Hello, everyone! I ducked out to South Carolina for a few days to see family. Regular computer access is now restored.
Two links today:
- Scarleteen, the fantastic sex-ed resource, desperately needs donations to sustain their work. If you have a few $, please consider a donation there.
- Some nice people nominated this site for the Bloggies. If you have a few minutes, please vote for CaptainAwkward.com (under “Topical”) and some other amazing blogs. If we win the $20.13 I will add it to my Scarleteen donation.
Dear Captain Awkward:
I am a 14 year old and am a freshman in high school. I’m a guy by the way. There’s this other guy that keeps flirting with the girl I like. He’s kind of my friend but since he’s not in my grade, we don’t really talk much or hang out much. After school, I keep seeing him flirting with her and she talks to him and laughs with him occasionally. It gets on my nerves so bad! I really like her and I don’t like the fact that he likes her and is always flirting with her.
I’m jealous because he gets to spend more time with her than I do. I’m a freshmen and she’s a junior. We’re both in band together and that’s practically the only time I get to see her except in between classes, before and after school. I don’t think she likes me and I also don’t think she likes him. What should I do? I want her and I can’t stand to see him always talking to her and her talking to him. I’m jealous. What do I do and how to I get her away from him? She doesn’t really flirt back with him nor does she flirt with me.
Dear Jealous Guy:
This is hard, painful, visceral stuff, but I’m glad you wrote in.
If you want to go out with this girl, ask her.
“Girl, would you like to hang out outside school sometime? I think you’re really cool and would like to spend more time with you.”
You say you don’t think she likes you, so she will probably say no. That will suck, but it is okay. It is normal. People’s affections and desires don’t always match up. If she doesn’t like you, she shouldn’t go out with you. Someday, at some point, you will ask someone this question and their face will light up and they will say yes. Or they’ll ask you this question, and your face will light up, and you’ll say yes. Maybe this girl will surprise you with her reaction. Any way you look at it, you get:
- Momentarily painful rejection & puncturing of a dearly held fantasy.
- Actual information about her feelings that you can use to make good decisions.
Right now you say you think she doesn’t like you. Sometimes people do give really clear signals one way or the other, but often they don’t. It’s way better to ask than to assume or try to predict the feelings of another human being. They are separate from you, and you can’t actually know what’s inside their heads, so ask.
If the thought of asking her and risking rejection is too scary, then let the whole thing drop. Give yourself a little time to get over it, and then find someone new who seems interesting and nice.
Your jealousy is real, and it hurts, and it’s awful. But it is also YOURS to deal with. Your feelings do not compel her affections. They don’t give you any rights where she is concerned. They do not and should not inform her behavior, or the behavior of this guy. He can talk to her if he wants to. She can laugh and flirt with him if she wants to. They can do these things even if they don’t really mean to do anything about it. Your question “How do I get her away from him?” is pretty disturbing. It implies that she needs to be rescued, and that you’re just the one to do it. She doesn’t. You aren’t. It’s also a bad habit to to assume that just because another guy is doing what you are too scared to do (flirting, talking to the object of your affection) that it makes him evil somehow.
This other guy is not the issue. If he magically transferred to another school tomorrow and never talked to her again, it doesn’t mean that she would immediately notice you. The depth of your feelings for this girl do not compel either of them to behave a certain way.
So, what do you do?
If you like this girl and want to see if she likes you, ask her.
If you don’t want to do that (and I understand why that would be scary & daunting), you get over it.
None of these are perfect, rosy, or necessarily fun options, but they beat the alternative, which is to hang around, remaining fixated on her, feeling more and more entitled to her affection and angry at your friend for talking to her, dropping weird hints or falling into strange staring or dramatic silences, and coming across as a total jackass. Read the crush thread for some harrowing tales of dumb things people have done in the name of unrequited love. Pretend that we are Jacob Marley, come to warn you, Ebenezer Scrooge, to chill out now before you send FEELINGSMAIL or make FEELINGSART.
You don’t have a choice about what feelings to feel, but you have a choice about how you act on them and how much you indulge them.
So, recommended course of action:
- Be brave, ask her out. If she is not actually exclusively dating someone else, it’s fair game even if she does talk to your friend.
- If she says no, be cool. “Well, I had to ask. Thanks for being honest.“
- If you don’t want to ask her out, that’s okay. But you can’t be mad at her for not somehow reading your mind.
- Hang back for a few days and let the weirdness dissipate.
- Also, high-five yourself for being brave and doing something hard and cool!
- Resume normal relations – saying hi during band, etc. You didn’t do anything wrong by liking her, there is no reason to act like a fugitive. Show her that you can handle rejection.
- Throw yourself into other activities, including meeting more people.
- Think about reading more books & consuming more art by women – it’s just a cool way to spend your time.
- Give it some time to feel better.
I think you will find Dr. Nerdlove to be a pretty valuable resource as you figure out the whole dating and asking people out thing.
And Jealous Guy, to be in the grip of strong feelings and to be able to take a step back from them and make sure that your actions and the attitudes you have toward people aren’t controlling or entitled – that’s big stuff. Current You might feel pretty powerless, but Future You is going to be much more confident about approaching people he likes and handling the possibility of rejection with grace.