ashee asks: I’m 14 years old and there’s this guy who I fell in love with, but I don’t know if he feels the same way about me. What should I do to find out?
Hi Ashee –
This is absolutely the most frequent question I get asked. And I totally relate. You see, when I was a puppy, I was caught by some dog catchers and placed in a pound. And I was smart and observant enough to see that once a dog had been in that pound for a number of days, it got taken into a room at the end of the hallway and never came back. Whereas other dogs got taken out the front door by really happy people who clearly just adored them. So that’s what I wanted!
Day after day would pass, and occasionally, a person would look into my cage. Well, I should say “our” cage, since I was in there with four other puppies. And the people would point and laugh and pet us and let us lick and chew on their hands… and sometimes they’d take one of us out. But not me.
It was hard to be there. It was the scariest time of my life. And while it felt bad when no one was paying attention to us, it could even feel worse when someone did pay attention, but then walked away (whether with another dog or none). And the reason that felt so bad is because I’d gotten my hopes up. I’d believed that this person was The One, my human who would take me out of that cage, and out of that pound, and into a new life full of love and play and petting and good food and freedom and… I didn’t even know all what! So when they’d walk away, my heart would just break.
Now we know what happened with me! Handsome walked in, and we connected, and he bought me and took me home and, well, the rest is history. It’s been the best thing I could ever have wished for. But let’s get back to you. You’re like me in that cage – you’ve noticed someone, and you’re hoping he’ll like you in the way you like him, but you can’t tell yet. How in the world can you find out?
Well, here are a few ideas. I can’t guarantee that they’ll work, or that they’d be right for you as an individual. But I do know they’re all worth a try.
1. The most common way to find out if someone likes you is to ask a friend of his. Or have a friend of yours ask his friend. But I have to warn you, this doesn’t always work, for two reasons. First, humans often keep their romantic interests secret – if he really likes you, he might be too vulnerable about it to tell his friend. So the friend might not even know. But second, some friends aren’t necessarily the nicest people, and you don’t want that guy you trusted to yell out across the school lunchroom “Hey Dude! Ashee here is madly in love with you and dreams about your body and wants to have your babies!” So this one can be okay, but I would sure say to be careful with it.
2. The best technique, at least in part, is to look for signs. People express a lot more in body language than they do in words. And body language doesn’t lie or hide as much. If you look at this boy, does he look back? Does he blush a bit, or smile nervously, or turn away shyly? (Those are good signs). Does he not even notice you? (Not so good). If you’re able to talk with him, what’s he like when you talk? Does he end conversations quickly without any interest, or does he seem to want to keep talking, even if he has nothing to say? Does he treat you differently from other girls?
Now let me make it clear here – my kind of body language is a lot clearer than most humans’. If I like someone, I run full-speed at them the second I see or hear them around, and jump on them, knock them to the ground, and lick their face clean, sniffing every part of them wildly. Now believe it or not, some humans can’t even read that correctly – they think I’m mad at them, or wanting to chase them away – so be aware that even the most obvious body language can be misinterpreted. But still, it’s probably the best thing to do. Especially if you’re willing to give him some signal (maybe a bit subtler than mine), and see if he reacts in kind.
3. I mentioned talking. Yes, if you can, go up and talk with him. Nothing tells a person you’re interested as much as you finding an excuse to open a conversation. And nothing brings people closer. If he hasn’t yet gotten interested in you, maybe you could awaken some interest by showing, via conversation, that you’re fun. Do you know what he’s into? Sports, video games, movies, music, school, religion, art? Maybe he’s even a great fantastic guy who’s worthy of you, as we know because he likes DOGS! Can you use one of those as a way to get a conversation going? And if you have any classes with him, how is he doing in them? Maybe you can ask him for some help in one (Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a human feel better than being asked to be an expert in something! You’ve complimented his ego, and put him in a position to be interested in meeting your needs, all through one question! Truly, it can be a very short journey from “Did you understand this stuff about Trigonometry?” to “Um, Ashee, would you consider going to the prom with me?”!!!)
4. Try something different. Anything. Draw a little attention to yourself. Are you normally quiet in class? Try speaking up. Have you always been all about sports? Try out for the school musical. Volunteer for a school charity. Run for student government office. All these things will get people talking about you, and thereby raise his interest.
5. Okay, my favorite: Be direct. Forget what some monk in 1307 said about what women’s roles are, and ask this boy out on a date! Do you have school dances? Is there a movie or a game that you know you both would like to go to? Do it! Might he say no? Sure. But that’s the same risk boys take all the time when they ask girls out. You definitely want to be sure you have a “safety net” if you do this, though – like a group of friends who will be ready to support you if he says no (or, worse, ignores you or makes fun of you). The fact is, if you do this, he will know you’re brave and really interesting. And if those qualities don’t make him at least willing to spend an evening with you, then maybe he’s just not worth your time.
Okay, Ashee, this leads to the negative part of this letter. Of course, there’s always a chance that your search to find out if he’s interested might result in learning… that he’s not. His friend might tell you he’s not, or he might not show any body language interest, or he might not converse with you, or he might not notice all the interesting things you do, or… yeah… he might say no if you ask him out. And all these things hurt. But I want you to remember one thing, if that happens…
You are NOT in a dog pound! This boy can reject you today, and that could make room for you and another boy to fall head-over-heels in love next week. No one’s going to ‘take you into that room at the end of the hall,’ ever! You are young, spirited, and interested, and whether this boy is the one to appreciate all you have to offer or not, only time will tell. It’s all going to be okay, no matter how this guy responds.
But, having said that, Good Luck! It’s so much more fun when things like this work out the way we hope!!!
In truth, fully, if I had that problem I’d either go ask him in person or write a letter (and if I didnt want to give it to him in person I’d stuff it in his locker) or send a message …