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Ask Jono: How To Provoke a First Move

Ask Jono: How To Provoke a First Move

Dear Jono,

I have a friend. A male friend. We were friends during school but since graduating we have hung out so often it could easily be confused that we're dating. However, as much as I like him and as much as I assume he likes me I just don't know for sure. He is a shy-ish guy, as in not the type to be romantic and specifically "make a move," but I wish he would. I am so tempted to flick on the child lock on my side of his car door just so he would be forced to open my door for me...

I have received a text from one of his friends saying, and I quote, "Sooooooooooooo you and -insert name- huh? That's cute." To which I changed the subject entirely, secretly laughing and blushing my cheeks off. I've been told by puny middle schoolers on my old school bus (that are sadly more relationship savvy then me) that I am old fashioned in the way that I believe it is the guy's male duty to make the first move. However, I have a few concerns...

1. I'm worried, based on his personality, that this will never happen.
2. He is super busy working three jobs, going to the gym practically every day, which makes me fear he wouldn't have time for a gf, especially with Uni also starting soon.
3. It's one or the other. I don't want to be just that girl that he's with all the time...
4. And if he is ever going to make a move... How long does a girl have to wait?!

I know, the obvious answer would be to just ask him outright but the last thing I want to appear as is a dominant girl that takes the initiative and leads her man by his collar. Plus I don't have any clue how to bring it up, especially since our relationship is not romantically inclined.

I know my question reeks #firstworldproblems but I am in a head spin confused as to where we stand and what to do.
Confused girl.

Don't be too confused, Confused Girl. A lot of Young Person Relationships start with friendship. After all, the alternative is two inexperienced goons, who often don't have cars or apartments yet, trying to act out all the sexy stuff they've seen in movies. ("Hey baby, are you an angel from heaven? Because, um... God just called, from... the backseat of my mom's station wagon. We should go to there. Before it's midnight and I don't have the car anymore.")

Furthermore, there's no such thing as not having enough time for a girlfriend, at least not if the dude is sufficiently into you. I say this as a guy who worked multiple jobs during the summer when I had my first serious adult girlfriend, and also as a dude who can bench press literally pounds. Plural. So take my word for it that scheduling won't be an issue—when you really like a girl, you find a way to make time for her, even if it means you oversleep and miss your morning job and frantically call in with excuses like "Uhh, I can't come in because I am sick with... lycanthropy."

I do have to ask what you mean by "our relationship is not romantically inclined." If you think you might like each other but you're both so doofy that you've never come out and hit on each other, that's fine, read on. But if this guy has never ever expressed any kind of interest or seemed remotely flirty, then you need to proceed carefully, because he might honestly just think of you as a regular friend. I'm gonna give you some suggestions, but those are predicated on the fact that you two share an interest in each other, so if you try something and he's like "AUGH, BLAUGH," and lurches away from you in terror, then ABORT MISSION, because this is just a friendship.

To answer your 1, 3, and 4 questions at the same time: Some dudes will literally never make the first move, and if you suspect that he's that kind of guy, and you don't just want to be That Girl, then you need to take the initiative. As far as I'm concerned, your bossy middle-schoolers are right; we're in an era where women can be, and are, heads of state, not one where they have to demurely wait for a big strong man to take them to the Malt Shoppe. But that's a whole other can of worms; right now, my point is just that you're allowed to be the active party here. But since you really don't dig that, I'll just give you some middle-of-the-road stuff that will communicate your interest without necessarily committing you to it. If any of this fails, it can just seem like a dumb quirky thing you happened to do, without being so overt that your friendship is totally ruined for all time.

  • If you don't normally make a lot of physical contact, do that. If you do make physical contact, step it up a bit. For example: if you normally just say goodbye, try hugging him goodbye. If you already hug him goodbye, kiss him on the cheek as a goodbye and then immediately move on like that wasn't a big deal at all. If you already kiss him goodbye, then take off your pants goodbye.
  • Hold eye contact for longer than usual, while smiling. People who hang out long enough tend to have a normal level of glancing—they look at each other for a while and then look away. If you're trying to indicate you like a guy, hold that eye contact for longer than you usually do, while smiling. If you do it while not smiling, he will assume you merely intend to murder him.
  • Buy him something unusually sweet. If you notice some random gift that he would really want, and you give it to him for no occasion at all, he will definitely stop to think "Wait, is this just a friend thing, or is it... lurve??"
  • Latch onto him during some scary scene in a movie. Holy moly, this is dumb. But if you're desperate for a pretext, it works, and no guy is going to argue with it. I can't imagine how silly your gender must feel going "OH NO THAT GOBLIN IS SO SCARY, EEP" and grasping a dude's arm, but it's one of the most reliable techniques at your disposal. (If he's into it: hooray, it worked! If he's not: you weren't making a move, it was just a scary goblin, is all!) It's foolproof.
  • Casually seem impressed by his... something. "Wow, you picked up my Boston Terrier like he weighed nothing! You must be able to lift a billion pounds!!" (You can also do this more realistically, acting impressed by how cute he looks in that shirt or whatever.)
  • Fix your Girl Stuff in front of him. "Oh let me just fix my lipstick here. Mwah! There we go. How does my lipstick look?" (This forces the dude to concentrate on the part of yourself you have just made more attractive.)
  • Flip on the child lock on the car door; you totally can't get out! Then explain you actually just wanted him to open the door for you. You surely think I'm kidding, because this was your idea, but I'm not. See, this is exactly the kind of goofy come-on that works when you're really close friends with someone. It's endearing in the same way a completely stupid but sweet pickup line is endearing ("Is your dad an astronaut? Because your eyes are like.. space... stars. And your butt is hot like a comet. Aw nuts I messed it up.") A regular stranger would find this stupid, but you two are friends, so instead it's a dumb friendly joke and also a pickup attempt.

Now, all of these options are just sort of suggestive, and I've had girls do this stuff around me in a way that turned out to be completely platonic. But that's what I think you want—vaguely flirty things that aren't technically an official first move, according to Dating Scientists, but that will indicate to him that he can make a first move. But if none of this works, and he doesn't shy away from any of it, well... sometimes you just need to grab a dude by the face and exclaim "WE ARE GOING ON DATES" until he goes "Waahhh!" and agrees with you. At the end of the day, sometimes a girl just has to ask a dude out on a date and see what happens.

Topics: Life
Tags: flirting, dating, crushes, advice, first dates, ask jono

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