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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

DATING/RELATIONSHIP: Which Boy to Choose?
Letter #: 390368
Category: Dating/Relationship

Original Letter

I'm a freshman this year, and as I'm getting into highschool, I see so many cute couple. I like two guys, both who are very different in personalities. 

First Question/Advice Help - 1. The first guy is a year older than me, so he's a sophomore. He seems to be the very shy type, and he's nerdy, but funny. One night we talked for five hours, until 3 a.m (two months ago) I feel like we really connected, but we never said anything to each other after that. We just look at each other when we pass by. We like/watch each other's social media etc. I always catch him seeking glances at me, and sometimes his friend look at me. I'm to shy to make a move. What should I do? (I really like him!)

 Second Question/Advice Help 2. The other guy is a year younger than me. We've known each other for over a year. He used to really like me, but of course, I've always like the other guy. He's tried to date me multiple times, but I turned him down. Now he has a girlfriend, she's also my age. We know each other.I feel jealous, but I haven't told him that. I feel like I want a relationship with him now. Especially since I'm moving. (In town, from out of town into a nicer place.) I know you never come between anyone's relationship. I would never do that So what should I do? 

NOTE: I know that you will say to just forget about relationships, but for me, this is serious. I need to experience things, even though it may not work out. It's an experience, for better or worse.

Elder Response

The short, reasonable, and easy to do answer to your letter to the Elder Wisdom Circle asking what to do about boys is nothing! Do nothing until you find you have a choice that feels right for you. I know that's not the answer you want, and I'm happy to suggest alternatives, but Abbi, it's in our nature to think about and desire something, yet know we're really not ready for whatever it is. The analogy to jumping into a pool applies. How many times when you were younger did you stand hugging yourself waiting until that combination of shrinking fear and increasing desire prompted you to take the plunge, and then to stay in the water, enjoying every minute of your time there? 

Right now, you're standing at the brink of adolescence with a mix of fear and desire that changes every day. You know a lot about what you want and what you don't want, so you have a sense of direction. That's good. You're not sure how to proceed. That's normal. 

So how can I help? Well, first and foremost, Abbi, build deep in your heart, and forever in your mind, the conviction that nothing stays the same very long when you're a teenager. Your younger friend with the girlfriend will be single again before long. The best thing he's done for you, so far, is convince you that you're worth pursuing. In his well informed opinion you're ready for romance. That's one big problem solved. You're not going to lack for opportunities.

And the nerdy sophomore, he's added another favor: you're not just a pretty face, you're a real conversationalist. Put these assets together, add curiosity and a longing for experience, and you're almost ready to get into the pool. But you think you're shy, too shy to risk a rebuff from a boy who's been checking you out for weeks. Abbi, stop thinking you have to ask him to commit to a relationship, just tell him you enjoyed talking to him, you'd like to pick up the conversation because you've thought of more to add, and you'd like to hear his perspectives. He's not going to say no, and you're not going to be trapped in a long term romance—though you may have taken the second step toward one. 

One last point—and it's a big one. You claim you're shy, but you're socially capable. That means there are some social steps you're not ready to mount, but there are smaller ones you feel comfortable taking. If you substitute two or three small steps you can get as far as you care to go without taking risks you're not ready for. 

I know that planned encounters that have romance with a big R on the agenda are risky. Conversations about ordinary things, like studying together, or face time about Facebook, are explorations that may or may not lead somewhere. I urge you to keep doing social things that you can manage without anxiety, and take one step at a time toward being as open as you'll ever need be in social situations. 

I'll close with this reminder. Guys are as anxious as girls about dating, in large part because in civil society it's girls who send the signals, and who make the decisions. If you want the nerdy sophomore to ask for a date, you need to send him signals you won't turn him down. So don't keep passing him, ask him how he's doing, and reference your late night chat. Based on what you've written I'm confident it'll work out well for both of you. 

Abbi, here's wishing you a splendid high school experience. And feel free to stay in touch.

Best Regards,

PJH


    

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