I like him. I really really like him.
September 4, 2013 2:06 PM   Subscribe

I've met this guy, I'm developing on crush on him, and now I just want something to happen! What do I do from here?


There's this guy. I met him a couple of months ago and I've developed a bit of a crush on him over the last couple of weeks.

At first I thought that it was reciprocal but now I'm not so sure. I've initiated all of our hanging out including a cycle ride in a group, going on a walk just the two of us as well as a couple of yoga classes. He's said yes to everything so I guess I can assume he likes spending time with me as a friend. But these activities have all been pretty platonic-- he complemented me once on the necklace I was wearing, but that was pretty much as hot as it got.

Thing is, I'm really tempted to just lunge and kiss him. Other thing is, from past experience, I've learned that few guys will stop you but that doesn't mean they want to date you... unfortunately for me.

I am inclined to get obsessive about crushes in a pretty unhealthy and all consuming way. I really like this guy and I would like to date him to see if it works, but I also don't want to push things if they're not going to happen. I'd like to keep him as a friend, if this is possible. I just feel like I need to do something now before things progress to a whole other fantasy level in my head... any suggestions on how to proceed?

(also, as a side note, most of my relationships have followed the pattern of me liking the other person more than they like me, which feels sort of crap and I'd really like to avoid that sort of situation this next time, which makes me even more hesitant about being the lunger/initiator)
posted by Ocellar to Human Relations (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Hey. Would you like to go out on a date?"

There is a very good reason that this exact same answer shows up in every similar thread.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:08 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Eh, this is counterintuitive but here you go.

You've indicated interest. Now just let go and back off. Let him ask you out if he wants to, and certainly say yes if he does. But here's my thing. When I have been the exclusive initiator in a relationship, I end up in relationships in which my partner lets me initiate everything, including sex. All the time. I also get to plan everything, and of course they would expect this because I showed an ability to plan early on. I also get to pay for a lot because since I initiated the first date, I paid for it, and that set a trend.

Guys know that the current social patterning is still that they get to ask you out. It's still a little quirky for a woman to ask a man out. So what that means is: He knows that if he wants to get together with you on a romantic basis, chances are he is the one who will need to make the first move. And they know how to do it. And they DO do it when they want to. So just sit back and let him ask you out if he wants.

Obviously not all relationships will be messed up just because you ask him out first. But you've got a history of not so great outcomes, and so maybe the thing to do is to do something different this time.

You can make some hard and fast rules that force your actions to appear like those of someone who does not become obsessive and all consumed. Things like: Let him initiate contact three times before you initiate contact once. In other words, if he texts you, respond. But don't text him out of the blue until you've had three text conversations that he has started. Or, don't accept a date if he asks you out less than 48 hours in advance, unless it's something like he was just given tickets to something and didn't know about it before. Of course not -- why would you accept? If he waits that long, you've made other plans.

And that's part of the key here. Get him out of your brain. Crushes are delightful, but obsessiveness is not. Obsessiveness comes from grasping mind, a mind that thinks that it will be happy if and only if a particular outcome occurs. That's certainly not true. Happiness comes in many many forms and often when we least expect it. And when you think about all the plans you've made surrounding your emotions and those of other people, you see how little good it does to plan for the future.

What has helped me de-cathect from the grasping fear that IF I DO SOMETHING WRONG, I WILL BLOW EVERY CHANCE AT A RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS GUY, is to remember that all relationships end. They ALL end, either because one or both parties end it, or because someone dies. So there's nothing you can do to prevent the relationship from ending, even it it does start. So that means there's nothing you can do that's wrong. Just keep reminding yourself that everything ends. And if it turns out that he doesn't ask you out, cool, that's more information that helps you find the relationship that lasts a while before ending. :-)
posted by janey47 at 3:07 PM on September 4, 2013 [23 favorites]

You can play all the games that janey47 suggests, or you can just ask him out. If he turns out to be the kind of guy that you or janey47 describes, then end it. But if you go into relationships with the mindset that it's all part of an elaborate game, you're more likely to date people who are into playing elaborate games.

Also, your fear of liking the other person more doesn't make sense if you really think about it. Of course, you're trying to protect yourself, but that's also not really how good relationships work. You have to put yourself out there. Sometimes it hurts when it doesn't work out.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 3:22 PM on September 4, 2013 [7 favorites]

I'm not reading your question on purpose because it doesn't matter.

