Q. I get together regularly with a group of friends. We all met in a Meetup group that attracts people who are somewhat socially awkward — and I’ll put myself in that category too.
There are two guys — I’ll call them Charlie and Rob — that I’m very attracted to and interested in. I’ve known them both for several years and have sensed attraction/interest at different times from both of them.
Charlie regularly sends me very chatty e-mails, remembers details I shared with him months ago, and lights up when we meet. We’ve gotten together twice outside of the group on a platonic level. Both times were great. Both times were my idea. From various conversations we’ve had, I get the sense that he’s very shy about asking girls out.
Rob can be physically flirty and also lights up when we meet. He often walks me to my car and we stand there and chat for a long time before a very affectionate hug good-night. I get the idea that he didn’t date much before he got married and now that he’s divorced, he’s very gun-shy about women.
I don’t think either one of them is dating because most people suddenly don’t have time for this social group once they find a significant other.
For my part, I’ve had some really bad life experiences that make me pretty rejection-averse, as well. And even if I were to summon the courage, I feel like I just don’t know how to show my attraction to a guy.
So what is the universe of geeks supposed to do? These people are attractive and smart and interesting, but we all settle for platonic love because we’re too afraid to do anything about it. Or we’re convinced the other person is just not that into us. Or we give off the “let’s just be friends” vibe. Help!
A. There are many ways to communicate your feelings. You don’t have to talk about this stuff in person. You’re allowed to write it all down, just like you did with this letter.
If I were you, I’d write an e-mail to Charlie and/or Rob explaining that you’re open to spending time away from the group, and that you’ve often wondered whether your relationship is really platonic. Tell them that you’ve hoped for more and haven’t known how to communicate your feelings. Also make it clear that if your feelings are one-sided, you can deal. You just want to make sure you’re being honest and not missing out on any opportunities.
You won’t have to stress about their body language or wonder what they’re thinking because they’ll e-mail back. They’ll have to be clear.
That means your biggest problem is choosing between Charlie and Rob. If you all hang out together, you can’t pursue them both, at least not at the same time. You have to pick a suitor and send one e-mail. Do you have a top pick? You should.
And please know that if you wind up dealing with rejection, it’s OK. I mean, it’s not OK . . . rejection is terrible. But I promise you, regret is worse. It’s better to be a grown-up and ask for what you want. You did that with your letter to us. Consider this your practice run.