Help me kiss my crush!
March 2, 2014 7:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm female, 23, and have virtually no romantic experience (limited to a couple kisses when I was younger). I have a new crush and really want to kiss him! But I have no idea how to get from where we are now (just barely friends) to kissing, or even how to convey my romantic interest to Boy without explicitly telling him that I like him.

I've met Boy through an activity that we both enjoy, where we see each other every week or so. However, at the activity itself there's no chance to talk to Boy privately (there's actually barely a chance to talk to him at all). Boy and I have established a mutual rapport over the past few months, and we sometimes email/facebook outside of the activity. But despite all that, I still haven't gotten to know him much better - it's just really difficult in a group setting.

I should add that Boy is foreign and that both of us are moving to different countries in a few months (we're in the U.S. right now). So I am really not looking to get in a serious relationship, or anything like that. I'd just like to get to know Boy better, to escalate the flirting, and to kiss him! I would also like to avoid as much awkwardness as possible in case he doesn't reciprocate. I have no idea what he thinks about me, although I think I'm reasonably attractive (but definitely not drop dead gorgeous). My guess is that he has a good opinion of me, since he usually gravitates toward me in the group... but I don't think that has anything to do with romantic intentions - it's just that I am generally a friendly person and talk to him more than others at the activity do.

So, Metafilter - how do I flirt with this guy and go from barely-friends to more-than-friends, without being super explicit (i.e., "I want to kiss you", "will you go on a date with me?") or giving him the impression that I'm looking for a serious relationship? I know someone will say to just ask him out, but I'm looking for advice which is a bit more specific than that. How do I ask him out when I can't talk to him alone? Also, if I just ask him to get coffee or dinner or something, how do I signal that I'm romantically interested in him? I have a feeling that even if I were to ask him to grab dinner, he wouldn't pick up on my romantic interest and would think that I'm just being friendly. He's also from a country where casually dating is not that common, so it's possible that he might be even less likely to pick up on my intentions because of that.

posted by tango! to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd start out by stopping calling him "Boy", which is somewhat derogatory.

That said, you're limiting your space of options here arbitrarily. The solution here is to be super-explicit, and ask him over email/Facebook. Why not? If you think he might perceive the activity as friendly, you can simply say, "I was wondering if you would like to go on a date to XXX restaurant." Follow that up with a suggested date to make it obvious you want this to happen, and then see where it goes from there. He may perceive this as being looking for a serious relationship, but that's not your fault - since you are in the US, it's fair to expect American style dating rituals, which include casual dating as an option.

Don't over-think this. It's just a date. The worst that happens is he declines.
posted by saeculorum at 7:39 AM on March 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: how to convey my romantic interest to Boy without explicitly telling him that I like him.

Say it or show it; either way you have to take the risk and explicitly let him know how you feel. This whole "how do I signal my intent without explicitly signaling my intent" is something a lot of people inexperienced at dating try to do, because it feels safer and has deniability if the other person doesn't reciprocate. The problem with that strategy is that it usually doesn't work: the other person isn't a mind reader, and may be just as afraid of taking the risk of making the first move as you are.

You can drop handkerchiefs or the modern equivalent and hope he picks up the clue and asks you out, or you can save a lot of time and anxiety and missed opportunities by just asking him out yourself.

Keep it simple at first, invite him for coffee or something relatively low key first time out. It doesn't have to be a huge flirty romantic gesture kind of deal, especially if it'll be your first time spending time together one on one.
posted by ook at 7:43 AM on March 2, 2014 [12 favorites]

The best way to let a guy know you are interested in him is to find ways to casually touch him.
posted by srboisvert at 7:45 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hmm. I'm finding it difficult to ascertain how much of a chance you would actually have to talk to this guy (you first say that you barely have a chance to talk to him at all, but then you say that he gravitates toward you because you talk to him more than others at the group). The second statement leads me to believe that you at least have enough time for casual small talk. Are you afraid of being overheard asking this guy to hang out? If so, I'd suggest laying on the flirtation at the actual group (compliment him, ask him about his week, laugh, touch your hair/face, make lots of eye contact, etc.) and then use email or call him on the phone to ask him to dinner or coffee (use language here that does not connote platonicity - instead of "would you like to hang out sometime?", say "would you like to go to dinner or have a cup of coffee with me", and suggest a specific date and time). If he is interested in spending time with you outside of the group, awesome! Then you lay on the body language. Body language conveys so much. This is how you signal that you are romantically interested in him. Lean forward when you speak to him. Touch his arm. Smile. Laugh with him. Again, lots of eye contact! Hopefully, he will pick up that you're interested and will either make the first move or will be receptive to your first move, if you're comfortable with kissing him first! If he seems unreceptive or like he's not feeling it, no big loss. Be proud of yourself for pursuing what you want!
posted by lettuce dance at 7:58 AM on March 2, 2014

both of us are moving to different countries in a few months

This is excellent, because you actually don't have to worry about being rejected. He said no? In a few months you'll never have to see him again. If you only see him every other week or so then you can literally count out the number of times you'll have to face him again, and in a scenario where you're not even able to talk to each other privately.

