Q. I have a repetitive problem where I get intense crushes on people I’m friends with and then never say anything about it. I let the crush fester until it becomes creepy/unhealthy. I’ve always told myself that I’d tell the person I was interested if I ever had a sign they were interested as well, but I can’t seem to determine what counts as “enough” to make a move. Nothing ever feels like enough.
I’ve got the beginnings of a crush on a friend with whom I carpool to work a couple of times a week. For once, I caught it early.
I could say or do something casual before I’ve spent so much time pining that any expression of interest comes out with the intensity and absurdity of Mr. Darcy’s first proposal.
But the thing is, he hasn’t given me any indication that he’s interested. We have a fun time in the 1.5 hours of driving on days we go into the office, but we never spend time together or talk outside that time period. I don’t want to make things awkward to the extent that I lose the friendship (or my ride to work). So I guess I am wondering whether I should make a move or move on—and how does one go about either of those things in a way that won’t harm the friendship?
A. Is this the first time Mr. Darcy has been mentioned in Love Letters? If so, congrats.
This would be a great time for you to practice getting in front of a crush before it becomes a fixation. Telling this person how you feel is a risk—especially with gas prices so high!—but these Darcy disclosures don’t have to be all or nothing.
Instead of blurting out that you think he’s the center of the universe, ask him if he wants to hang out for a drink, meal, walk, or whatever.
If you get to that next step and it seems like you both had fun spending out-of-the-car time together, ask him if it might count as a date. Remember you can always stop nervous-talking after that. It’s easier to get an answer when you’re silent and listening.
If you don’t get to that step because he says he’s busy, tell him you’d love to hang out whenever. Then see if he initiates. If not, consider that a real no and move on.
Also know that if all of this fails and gets awkward, you can find another ride. It probably won’t come to that, but let’s remember it’s the ride you’re risking most of all. If the two of you only hang out in the car, he’s not a close friend.
Don’t overdo it in your brain and decide he’s perfect before you know what he is, in real life, as a possible partner. Ask for a hangout. That’s Step 1. You can’t get to any other step without the first.
Don’t make a move on the carpool pal. If it doesn’t work out, it’s gonna be an awkward 1.5 hours a day. STRIPEYCAT
Can you take that energy and redirect it to people you AREN’T already friends with? Get on some apps, meet new people? DANGLEPARTICIPLE
I think by now you would know if this guy liked you. LEFTYLUCY7
Find the latest season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your relationship quandaries and questions to email@example.com. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.