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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Taking a chance vs. Playing it safe

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Author Topic: Taking a chance vs. Playing it safe
Atonement
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So, I guess this post could sort of be a sequel to this one: http://www.scarleteen.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011510/p/1.html#000004

Guy B is completely out of the picture.
However, over the two months between that post and now, I have become more and more interested in Guy A.

We’re to the point now where we’re friends. We don’t like, call or text each other, or hang out on our own, but any time the organization does something, we tend to hang out in the same group.

We’ve had some really great conversations on our own, but I’m a bit of a quieter person, and whenever there’s a group, I tend to not talk much.
I’ve thought about becoming interested in other guys, but nothing’s really caught my interest. I’ve considered trying to date some other guy friends, but as soon as Guy A walks into the room, it’s like I just don’t see them anymore.

I’m starting to feel silly and a little scared. I haven’t felt like this about anyone in about 6 years. I know a lot of that is because I was in a place where I wasn’t really meeting people, and I had a lot of bigger problems going on in my life, but this is getting to the point where it’s starting to feel pretty big.

I feel a little silly about letting me get these kinds of feelings about someone when I have NO clue whether or not they are interested. We have that thing where we end up meeting eyes a lot, but that could be because I end up looking his direction a lot. Sometimes, when we go to meetings/events, he doesn’t really talk to me unless I approach him, but sometimes he does. He invited me to a party next weekend, but then again, pretty much everyone who’s active in our organization is going. So, for someone as outgoing as he is, he’s pretty hard to read.

Last night, my school had an all night fundraiser. I spent at least 8 hours hanging out with him, at some times just us, at others as part of a group. We were there until 5 am. And I don’t know if it’s the energy of the event, the sleep deprivation, or something else, but I left last night and woke up feeling like I really, really want this to work out.

If this were any other situation, I’d probably be at the point where I’d take a risk and actually say something, rather than just my low-key version of flirting.

The thing that makes it all complicated is, our society is in the middle of elections. I’m running for a more low key position (not sure if I’ll get it, but keeping my fingers crossed), but this guy is almost definitely going to be the president next year.

This organization is where almost all of my friends are, and it’s a really big deal to me. And if I were to put myself out there and get rejected, it could make for a really awkward semester.

I’m really nervous about approaching guys because I’m afraid that if they don’t find me attractive (physically or otherwise) that they’ll see me as some kind of “stalker girl”. And the opportunities of us being alone and me being able to pull off the “would you like to get coffee with me?” thing you suggested are unlikely.

Also, we only have 3 more events where we will definitely see each other before the end of the academic year. Then, it’s unlikely that I will see him again until September. On one hand, I feel like I feel like I have the pressure to do something because of the limited time, and on the other hand I feel like it would be kind of silly to try something if we were going to be in different (rather far apart) cities for the greater part of 4 months.

Any thoughts?

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Atonement
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So, for the last couple of days over the weekend, I've stayed home, done homework, and just relaxed by myself. I haven't seen anyone but my roommate a couple times.

Looking back at my post, parts of it look silly. And It's weird, but I think there's something wrong with the fact that half the time i feel like being attracted to someone is so juvenile. I know it's not, and that people 2, 3, and 4 times my age are still attracted to people. I don't know when I formed this idea that not physical, but mental/emotional attraction, is a sign of immaturity or weakness, when I know that's NOT true.

Right now, when It's been a few days since I've seen anyone, I catch myself seeing things this way: That even if something did happen between us, and it didn't work out, that it could make my time in the organization very awkward. That he probably isn't interested in me, and any signs i think I may have seen are just me over-thinking things. That there's bound to be other guys out there that are this awesome. And I start to feel like I've been making a fool of myself, touching his shoulder too much, laughing to hard, saying stupid things, ect.

But then, I know the next time I see him, just like every other time, it will all come back. The idea that maybe, just maybe, he's interested. And that people like this don't come around every day, and I just can't pass this up...

Any advice?

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Heather
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Maybe we can start by saying that no matter what, whether he shared your interest or not, putting any of this out there, wherever it goes, could change things for you in the organization. I mean, people in intimate relationships in orgs, especially new ones, tend to create some frictions or awkward-y bits.

So, perhaps a best place to start would be determining how much that matters to you, and if that's something you want to risk no matter what his response to your interest might be?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Hi, Heather (And Happy Late Birthday by the way! ♥ you!)