Find something you think he'll want to do that you also will want to do. Ask him to do it. If you want to make it perfectly clear that this is a date and not just two people doing X then use the words "on a date" when you ask him.

He will either accept or decline. Accept is good. Decline ranges from not so good to bad. Not so good includes things like he's already going with someone else or is busy when the thing takes place.

Judge his answer. If he's vague, ask one more time. Assuming no other weird behaviors being present my rule is: 1 time isn't creepy or anything at all. 2 times usually isn't but shouldn't happen if they indicated that they have no interest at all (some people just don't want to be rude and use being busy as an excuse that first time). 3 times shouldn't happen unless they have clearly stated that they are interested but schedules don't work.

If you're not sure after Time 2, tell the person that you won't be asking anymore and you're sorry for bothering them. And stick to it.

So now I'm reading your question just to hit on some specific things you mention. BRB.

Ok, depending on how often you've asked him to do things his never asking you isn't a big deal. If you're asking every weekend then why should he ask you? You're already doing the planning and most guys I know would rather let the girl do all the planning since that means you're going to a place she'll like.

I've never been able to be just friends with people I was into. Either we date, or I don't hang out with you until I've over you. YMMV.
posted by theichibun at 3:27 PM on September 4, 2013

I don't recommend women asking guys out, but I also don't recommend manipulative game -playing. I recommend patience and friendliness. A little light flirting is OK, and make sure you are giving open, interested body language signals. If he asks you out, it means that you know he likes you. If you are the one who has to make the first move, you will never know for sure, and you may end up with an experience like janey47's. I've had similar experiences and will never initiate a romantic relationship again. There are ways of showing interest that guys pick up on and if they sense you're interested but don't make a move, they are not interested. These ways range from subtle to flagrant. Making tons of eye contact with a beaming smile is one of the best, and you have nothing to lose. Maybe you're already acting like you like him; after all, you do and we are hardwired by years of evolution to give and receive mating signals.

Some guys are shy, but they will still work up their courage to make the first move. It may take a shy guy quite a while to do so, though. It all depends on whether you have the patience to wait. Is he worth waiting for?
posted by xenophile at 3:51 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you have a history such as what janey47 describes, her advice for organizing your life is helpful.

I have no problem asking a man out in certain situations, but you sound desperate and fearful and that's not a great situation. Ask hin out on a real live date - use the word date - and then relax.

If he says yes, let him keep the ball rolling. If he says no, you'll live to fight another day.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:53 PM on September 4, 2013

I got distracted by work and forgot to add the following: My current relationship came about when I hit on my now-boyfriend at a bar, and insisted that he come home with me. Insisted. Would not take no for an answer.

It's been five+ years.

So even though I had many negative experiences with making the first move, I can't really help myself (after a few drinks) and of course it can work out well. As I think I said in my initial post.

In addition, please do not take what I said as manipulative game playing with respect to him. It's not intended to manipulate anything but your obsessive/compulsive behavior, which you have identified as problematic.
posted by janey47 at 3:59 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

It's still a little quirky for a woman to ask a man out.

No it isn't — at least, not in the United States. But that's the only country where I'm familiar with the dating practices, and it's apparently not the OP's country, so I won't presume to tell the OP what's common or uncommon in hers.

I've seen this in several AskMe questions about whether a woman should ask out a man — people predict that the whole nature of everything that happens in the relationship will be affected by how this initial event happens. I just don't buy this. I'm a straight, 32-year-old man, and I've been in relationships that started with me asking her out, and I've been in relationships that started with her asking me out. I haven't perceived any signs that this made any difference as far as what the relationship ended up being like.

So, if you're interested in him, act in your interest and pursue what you want. This isn't about being a woman or a man — it's about being a rational human being.
posted by John Cohen at 5:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

janey47 - I don't recommend women asking guys out, but I also don't recommend manipulative game -playing.

I totally recommend women asking guys out, unless they are asking out the sort of guys who don't like it when women ask them out. In that case, don't. I, however, was one of the guys who didn't mind at all, and when the future Mrs. Lurgi asked me out, I was delighted.

I agree, however, that manipulative game-playing is right out.

