Auntie SparkNotes: I Haven't Spoken to My Crush in Two Weeks
I recently moved to a new school and found my (introverted) self pretty lonely. However, I met this guy who was in my group for a project, let's call him Ash. So, at first we were just peers, but we ended up working again together for a partner project and staying up all night talking and finishing it. I couldn't stop laughing at his humor; he's so cute, and I find his personality really attractive.
We have a lot of similar interests, like music and video games. I got really excited because I thought I had found a friend. I bought all the games he liked and we texted everyday, and said goodnight every night. This lasted for maybe a month before the initial hype died down. I don't know when everything became more strained, but basically I guess I started to realize I definitely like this guy. I've made my feelings for him pretty clear, by giving him compliments and telling him I like him (but in a tentative playful way, not in an overbearing, obnoxious way). I realized that I'm not that significant in his life; I'm only 30 minutes of his week at most and he's pretty active in his own social circle, so I really don't know if he cares for me at all. I can't help but feel super inadequate because he's really smart, cool, good at video games, attractive, funny, confident, and has a plan to go to a really good college.
I have a lot of issues with self esteem, and my anxiety is making me overthink everything I say to him. Suddenly, every time I see him I freeze, unable to open my mouth, and have this strange "out of body" feeling where I just can't make myself say anything. I don't blurt out awkward things—in fact, it would be better if that was the case. I just stay completely silent, and I feel like he tries to make effort to talk to me, but the way I act gives the impression that I don't care about him and I'm ignoring him. I really want to cherish his friendship and I love him a lot, at this point I feel like we're drifting apart, and because he's my only friend, this makes me really sad. We still text a little, but I always feel like I'm annoying him, (even though he's said I'm not), or he seems busy (no response/a super-short response makes me feel like crap).
Please help me. I need something to talk to him about—NOT school, or anything generic (I've said it all). I don't know how to act around him and get so flustered and frustrated. I just want to fast forward to when we feel natural around each other...or is it not coming naturally because it's supposed to be that way? He might like me as well, but we haven't talked (in person despite seeing each other daily) in 2 weeks, which is really concerning.
In the context of taking your crush to the next level, you mean? Well, yes. Yes, it is. But that is why—and I want you to brace yourself, darling, because you are going to hate this next part—it is time for you, yes, YOU, to make up for lost time and light a fire under your own behind.
(Figuratively speaking, I mean. Speaking literally, lighting a fire under your own behind is a good way to get third-degree burns in a very uncomfortable place. This has been a public service announcement from the Department for the Prevention of Unburnt Buttocks.)
Basically, Sparkler, this is not a problem you can solve with small talk—even if it's small talk about a genuinely interesting subject. You don't need new material; what you're looking for is a deeper connection. And the way you get one of those is not by changing the subject, but by changing your approach.
Which is terrifying, of course, and the last thing you want to do. I know! But since you're the one who walked things back to the point of awkwardness after the initial buzz wore off, this next part is on you. You made it weird when you crawled back into your shell; if you're going to make it un-weird, you have to stick your neck out.
What does that mean in practice? Just one thing, kiddo: you must invite the guy to do something, and see what happens.
Spending some actual IRL time together is the necessary next step if your relationship is going to go anywhere—even if it's just to the point of "feeling natural," as you put it. You can't have an easy, in-person rapport without the foundation of some in-person interactions to build on. And while texting can be a great way to stay in touch and deepen your nascent connection, it is also pretty much guaranteed to create problems if you do tons of bonding over text while behaving like virtual strangers when you're face to face (as you have recently discovered, of course).
The good news is, the first of these in-person interactions can be literally anything, and the invitation you extend can be as brief and casual as, "Hey, could I borrow you for five minutes to help me carry this thing to my car?" You don't have to go through the rigamarole of asking him out on a formal date; you just have to present him with the option of spending time one-on-one with you, and then see how it plays out from there. Even if it amounts to nothing more than a few minutes of chit-chat while he accompanies you across the parking lot, you'll still be conveying the message that you want him around, and you'll get a sense for whether or not he wants to be around you, too. (Pro tip: If he says he's too busy, or if he gives you a grudging yes but then rushes through the interaction as quickly as he can, you can safely assume that he's not that into you—which is a bummer, but hey, at least you won't have to wonder about it anymore).
And once you've broken the awkward ice on speaking to him in real life, all you have to do is keep it up. Say hi in the hallways, ask him how his weekend was, recommend a new game you think he might like—and if the opportunity presents itself, ask him if he wants to go do something after school/on the weekend/over the holiday break. If your relationship has the potential to evolve past your current acquaintanceship, this is how it'll happen.
And while we're on the subject, if there's anyone else in your peer group who you kinda-sorta know but would like to get to know better as friends, these same tactics will work on them, too—and I hope you'll use them. In truth, this is the other part of your problem, and it's a big one: your only friend in the world shouldn't be the same guy you have a crush on. To pin all those hopes on one person isn't fair to him or to you. So while you're working on the whole "in-person interaction" thing, try forging connections with some of the other people you're friendliest with. No matter what the outcome (and we'll all keep our fingers crossed for the best one!), broadening your social landscape will leave you happier and more fulfilled in the long run.
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