The thing is, the organization is pretty important to me. As you know, I'm pretty new here, and I've made a lot of friends through that organization. As in pretty much all of my friends here, and certainly all of my closer/favorite ones.

In addition, I am also running for an officer position, and while I won't know whether or not I got it until this Sunday, I think I've got a fairly decent chance of getting it.

On the other hand, there are several people in the organization that are in relationships with other members, and they seem to be doing just fine.

Plus, to be honest, I sort of don't see myself becoming interested in someone outside of it. The whole path to getting into med school is so time demanding, and I think pretty much all of us are kind of isolated from the rest of the student body, who tend to live a very different lifestyle.

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Heather
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(Thanks!)

So, it sounds to me, then, that the fears you're having aren't really of any of this interfering with the organization, since it sounds like if this could turn into a romantic relationship, you'd be willing to take that risk.

Instead, it's sounding like this is more about your own fears of rejection, and, should this person not return/share your romantic interest (which it seems clear is a rejection to you), your worries that you won't be able to just kind of run away from it because you don't want to leave the community this person is part of.

In other words, it's sounding to me like issues about the org/group are actually secondary, that this is really about you.

Does that sound right to you?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Exactly!

For example, at the beginning of the year, my roommates had a party. I gave this one guy my number and he never called/texted.

That didn't bother me at ALL. For one, because i had just met him and wasn't emotionally invested. But mostly because I've never had to see him again, and probably won't.

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Heather
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So, maybe the right thing to think about, especially given all the insecurities you're voicing, is if you even -- right now, and in this situation -- feel up to risking a "not interested" from this guy?

We won't always feel resilient with this stuff, or in every situation. So, it's always a matter of sorting that out, and assessing if we think the possible benefit is worth the possible lack of benefit or unwanted outcome, and if we feel truly up to handling either.

I mean, one thing I'm hearing right now from you in this is a pretty strong lack of self-confidence, which would probably make an intimate relationship now, and with this person, pretty tough for both of you even if the interest was shared. So, I'm wondering if, either way, it might not be best for you to take some more time to build up your own esteem?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Wel, overall, I think my self confidence is pretty ok.

I just kind of have a fear of putting myself out there.

I think it probably stems from when i was younger, and I told a guy I liked him, and he ended up making fun of me for it, both behind my back and to my face.

Another thing is, I guess frm years of having my parents say things like "you shouldn't worry about boys, you should focus on school" has stuck. And also, their own really messed up relationship has always made me a bit wary of relationships.

That being said, I really feel like I'm ready to get back into the relationship thing. Knowing that my dad has been diagnosed with a real mental illness has helped me trust guys more. The thing is, I've made up my mind that I don't want to settle for someone I don't really like, and this guy is the only one I've met in a long time that doesn't feel like someone I'd just be settling for.

I'm wondering if maybe i should just give this some time. Maybe if he is interested he'll approach me eventually. Or maybe if not I'll meet someone else.

But then, the braver, bolder part of me really doesn't want this to get away...

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Heather
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The statements I was responding to around self-confidence with this were these:

quote:
I’m really nervous about approaching guys because I’m afraid that if they don’t find me attractive (physically or otherwise) that they’ll see me as some kind of “stalker girl”. And the opportunities of us being alone and me being able to pull off the “would you like to get coffee with me?” thing you suggested are unlikely.
quote:
he probably isn't interested in me, and any signs i think I may have seen are just me over-thinking things. That there's bound to be other guys out there that are this awesome. And I start to feel like I've been making a fool of myself, touching his shoulder too much, laughing to hard, saying stupid things, ect.
Things like that sound, to me, like pretty low self-confidence around this, not like a sound level of it, or "pretty okay."

So, can I check in with you around what clearly sounds like you and I seeing where you're at with this pretty differently? Obviously you're the expert of you, but I am curious about your framework of feelings like that not suggesting any issues with self-esteem when it comes to sexual/romantic feelings or relationships.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Well, those feelings arent feelings i feel all the time.

Overall, when i look in the mirror, I think I'm pretty, I think I'm fun, I think I've got a good personality. And i know that plenty of guys have been interested in my. And I think the main reason more guy's don't approach me is because I'm sort of quiet, and don't seem approachable to everyone.

The thing about the stalker girl issue: The only reason I really feel that way, ever, is because it happened before, and that was a very hurtful experience, especially since it was a guy who i considered to be a very good friend and trusted.

As to the second paragraph: That's not how I feel all the time. It's just those little negative voices inside my head. I thought pretty much everyone had those sometimes...

