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Ask Jono: I Am an Introverted Barn Owl

Ask Jono: I Am an Introverted Barn Owl

By Jon_Skindzier

Dear Jono,

Hello. Please don't sulk behind the SparkLife dumpster. I would like to say that I have read lots of your answers, and I must say you are no Bohr. (I hope you take physics).

There is this guy, which I shall proceed to call Smurf. We might've been considered friends a while ago, but I no longer know what we are (less than friends). So, last year we were on talking terms, at least. We would compare scores in class with each other, greet each other in the hallways, talk about books. He also complimented me (I think) by saying I was better than him at English, and he told that to several people. Smurf also "defended my innocence" in several situations, saying that I was too cute and pure to be corrupted. Also, when we went on a school field trip and we were sat next to each other, he fell asleep and ended up with his head on my shoulder. He woke afterwards and apologized profusely for "crushing" me. Finally, at the end of the year, he signed my yearbook, writing: "You're the yin to the yang."

Now school has started and he doesn't even say "Hi" to me in the hallways anymore. He's extremely confident and loud Smurf so I'm sure I would've heard him. Are we still friends?

Sincerely,
*Introverted barn owl

*I'm an introvert and I don't like talking much. Plus, every time I talk to him I don't know where to look, so I end up glaring at him with really wide eyes.

Fun fact, Barn Owl: after he was knighted, Nels Bohr designed his own coat of arms, which just so happened to feature the yin/yang symbol (taijitu). The order that knighted him was the Order of the Elephant, so it's entirely correct to refer to him as Niels Bohr, Knight of the Elephant. And guess what animal adorns his gravestone? That's right: an owl.

Now that your mind is sufficiently blown, I see three possible explanations for his behavior (we're talking about your boy now, not Niels Bohr):

1. He was interested in you, but he isn't anymore. It's possible that he liked you last year but has since focused his attention elsewhere. If this seems flighty, I guess it kind of is, but if you'd asked me to write down all the girls I liked in high school, I would have run out of paper and also girls. I can easily see him just moving on to someone else.
2. He is still interested in you, but you haven't reciprocated. If you've generally responded to his flirting by staring at him with giant eyes and then eating a mouse, he may have just concluded that you didn't like him back. He was being pretty obvious about it, and he may have read your shyness as a clear lack of interest.
3. Nothing means anything. Maybe his behavior was just a bunch of random stuff happening and it had no inherent meaning. Teenager brains are mystifying. Life is chaos. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, so everyone should give up on everything and eat an entire cheesecake.

I don't think #3 is even worth discussing, and if it's #1 then there's not much you can do about it, so let's focus on the second possibility. I'm sure that he at least did like you, because everything you described indicates that; I can even see a high school dude thinking that falling asleep on you was a sound dating strategy ("Oh whoops I fell asleep on you! Ha ha oh dang I kissed you! Oh no we are dating now! Wowzers!"). He was going so far as to literally tell you that you are cute, and when you didn't flirt back, he assumed he was wasting his time. Summer happened, and in the interim he decided to stop pursuing you (this explanation supports his not even saying hi anymore—if a guy flirts with you repeatedly and keeps getting non-responses, eventually it starts to feel vaguely embarrassing and he may just avoid you entirely).

I think your Smurf will probably be responsive if you take the initiative to go up and talk to him, but this brings us to something more important (and something necessary for doing that anyway): try to relax and have more fun talking to dudes! It's okay to be shy and introverted, but keep in mind that people enjoy your company insofar as your company is enjoyable. That doesn't mean you need to take your brain to the brain store and exchange it for the brain of a wacky joke-telling extrovert; it's unwise (and probably impossible) to spend every conversation behaving like someone you're not. But you do need to engage with people, ask them stuff, and generally make it interesting to hang out with you. I've mentioned before that being genuinely curious about other people really helps with anxiety, and the more relaxed you feel, there more likely you are to talk to this guy without frantically wondering what to do with your eyes the whole time. And the more you relax, the more expressive you become (expressiveness is also totes attractive, by the way). Whether you want a friendship with this guy or something more, talking to him first will at least indicate you want some kind of relationship—but try to have an easy, relaxed back-and-forth with him, one in which you can just say stuff without over-analyzing it or feeling self-conscious. Guys are always more likely to approach you if they expect to have fun talking to you once they do.

Topics: Advice
Tags: flirting, crushes, advice, guys, ask jono, introverts, signals

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