Q. Hi Meredith,
I see this guy every morning when I walk to my bus to go to work. We’re always going in opposite directions, but on this one occasion he said good morning. I was completely caught off guard — in a good way, for sure. I thought, OK, this is interesting. It happened the next time I saw him and the next time and so on. Unfortunately, these encounters haven’t amounted to anything more. I’m an extremely introverted person, so the idea of starting some sort of inane dialogue with this guy quite literally terrifies me. I mean, what if he completely ignores me or something equally embarrassing?
I’m thinking of handing him a note. But who writes letters anymore? It’s so old fashioned that maybe he won’t think it’s as romantic as I do. If someone handed me a letter in an envelope, and had taken the time to write something heartfelt to me, I would cherish it and think it was the sweetest gesture ever. My friends all tell me I should just talk to the guy, but I’d like to do something different — so different that he can’t help but want to know me! I’m not sure if there’s a question in there. Maybe I’m just looking for some validation.
A. I’m with your friends. It’s not that I’m anti-note, but all you’ve shared with this man are a few hellos. You could try raising the stakes with one extra sentence. As in, “I see you every day; I thought I’d introduce myself.”
If you do write the note, please keep it short and sweet. Do not profess anything important (like a massive crush or an overwhelming desire to follow anywhere he goes). Maybe just a first name and number.
There are also alternatives to the note that might lead to more. If some man I saw every morning on the way to the Orange Line offered me a baked good — like, “Hey, I was getting my blueberry muffin and figured you might want one, too” — I might fall madly in love with him. It does sound like you’re ready to take a risk, which is wonderful. Please remember, though, that you can’t skip the process of getting to know someone. It’s not “inane conversation” if it gets you to the next step. Even if he responds well to a note, you’ll have to start with simple introductions and basic information. Please update us on what happens. If you do write the note and it works, we’ll be desperate to know what was in it. — Meredith
Just talk to him. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’ll become easier to talk to the next guy. No guts, no glory. PHATALISTIC
I had the same thing happen. I would see the same girl on the Red Line every day, then we would start saying hi. One day there was a seat open next to me and she sat in it. I was too nervous to say anything so I took out my phone and typed “Hi, I’m Nick” and showed it to her. We ended up talking the whole train ride and eventually dating. BOSTONREADAH
Here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter! Write a note. Buy him a muffin. Ask him to get a coffee. He already has an answer in his head for whether he is interested in you. TWO-SHEDS
If some stranger offered me a muffin, I’m not sure I would eat it. BKLYNMOM
Meredith, no. If a strange man on the T hands you a muffin, throw it out. JUST-ANOTHER-BOSTONIAN
Get Season 2 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast now at loveletters.show and Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.