crush on a shy boy
February 9, 2007 4:31 PM   Subscribe

i have a crush on really shy boy and i am not sure how i should approach

My situation is similar to this mefi question, except that we are not very close friends (yet!).

I met him over a year ago and I thought he was cute, but because of his shyness, he has come across to me as a mean quiet person. Since I'm a little shy myself (but not as shy as him), I got intimidated and I never approached him other than saying hello whenever we run into each other.

About a few months ago, I started to run into him more frequently (at a bar, a coffeeshop, or on streets) and our interaction has grown from mere greetings to more meaningful conversations. While I thought he was cute, my feelings for him was not strong, and I just enjoyed to learn that he's not a mean person and welcomed him slowly opening up to me.

One day, I was walking down a street looking for somewhat late dinner and I ran into him. He, too, was looking for something to eat, so we agreed to get something together and eat at his place. This was the first time we spent time by ourselves and I was a little nervous, but we ended up having a very good time just talking. I found him very charming and warm, and when I left his place, I felt really warm inside.

Ever since then, when I run into him, he takes a seat at the table I am sitting at (at a bar or a coffee shop) and hangs out for an hour or two. And I'm very much enjoying this "running into him" (we never call each other to meet up though we do have each others phone numbers. I do not know why he doesn't call me, but as for my reasons, I am just deathly afraid of calling him).

It has been like this for a few months now, and my feelings are not going away.
Generally speaking, I am happy with the current situation. Running into him and spending time with him makes me really happy. But at the same time, I do wonder how he feels about me.
A part of me doesn't want to do anything about it. It took us about a year to be this close and I don't want my crush to ruin it (if he is not returning the feelings), and most importantly I do not want my little happy "run-in" to end either.
But the other part of me wonders if he is interested in me, if he has any guts to initiate anything. After asking some male friends who know him, they all agreed that he is not a type who will initiate and that I'll probably have to do something first.

Asking him out is really not an option for me right now, but I am wondering if there is any slight action I can make to let him know that my interest is there (without actually telling him) and see how he reacts to it. Sort of like testing the water.

Do you have any suggestions or recommendation on what I could do?
posted by grafholic to Human Relations (25 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The ol' getting drunk and making out is always an option.
posted by dobie at 4:41 PM on February 9, 2007

If you don't feel you can ask him out (though I would recommend trying to arrange to meet for coffee), getting him a very un-mushy, very un-romantic (think funny) Valentine's card this week might be an option. You clearly don't want to profess your dying love, merely that there's something more than just a casual friend. Carry it with you, if you like, and give it to him at coffee. Tell him you thought it was hilarious and that you thought he might like it. No need to seal it up and make a big production of it.

YMMV, but as a shy guy, this would probably make the right impression on me.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:44 PM on February 9, 2007

"The ol' getting drunk and making out is always an option."

While he drinks, he does not drink a lot. Actually I have never seen him very drunk (or it could be that he's good at hiding how drunk he is).
posted by grafholic at 4:45 PM on February 9, 2007

Everyone is different, of course, but I'll give you my two cents as a shy guy.

It sounds to me as if he's interested in you. It seems like he's opened up to you since your earlier meetings, and a lot of shy guys will keep that defensive snarkiness up unless they really feel compelled to get to know someone. I LOVE it when a girl makes the first move, as long as she isn't too assertive about it. (Don't corner him in the cafe and make him give you his class pin.)

You don't make it clear why you can't ask him out right now, but that seems like the next logical step for me. If not for a date, maybe just suggest that you go see a movie/concert/museum exhibit? Something low-key and at least a little distracting that interests both of you.

If sparks fly, build a fire. If the soft asbestos of platonicity envelopes you, well at least you've got a friend.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:54 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fortune favors the bold.

The next time you bump into him say "I'm going to suggest that we upgrade our friendship from a 'getting together accidentally' basis to a 'getting together intentionally' basis." If he says "you mean, like a date?" you say "yeah." If he says "um, I'm not quite up for that" just smile and say "well, I guess I'll have to content myself with getting together accidentally then."

It's possible this will scare him off. That's OK: it means he's not ready to reciprocate, and it's better you find out sooner than later. But I doubt that'll happen. It's more likely he's been agonizing over a way to broach the same subject.
posted by adamrice at 4:54 PM on February 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

But the other part of me wonders if he is interested in me, if he has any guts to initiate anything.

Speaking from 26 years of experience as a shy boy, no, probably not. You need to be the one to start this, friend.

In fact, although he may well have a crush on you (I suspect he does), chances are he's missing out on any cues you're trying to send out, and instead is just enjoying having someone around to talk about Chekhov with, or whatever you and he talk about. Not that he doesn't want to get in your undies; he's just less aware of this possibility than you are.

I like the idea of getting him a funny Valentine card. But also, why not just ask him on a date? If you want to take the whole Valentine angle, you could say, "Hey, we're the only two people in this city without Valentine's Day dates, what's up with that?" Don't do something mushy. Do a concert or museum show; something you and he will both be interested in and be able to converse about. And then somewhere quiet afterward.

