Dear Dr. Nerdlove,
There’s a nerd guy in my social circle (we see each other mostly at gatherings that are commenced by a couple of our mutual friends, as well as on a couple of different Internerd platforms through which we follow/friend/circle each other). I’ve been interested in him for several months now. I know he likes me as a person, but I haven’t had any vibes that he reciprocates my romantic feelings. All of our mutual friends have confirmed to me that he is, in general, very socially awkward and that it takes quite a while to get to know him. I did once see him at a party with a girl who he was briefly dating, and he looked very comfortable with her and treated her respectfully, so I know that he’s not completely inept at dealing with women or anything like that.
Months ago, before we actually met in person, I ended an email by saying, “I’d like to meet you. We should grab a drink sometime,” hoping that he’d pick up on that and say sure, but he never acknowledged that I said it. I realize that was a really open-ended way to put it, I could have asked him to do something specific, but again, I hadn’t met him yet, and my real goal was to bring the Internerd connection into the real world. So, you see the frustration I’m dealing with here!
That said, it’s been really difficult for me to gauge whether he’s not into me, or just not the type to make the first move. I’m heeding your advice from the first question in your FAQ, which says that most nerd guys are shy and women need to club them with a clue-by-four. I’ve wielded the clue-by-four in the past with other nerd guys with varying degrees of success, but I’m nervous about doing it this time, because the last time I did it the guy insisted that he just wanted to be friends (and that was particularly painful, because I thought he was the love of my life and just too shy to put the moves on me…and things got ugly and now we’re not even friends anymore).
So now I’m basically waiting for the right moment to say something to this guy, and I’m getting impatient. I drop subtleties here and there, but he doesn’t pick up on them (or perhaps he’s giving me the brush-off…there’s no real way to tell…frustrating!).
So I’m looking for creative solutions. I’m interested in hearing about times you and your nerd-guy readers have been approached (or perhaps clubbed) by women, and what those women said/did that made you feel comfortable and amorous enough to respond positively to her advances. Any tips you can provide on communicating with this nerd, and all adorable nerds in general, is much appreciated!
- Clue By Four
You’re overthinking things, Clue.
I can’t blame you for being a little gun-shy considering you’ve had being the aggressor go badly, but let’s face it, everybody has had a bad experience asking someone out, men and women. If we let that put us off dating… well, it means I get a lot more business, but it also means that there’ll be a lot of really frustrated single people out there wondering why nobody does them the favor of asking them out.
So you’ve tried to get him to go out in a more round-about way and he hasn’t said anything. With this guy, at this moment, it sounds like you’re starting to hit “reading the tea leaves” territory – you’re trying to find meaning in what he does and doesn’t do in order to get a clue as to whether he’s just missing your subtle clues that you like him or whether he’s deliberately missing them.
Some folks will play dumb in order to avoid what they worry may be an uncomfortable scene. On the other hand, you know he’s a little socially awkward and some dudes are just bad at picking up signs. This is, admittedly, one of the reasons why people find dating so frustrating – half the time we’re not sure whether the signals we think we’re sending are the ones everybody else is picking up. Back in college I had one girl who got annoyed with me because I didn’t realize she was amenable to my making a move by playing a specific song on her stereo; how the fuck was I supposed to pick that up, especially when I was too busy trying to figure out whether or not she liked me liked me in the first place?
Quit beating around the bush and quit waiting for the “right” moment. There is no “right” moment except the one you make. So ask him out on a date point blank – no hedging, no “maybes” or “sometimes”. Just “I like you and I want to go on a date with you. Why don’t we get together this Saturday at 8? How do you feel about bowling?”
You might get your date. You may get shot down. Either way, at least you’ll know for sure instead of playing “what-if ” games in your head over it.
Dear Doctor NerdLove, I Need Help
There’s this girl I really like and she likes me a lot too; at least she used to. We were very good friends and not in any romantic way at all. She was the only person I could have a normal inteligent conversation with. So I took her out with my other 5 friends for beers that I funded in celebration of my birthday and things got bad. First she got drunk and started making out with my friend while sitting on his lap, I also got kinda drunk and I kicked her by accident in the ear (we were sitting down on a log when my friend dragged me off it from behind and she was sitting next to me…) and then later I fell on her. Afterward, everybody went home exept for my friend who made out with her, who I allowed to sleep at my place. Because we were both drunk he kept stuffing in my face how good of a kisser she is and so on, so I went on a rant how I always talk to her, listen to her problems, cheer her up and that I love her. So he convinced me to tell her that I love her… off of his phone cause mines battery was dead!
