Are You Ready To Take A Risk?

OK, I give up. I was talking to a friend at a party last night and he said something that made me want to climb into a dark hole and pretend society was never invented. I may be a little melodramatic, but at least I have a heart of gold… Or something.

So this friend and I were exchanging stories of awkward dates (or in my case, what I didn’t even realize was a date until I was in a ball-gown at a fancy hotel and it was too late, but that’s a story for another day). We got to talking about the dynamics of crushes and all, and he tells me that he’s more the shy type, so if he really likes a girl, he’ll talk about the weather but won’t actually ask her out, for fear of messing things up.

“What if she asks you to hang out sometime?”

“No, I wouldn’t. Definitely not. Because talking about the weather is safe, but if we hang out and something happens, I could say or do something stupid to ruin it and then I’d feel bad. I just don’t want to feel bad, I’d rather be friends.”

I’m not kidding. This happened. It was like something out of a bad psychology class improv game. (Do they play improv games in psych class? Well, they do now.) Personally, I’d rather take the risk and enjoy the thrill, and the clarifying of things that comes along with being open. But who am I to say what’s right?

Clearly this guy is not an alpha male. For one, I was having a lovely conversation with him, so that’s an indicator right there (I seriously can’t deal with alphas). He’s also a self-proclaimed shy guy. And really, he seems like a great catch. But what he said made my brain fall out of my head and run away up the street. He also proceeded to follow it up with an assertion that it makes sense because men are more often the ones who fall in love first in a relationship. This is apparently a scientific fact. And justification for being a total wuss.

Is this real? Is this actually a thing? Are there people who would rather let go of someone they’re really into because it’s less scary than seeing if it could work out? Well, I guess there must be since there are all sorts of people running around out there. It just makes no sense. What’s the point of being friends with someone you’re all giddy for if you’re not going to even try connecting in a more significant and meaningful way? No sense at all. Here, let’s turn it into a math problem, maybe that will help:

Possibly dating awesome person < Irrational fear of emotional response

Ok, no, I’m still lost. And what if the girl reciprocates? Not only would he never find out, but she’ll probably feel bad that he didn’t try and thinks he doesn’t even like her. And then not only does he feel crummy, but she does too. It’s a lose-lose situation. Again, using math:

Having guts > Not having guts.

He did also say, though, that he’s not about the lay, and that he knows sex is an emotional investment. I can admit that’s always a relief to hear. There are decent people out there, even lovely, wonderful ones. So don’t lose hope!

OK. Fine. As someone who’s awkward and shy myself, I should be more understanding. I usually overcompensate by acting boisterous (ok fine, obnoxious), or running off to take photos of the dark night because I’m too nervous when I realize the boy I like wants to kiss me. I did do that. I’m not proud. And I get it. I get that it’s hard, and that risk is hard. I’m sympathetic. It’s just also maddeningly counterproductive.

Apparently a number of these shy boys may actually be more content to stare at you from the safety of the other side of the room because it’s better than legit conversation. Now I’ve started wondering what happens to boys like that. Do they just end up with someone they feel kind of bland about? Do they end up living alone with a dozen cats? Why does the term “cat lady” exist but not “cat gentleman?” Maybe they grow up eventually. They must. But wait, what do we do until then? Date guys over 30? I hope y’all have some grad students at your college.


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About the Author,

There are no rules to life, and that's just fine. Figuring out what relationships are while moving from one city to another, hopping a plane, train or driving cross country yet again, the one thing I know for sure is that romance makes about as much sense as an armadillo in a shoe store. But heck if I won't try to figure it out anyway. Find out more about Julia at