How to start talking to a guy I have a crush on?
November 18, 2014 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm a 22 year old college student who has a crush on a classmate. I've had very little interaction with him. Last week, I got to hang out with him at a friend's birthday party, he was very nice and funny and we even exchanged phone number. I also heard from his friends that he's single. Since the party, We haven't talked to each other much because there are very few opportunities to talk when we are in school. He sits far away and we don't have mutual activities outside of class. We have only said hi to each other in the hallway. I'm a shy person and very inexperienced when it comes to flirting or pursuing a romantic relationship. I don't know how to get to know him better without appearing desperate. I have no idea if he is interested in me more than a friend. I have never had a boyfriend so I don't know what to do. Thank you for you're advice!
posted by missybitsy to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It really is as simple as, phoning/emailing/texting "hey [classmate], would you like to get a [coffee/beer/bite] after class [tomorrow/next week]?" Or whatever variation on that makes sense to you.

If he says yes, go on date. If he says no, or doesn't respond, leave it be. Since he already exchanged numbers with you, it seems likely he'll say yes. Don't sweat it.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:57 PM on November 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Nothing ventured: nothing gained. You have his phone number. Use it. Send him a text if a call is too fraught. Ask him to coffee, or to a bookstore, or a poetry reading. Being forthright in your interest in getting to know him better is the exact opposite of appearing desperate.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:58 PM on November 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

Not sure how helpful my advice is going to be for the following reasons:
  1. I'm a married 36-year-old man who didn't date in college.
  2. All of my relationships started out as friendships.
  3. I prefer women who make the first move.
That being said, I think you should just talk to the guy. Ask him to go out to lunch with you. Just tell him, "I really enjoyed talking with you at so-and-so's birthday party."

Chances are he'll be flattered you remember him.
posted by starbreaker at 1:01 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ask him to coffee or out for a pitcher. Then get to know him.

Asking someone out isn't desperate. It's how you get people to go out with you. If you have his number, and it makes it less awkward for you, I give you permission to text him, since that's new and modern anyway. Something like, Joe's Bar has $5 pitchers on Tuesdays, want to share one? Or, want to grab a coffee after class? Low risk with these.

You don't know if you like him for a boyfriend or as a friend until you get to know him. You can talk about your class over your beverage of choice. Ask him why he's taking the class, tell him why you are. Discuss the school in general, find out what his major is and why he chose it. Ask about his family, ask about his pets, ask about his roommates.

People love to talk about themselves, and will do so for hours without much promting from you. Listen to what he tells you. Is he jerky about people? Is he as nice as he seems on the outside? Assess thoughtfully.

Do have somewhere to be, even if you don't want to go. Leave him wanting more. "I've got to get to my yoga class, I'd love to do this again sometime." Then smile, a quick buss on the cheek, and a wave goodbye.

If he's interested, he'll suggest the next thing, and/or text you.

That's all there is to it. Don't let a crush overwhelm you. This guy is just a guy. He's not your hope of heaven or the only boy you'll ever like, or anything like it. He can be a neat-o human, or just a bro. But put it in perspective. Right now your imagination is making him seem like the best thing since Cherrios.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:06 PM on November 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

missybitsy: "I don't know how to get to know him better without appearing desperate."

Don't worry about this kind of game-playing, hard-to-get, The Rules kind of nonsense. Talk to him if you want to talk to him. If that makes him not interested in you, then you are best off knowing that now.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:07 PM on November 18, 2014 [16 favorites]

Text him with something like "Had fun hanging out at [friend]'s party. Want to get coffee before class some time this week?" Then you've got the natural break of going to class to give you guys an end point.

The coffee isn't a date, but if it goes well, ask him out on one. Use the word "date". Other humans are pretty obtuse about these things. We can't read minds. You have to use your words to express your desires clearly.
posted by Mizu at 1:12 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I like Admiral's advice above, but the main thing that gives me pause is how you mention you've never had a boyfriend and are very inexperienced so the question is .. Are you ok with him potentially saying no to you? Or is it going to crush you or make you feel awkward when you bump into him or his friends? Because if it's the latter than you may want to take a more passive role in this. I'm probably going to get a beating for this one, but hey it's just my opinion. It's not like it will make a kitten die, so here goes. I think it might be a good idea for you to wait for the guy to make the first move. I know it's old fashioned, but you've already exchanged numbers so if he is interested in you he would at least be asking others if you're single. He hasn't called you and it seems that he hasn't been making the effort you have made to ask your friends about your status etc. Women are much better with interpersonal relationships than men are and as a result, women are more likely to consider a relationship with someone who isn't necessarily their "type". Men are simpler than that. They tend to go with their gut more on relationships and adhere more to what they think their "type" might be. Unless he's very shy himself, he will at LEAST try to make an effort to talk to you at school if he likes you that way. Sitting at a desk far away wouldn't stop him from walking over and initiating conversation. From what you've written it seems he hasn't even done this much.

