Ask Jono: A Girl Thinks I'm Cute! Now What?
Hi there Jono,
There is this girl I like, but I'm not sure if she likes me back. The first time I got a hint that she may have liked me was way back in grade 8, when I got stuck in the dance option. So one day we all had to get into groups of 3 or 4, and conveniently, the girl I like is good friends with the girl my friend liked at that time, so my friend, the 2 girls, and I went in a group together. About 10 minutes into the group work, she told me how cute I was and said she just wanted to hug me. Of course I said she could. After that, for the rest of the class, she kept saying how cute I was and near the end she said she wanted to marry me.
Now I know that this was in grade 8, and it was probably just spur of the moment that she said the marriage part, but it still made me feel really good inside. Then for about the next 3 weeks, she would say hi to me in the halls, and give me hugs a lot. But then she just sort of stopped doing these things. I also remember that I was, and still am shy, and I knew I always looked really awkward when she would talk with me, because I FELT awkward. After she stopped interacting with me as much, I felt really put out, but I still liked her into the beginning of grade 9. Then just this summer, from grade 9 to 10, I sort of started to like her again. Then I went onto her ask.fm. I'm not sure if you are familiar with this website, but basically you go on and ask people anonymous questions (even though I have an account, I still think it's pretty dumb). I asked her what she thought of me, then she said: "He's so cute :3". Well that really got me feeling good. But you see, this year despite that answer, she hasn't spoken to me outside of our french class, and when we do talk it is about school work. It probably doesn't help that I'm still shy, and have never dated, so I don't know how to react to these things.
So after that lead up (sorry) I guess my 2 questions are: 1. What does it mean when a girl calls you cute? I have asked many girls this but the answers always vary. 2. Do you think that she likes me, or at least liked me? I guess I'm pretty lame for liking I girl I liked in grade 8 and for remembering all of those events, but I must know what you think.
Thank you so much,
- Anonymous Person
Hello there, High School Jono! Please thank the wizard or time machine that is allowing you (me) to ask me (you) about this issue that will (did) come up often in high school. In the event that you are not actually me, you're in luck, because I have some experience with this and we can commiserate about it, and also because being high school me was terrible. Either way, you're in a situation where you have your foot in the door, but you're not sure what to do next, and now you're probably just going to stand there doing nothing until the door gets bored of you and moves on with her life. I intend to help you avoid this, but first, onto your questions.
Does she like you? What does "cute" mean? What does an anime cat smiley mean? These are all good questions. One reason you got so many different answers is that girls can't agree on what "cute" means or indeed even who is cute and who is gross. Some women will see a guy and be like "Eww, he looks like a duck," and others will find that exact same guy hot, possibly because of unresolved duck issues. One scientific study asked 4,000 participants to rate images of men and women for attractiveness; the men agreed almost universally on their attractiveness ratings, but the women's ratings were all over the place. To complicate the issue even further, as soon as the word "cute" exits someone's mouth, it is stripped of all meaning (here is a study on how women use it to mean "comforting," "cheerful," "childlike," "nostalgic," "mammalian," or "1980s rave shoes").
Luckily, context helps, and you have a ton of context to work with. Among its many uses, "cute" can be a sort of runner-up compliment for someone who is kinda endearing but not very desirable. If she'd been like "Hey, Anonymous, you're... pretty cute there, buddy! Aww." and then patted you on the head, it would mean "you are equivalent to a good dog" and it would not bode well for you. But come on, man: your question boils down to "A girl told me I was cute and that she wanted to marry and hug me and then said I was cute again! What could this mean??"
So to answer your second question: yes, she did like you and probably still does, and no, you're not lame for remembering all these things, but two years is a long time to wait around pondering the meaning of girl words and you probably shouldn't wait much longer to do something about it. The reason you two haven't spoken outside of class is that she sort of already did her part here; she was super obvious about her attraction, and then, from what I can tell, you didn't really indicate that you were attracted to her back, much less ask her out or anything. According to this science man, the traditional script for courtship is that women signal their interest and then men make the actual relationship proposition; further down the page you can see this graph indicating that no girl will ever actually ask you out as long as you live, because that part is your job.
Now, if you're all "Jono, I can't ask out a LITERAL GIRL on an ACTUAL DATE, are you BRAIN CRAZY??" then fine, you don't have to move that quickly, but you do at least have to do something to indicate that you like her back. Imagine the reverse scenario; if you found a girl really attractive (or "cute," whatever that means), and you told her so repeatedly, and she was like "OK" and said nothing else, would you think "Oh boy, I can't wait to do that again!" or would you throw yourself off a bridge? You at least need to engage this girl in conversation and demonstrate that you like being around her, which you can do even if you're shy and awkward, because a cool internet dude wrote some posts that tell you how. The key is just to concentrate on learning things about this interesting person you're talking to instead of obsessing over your own terribleness, which is probably not as debilitating as you think. In any case, you're off to a good start, because a girl is using the word "cute" to describe you, which may be ambiguous but is certainly better than "yuck" or "no." She already knows you're shy and she evidently doesn't mind, so now all you have to do is hike up your confidence pants and take the next step.