SparkNotes Blog

Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Get to Know This Person?

Dear Auntie SparkNotes,

As school has begun I’ve begun to notice a certain new boy in my class… (cue the thumping of hearts, fluttering of butterflies.)

He’s an international student and there’s something about his dedication to his studies and his quiet nature that draws me in (you know, me being a nerd and all). And who could forget his beautiful smile? I want to become his friend so that I can see if this has a chance of getting anywhere. I’ve tried talking to him a few times but it’s tough because we only have two classes together and both of the classes leave no time for chatting. We also are in completely different friend groups so you can see how difficult it can be. When I ask him questions he gives me detailed answers but he doesn’t ask me anything back. I haven’t given up because the fact that he answers with interest shows that at least he doesn’t think that I’m some kind of a nuisance. That’s why I’m emailing you, Auntie. Could you give me some advice on how I can get to know this person and potentially become friends with them?

Sure can, Sparkler! But I must warn you: The advice I’m about to give you is kinda the worst. Not because it’s not useful, or because it won’t work—it is, and it will!—but because the hard part isn’t figuring out what to do. It’s having the courage to do it.

And by “it,” of course, I mean “opening your mouth and using your words to flirt your ding-dang face off.”

Which is terrifying, I know. But it is unequivocally your best option, and not just because your relationship will need a more fertile (read: flirty) foundation if it’s going to blossom beyond small talk about the latest chemistry lecture. The fact is, you’re interested in getting to know this guy not because you want to be his friend, but because you see it as a potential gateway to something more than friendly. And to that end, a little courage will take you a long way toward figuring out if romance is in the cards, and without having to go all the way through the process of becoming friends under false pretenses (which is a notorious recipe for disappointment, anyway.)

Unfortunately, in your case, I think that means you’ve gotta take the scary step of just asking the guy out—since you swim in such different social circles and aren’t being thrown together in, say, a club or sport or party environment that might let you take things to a more intimate level. The next time you have an opportunity to talk, ask him if he’s ever gone to [insert local, adorable cafe here], and whether he’d be interested in grabbing a coffee with you after school one day.

Again: Terrifying. Yes. It is. And if you really, truly can’t bring yourself to say it, then there is always the alternative of befriending him online and trying to strike up the kind of conversations over, say, Facebook messenger that you don’t have the time to have in person. But the thing about the big, scary overture is that you only have to make it once. One uncertain step, one moment of fear, and you’ll get all the information you need as to whether this guy is interested in spending time with you or not. And if he says no? Then that’s a bummer, for sure, but at least you won’t have wasted your time trying to incrementally finesse your way into a relationship that was never going to happen—and on the other hand, if he says yes, then think how fun that will be!

So, here is my advice: Gird your loins, ask the question, and hope for the best (albeit while preparing yourself to be gracious if the answer is no.) We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you. And for the love of everything, write back and let us know what happened!

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