One more thing. Research shows that shy boys love independent film festivals. Further research shows that the San Francisco Independent Film Festival is coming up, and you live in San Francisco.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:05 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ask him out, but to something specific, so that the occasion of the date (a movie you both want to see, a band you want to check out, a demo you feel passionate about) is the point. If you propose a date then have to come up with something to do, that gets weird. Just saying I’m doing this thing this afternoon, want to come too? is much easier on everyone. That’s what friends do.

If you’re making time to be with one another, then the context will be there to say something like, “I find you attractive.” Or, “I want you to kiss me.” But that’s later.
posted by kika at 5:05 PM on February 9, 2007

Come up with something you would like to do (see a movie?), next time you see him, ask if he'd like to do it. if yes ask for a phone number offer yours. Its not really a date, cause it was something you were going to do with or with out him... but on the other hand it really is a date.
posted by magikker at 5:05 PM on February 9, 2007

I would bet that one of the male friends that know him that you asked about him have told him. If you mention it to them again, it will almost guarantee it. So, he is probably ready with an answer or a reaction if you make the move adamrice suggests. I think that is the best approach.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:08 PM on February 9, 2007

Oh, and realize that it can take some guys a while to figure out that a girl likes them. There have been a couple of times where I later realized how dumb I was in not knowing someone liked me. Some of us guys are really bad with "signals"
posted by magikker at 5:08 PM on February 9, 2007

He definitely likes you as a person, or he wouldn't stay to chat.

One possible "slight action" would be to start keeping a regular schedule -- always be at the cafe certain days from X time to Y time. If you begin to see him regularly, you'll know he's made note of your schedule and is seeking you out. (Note: he might do this subtly by coming by only some of the times that he knows you'll be there. Or, he may like you only as a friend and so not really take advantage of your availability. Or, he may really like you, but not notice the system and you'll remain clueless. Regardless, it's a slight action you could try with very little risk.)

Another (slightly less) slight action: at any given time, have something in mind that you'd like to do in general... a mental list of the movies/gallery shows/plays/new restaurants/stores/lectures that you're interested in. Then, depending on the time of day you run into him, mention that you're thinking about going later that night/the next day/on the weekend to check out X, and does he want to come too. It might feel like you're asking him out, but if you approach it the exact same way you'd handle running into a female acquaintance and telling her that you're going to go to the art show on Friday, it will be fine. With this action, you still won't know if he "like-likes" you, but if he comes along, you'll have a chance to get to know him better, and that will yield better information in the long run.

Another minor action would be to look out for opportunities to share another late dinner, but this time invite him to your place to eat it, in the spirit of being reciprocal. Have whatever he drinks on hand, if possible.

Look for opportunities to lend and borrow books/CDs/DVDs, because these are easy ways to become slightly more entangled with a new friend without getting dangerously datelike. Once you've asked to borrow something or offered to lend something, if he agrees, then you can make a casual plan to meet at the cafe and hand it over... which leads to a casual plan to meet to return it.
posted by xo at 5:49 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

He is probably looking for permission, so find a way to give it to him.

Just be a little more premedidated, like the movie suggestion, and start being a little touchy-feelie. If he starts to do the same things you do, but won't go further, he doesn't know he has permission to do whatever, and you'll have to let him know that again. Whether you use words or actions is up to you, although you seem to be looking for something physical, so I'd recommend you stop talking and get on with it.

But the other part of me wonders if he is interested in me, if he has any guts to initiate anything.

A certain segment of society teaches boys that they must not 'take liberties', and some boys learn that lesson too well. You really don't want some Neanderthal to club you over the head, so try looking at it as a positive..

Asking him out is really not an option for me right now,

Huh? Are you just uncomfortable with using the words, or is there something you are trying to avoid?
posted by Chuckles at 6:02 PM on February 9, 2007

As former shy young man, I think that he's probably never going to make the first move here unless you make it painfully clear that you want him to. My ex-wife finally had to resort to, "are you going to ask me out or what?" Some of us guys are just clueless, I could kick myself over all the cool women I blew off because I didn't pick up on the most obvious signals.
posted by octothorpe at 6:12 PM on February 9, 2007

My theory is that after a certain point attraction is mutual 90% of the time. If you feel it, he feels it. Now I could be wrong. Slightly inappropriate touching is the way to find out.

Touch his arm after he says something funny or clever and let it last just a bit too long. Ignore the noise of your blood rushing to your head, ignore the feeling that a beautiful kingfisher is going to slink out of your stomach and up your throat, and pay close attention to his eyes.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:16 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Text him.
posted by trevyn at 6:19 PM on February 9, 2007

Ok, I’m a man and I think I can read this situation at least up to a point. If you can discard the possibility of the guy being gay or straddling the fence and not knowing which way to jump, from what you’ve given us he’s thinking about you at least as much as you are about him... and pretty much the same way. Some of the sexiest women have no idea how sexy they are to the opposite sex, which is what he is.

Invite him with your breasts. That always worked with me as easy as a casual arched back with her hands behind her neck flipping her hair. But my all time favorite has to be the wonderful “unintended” soft boobie brush on my shoulder or anywhere else that is convenient and happy.