I'm guessing I should probably get my therapist's opinion when i talk to her at the end of the week, yeah?

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Heather
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That makes more sense: I figured they were happening more than every now and then since you mentioned them as feeling like a big barrier for you.

You know, one thing I find helpful for myself when I'm focusing on one person doing something bad/hurtful to me is to really remind myself that having the idea I should be afraid of anyone or everyone doing that isn't sound.

For instance, addressing something less loaded than other things I could (like having been sexually assaulted, for instance), I lost a part of my mouth to someone's dog once. But I have two dogs here: they're awesome. And that one dog was the only dog that bit me: through my life I have spent time with a ton of different dogs without having to have a trip to the ER, and without any lasting scars.

It might also be helpful to try and assess if you're in a space where you need to take a risk to push you forward. Sometimes we do need to do that to get out of places where we're stuck. Even if the outcome isn't what we want, finding out we can deal with that better than we feared can do a lot to help us keep growing, you know?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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And also, I haven't had those kinds of doubts in a long time.

I think it's just that some feelings that I haven't had since i was around the age that all those things happened that are triggering some kind of a temporary reversion from confidentish 21 year old be to insecureish 15 year old me.

You know what I mean?

Also, I thought that fear of rejection was kind of a common thing, not sign of something being up. Am i wrong about that?

[ 04-23-2012, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: Atonement ]

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Heather
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I do know what you mean.

I'd say that certainly, nobody is a fan of rejection.

At the same time, I'd question framing someone not sharing a romantic interest in us AS rejection, even though it can certainly feel that way. I'd also say that a fear, expressly a fear, of rejection isn't so common when we're talking about people being in a good headspace and having sound self-esteem. In other words, even though we might not like it, it's often not scary, or something that keeps us from going for things we want, just unpleasant. It also should feel like something we can deal with when it happens without the world coming to an end, even if experiencing it hurts or sucks.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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I see what you're saying.

This is going to sound really, really crazy. Especially coming from someone as feminist as myself.

But I also think I might also feel this way because of the old fashioned idea that girls aren't supposed to be the ones doing the pursuing.

I know that's totally ridiculus. But because of that, I almost feel that socially, it's a bigger deal for a girl to put herself out there than it is for a guy...

I ran into him about an hour ago, and he came up and talked to me (I hadn't seen him), which is nice.

I think I'm going to give this a little more time though...

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Heather
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Sometimes we think things that aren't sensible or are counter to our own politics. It happens. [Smile]

But really, that idea was outmoded in a pretty board way before people my age even started dating. (And personally, whatever the gender people I have asked out in my life have been, it's usually me that's brought it to the table, so on a personal level, that notion always seems strange to me, both because "rules" about dating that only apply to heterosexuals always feel foreign to me, but also because that's never an idea I've personally had or felt had any merit.)

Might it still be a bigger deal in some hetero circles or communities for women to "ask first?" Sure, it might be. But the way I look at it is this: in order to have any chance of getting what we want, whatever it is, whatever our gender, we almost always need to put it out there and go for it. If we wait around for someone else to do it, sure, we might get lucky and get what we want anyway, but a) more often we won't, and b) there's something pretty awesome and powerful about taking the initiative to go after the things we want in life. Whether we get them or not, pursuing them tends to feel better than being passive: just some two cents from me.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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That makes sense.

And really, in all other aspects of my life, I'm the type of person that makes things happen, not the type that sits around waiting for them to happen.

So, if i were to go through with this, how would you suggest?

I liked your "would you like to go get some coffee with me?" suggestion, but I feel that's more of a "right now" thing, whereas any time I see him from here on out might be a little bit of an inappropriate time for coffee, you know?

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Heather
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Why would going out for coffee, tea, a beer, whatever, be inappropriate from here on out?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Well, I'll probably only be seeing him in the evening from now on.

I can't speak for anyone else, but if I have coffee after 4 or so, it does not turn out to be a good night's sleep for me.

Although, like you mentioned, there are other non- caffeinated beverages to choose from.

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Heather
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Umm, yeah, I don't think which beverage you're asking about really matters. [Razz]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Well, I did it!

I spent the night at my parents house last night, and had a conversation about it with my mom. I kind of expected her to tell me to just wait it out, but instead, she said it's be a shame if he did like me and I never found out. Just hearing it from her made it seem more, I dunno, legit.

Tonight, I went to a party that he had invited me (along with a lot of other people in our organization) to. And towards the end, I just got a feeling that it was time.

