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Walking the Talk: Tips for Approaching Someone You’re Attracted To

I’ll never forget the first time a girl I liked said hello to me. It was in the eighth grade, and I was attracted to Susan, but I didn’t know if she even knew my name. When she walked by and said, “Hi, Scott,” I was so shocked, I said, “Hi, Scott,” back to her. Luckily, I think I mumbled it quietly enough that she couldn’t understand what I said. But I was so embarrassed; I avoided her for weeks.

I later realized that when a guy or girl is attracted to someone, it’s normal to feel nervous when first talking to that person. I’m not sure if it’s hormones, fear of rejection, lack of experience, or all three, but it’s a common problem and one that can be dealt with.

Most people are attracted to other people by their looks, first. In many cases, we want to find out if the person we’re attracted to is also attracted to us. We might ask a friend to find out if the person likes us. Or we might write a personal note, or even ask the person directly.

But the answer might be, “I don’t even know you,” or “Yeah, you’re kind of cute, but I don’t really know,” because most people realize that personality, behavior, and common interests are as important as looks when you want a relationship. And in most cases, a person wants to get to know the other person before deciding if a friendship, let alone a relationship, is possible.

So how do you get to know somebody you’re attracted to? One thing that might help is to think of that someone as their own person first, and a potential romantic or sexual partner second. I know it’s hard to do, but getting to know the person as a friend, talking about the stuff of daily living like schoolwork, movies, or music takes a lot of the pressure off. Spending time together studying, going out in a group, or just talking about life helps you find out if you are a good match for each other.

Some people think that showing off, teasing, or ignoring someone they’re attracted to is a good way to communicate their interest. Wrong! To most people, that’s usually a turn-off and a sign of immaturity. To show someone you’re interested try to find some common ground with that special someone by expressing your interests, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and opinions. If she or he is right for you, you’re bound to find a topic of conversation that will break the ice, so that you can feel comfortable when it comes time to ask for a date.

At some point, you will probably want to find out if the person likes you as “more than a friend.” There are several ways to do this; the most direct is saying that you really like spending time together and asking the person out on a date. Talking on the telephone or through e-mails or instant messaging may make it easier to communicate sensitive feelings, but many people prefer face-to-face conversations.

Just remember that starting a relationship is about finding someone that makes a good match, not whether a person is good enough or not. If it’s not a good match, it doesn’t mean you are a loser; it simply means it’s not a good match. You’ll meet other people. And if you’re not up to meeting anyone else right away, that’s okay, too. Just remember — you’ll probably be attracted to another person sooner than you think!

By the way, Susan and I spent some time together, studying and talking, and even went on a date. But eventually, we decided it wasn’t a great romantic match, and went our own ways.

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