He’s a lucky devil. He just doesn’t know it yet.
posted by Huplescat at 6:24 PM on February 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

See Here.
posted by phrontist at 7:15 PM on February 9, 2007

"Look for opportunities to lend and borrow books/CDs/DVDs, because these are easy ways to become slightly more entangled with a new friend without getting dangerously datelike. Once you've asked to borrow something or offered to lend something, if he agrees, then you can make a casual plan to meet at the cafe and hand it over... which leads to a casual plan to meet to return it."

hahaha...actually that has happened already. When I was at his place, we talked about something (I really don't want to get into specifics in case he checks this place out) and he told me about his favorite movie. I said i had never seen it, then he went through his movie collection, found the DVD, and said "here, you can borrow it."
Unfortunately, I ran into him after seeing the movie and had the DVD with me, so no "making an intentional meet-up to return it. but he seemed pleased to hear that i liked the movie a lot.

A few people asked about my fear of asking him out, and it has something to do with my recent events where I lost some friends due to unfortunate events. Another thing I did not mention is that the reason why I hadn't even thought about making some type of move to him was because I was emotionally disturbed due to the events that had happened. Now that I feel a lot better about my life emotionally, I finally have a room to think about "now what am I going to do about this boy". At the same time, hanging out with him has been one of the few nicest things that has been happening to me lately, and due to the recent loss, I am too afraid to ruin the happiness of running into him and sharing some smiles and laughter together for a few hours.

thanks everyone for the suggestions. (and of course keep them coming!)
posted by grafholic at 7:20 PM on February 9, 2007

Why not ask him if he has any other movies like the one he lent you since you like his taste in movies? This gives him an excuse to invite you over or to meet you somewhere and compliments his taste to build his ego to make him comfortable with you which may lead to him asking you to watch one of those movies he thinks you may like at his house. Then you can invite him to yours a few days later to reciprocate. Make him a dinner to thank him.

Sorry to hear about losing some friends and the unfortunate events.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:12 PM on February 9, 2007

um, keep it simple. be honest, make the most of the opportunity, and enjoy it. don' t try and play pretty games like half the suggestions, i assume you are not 15 any more
posted by edtut at 8:12 PM on February 9, 2007

You could just let Nature take its course, and wait until he feels comfortable enough to make the first move if you’re intent that he do so. I’m sure he’ll reach a point where he can’t avoid asking you that question. But his friends saying otherwise does pose a problem, so if you’re up to it—sure—go ahead and ask him if he’s looking for anything serious. Tell him that you enjoy his company, and would love being friends either way (are you alright with that?), and see what he has to say about it.

PS. Who knows, maybe he's arranging something for Valentine's day... have you guys mapped out anything yet?
posted by hadjiboy at 9:45 PM on February 9, 2007

"Ever since then, when I run into him, he takes a seat at the table I am sitting at (at a bar or a coffee shop) and hangs out for an hour or two."

He's probably into you.
posted by xammerboy at 9:56 PM on February 9, 2007

At the same time, hanging out with him has been one of the few nicest things that has been happening to me lately, and due to the recent loss, I am too afraid to ruin the happiness of running into him and sharing some smiles and laughter together for a few hours.

First, nothing ventured nothing gained. Think positive! All that stuff..

On the other hand, and it is probably too early to worry about, and it might be completely inappropriate to your situation, but.. If a guy wants to get somewhere, but she isn't going, for whatever reason - guys often call it getting stuck in 'just friends' territory - there is a problem. Shy guys are very prone to this situation, so don't let it go there. Given that you've been through some stuff, you are in a mixed up state, and that is understandable, but don't send mixed signals.

To put it differently, if you both plan on letting nature run its course, detailed discussion is not particularly useful. In that case all the suggestions about getting on with it using subtle hints and innuendo are great - the tit brush is brilliant! However, if you have issues that preclude 'that nature thing', don't leave them hidden for too long..
posted by Chuckles at 10:16 PM on February 9, 2007

Do not ever underestimate the dimness of a male. Subtlety to you may just be an insignificant speck amongst the whoosh going past his radar. I think most guys like it best when a girl states things in plain language. I realise your recent circumstances are deterring you from jumping off the cliff but I think you should always remember that guys are often quite dumb in les affaires d'amour.

You have his phone number. Text him and ask if you can borrow the same movie for a friend. Whenever it is you see him you should ensure that you don't leave that meeting without having fixed a date to see him next time. And when you see him that next time, ensuring there is a fixed date to see him again should be your primary goal. You see how this works? It's subtle but regimented and it will then be up to the alignment of the stars and the magnitude of mutual chemistry to sketch out the future.
posted by peacay at 11:12 PM on February 9, 2007

speaking from personal experience as a shy guy here,

Shy guys tend to have self-esteem issues, and are often oblivious, or at the least confused, to whatever signals you might be sending them that you're interested.

If you don't make it any more obvious that you're interested in him, he's going to interpret that as "well, she's just being nice, and isn't _really_ interested in me", and will then start convincing himself of this, systematically burying whatever feelings greater than friendship he might have, because he knows they'll do no good.

Most men are really bad at reading women, and shy guys tend to be worse.
posted by mattly at 11:23 AM on February 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

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