So, before he left, I asked him if I could talk to him before I left. He said yes, and we went outside.

When we got out there, i asked him if he wanted to go for lunch sometime. He seemed a little surprised, but said yes, and asked me where I wanted to go . I told him it didn't matter, and we just kind of smiled at each other a minute, and then went back inside.

Only drawback: he was somewhat intoxicated at the moment. I think he was sober enough that he'll remember tomorrow, but if he doesn't say anything, then I'll never know if he couldn't remember or if he's just blowing me off.

I also don't know if he said yes because of a "i like her as a person but don't know how to respond" scenario, or if he really is interested.

We've got a kind of formal event with our organization tomorrow evening, and he's definitely going to be there, so at least I won't have to wait too long until the next time we see each other.

I'm a little nervous, but more in an excited-nervous way. So far, I don't feel like I've done anything horribly stupid, and feel kind of good that I opened the door.

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Atonement
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Well, I'm kind of disappointed right now because I just found out that I didn't get the officer position I wanted. Really, I guess it's kind of for the best because I need to prepare for my MCAT, but it's a kind of disappointing.

I saw him at the banquet, and was relieved that things weren't weird when we interacted. Before we left, he gave me a big hug and may have (hopefully it's not my imagination) lingered a little longer than usual. So I guess whatever happens, at least it's not going to feel awkward being in the organization together, which I'm really, really grateful for. But, at the same time, i really want this to work out.

He didn't offhand mention my invitation, but there wasn't really any proper time to with everyone around. He did offhand mention last night though, which at least means he remembers that I was there, and probably remembers the invitation as well.

So now I'm wondering.. I don't know if I should wait and see if he mentions it, or if I should shoot him a message saying something like "hey, are you still up for our lunch date?" or not. I'm kind of torn because I don't want to seem desperate, but I really, really like him, and Unless we plan something specifically, I'm not going to see him again for about 4 months,

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Atonement
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Well, I'm still a little sad today. All that's left of this semester is finals.

I feel like, considering all the stress I've been under the last, well, forever, I've done a really good job fitting in here and making friends. But it's kind of upsetting that now that everything's over and people are returning to their various corners of the globe, there's a lot of people I won't see for about 4 months.

I'm a little worried that I'm going to be isolated here like i was the first couple weeks before classes started.

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WesLuck
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Are you happy with the amount of alcohol he drinks? Other than that, you could message something like "Do you still want to go to our lunch date? I'd really like to, but if you've changed your mind that's okay."

This is of course, only if you want to message something like that and you agree with the above message. But you would know what is likely to be best. Think about the situation, pros and cons of doing different things, then trust your gut instinct.

Does anyone else on Scarleteen have something to say on this topic?

[ 04-30-2012, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Atonement
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The alcohol consumption was not an every day thing, and if it was he would absolutely not be an option for me.

At our college, there's a tradition that when you get your class ring, you're supposed to drop it into a pitcher of beer and chug the whole thing. I personally think it's kind of a dumb tradition, but it's sort of socially required. So, he only drank that much because of that, and usually only drinks in more healthfully acceptable quantities.

To be honest, I'm kind of toying with the idea of just letting things go. Maybe I'm overdramatizing again, but I sort of feel like once was bold and empowering, but twice might seem a little needy and desperate.

I think part of it might be a slight level discomfort because he was elected president of the organization, but I wasn't elected to the position I applied for. I know that shouldn't really matter because he was an officer this year and I wasn't, and we still became kind of friends, and he's friends with a lot of people who aren't. And also, i guess one thing that makes it weird is that so many of my friends did get elected, and having so many of my friends go up a level without me makes me fell like less of a part of the group...

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WesLuck
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That's fine. You would know what's best for the situation. [Smile] And I'm sure someone nice will come along - just be friendly with people, get to know them at a comfortable pace, and if seems right for you, you can ask them on a date or to get some non-caffeinated beverages together and go from there. [Smile] [Wink] It really is playing by the percentages, ie. talking to lots of interesting people and getting to know them at a comfortable pace, and valuing yourself and others.

However in this case, if you gut instinct says it's best to leave it, go with that. I think you're right! [Smile]

Best wishes!

-WesLuck.

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Atonement
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Yeah. I guess it just kind of sucks, because I had kind of interpreted some random "signs" and kind of built it up in my head that he might reciprocate the interest. But, I opened the door, and i feel like if he did, he would have walked through it...
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