I don't think it's so much a matter of how to ask him. That's easy. You just ask. How bout a bite to eat later? How 'bout we grab some coffee? But rather a matter of how cool are you with rejection right now. If you're cool with it, you've got nothing to lose. If you're not cool with it, play a more passive role until you think you're in a spot where you'll be fine with it.
posted by rancher at 1:15 PM on November 18, 2014

You have his number now. Send him a text.

It can be as simple as "This is missybitsy from the party on Saturday. Just wanted to say hi. Hope you're having a good day."

Then see what he does.

If you guys get a good conversation going back and forth, make plans to hang out one on one, or invite him alone to some other social gathering, or really whatever seems fun to do together.
posted by Sara C. at 1:20 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I feel like if you've exchanged phone numbers and had a good conversation you're already "in" to some extent--maybe not romantically but at least as a friend. So there's a pretty low chance of rejection if you ask him out to coffee or lunch.
posted by hejrat at 1:26 PM on November 18, 2014

Yeah. If he was feeling weirded out by you, or decidedly not interested, the exchange of numbers wouldn't have taken place. It's entirely possible that he's been noticing you from afar and is also having some shy feelings. You heard from his friends that he's single? That's not an accident. Sometimes young dudes have their own subtle way of flirting--I think you should make a move and invite him to do something (coffee, beer, ride bikes, play tennis, whatever makes you feel comfortable).
posted by magdalemon at 1:46 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Consider that he probably could have written the exact question you just did. Just see if he wants to hang out. It doesn't need to be a big 'thing'.
posted by empath at 1:58 PM on November 18, 2014

I met my husband in college. Text him and ask him to do something specific.

"Hi, this is ___ from the other night. It would be great to catch up. Would you like to go to a movie/get coffee/go to the bar this Saturday?"

If he thinks this is desperate then he's not the guy for you.

Ps. My husband asked me to hang out and watch Dexter then we started dating immediately and I asked to make it official a week later. In college it doesn't have to be formal, but you do need to make your intentions known.
posted by Crystalinne at 2:07 PM on November 18, 2014

It's really easy to overthink these things and start telling yourself stories.

Just ask him to coffee. Either you'll be in to each other, or you won't - either way, you'll know.
posted by 4midori at 2:20 PM on November 18, 2014

Mizu: "The coffee isn't a date, but if it goes well, ask him out on one. Use the word "date". Other humans are pretty obtuse about these things. We can't read minds. You have to use your words to express your desires clearly."

This should be auto-posted in all dating AskMes.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:58 PM on November 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

I met my boyfriend in a class we had together. We started out by getting to know each other better - you do this by spending time together. I asked him to have a study sesh together for class. It worked well for me :)
posted by DoubleLune at 3:15 PM on November 18, 2014

If I exchanged numbers with a girl and she called me I would be really excited. Some men have the impression that women can get any man they want so even if you exchanged numbers, he might be hesitant.

Call him!
posted by tacodave at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I exchanged numbers with a girl and she called me I would be really excited. Some men have the impression that women can get any man they want so even if you exchanged numbers, he might be hesitant.

Call him!

posted by tacodave at 3:50 PM on November 18 [+] [!]

Agreed. Tacodave is onto something, here. He gave you his number. Use it as the others have suggested, depending on whatever you're most comfy with. Btw, "appearing desperate" is actually quite literal when it comes to men -in my experience, and from many rap sessions with them. So,,, if you don't want to appear desperate, just stay away from peekhole sweaters with the wonder bra; or anything low-cut for cleavage, and you'll be just fine.

Also, and this is just my thing, don't douse yourself with too much fragrance when you go out (not that you would, just seems a bit like trying too hard when you can smell a person's fragrance from a block away.)