So with that said, I'd ramp up the old-school flirtin' (lots of eye contact, touch his arm, smile a lot, etc) and then ask him for coffee and say its "just you and me" so he's clear that a) you like him and b) this isn't just a friendly date or one that he can invite other people from the activity to. Once there sit close to him, lean in to talk to him and again, lots of eye contact (bonus points for dropping your gaze now and then and then looking back up at him). After all that he should seriously get your intentions so you'll be able to tell if its reciprocated. If not he'll move away/cut it short etc. If it is then you can choose your moment to lean in and hopefully there'll be kissing. Good luck!
posted by billiebee at 8:02 AM on March 2, 2014

I don't know, especially given that he is foreign and I don't know your cultures, I would be wary of finding opportunities to touch him. I guess I am just a crusty New Englander at heart (although I am a relatively young person) but I don't touch people I barely know no matter how much I like them. Some people have pretty strong feelings about being touched without an invitation.

If you're inexperienced and don't know how to flirt, it's something that's tough to teach you over Metafilter. I agree that you need to just actually indicate that you're interested in him directly, anything else and you risk being misunderstood completely and never getting a chance to kiss this guy. Asking someone on a date doesn't mean you're looking for a serious relationship, you can explain your situation/desires if he actually takes you up on the offer. You don't have to make it sound like a formal proposal of some sort. Be casual! You don't have to create a big private moment. Be confident! When you're chatting with him at your shared activity and an opportune moment presents itself, say something like "hey, do you want to go out sometime?" That's fairly straightforward although not ironclad. If you do it via chat/Facebook message or email, I suggest that you definitely use the phrase "go on a date with me to X", because the whole context of your voice and body language etc will be lost.

If he doesn't want to go on a date with you, he'll either say no or make an excuse or whatever, and it will be disappointing, but - nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you try to make him "sense your vibes" by just smiling at him and making eye contact, you're really not venturing anything, my friend.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:03 AM on March 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

On re-reading your question, I noticed more how you emphasized that you think he will not understand your intentions if you do not say the word "date". Therefore I'm really not sure why you are asking how to avoid saying it. It is possible to indicate romantic interest to someone without asking them on a date using some of the basic flirting methods people have mentioned here, but you only have a few months to work with here before you leave the country. Is avoiding the possibility of an awkward moment really worth missing the opportunity to date someone you like?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:16 AM on March 2, 2014

Embarrassment isn't fatal. Ask him out on a date.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:25 AM on March 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: treehorn+bunny, I think I'm mainly worried about using the word "date" because I'm not sure whether it's too forward (although by the responses here, I'm guessing that being forward is good!), or whether he'd think that my intentions are more serious than they really are. Also, it seems like it would make declining more awkward?

None of the guys who have asked me out have used the word "date," and a lot of the time, I went into the "date" not being sure whether it was actually a date or just hanging out as friends. But I got the hint of their romantic interest by the end of the date, or at least by the end of the second date, because they'd either communicate through actions (physical contact) or by saying something. Admittedly, my sample size is <10, and these were all somewhat nerdy shy guys in college, so maybe emulating their behavior is not the best approach. Thanks for the feedback!
posted by tango! at 8:42 AM on March 2, 2014

You say you guys are in touch via email and Facebook, right? So send him a message asking him out for coffee or drinks. It's up to you whether to be explicit about it being a date or to just say "let's grab some coffee on Friday at 6", but either way offer an activity at a place and a time -- don't just ask him if he wants to hang out sometime which leaves things ambiguous and unsettled.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm cismale, I think you calling him Boy is cute. The answer to your question is gentle mutual escalation of physical contact.
posted by Tom-B at 11:25 AM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Flirt. Touch. Laugh. Tease. Wink. Make up excuses to get him alone with plausible deniability, then ramp up the flirting.

I am not in one camp or the other- I believe the "stiff and proper" date-asking and having dinner out with a kiss goodnight is fine and dandy and still has a place in the world. I also believe the friendly "hanging out and, oops, making out" is fine and dandy and has a place in the world, and that place, if anywhere, is definitely with young college-ish women and cute foreign guys.
posted by quincunx at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I believe the "stiff and proper" date-asking and having dinner out with a kiss goodnight is fine and dandy and still has a place in the world. I also believe the friendly "hanging out and, oops, making out" is fine and dandy and has a place in the world, and that place, if anywhere, is definitely with young college-ish women and cute foreign guys.

This. Ask him to hang out - for drinks or coffee, but I would err on the drinks side of things - and see what happens. Good luck!

Also there is nothing wrong with calling him "Boy" in this post. It's obvious (to me, at least) that you aren't trying to demean him or speak down to him or whatever. It's cute.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:03 PM on March 2, 2014

None of the guys who have asked me out have used the word "date," and a lot of the time, I went into the "date" not being sure whether it was actually a date or just hanging out as friends.

