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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don't Tell a Guy You Like Him BEFORE He Asks You Out!

Dear Bro. Jo,

So, this is my first time writing you, so please forgive me if I seem a little awkward.

I just turned 19 about a week ago, and I still haven't started wading in the Dating waters yet. I was wondering if you could help me out a little bit, because I usually have a little anxiety towards the idea. First off, well, I'm not exactly sure where to start, so I suppose I'll use a bit of background.

I've always been a late bloomer. I've had no interest in guys until I hit 16 and a half, and even then, I had no real interest in having a relationship until now. My problem is: I have a little bit of trouble with being asked on dates. It's not that I freak out and turn them down or anything; it's just that guys don't ever ask me. I can't tell if it's because I'm too shy to put myself out there, or if it's because I'm just scary. I've got a few guy friends who tell me I'm really intimidating because I have a backbone, and I don't settle for following crowds, and I'm not afraid to be myself, but really? I thought that was supposed to be an attractive trait, unless I'm just defective and out of my mind.

On the flipside, I have a hard time with being around guys who I haven't confirmed as my non-biological brothers. I don't really have much experience with guys in a potential date-sort of way, and I'm not sure how to act around guys that I don't know very well or guys that I am attracted to, usually ending up in my being to shy to talk to them, or being 'aggressively' friendly and out there. If I know and love them as brothers, I have no trouble being a normal, rational thinking person around them. Anything else, and oh mercy. I guess I can base this on a fear of being hurt, because every time I've made myself vulnerable by telling a guy that I had developing feelings for him, I often end up being toyed with, and always end up getting hurt. And it takes a lot for me to admit to liking someone more than a friend. I guess what I'm trying to ask is whether or not I should actually go on dates with guys before I tell them I like them?

And if so, how do I get them to ask me out on dates?

I'm not really very good at flirting, my attempts are pitiful.

Anyway, I hope this makes sense, because I just confused the crud out of myself. Advice and constructive criticism are not only sought after but very welcome.


~ Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

Well I hope they're welcome! (Otherwise you wouldn't have written, right?)

There's a lot here in your email, but I think it might be best two just address three things.

1. Never tell a guy you like him until after he's asked you out. The first couple dates need to be no-pressure get-to-know you situations; when you start out saying that you like a guy before he's made any kind of move, you scare him away.

2. Flirting is a skill. It takes practice. And forgive me for being in Football Coach mode, but to get better at the basic skills you need to practice them over and over again. At the beginning of every practice, the team will first warm up, getting the body limber and stretched out so it will respond when we need it to. The next thing we do is called "E.D.D.s" or "Everyday Drills". In E.D.D.s we do the same basic things over and over again, checking and improving our technique so that when it becomes game time those very important basic skills are done right and without thinking about them.

Flirting is no different. Start with the warm up: look in the mirror and realize that you're a great person who deserves to be flirted with. Then, when you go out practice your E.D.D.s: smile, be friendly (and sincere), and make eye contact. Practice the basics.

3. Any guy who is not actually your brother is not your brother. Sure, you have "Brother So-and-so" at Church, but all of these single guys you're around are potential dates. A first date is not a marriage commitment. Neither is a second, third or fifth. Stop worrying about how perfect a guy has to be to go out with him or how perfect you have to be on the date. It doesn't matter. Let him be him and you be you. It's very like you'll get hurt, and you may hurt a few people along the way. All of that is part of getting stronger. As we say in the weight room: no pain, no gain.

- Bro Jo

PS: You may also want to check out "Bro Jo's Guide to Relationships".


Peter & Molly said...

My thought on perplexed is that if she's not getting any guys to ask her out, she hasn't found the right line of letting guys know that I like you but I haven't started planning our wedding yet. Of course you shouldn't come straight out and tell a guy you like him, but like you said with flirting you do have to imply you like him, and help him feel safe to ask you out.
I had a similar experience to perplexed's where I was always either in "Me" mode which was rather laid back and not too concerned with how friendly I was being, and "On" mode where I was, honestly, trying too hard. What I found was that I had to help me, be a little more outgoing, because that was more natural, rather than reverting to an entirely different persona when I was trying to get, or be on a date.

Laura said...

I agree with what both Bro Jo said and Peter & Molly said. Just be you. The reason it seems so hard to flirt is because you're making yourself feel like you have to be someone else to do it. Like you've said - you've got a backbone. Wear it loud and proud! Use it to your advantage. Don't be afraid of the guys. Dress modestly but attractively, be yourself, showing that you are NOT one to be walked on, and make yourself believe that guys should be begging to get to know you and should be lining up to dates. Because when you think about it, really, they should!! We are daughters of God and they need us. I feel that it's okay to pretend to have an ego about your self worth! It's called self esteem, and knowing/understanding that you have value, and the only one who can truly build it up is yourself. Work on that, and everything will start falling into place. :)

Anonymous said...

Bro Jo, I have a quick question, I'm not particularly bad at getting dates or anything like that. But, there's this guy I really like, and we went on.. I myself consider dates, but I don't know if they really were in his mind. And I told him I like him, anyways. It's weird to me, but when it comes to this guy I'm simply just not.. as smooth as I usually am. I'm like a giddy little school girl who doesn't know how to handle herself around a boy. Anyways, my question is, have I ruined it by telling him I like him? I am totally straight up with this guy, more so than I know I should, and I flat out told him I like him and I flat out asked him if he considered them dates. I have a hard time reading this one and it was so different that I couldn't handle it any longer and just flat out asked him everything I wanted to know! It is very likely I scared him away, I'd say I did (and still to this day I don't know how he feels) and yet he still talks to me. Also, is there a way to un-do the "scaring" that I have done? Well, thanks.

Dave Johnston said...

@ Anon,

The answer to all of your questions is: talk to him and find out.

It may scare him away, but only if he was going to leave anyway.

- Bro Jo

Steph said...

So you have to flirt to get a dude's attention, but you should always be yourself. What if flirting isn't you?

Dave Johnston said...

@ Steph -

Learn to enjoy being single.

Okay, seriously: communication needs to happen; flirting is just a kind of communication. It isn't so much an issue of flirting not being you, rather its an issue of you not having yet learned or becoming comfortable with that form of communication.

And like giving talks in Church, or any other form of communication, flirting becomes easier with preparation and practice.

- Bro Jo

Me said...

Sorry Brother Jo, but I must argue the 'any guy who not actually not your brother is not your brother.' My family has practically adopted my friend who now referred to our brother. He's the only boy who I'm completely comfortable with, that I'll let see me when I first wake up in the morning, hear whatever I want to say, or even cry. There is no romance. He's my brother. Even if we don't share blood.

Dave Johnston said...

If your family actually adopted him then he would BE YOUR BROTHER, which of course proves my point.

Side Tangent: you need to learn that "romance", or romantic feelings, does not have to be mutual.

Lastly, Sister Jo would say that your "brother" sounds a lot like a "husband".

- Bro Jo