Friday is my birthday. In lieu of presents, there is something I would like (many of) you to do for me. Given that A Shy Guy Caught My Eye is the most-viewed post on this blog so far, I’m guessing that more than one of you can relate to this comic:
If you read and thought “Oh man, that’s me. I like ___ so much, but I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” do something for Captain Awkward.
Just ask ____ out already. On a date. A real, live date. A DATE-date, where you make it clear that a date is happening between two people who are on a date. With each other.
Listen: Chances are very high that _____ already knows how you feel or at least has picked up on your Firthing.
1. What’s the best thing that could happen?
_____ feels the same way about you and has also been a big coward about saying it before now. DATEMAGIC!
2. What’s another really good thing that could happen?
_____ says “Hey, this really caught me off-guard, can I think about it?” and you say “Sure” and ____ looks at you with new eyes and the air between you becomes charged in a way that it wasn’t before, the two of you keep sneaking looks at each other and blushing and looking away when you catch each other at it and at some point you both know what’s going to happen but you haven’t admitted it to each other or yourselves and then _____ invites you inside one night to “listen to music” and your stomach is filled with nervous butterflies, like “Is this the night? Is it now?” and it is.
3. What’s a medium-good thing that could happen?
______ doesn’t feel the same way about you and says so, and it’s an awkward moment pungent with the stink of rejection. But you say “I understand, and I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I had to give it a shot,” and your friend says “I’m sorry too, because you are really cool and I have thought about it myself more than once. I wish I felt differently,” (and you can’t see it, but I’m acting this scene out with finger-puppets right now) and you back the fuck off and move on and your friendship survives because it is based on mutual respect and shared interests and acceptance and humor.
4. What’s a not-good, but totally survive-able thing that could happen?
You go on the date and one or both of you figure out that there is no chemistry. Now you know and have a story you can laugh about later, like, “Remember when we tried dating? Oh man, that was a terrible idea!“
Friendship is extremely durable. It can handle honesty and courage. You won’t ruin a real friendship by speaking up.
I don’t want to spend too much time on worst-case scenarios, but this is a Certified Honesty Zone, so here you go:
5. This is a bad thing that could happen: Sometimes you aren’t actually friends. Sometimes you were never friends. Sometimes you were the person in the comic, and everything you did had an ulterior motive. Sometimes your constant attention and unspoken desire made ______ really uncomfortable, and the phrase “let’s be friends” or “sure, we’re friends” means “I don’t know how to reject you and I’m scared to hurt your feelings, so I’m looking for a word you’ll accept.” If this is the case, and you speak up and it goes badly and _____ avoids you for the rest of time, you are not losing a friend. You are puncturing your own fantasy, which is painful enough that I get why you never spoke up before now. But do you want to be the person who makes your fantasy of being with someone more important than the real feelings of that actual someone? You are doing everyone a favor by being truthful about your desires and letting the chips fall.
Let’s review the rules:
- The other person is just a human
- Do it sooner rather than later, before you get too caught up in a fantasy or invested in the outcome.
- Nobody owes you time or affection, so don’t approach dating with a sense of entitlement.
- Be cool with rejection. (I cannot overstate the importance of respecting the “no.” You WILL ruin the friendship, even a real friendship permanently if you say “Go out with me?” and the other person says “Sorry, no thanks” and you hang around like a fart in a car hoping they’ll change their mind.)
- You can’t control whether someone will like you.
- Listen to the other person – pay attention to the actual interaction that is taking place and not the one in your head.
- Don’t date anyone who isn’t as cool as your friends.
- New Rule: Acknowledge the awkward. Don’t try to be smooth if you’re not smooth. Just say “Hey, I feel like a dork but I like you.”
January 28, 2011. You’ve got two days, which is enough time to get your courage up but not enough time to totally overthink it. I want stories.