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RELEASE THE DORK!
April 1, 2011 3:09 PM   Subscribe

How do I learn to be more myself with someone I'm crushing on?

I'm seeing a boy--he's just about one of the sweetest guys I've ever met and I really want to make it work. The thing is, it's been about a month and I still feel flustered and nervous when I hang out with him.

Normally I'm a huge dork...I make stupid jokes and delight in verbal humor/verbal banter. I'm also really into dry humor. I'm totally like this with my oldest friends and family, and I'm usually very social when I'm talking to absolute strangers (no pressure to perform, perhaps?). I like making people laugh.

For some reason, though, I feel like I lose it with this guy. I think it's partially that he's (on the outside) shy and quiet himself. I feel like I might hold back based on that, because I don't want to weird him out or embarrass him (when meeting his friends). He's so reserved sometimes that I almost can't bring myself to let loose and go full dork.

I have no problem throwing out my little jokes and quips in writing. I blog little stories (which he seems to find amusing) and when we text we can totally slip into silly, nonsensical exchanges. I'm just worried that I can't seem to bring that when we're hanging out in person. He's said before that one of the things that attracted him was my humor, and I guess I'm just a little afraid that--through extended hangouts--he'll find I'm not that funny after all.

How can I show him my funny side in person? Does it just take time? Or is this a bad sign (dun dun DUUUNNN)?
posted by sprezzy to Human Relations (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
My recommendation is to ask questions on a date, find out what he does in his freetime, and in return talk about your hobbies. It will say a lot about compatibility and let you talk about something you know.

Also, have a drink.
posted by straight_razor at 3:15 PM on April 1, 2011


This is a time for not talking too much and cultivating a slight Air of Mystery. Or as the Spanish say, keep your mouth shut and no flies will go into it.

In other words, be yourself in 140 characters or less.
posted by tel3path at 3:19 PM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh I don't want to beat him over the head with the funny or anything ("HA. HA. GET IT? LAUGH, DAMNIT!") but it's so much a part of who I am (at least that I feel) that things feel a little strained when I feel like I have to hold back. The way things are now, the air is a little too mysterious, if you get my drift.
posted by sprezzy at 3:32 PM on April 1, 2011


Are you sure you actually ARE compatible? May instead of focusing on "making it work" at this point, you should take a step back and keep considering whether or not you and this guy are a good fit.

Basically, I second straight_razor's suggestion of ask questions and keep learning more about this person.
posted by wansac at 3:35 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


*Maybe
posted by wansac at 3:35 PM on April 1, 2011


This is pretty normal, at least for me. In order to avoid it, I try the following things:

- When I am with the person, I try to actively take interest in her and listen. While early on, I don't want to critically evaluate every little thing she does or says, and just enjoy our time, I try to notice desirable and undesirable behaviors and traits and keep them in the back of my head. The point is to try and not idealize my date.

- I don't assume it will work. I don't assume it won't, either, just prefer to take things slowly and let them take their course. I try to engage in the activities that are important to me (school and hobbies) as much as I can.

- I try to keep things in perspective by being exposed to other people who are good potential mates. Whether it's just hanging out with friends' friends, or remembering an ex who I connected with well, the point is to stop myself from fixating upon my date as the The One. In part, because I don't believe in the The One idea, but also because when I look book on these things, all things I used to sweat about didn't really matter that much in the end.

Works with varying success, but mostly pretty well. I am still trying to figure this out.
posted by adahn at 3:37 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you try to react to funny things in the environment around you? Sometimes my boyfriend and I overhear people saying ridiculous things and joke about them, or I imitate the sound of a siren going by or something, or we look for funny ads on the subway. That can be easier than trying to spontaneously make up an amusing story or something.

Also, would you feel comfortable introducing your boyfriend to your friends? I, for one, am pretty silly with my friends, and when I bring my boyfriend along it's easy for him to see that side of me.
posted by mlle valentine at 4:03 PM on April 1, 2011


I have no problem throwing out my little jokes and quips in writing. I blog little stories (which he seems to find amusing) and when we text we can totally slip into silly, nonsensical exchanges. I'm just worried that I can't seem to bring that when we're hanging out in person. He's said before that one of the things that attracted him was my humor, and I guess I'm just a little afraid that--through extended hangouts--he'll find I'm not that funny after all.

The thing I don't get at the moment is: how do you know you're not being funny? He "seems to find [things] amusing", he says that he likes your sense of humor and that it attracts him, and you guys keep hanging out. From an outside perspective, based on that story, I'd say you were being plenty funny.

It sounds to me like you're feeling that "how can I make him not see how much of a fraud I really am" thing that smart and/or funny people have in their heads a lot of the time. Maybe you're not being as funny to yourself as you usually are around people you don't care about as much, but you clearly like this guy a lot, and that makes everyone self-conscious. Unless he's said to you that something's changed, don't feel like you have to paint yourself into the role of "the entertainer" to his "quiet observer" or whatever. The reason you're different around him is that people are different around different people. Part of the fun is finding out who you are with this person; accepting that challenge and moving out of your comfort zone is how people grow. Relationships are certainly work, but you don't have to force it to work the way other ones have, your job is to find out how you work now, and how the two of you work together. That's when things get very amusing indeed.
posted by Errant at 4:18 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The point is not to forget that you're looking for someone who is the right person for YOU, not just hoping to be the right person for someone else. Example: the real right person for you prooooooobably doesn't come even close to making you worry that you'll embarrass him simply by being yourself.
posted by so_gracefully at 6:08 PM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Human beings act goofy when they are crushing on someone, they become confused, disoriented, a bit lost, they bite their bottom lip when they think about something they said or did, they twist around in their clothing, it seems that their underpants don't fit right, etc and etc. I talked with a friend about this last night, how at 56 I *still* am a total doof when She is around, whoever the She may be at any given time.

You're just being human, that's all. It takes time to get over this, but if the stars all shine it won't really take all that much time, and you'll be over it, and you'll be walking through the days and nights with him, or not with him, but the goofiness/weirdness/human-ness/awkwardness will be over.

As far as how to get over it In Real Time; the *only* way I've ever found to get past what I call The Big Fear that has me for whatever reason -- public speaking, job interview, talking with Her -- the only way to dispel that fear is to cop to it, to say "Damn, I *hate* when I get really afraid in public speaking, when I can't find the right next word, when I stand in front of people and can't find the right word -- don't you all hate that?" and there are many heads nodding in whatever audience and The Fear melts like mold in a shower when you hit it with bleach. You can do this with Him and it'll help dispel the awkwardness, you only need to step into humility, which isn't a bad thing anyways, truth be told, good for the soul and stuff.
posted by dancestoblue at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


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