I’m hopelessly in love with a guy in my English seminar from last semester. We’re friendly, but it is clear I need to make the first move to make things happen. I want to text him, but I’m scared. What should I do?
Sincerely, Desperate Danny
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Wow, what a great question. I would love to send you a list of all the successful texts that I have sent, but my phone went on a trip through a washing machine last June and I lost all of my text history. And anyway, who am I kidding? Even if I had all my texts back from my seventh grade flip phone days, I would not have an example of a successful initial text.
We’ve all been there, though. Especially at the start of a new semester. You saw that beautiful guy/girl/whatever every week during seminar last semester, and your banter was promising. But now, you worry if you don’t take matters into your own hands, you’ll never see them again, ever. So you want to text them — the question is: How?
Well, as I’ve admitted, I honestly have no idea. One of my friends just sent me a link to “100 Ways to Flirt With Guys,” and though I think the advice is intended to be a joke, I am so oblivious that I would probably actually do some of these things. (Number 71 on this list reads: “It’s easy to flirt if you’re famous. Become famous.”)
So, I’ll make a deal with you. I’m going to follow my own advice as soon as I write it. At the end of writing this column, I will text someone that I’m interested in.
I’ve done some recon for us, and I’ve come up with an adaptable game plan. I’ve talked to some of my friends and two baristas at Blue State. A lot of them have been in more relationships than I have. Here’s what they said.
I asked one girl, who is in a pretty new relationship, about the first text she received from her boyfriend. She said he started by saying it was great to run into her. But then he cut right to the chase: “Are you free on Saturday night? If so, would you want to get dinner with me? It would have to be a bit late, but I think it could be fun!”
This was aggressive. He was direct and clear about his intentions from the start, and now they’ve been dating for a few months. I guess they’re not into playing games. She gave him a dictionary for his birthday, and things seem to be going great for them.
In a poll I conducted of the two baristas in Blue State on Wall late Tuesday night, the results supported the importance of making your intentions clear when asking someone out. They said that you should be “practical” and “direct.” One barista said you should invite them to do something you know you’re both interested in. The other said just ask them out for drinks or dinner.
But the thing is, I’m not willing to be so bold (and I bet you’re not, either). I get nervous, start to shake and blush a lot, even if the guy I’m texting is on the other side of campus. One of my friends always wants to touch my cheeks when I get flustered like this. “No, you cannot touch them.” If I’m about to initiate anything, I need a low-risk option.
Another way to get things going with someone is by initiating flirtation, which puts the ball in their court. Think of something small and funny that reminds you of them. Make sure to choose something that can segue into a longer conversation — you don’t want to just get an “LOL.” If things go well, maybe they’ll get the message, and ask you out, though this might take a few days or weeks.
Alternatively, you could just say, “Hey,” and see where it goes. But be careful of sending a completely ambiguous “let’s hang out” text, because then your intentions are not clear.
Also, be sure to choose your platform carefully. Consider the differences between Facebook chat and text. On Facebook, you can see if they’ve read it. On both, you’ll see a chat bubble if they’re struggling to respond. If one of you doesn’t have an iPhone, that’s kind of quaint, but you won’t know if your message has been delivered, or if they’re typing a response. I’ll be going with a text, because I’m currently off Facebook (see my past column, “A Different Kind of Face Time”).
Oh, and always have a friend (or three) read over your message first. Typos are embarrassing. Weird autocorrects are worse.
Finally, once you’ve crafted the perfect text, just man up. Press send. It will probably be worth it.
So, here goes nothing.
My iMessage has been “delivered.”