Ask Jono: The Dos and Don'ts of Approaching a Guy
First, I'd just like to say I LOVE your posts, they always help me sort out my problems. Seriously, you're great, as is your advice.
I'm a 16-year-old girl from England and I've never had a proper boyfriend, mainly because I can never build up the courage to flirt with any guys I like and I'm scared that if I do, they'll just throw it back in my face. Please could you give me some tips on how to have the confidence to make the first move?
Also, I have a bit of a problem... There's this guy (yeah, I know that's how they all start, and I'm sorry for being so clichéd...) in my class at school, and I get on really well with him as a friend, but lately everyone has been telling me that he likes me as more than a friend, but he's never said anything to me to suggest that... We text and IM each other loads, like, most nights we text until at least midnight, or until one of us falls asleep. We never seem to run out of stuff to talk about. We always talk about football (soccer) and films and music and we have a good laugh. He always teases me at school, like in a nice way, but so do quite a lot of the boys in my class. Do you think there's any chance he likes me?
The other problem is, I don't really know if I like him as more than a friend or not. I really like someone in the year above me—he says hi whenever I see him around school and we talk all the time when we're on the train together on the way to school and he always teases me and gives me hugs, but he has a girlfriend and they look so cute together and I know I'll never have a chance with him. Can you give me any tips on getting over him?
Yours extremely gratefully, Miss Severely-Lacking-In-Confidence
For starters, MSLIC, your description of Guy #1 might as well have been "This boy has never done anything to suggest that he likes me. Every time I ask him why he's leaving flowers on my doorstep, I can't, because he's busy making out with my face. Gosh, I wish I knew if he liked me!" Of course he likes you; guys don't stay up until midnight talking endlessly to girls they do not like. Or maybe they do in England, because they are so polite that they will indulge you perpetually until they wind up marrying you out of manners, but I doubt this is the case in your situation. (I'm not saying guys and girls are never just friends, but 100% platonic relationships are rare enough that scientists had to do science to prove their existence.)
So yes, this dude likes you. I think you're right that getting over Guy #2 is necessary if you intend to pursue Guy #1, assuming you're actually committed to that course. If you are, then the only tips I have for you are: no hugging (or at least somewhat less hugging), no fantasizing, and just start dating some dude. Crushes grow out of regular contact, and I'm including the kind of contact where you think about or idealize the guy—you're not going to get over him if you spend breakfast thinking about hugging him and then on the train you hug him and then you spend your first class thinking about the fact that you hugged him. You are going to get over him if you start treating him like a more ordinary friend while focusing your affections elsewhere. As for how to focus them elsewhere, here's an outline for approaching a dude, along with some right and wrong scenarios.
1.) Engage him with body language.
Correct: Upon approaching a guy, you smile and make eye contact, which bolsters your confidence, establishes your interest, and makes you appear more trustworthy. He is completely smitten by your trustworthiness.
Incorrect: You frump your way over to the guy and stare at his shoes. "Mrph hmm nmmf," you mutter. "Huh?" he asks. You hide behind a shrub and never speak to him again.
2.) Focus on the situation at hand.
Correct: Instead of letting your mind wander, you focus on the present moment; paying close attention to the guy instead of to yourself makes you less prone to anxiety and worry. You are so enchanting and confident that he writes you some French poetry, on the spot, even though he previously did not know any French.
Incorrect: You are so focused on the guy that you walk directly into a lamp post, but even that does not break your focus. "Oh my gosh, are you okay?" he asks. You stare directly at his eyes with laserlike focus. He backs slowly out of the room and calls the police.
3.) Ask questions.
Correct: After you greet him, you ask him simple but engaging questions, e.g. "Where did you get that shirt?" These questions take the pressure off you and give him something to say. Soon you are engaging in easy banter, and soon thereafter, you are prancing romantically through an idyllic meadow. A rainbow appears overhead in the shape of a heart.
Incorrect: You ask him where he got his shirt, but it's just a plain undershirt, and he has no idea where it is from. Ashamed, he bursts into tears. He drops out of school and decides to live in the sewer for the rest of his life.
Also Incorrect: You start asking him questions and forget to stop. "Where did you get that shirt? Where did you get all of your shirts? What's the capital of Kazakhstan? What rhymes with orange??" He tries to say "Blorenge," but you are asking so many questions that he dies.
4.) Be flirtatious, but a little bit coy.
Correct: Aware that feeling pretty is important to being perceived as pretty, you smile a lot, brush back your hair, and touch him on the shoulder. But you don't throw yourself at him, knowing that people are more attracted to uncertainty. The next morning, he sends you one hundred roses, delivered by one hundred white doves, each of which is stuffed full of one hundred diamonds.
Incorrect: Determined to make this work, you weaponize your lady parts, stuffing them in his face through the entire conversation until he is unable to see. He tragically walks off a cliff and plummets into a pile of garbage.