Dating, Decoded

I’m Shy About Dating. How Do I Make The First Move?

I caught feelings for someone, but I don’t know how to tell him.

Q: I’ve never been in a relationship before and I rarely catch feelings. However, I recently caught feelings for this guy who I’ve been friendly acquaintances with since college, but I don’t think he even really notices me.

I want to make an effort to become his friend and hopefully more, but I don’t know where to start. I only see him at his shows (he’s a musician) or on social media. We’ve messaged a few times but nothing serious. I’m very much a scaredy-cat when it comes to dating, but I want to put myself out there more. Any advice? — Becca*

A: Hi Becca! I love that you have a crush to be excited about. I was just talking to a friend over drinks about how I miss having a crush on someone. It’s stressful, sure, but yearning also makes you feel bubbly and nervous and alive.

Crushes are fun. They can put you in a vulnerable position if you’re not sure how the other person feels, but that risk isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A lot of dating is about putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to the possibility of rejection. It’s scary! It’s not ideal! But sometimes the good sh*t in life comes from stepping outside your comfort zone. Shooting your shot only has that name because there’s a chance you might miss.

‘Be[ing] bold with your flirtation’ is the way to manifest the love life you want.

When I’m nervous to make the first move, I usually try to think through the worst-case scenario. That might sound counterintuitive — why would you want to picture a humiliating situation? — but I find it helps me put things in perspective. If I DM someone and they leave me on read, or even straight-up decline my suggestion to hang out, that’s a momentary awkward interaction. It might wound my pride a little, but it will be fine and eventually easy to laugh over.

But if the person reciprocates your interest? Even if it ends up being one date and nothing more, you’ll be so proud of yourself for taking a risk. That small win will build your confidence and encourage you to keep trying — it’s like exposure therapy. Take it from TikTok’s “Empress of Delululand,” Isabel Timerman, who previously told Elite Daily that “be[ing] bold with your flirtation” is the way to manifest the love life you want. “If something doesn’t work out for you, there’s a million excuses as to why,” she said. The more you get used to thinking that way, the easier it is to put yourself out there without fear.

As for this guy: Maybe try approaching him after his next show, or sending him a DM about how much you enjoyed the last set list. Even small, friendly interactions will start to build rapport between you and lay the groundwork for something more. If he isn’t getting the hint, feel free to lay your cards on the table and ask him out for drinks or coffee. What do you have to lose — and more importantly, what do you have to gain?

*Name has been changed.

Dating, Decoded appears on Elite Daily once a month. Have a question for Sarah? Submit it here.