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Dear Dish-It: How Do I Let Him Know I Like Him?

Jun 22, 2009

Dear Dish-It,

I'm in middle school and I've fallen for a guy who's four years older than me (is that too old?). Recently he moved on to college. We still keep in contact since we're also pretty close friends and when he’s around he's nice to me (though sometimes he's teasing or lecturing me since he was the head of the club I'm in). The last few days he's been around we've been getting into a lot of awkward situations; he always sits next to me during meals or on the bus and tells me he cares about me. There was one time we both were alone and the situation somehow ended up with him looking right at me and holding my hand! Are these signs that he could like me? He’s even asked me out to a movie and dinner. Apparently he says that I'm a “special friend.” What does he mean by that? Also, he's been chatting with me online every day since he's left and he sometimes leaves me really sweet messages and helps me out with the issues I'm in.

He isn't the crazy, partying, player type, that's for sure, and he's not as “cute” as some other guys, but he's the nicest guy I know and he makes me feel really happy (apparently he's said the same thing about me). I don't know what to do about this because this is one of my first times crushing and I've attempted to drop some signs that I liked him (though I think I'm being really vague). I'm kinda the tomboyish type, so I'm not comfortable with the typical hints most girls use nor am I conscious of whether someone likes me or not, so what I did was I gave him something that really meant a lot to me and somehow meant something to him, too, the day before he left.

Am I doing the right thing? I'm really confused, and I don't know if I should risk telling him or making a move because I don't know how the outcome will turn out. Please help me as soon as you can!!!


Dear Bluejay,

Thanks for sending in your question(s). I think the easiest thing for me to do is to try and answer them one by one.

Your first question asks whether a guy who’s four years older than you is too old for you to crush on. Well, the first thing is (and I’m sure you already know this) we can never control our feelings and emotions when it comes to who we love. I like giving the example of people who come from opposite ends of the earth and even people who’s own countries, religions and beliefs are in conflict who fall in love with each other. However, the important thing to keep in mind, especially when you’re a kid, is that the law sometimes puts boundaries on loving certain people who are too old for you – these laws are made for a good reason, mostly to protect kids from getting hurt by adults who should know better. So make sure you keep yourself safe and protected – if you’re not sure about anything, you should ask your parents, a school counselor or some other adult you trust what they think of the situation.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to some of your more personal questions. You say you see your crush quite a bit and that he’s nice to you when he sees you. You even say he teases or lectures you in a funny way when you’re together – as far as I know, that’s a pretty basic thing guys do to girls that they like. Besides that, you point to some pretty obvious things this guy does to show you that he likes you, like sitting next to you on the bus and at meals, holding your hand and even telling you outright that he cares about you! I don’t think it can get more obvious than that that he returns your feelings for him, do you?

I’m not sure exactly what he means in terms of calling you his “special friend” – I think that is something only he can tell you and, if it’s something you really want or need to know, you should probably just go ahead and ask him to explain himself (just say, “What do you mean by that?”). But I’m getting a pretty obvious vibe from your letter that this guy does like you and wants to have a relationship with you that goes above and beyond just friendship. I’m not sure you really need to ask him what he means when he used certain words or terms to describe you but, again, if you really want to know the real deal, the best thing to do is just to ask him.

OK, so now for the bigger dilemma – what to do about your crush. If you have stopped and really thought about your feelings and what you want from this guy, and you’ve decided that yes, you would like to have a relationship with him that goes beyond your friendship (and please do some real thinking on this to make sure you’re ready for this type of more romantic and intimate relationship before you go ahead and do anything to make it happen – sometimes us girls can let our emotions or the feelings of others get in the way of doing what’s really best for ourselves, so you need to make sure you are – physically, mentally and emotionally – ready for all the extra joys and challenges that come with being in a loving relationship with someone else, OK?), then it’s time to take that next step. Here’s my best advice on how to do just that.

If He’s Into You, He’ll Make The First Move

This is the first thing I think every modern-day girl should know about guys – if they want to be with you or go out with you, they will do everything in their power to make that happen. When it comes to your situation, Bluejay, it seems like he is trying his best to express his feelings to you – in fact, you said he did ask you to go see a movie and have dinner with him once! To me that means he’s already asked you out on a date. I think the next time he asks you out like this, all you need to do is accept his invitation (if you want to and feel ready for it) and the rest, as they say, will be history. You’ll go out and be able to really express your feelings and figure out if there is a potential relationship for the two of you.

If He’s Shy, You Can Try

Now, even the shyest of guys will make a move when it comes to a girl they really, really like and want to date, so this advice should be taken with a grain of salt. But if his shyness and indirectness is really starting to frustrate you, there’s no rule that says you can’t make the first (direct) move toward finding out if the two of you can or should have a relationship with each other. What I mean by that is the next time he sits next to you on purpose or holds you hand or tells you how much he cares about you or drops you a sweet IM, just ask him out! Don’t be mean about it – guys have very sensitive egos and saying that he should be more of a man and just ask you out already won’t help your cause at all. Rather, just say you’d love to get together sometime outside of school and ask him how he’d feel about that. Or be even more casual and say a bunch of your friends are getting together to go to the beach or something like that and would he like to come along? It’s really that easy!

Patience Is A Virtue

However, my best advice in situations like this is not always liked by all the girls out there. Still, I have some experience with guys and relationships and so I feel I have to share it with you. And that advice is, if it’s meant to be, it will be. That is, you really don’t have to do anything or say anything or exert yourself to make the things that are meant o happen in your life and your future happen for you any sooner than they’re meant to. Honestly, it sounds like this guy REALLY likes you and I truly think if you just have some patience and wait it out you will see that he likes you back and that the two of you may go on to have a really nice relationship with each other that is more than the friendship you have now.

I don’t mean you should ignore him or start being mean to him or anything like that – I just mean that you should continue to be nice to him and be friends with him – just like you’re doing now – and dropping those little hints to him that you like him as more than just a friend, and you’ll see that things will start happening when they’re meant to start happening, not any sooner and not any later. This also means you’ll be good and ready for whatever is meant to happen between the two of you when the time comes.

If you've got a burning question, need some love advice or find yourself thinking about things like sex, depression, self-esteem, boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends, bullying or peer pressure, don't hesitate to Dish-It here. Send your questions to deardish@kidzworld.com. And if you hang out in the chat rooms with other Kidzworld members who know you by your username, just send in your secret question using a different nickname if you want to stay anonymous – we promise that no one will ever know it's you. Remember: Dish-It gets a load of letters every day so it may take a while to reply to yours. Keep checking back for her reply, or watch for answered Dish-It questions that are similar to your own.

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