Calling an interested guy is not desperate.
posted by Justicequartet at 4:15 PM on November 18, 2014

You don't say how the number exchange went down, but (I'm a now-married dude, and) I always made it a point to always provide my number to a woman I was interested in, and not request hers. This is for purely practical reasons: namely that it gives her the power to reject or accept me without risk on her part (e.g. is he a creep? will he harass me?). In a situation where I might cross paths with that same woman reguarly, I would be friendly but provide distance in order not to intrude. Rejection is uncomfortable... and so is rejecting. So I tried to provide latitude where it might be appreciated. Such an approach has its plusses and minuses.

With all that said, it sounds to me like you're exactly in step 2 of TheNewWazoo's Courtship Ritual ca. 2005.

That means it's your turn to let him know - in whatever ways you are comfortable with - that you're interested! The rest of the thread has reasonable approaches, but please believe me when I say that it's perfectly okay to be forthright about nerves! Sometimes the mere act of vocalizing/communicating/admitting that you're nervous or shy can be enough to break the spell. And if not, at least you've established yourself as someone willing to communicate, which can open the door for more direct inquiry on his part. That is to say, if he knows you're a) receptive, and b) too nervous to ask yourself, then he may be more willing to move things forward.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 7:52 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

What worked on me, when I was doing this kind of thing, was for the young woman to pursue an _escalating campaign_.

Keep in mind that a whole lot of guys are dumb and oblivious when it comes to noticing interest from women. We're not expecting it and get taken off-guard, or just miss it completely.

So, an escalating campaign:

Do something to get his attention, like have a normal conversation with him. Make him focus on you. You've already done this, decisively as it resulted in an exchange of phone numbers, well done.

Now give him some time and space to think about you (he will, don't worry). Sounds like you've done that as well.

Get his attention again, as by another normal conversation. A full-on date would work, though it doesn't need to be that big. This time, show more interest in him, some enthusiasm, even a bit of affection. If you can maneuver to get beside him, laugh at something and simultaneously put your hand on his upper arm briefly, that's a great move (there are millions I'm sure, just have a specific personal recollection of that one).

Now go away and give him more time and space to think about you. Yes, guys really are this dumb and oblivious sometimes, it really does take this long for the lightbulb to blink on, he's not necessarily going to get it quickly even if you laugh and squeeze his arm affectionately.

You're now ready to try an _inquiring look_. Wait for a situation where you can see each other clearly, maybe at the start or end of class if he's not too far away, and then look him in the eyes and wonder to yourself if the fellow is interested in you. And the key here is, don't hide that this is why you're looking at him. You don't need to playact it, just drop the shyness for a few seconds and openly look at him inquiringly, wondering if he likes you. Because of your previous encounters, when he sees you do this he'll have context for interpreting why you're looking at him like that. You don't have to look at him for very long. If you get a conspiratorial return look from him, then he knows, and you know that he knows, and he knows that you know that he knows… and there you are. Connection made!

Break off the eye contact, smile to yourself knowingly, and then start planting yourself in situations where he'll have a chance to ask you out. Which he will, at that point; guys are dumb and oblivious but not *that* dumb.

And then he's the one pursuing you, so you won't look desperate at all. Feel free to tease him and play a little hard to get if you enjoy that, or just skip it and go right to having a relationship with him.
posted by kadonoishi at 10:02 PM on November 18, 2014

Something I wish I'd known sooner than I did: if someone gives you their number, they are saying "CALL ME PLEASE I WOULD LIKE YOU TO CALL ME SO PICK UP THE PHONE BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE A CALL. FROM YOU. ON THE PHONE."

Don't play any games. They're silly and just waste everyone's time--so much better if you start on the same page. So be direct: "Would you like to go on a date to pet a crouton with me on St Swithin's day?" Clear statement of interest, suggestion of activity, suggesting a time. There is a possibility, be aware, that he may say "ummm yes to the crouton-petting, but I don't think of you that way." Contrary to what you might think, this possibility is a good thing! I mean it! Better to know now that he doesn't like you that way than spending an awkward time together and/or embarrassment face to face when you go for a kiss, for example. So, really, don't do the plausible denial non-date date. You're doing yourself no favours if you go that route. Just be clear and direct and chill if he says no, and feel free to squee your damndest when you hang up the phone if he says yes.

Asking someone out isn't desperate. Asking everyone out is desperate. You're not doing that, so you're good to go.

Seriously though, no games. All dates carry within them the potential of something developing long term, and the patterns you set early are the patterns that, usually, will continue. If you start with game playing, games continue--but if you start out clear and honest, that's likely to continue, and will serve you better long term.

tldr GO FOR IT! Have the funs!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:14 PM on November 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

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