights at the gym, reading mystery and romance novels, watching (and critiquing!) the latest movies that have garnered Oscars buzz, and wandering around the West Village in New York City. In addition to Women’s Health, her work has also appeared in AllureStyleCasterL’Officiel USAV MagazineVMAN, and more. Read full bio