And how many of those times would you have been much happier knowing exactly what it was?

I'd advise against deliberate flirting. Maybe it's a quirk of mine, but for me flirting only works if it's born from the situation and verbally dancing together. If you set out with the intention of I Am Going To Flirt With This Dude, it pretty much always comes across as forced and stilted, to me. That's not to say don't flirt, but that if you do,let it flow naturally. Don't walk into your next encounter with him thinking "I am going to touch his arm and play with my hair." Do walk into your next encounter with him thinking "If I feel like touching his arm when he says or does something, I can do that and it's okay." Read his response and proceed accordingly. That being said, a surprising number of people can get antsy about their personal space even with someone they Like, and a lot of people are very reserved about public physical affection, so sometimes that kind of flirting might be Not Okay for the person you are flirting with--but verbal flirting can be great for them. So in general, I tend to think it's a good idea to start small, and then see if you two are dancing together.

It's totally reasonable, IMHO, to want to ask someone out privately, not in a public situation. It is not reasonable, contra some advice given here, to try for 'plausible deniability.' I mean, would you rather go on a date with someone who hedges his bets, or someone who puts it right out there and says "I like you. Do you like me? Check one, [ ] yes [ ] no."

Dunno about you, but for me? The latter is sexy as all hell. Making yourself vulnerable to someone is showing trust in them, which is a really, really great place for any relationship--from friends to marriage and everything in between--to start.

So what you need to do is ask this boy out in a way that makes it explicit that you are interested in romance without pressuring him.

At the end of the day, I guess what I'm saying is the most important thing in any kind of relationship is honesty, and the trust that is wrapped up with that. If you start totally honestly--I Like you, want to see if we both Like each other?--you're setting an excellent foundation for whatever happens next. Being open and vulnerable with someone is showing them that you trust them not to be an asshole. Inevitably, some people will turn out to be assholes. But in my, oh let's say frequent dating history, very very few people are actually assholes on purpose, and showing that vulnerability--exposing your throat--is an invitation; it's saying "I trust you with my feelings, and you can trust me with yours."

The worst thing that can happen isn't that he'd say no. The worst thing that can happen is that he'd say yes, but you never asked.

Here you go:

Subject: Hey

Hey Boy, I've had a lot of fun with you in our group activity. I was wondering if you'd like to go on a date on $day? This $thingthatwebothlike is happening.


*dial his phone number*

Hey Boy, I've had a lot of fun with you in our group activity. I was wondering if you'd like to go on a date on $day? This $thingthatwebothlike is happening.


Good luck. Have fun. Making a deep connection with someone, however fleeting it may be (and at the end of the day, moving to different countries isn't necessarily a death knell), is a precious, precious thing. And as they say, you miss out on 100% of the chances you never take.

Go for it. No matter what happens, you'll grow and learn something valuable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

If what you want is a date, then asking for a date is definitely not too forward, unless he has some pretty anachronistic ideas of how women should behave. It's pretty hard to judge when someone you don't know well asks you on a date whether they're looking for a one night stand, a fling, a long term relationship, or marriage. It could be any of those things. That's why when you find out that he's willing to go on at least *a single date* with you, you can explain to him that you're leaving the country soon and not looking for any serious relationship, but you like him and want to get to know him better. A single date does not commit you for anything more than just that, if you decide that hanging out with him is not actually as cool as you thought it would be, there is no further obligation from either one of you to go on a second date.

I am a woman and I hated being asked out without being asked explicitly on a date. Yes, it would have been slightly awkward to decline, of course, but much less awkward than when I told myself maybe the guy just wanted to be friends and then realized I was wrong, and had to back away as they tried to make a move on me or drop a phrase about my boyfriend into the conversation and watch them looking crestfallen and trying to exit the coffeeshop as soon as they could...
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:52 PM on March 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Ask him for drinks or coffee, get to know him. Either you're both interested in kissing or he's not, or after you get to know him, you won't be.

What you need to do is to move from Crush to either Dating or Just Friends. What will cause you all kinds of angst and drama is keeping it a crush. Then you'll just obsess over him and build him up and basically create a whole different guy out of this dude you know.

So move this shit along, one way or the other.

Hell, why not say to him, "Dude, I'm totally crushing on you, let's grab a smoothie on the way home."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:18 AM on March 3, 2014

Response by poster: I wanted to let you all know that I took the plunge and asked the guy to have coffee earlier this week. He's really great, but the coffee date helped me realize that I'd rather pursue a friendship than a romantic relationship with him after all.

Thanks for all the advice! I'm happy and surprised at how low stress and easy this was, and will definitely make it a point to quickly act upon crushes in the future, rather than sitting back and letting them fester/cause angst (what Ruthless Bunny said is pretty much on point).
posted by tango! at 9:54 AM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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