We have all been there: Madly crushing on someone, and trying to piece together clues like some two-bit detective. Did he mean I looked good, as in, better than yesterday when I looked stupid? Or did he mean I looked good, as in, he'd love to have a bite? Does she think I'm cool, as in, yeah, let's hang out? Or does she mean cool, like, cool enough for her?
Well, how do we find out? None of us ever wants to ask for a clarification, unless we are sure what the answer will be. And there comes a point when having your best friend scout for you is pathetic. What to do?
Here's a few good indicators that he or she is ready to report for dating duty:
- The person finds lame reasons to talk to you.Like: "I heard your family vacationed in the Ozarks last summer. My dad has a cousin near there, Jebb Johnson. Did you run into him?" Yeah, right. This is someone who just wants to be a few inches away from you, saying anything. Go for it. This also applies to the old "Can I ask your advice about something? Your opinion as a girl / guy?" When you become his or her favorite Dear Abby, keep your eyes open: Nobody really has that many whiny questions.
- The person suddenly becomes interested in country music or the Backstreet Boys or the Williams sisters or whatever it is you talk about a lot. Suddenly, she's got Garth hanging in her locker, and makes sure you see. It's pretty clear: Be flattered.
- Mr. or Ms. X seems somewhat flustered by you. Like someone who is a telemarketer after school, but can suddenly think of nothing when you ask, "Hey, what's been going on?" If he or she looks at you, startled, as if you've just told them that you are really an alien spy, you can be pretty sure the person is into you.
- The person acts more colorful when you are in view: laughs louder, shows off his new football move, tosses her hair, sings, etc.. You are not sure you are the cause, but if it's pretty consistent when you are around, start taking the hint.
- The person really looks at you when you talk. Like your eyes are TV's, and Friends is on. There's no looking around the room, seeing who else is coming, or avoiding your gaze. He or she stands a bit closer than normal. Everything kind of dies around you, even if you are only asking about last night's trig homework (which, of course, you already did - see #1.)
Before you go up to bat, though, remember to ask yourself the following questions before you start dating anyone (even that to die for Dylan McDermott lookalike from Calculus):
Does he or she respect me?
Does he or she treat me well, and make me feel good about myself?
Does he or she have a real picture of who I am, or do I have to pretend to be someone totally else to win affection?
Does he or she have my best interests in mind? Can I trust him or her to keep me safe?
Do we share anything other than chemistry? Will we have something to talk about a few weeks from now?
Be honest with yourself about these answers, as hard as that may be. Trust me, it will be worth it in the long run.
And now for the "one final word of advice" part of the article. Here it is: Stay in touch with your gut instincts. They usually tell you when to go for it, when to leave it alone, and when to run the hell the other way. If what your gut tells you makes sense to you in the light of day, here's what you do: Listen.