We all need a little guidance now and then, so whether you’re stressed about a fling gone wrong, a recently wrecked relationship or how to handle a stage-five clinger, Real Live College Guy Dale is here to help you navigate the college dating scene.
I’m interested in a guy who’s really shy. Last weekend, his friends set him up with me because he can have a hard time meeting girls and they thought we would get along… and we did! We had a great conversation, and by the end of the night (and, admittedly, a few drinks later), he was holding my hand, walking me back to my dorm. When we got there, he stayed for a good three hours just talking as we got to know each other (it didn’t get physical). Since then, he’s told me he wants to see me again, but I’ve been initiating all the contact. His friends tell me he likes me and keep encouraging us to hang out, but he hasn’t made any bold moves. What can I do to pull him out of his shell? —Help Me at Hamilton
He doesn’t need to make a bold move to show his interest in you.
In my opinion, we’ve been conditioned to think that we need to offer up some grand gesture to prove our interest in another person. Standing outside with a stereo, knocking on her door in the middle of a downpour or singing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” to her in a crowded bar… See what I mean? Pop culture has led us to believe that grand gestures are required.
Fun fact: They’re not.
The man has already shown his interest by holding your hand and walking you to your dorm. He’s also shown interest by talking to you for three hours to get to know you better. The dude is definitely into you. As for his not making any bold moves and getting him to come out of his shell, I maintain the theory that it shouldn’t always be the man’s job to make a bold move. Some people suffer from crippling anxiety (a few drinks may have quelled this anxiety) and can’t bring themselves to make a move. This guy in question could be one of them. He might even have a good reason to be afraid of taking that step that goes beyond everyday anxieties—he might have had his heart broken in the past.
I’ll tell you what would pull him out of his shell: Next time you hang out, kiss him. Sometimes, that’s all it takes—a little jumpstart. When he knows for sure that you’re interested, I think he’ll be a little more active. Like I said, some guys are just insanely nervous. I know I used to be. Hang out, set the atmosphere (nothing super romantic or anything, but a casual environment is nice), and go in for the kiss when you feel the moment is right.
On the off chance that he doesn’t reciprocate, play it cool. It might sting, but try to understand that maybe he wasn’t interested in the same thing. It happens to all of us—I can recall at least three times where a kiss or almost-kiss (from me or to me) went unreciprocated, and we were able to laugh it off and remain friends. Sometimes feelings get misunderstood and, because we’re adults, we should be able to understand that.
That being said, I don’t think you’ll find yourself in those shoes. Give the guy a break and try to see things from a different angle. I’m sure he’s interested, and I think you’re in a perfect position to bring him out of his shell with a little, er, “physical motivation.”