Here's the thing - if you ask him out and he says "no", then you know where you are. If you ask him out and he says "yes", but it turns out that he's just a passive dork-o who went out with you just because you asked, you will (eventually) know where you are. If, however, you do nothing and he never asks you out, then you will never know. Maybe he didn't like you or maybe he figured you didn't like him "in that way" because you only ever did platonic stuff and he assumed you just considered him a friend.

If you want to find out what is going on, ask him out.

Ocellar - also, as a side note, most of my relationships have followed the pattern of me liking the other person more than they like me, which feels sort of crap and I'd really like to avoid that sort of situation this next time, which makes me even more hesitant about being the lunger/initiator)

This is a different thing. I think that in most relationships there is an ebb and flow. My wife and I are not always equally into each other. Stress from work or just changing moods ensure that. The key thing, however, is that we both want the same things out of our relationship.

There is nothing wrong with liking the other person more than they like you (assuming you can rank such a thing). There is a problem when you assume that because you like the other person a lot and want a serious relationship, that they must feel the same way. Perhaps they don't, but the problem isn't because they like you less, it's because they don't want the same things.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:31 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would say, up your girly flirting. It can be a challenge for guys to figure out if a girl is flirting or not, and they'll hesitate to act because they don't want to misread the signals. Give him some signals he can't mistake. You don't have to ask him out. Just giggle a lot, tell him he's HILARIOUS, and look at him like he is a delicious cupcake. If he still doesn't ask you out, he's either not interested or he's too dopey for you to bother with. (Or both.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:35 PM on September 4, 2013

Next time I see my current crush, I'm going to say, "Would it be weird if I got romantic on you?"

Yes, the English use is non-standard, but it fits my speaking/communicating patterns. You can use something more typical like, "Would it be weird if we went on a date?"

Bringing it up indicates your interest, but posing it as a quasi-hypothetical gives you more cover to retreat to friendship if he says yes. So it's direct, but not as risky as asking him out/trying to kiss him.
posted by itesser at 7:28 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I, female, got asked out, by the same guy, via 1) a dinner date and walk on the beach, and 2) movie at his place, and both times I was all "Oh, sure, why not?" and the intent whooshed over my head.

By contrast, an inquiry involving the word 'date' would have clued even me in. So I'm in the camp of just asking him, once, with clear 'date' language. Asking him first doesn't necessarily mean always asking him forever; if he doesn't reciprocate after a few tries, drop him. But I don't believe the guy always has to extend the first invitation.

We're coming close to five years together, so it's more or less a success story (although I'd still recommend having more a clue than me, even as I endorse the word 'date' in all invitations meant to be such).
posted by Zelos at 8:43 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

In a world where Miley Cyrus can twerk Robin Thicke, much of the time making other obvious gestures with her face and tongue, to worldwide acclaim, I think it is probably acceptable for a woman to ask a man out, directly. Or, for that matter, regardless of gender affiliation, for any person X to politely but directly ask out any other person Y.

If you go down in flames in front of the person you're asking out, hey, that's the occasional ante cost of playing the Dating Game. Don't be overly dramatic or repetitive in asking, and keep your tongue in your mouth while doing so, and you should be within ever more lax social norms.
posted by paulsc at 12:05 AM on September 5, 2013

You met him via a group, but he is also totally down to hang out just with you, on multiple occasions? And he complimented your necklace? Apropos of nothing?

I will now quote my favorite line about dating presumably shy men, from this very site:

"Kiss him. Otherwise this is going to take forever."

Past experience tells you that guys won't stop you kissing them but that that doesn't mean they necessarily want to date you. You know who also won't stop you kissing them? People who do want to date you.

Also, being open about what you want is the polar opposite of manipulative game-playing, where you try to figure out if he secretly wants you to make a move or he's waiting for some sign that you want him to make a move but your signs are different than his signs and now he's confused and so are you and you're sitting a few seats apart and not looking at each other for fear of giving the wrong signals or the right ones or ugh.

He likes you. Don't treat your desire to lunge in and kiss him like it's some wrong or misguided impulse. Wanting to kiss people is great. If he's not into you that way, you'll find out before anything really serious happens, and you'll apologize gracefully, and that'll be fine because he's a good guy and not just a nice one, and you'll be friends because you still both enjoy each other's company. But he totally is into you, so kiss him.
posted by Errant at 3:38 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is a good middle of the road option that you can try before you up the ante (from thinkpiece, you should also check out that thread):

No email! No big talks! No awkward one-on-ones!

