So I got asked to prom (somehow) by my long-time crush of literally my entire high school career. His friends tell me he likes me and keep encouraging me to make the first move, but I'm starting to have doubts about whether he actually is interested or not.
He's really cute but EXTREMELY shy. We've hung out a couple times, but it's all been slightly awkward, extremely G-rated and un-romantic. We watched a movie together, alone at his house, and he barely had the guts to sit next to me (he sat in the couch across from me at first). Whenever I talk to him he fidgets and doesn't make eye contact, or just looks briefly at me and then looks away. We text a lot, but in person he is just so awkward (which I totally love, but isn't helping with the situation). I really want something to happen between us, but from his behavior up until now, I know for a fact he's not making the first move. I'm surprised he even had the guts to ask me to prom!
I know you've already had a question similar to this (How to Provoke a First Move), but I actually want to be the one who makes the move.
So my questions are: One, does he even like me? And two, if he does, how should I make a move that makes it obvious that I'm interested but not too obvious (horrible wording, I know). Or in other words, how do I make a move that I can laugh off if I utterly fail?
I've probably missed my chance to advise you in time for prom, IG, but I hope I can still help anyway—there will always be more situations where a hopelessly dorky guy is treating you more like a priceless vase than a human being, and you're forced to take matters into your own hands. And by the way, thank you, on behalf of every awkward saddo who is afraid to make the first move himself. There are lots of guys out there like your guy, and you're doing them all a favor.
In case it's not clear: yes, I'm pretty sure he does like you. I'm assuming he initiated at least some of your G-rated hangouts, but even if he didn't, the whole deal where he's comfortable texting but awkward in person is a good indicator that he digs you but is super-shy. He will get less terrible over time—he just needs you to make it clear that you won't shatter into a million pieces or call the police if he touches your shoulder. Eventually he might even do something totally outrageous, like sit next to you on purpose, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Here's how to initiate a first move without risking any devastating romantic blunders.
1.) Break the physical contact barrier.
Picture it this way: there's a war brewing, but it hasn't yet exploded into all-out hostilities (or, in this case, makeouts). For the conflict (snogging) to start, someone has to fire the first shot (snog). Otherwise it will remain a cold war of simmering antagonism (romantic tension) that yields nothing except for a bunch of awkward false starts (ridiculous '80s movies). Someone has to establish that physical contact is okay, and it clearly has to be you. So touch his arm a lot for emphasis when you're talking, hook your arm through his when you're walking somewhere (less sappy and girlfriendy than hand-holding), or put your arm around his shoulder when you're sitting together. Sorry that all of this advice seems to be arm-related; if you don't have any arms, you're just going to have to play increasingly suggestive games of footsie.
2.) Step up the contact.
If your dude is sweating and babbling and loosening the collar that he is not even wearing, then ABORT MISSION. Do not step up the contact. You are evidently going too fast for his dorky self to handle. But if he's okay with all of your advances and arms, then it's time to escalate things. If you're sitting together, rest your head on his shoulder; if you're walking, put your hand around his waist. I can't be too exhaustive with this IF [BODYPART], THEN [PERFORM ACTION] stuff, because it really depends on the situation, and what feels right in the moment. But the goal is just to keep getting closer and more unmistakably romantic.
3.) Initiate crazy makeouts.
Assuming that a crazy makeout (or moderately sane kissing) is your end goal, the increasing physical contact should be setting the stage for this to happen. Even the gooniest guy in the world will understand what this is all leading to, unless he's never been in a relationship, and has never seen any movies or TV shows, and was raised by wolves, in a cave on the moon. The guy is almost always the active party here (the one expected to initiate the actual kissing), so I'd advise making it clear that this is what you want and then giving him a chance to take the initiative. Get all up in his grill and just look into his eyes. This is the universal sign for "KISS ME ALREADY, YOU DINGUS." A houseplant would understand this signal.
If your guy is seriously, hopelessly afraid to make a move, you can always just throw up your hands in exasperation (without actually doing that) and kiss him yourself. Despite the fact that the guy is "supposed" to be the active one, I literally cannot imagine a scenario where you kiss a guy who likes you and he thinks "Well that was terribly improper!" and stops liking you. That said, there are some limits here; if he's never comfortable enough to do anything except sit there in rigid silence and endure your insistent snogs, then this whole relationship might be an ill-fated one. But I don't think that will happen—I think all you need to do is get to somewhere around step 2, and your dude will be like "Ohhhh, I'm supposed to kiss her! Jeepers!" and he'll be all over you. He just needs you to help him along a bit.