And i did it… cause I was drunk…. she didnt write back.
But none of that was the worst part yet.. so the other day I find out from the same friend that convinced me to do it that when I kicked her in the ear and fell on her I somehow fucked up her nose and ear and she gotta have an operation now… and she hates me… I didnt have the courage to talk with her about that cause when i heard it I was devastated so I didnt apologize to her kinda.
Because I went for a smoke with my friends but she came along too so somehow they got on the topic of her fucked up ear and nose (its not visible i thik theres just interior damage which is worse) and she said that its my fault and that im a fucked up person. I muttered oh ok im sorry I was wasted, which she responded yeah sure you were. And the other day I found out from another friend that she said that she counted the amount of beers that I drank and it was only 2 and I got so fucking drunk just out of 2 beers.
THATS BULLSHIT! I DRANK WAY MORE THAN THAT AND I KNOW IT! And I havent properly apologized yet but im too much of a pussy to do it i know im supposed to do it but she probably wont even want to hear it.
So help me out Doctor NerdLove cause Im in a giant stinking pile of elephant shit. And sorry for the spelling Im polish.
First of all DG: a couple rewrites and some masturbation jokes and I’m fairly sure you could use this as the basis for a wacky teen sex comedy.
Second of all: your friend’s kind of a dick. It’s one thing to call dibs on someone – you don’t get to do that, no matter how long you’ve been pining for them. Someone rubbing your face in it, on the other hand, is a dick move, even if you’re both drunk at the time.
Third: So far just about every bad thing you’ve heard has been from a third party – not her. I’m not saying your friends have lied to you, but it’s entirely possible – likely, even – that the message has gotten twisted and confused as it’s passed from person to person to you and back to her. So there is room for a lot of misinterpretation here, up to and including how many beers folks think you actually had.
Now let’s look at things rationally: your female friend – let’s call her Emma for convenience’s sake – Emma got hurt because of some drunken roughhousing. It happens, it kind of sucks, but if she honestly hates you for it… well unless she thinks you deliberately kicked her in the face, that’s pretty messed up on her part. Even if she got clocked hard enough to require surgery – which isn’t outside the realm of possibility; I’ve had friends crack ribs during drunken wrestling matches – it’s shitty on her part to put the blame on you for getting yanked off the log by one of your asshole friends.
Drunk texting her… well, presumably Emma knew it was you even on your buddy’s phone, otherwise we’re well into the world of wacky sitcom misunderstandings. Even so: drinking and texting don’t mix and I almost wish that cellphones and smartphones came with breathalyzers built in. Who knows what you texted her – it may well have pissed her off to get kicked in the face AND then a rambling “I lurveyuo soomcuh” at 4 AM.
Now all this is bad. What made it worse is that you didn’t man up and apologize to her the next goddamn day. Waiting even longer – until your friend tells you that he’s heard via the gossip line that she hates you because you fucked up your ear – just made exacerbated the situation.
Now? Now it’s just a giant festering abscess of misunderstandings and resentment that’s poisoning your friendships. At this point you have no reliable idea who said what or what anyone thinks occurred, and incidents like this can quickly twist and mutate into something night-and-day different from actual events.
What do you do now? Well, you make arrangements to talk to Emma - alone - try to figure out exactly what she thinks happened and tell her your side of things. Not excuse or rationalize or try to minimize – just the facts. You had X beers – decidedly more than two – your friend yanked you over, you thought confessing that you had a crush on her was a good idea and had no idea that she’d been seriously injured. Then you apologize profusely. You apologize for hurting her, even though it was by accident. You apologize for the drunk text. You apologize a hell of a lot more that you didn’t come to her earlier and apologize then. After you’ve begged her forgiveness – assuming she accepts it – then you can try to piece together how your ideas of what happened differ.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to sort things out first – if she’s pissed at you, she’s not going to take “Wait, you can’t be mad at me because X said this and I thought that and Y said…” well. Man up, swallow your pride, do some grovelling and then work out how things got this bad.
As a general rule, you the sooner you can leap on that to straighten things out the better. Waiting, even if you’re feeling devestated because you’ve been told your crush hates you, only makes it worse.
Will this fix everything? Well, at this point I don’t know. This sort of drama gets blown out of proportion and can be the end of friendships. But at the very least, you owe her an apology and deserve a chance to let your side of the story be told.