It's time-honored, me-tested, successfully deployed: You are together, somewhere sunny. You are off, away from the group, talking, laughing. He says something personal, amusing. You look up from under your lashes, pause, and say, "Are you flirting with me?" OR you say something personal, amusing and when he doesn't laugh, you elbow him and say, "Hey, I'm flirting with you!" Then the eye contact. Boom.

posted by skrozidile at 7:01 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I haven't been single for a long time (IMPORTANT! REMEMBER THIS! I AM GOING TO REFER TO IT LATER!) but back when I was single, there was kind of a funny paradox. If I wasn't attracted to a girl, I was really good at telling whether she was attracted to me. I'd pick up on the subtlest hints.

On the other hand, if I was attracted to a girl, I would get nervous and self-conscious and self-doubty and be utterly unable to read her cues.

So, the whole "He knows you like him, now just let him make the next step" thing would never have worked on me-- at least, not for girls I liked.

But I would, personally, not recommend that you lunge in and kiss him, because if he's not attracted to you, it doesn't leave him a polite way out. He pretty much either has to let you kiss him, or else shove you away. On the other hand, if you take Moonorb's excellent advice, you make your intent clear in a polite and respectful way, and he can do the same. He can say "Yes, sounds great," or "Um, no, but I'd love to get coffee as friends," and either way, you have an answer and you both keep your dignity. (If he does say yes, and you go on a date, and it goes well-- you can always kiss him then.)

Now, remember that first sentence about me not being single for a long time? That's because back in my junior year of college, a girl I knew asked me out on what was unambiguously a date. If I was the kind of guy who had a problem treating women as equals, that would have scared me off -- but if I was that kind of guy, I wouldn't have been right for her.

We've now been married for 16 years. I thank her all the time for making the first move.
posted by yankeefog at 7:33 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've initiated all of our hanging out

I think this is a really, really important point. I am not a fan of "rules" or "games" and I think women should initiate things when they're interested and I still completely agree with janey47's point that if you're initiating everything, something is wrong.

It's not playing games or being manipulative to ease off the pressure so they get a chance to initiate things sometimes. They might not be initiating now because they don't plan things that far in advance usually, because they know you're going to initiate, or because they aren't all that interested but your interest is appealing. The last situation happens more often than you might think (particularly when a woman is the pursuer), and looking for mutual initiation is an easy way to weed out this crowd. By all means show your interest - it seems like you have already. But give him a chance to show his interest as well, and pay close attention to it.

That said, "would you like to go out on a date" is a great suggestion as well. Just give him a chance to initiate later, if you do ask him out. Do not kiss him out of the blue, that sounds horribly awkward if he thinks you're totally platonic friends.
posted by randomnity at 7:35 AM on September 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the advice-- I think what I've learned from this is I need to bite the bullet. I'm seeing him again this weekend so hopefully will be able to wrangle him into a pub and muster the (dutch) courage there! Fingers crossed!
posted by Ocellar at 1:53 PM on September 5, 2013

Let us know how it goes, Ocellar! Good luck!
posted by xenophile at 2:48 PM on September 5, 2013

It's probably less desperate to ask him out with the mindset that if he says no, you're going to go find someone else to crush on, rather to plan on dedicating the next x amount of time to subtly hinting and hoping he'll say yes (doubly so if the rationale for the hint route is because it doesn't offer him a graceful way to say no).
posted by anaelith at 6:32 PM on September 6, 2013

Response by poster: Follow-up: He said, "no." A bit sad/disappointed although really glad I mustered the courage to ask, if I hadn't, who knows where this would have gone in my head. Ah well.
posted by Ocellar at 4:45 PM on September 7, 2013

Sorry to hear this one didn't work out - but you now have a valuable skill.

Good luck in your continuing adventures.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:34 PM on September 10, 2013

Sorry to hear that, Ocellar, but good for you for asking! On behalf of the world's shy guys, I hope you'll do the same next time, too.
posted by yankeefog at 5:32 AM on September 11, 2013

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