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We're both class clowns, but are we each others' crushes?

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Confused asks:

I'm tall and black... I like this guy who's white, tall and the same age as me. I really like him and we always talk and joke around in class (we're kinda like the unofficial classclowns). But in this one class I somtimes feel his leg brush against mine... or his foot against mine. He teases me, and I tease him. I make him laugh, he makes me laugh. I'm not sure if he likes me back... and if he does.... what to next. Some of my friends say just ask him. But I'm not that daring! (I'm still kinda shy. I'm soo confused....are these signs that he likes me? And if he does, what do i do next?

Lena replies:

You two always talk about joke around in class, brightening each others' school day. You laugh at each others' jokes, which is always special and not to be underrated! Although there may be some differences in your physical appearances, you have very many deeper things in common- and that's what's truly important. What you're describing here shows me that you two really get along well and make for good friends. Some people may take the line, "You're a great friend!" to be an insult coming from a crush, but I believe quite the opposite. Subtract the romantic and/or sexual aspects, and a good relationship is also a good friendship.

While I cannot tell you flat out if he also likes you romantically or not - unfortunately, I do not have mind reading skills or a crystal ball that I can look into - but I think you could safely assume that there's a very good chance he does, based on these behaviors. I'm glad you can talk to your friends about him and think it's great that they're for your asking him out. However, it's easier said than done, especially when you're shy!

You bring up a good point in that even very outgoing people can also be shy about some things, and more so when these things feel serious and possibly scary territory. I bet that he may be a bit shy at heart, too; in fact, while he's willing to try subtle physical signs, he might even be hoping you make the first bold move. (Again, I can't guarantee that he does like you back but there is definitely a good chance.) You certainly could just call him up from home or ask him out between classes, but there are other options that are less direct. Telling someone you like him or her always is double-sided; you have to risk getting turned down in order to risk being told yes. Tricky, eh?

Do you ever hang out outside of school? Do you have the same lunch? Do you have mutual friends? What about inviting him to come hang out with you and some friends sometime, like at a game after school or to watch at DVD at home? That'll give you an opportunity to get to know one another better and see how you two get along outside of school. You get those positive benefits without having to take the bigger risk of flat out asking him out or the pressure of a date right away. If he says he'd love to, then you see how it goes and take it from there- keeping hanging out in groups or eventually switching to something one-on-one. If he says no he can't, but mentions he'd like to another time, you can try again later. Should you extend the invitation a couple times and he keeps saying no every time, you'll have a different answer– it could be he is really busy, just wants to stick to chatting during school or something completely different. Regardless, first asking him to hang out with you in a group is a pretty win-win situation; you have a chance to talk more while avoiding a high pressure scenario, such as a one-on-one date from the get-go.

Two more things that you didn't say directly but I will speak to just in case are the following:

First, you mention that you are of different races, something that doesn't seem to bother you (good for you!) and should technically be an non-issue, but I know it can be in certain communities and families. However, because your friends are supportive, I'll take it as not a concern at all. Should you want to read about others' experiences with interracial dating, we have quite a few threads on the message boards that you could check out.

Second, to return to my point about boyfriends and girlfriends being good boy friends and girl friends, first and foremost. Asking someone out may make you feel nervous and first dates can give you butterflies in your stomach (of the good and bad sort!), but ultimately it's very similar to hanging out with a friend. You can and should feel free to joke around and talk about things as you normally would, but with the addition of perhaps more intimacy over time– be it a deeper friendship where you can share more, a romantic relationship where your feelings are more intense and/or with the possible addition of physical affection and sexual activity. I don't mean to jump the gun here but rather bring up some points that are valid for any crush or relationship.

You may feel shy, but I am impressed at how smartly you are going about this crush. For example, it's one thing to discuss a crush with friends but another to ask them to be go-betweens; however, you are willing to talk to him more directly, if not right away, which is the mature thing. I wish you good luck with however you choose to proceed! If things turn out as you hope, you two like each other and go beyond friendship; if not, you still have a really fun friend, and you can never have enough of those.

Here are some additional articles you may find applicable and/or interesting:

Here are a number of threads on Interracial Relationships on the message boards you can read and even participate in:
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000836
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=001251
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=002082
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=002361
http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=004405

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