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The GL guide to getting the guy of your dreams: so you have a crush. But what next? We're taking you through from start to finish so when the time comes to approach that cutie, you'll be 100-percent ready-set-go.

You have your eye on a guy, and romance on the brain. Should you act on it? Frankly, you'd rather take an algebra test than try to figure out this dating thing. But don't worry--help is right here ....

Get guy-dar

Sadly, no magical device exists to reveal whether or not a guy likes you. But if you pay attention to how he acts and follow your intuition, you'll find he's not so tough to read after all.

* He's acting ... different

You've known him forever. But, lately, he acts kinda weird. He doesn't meet your eyes when you're saying your hellos, and he can't shut up about the weather. Or he's the opposite--completely clammed up. This shift could be a sign that his feelings toward you have changed ... from amigo to amour.

* Hello there

You're at lunch when you catch a flash of pearly whites from across the hall. He's smiling at you! Then, he moved to sit next to you at the assembly. He's going out of his way to make contact? It could mean he's digging on you.

* In the know

It's the day of your giant English presentation on Macbeth. As you sit in math sneakily reviewing your notes, your crush whispers, "Good luck today!" Thing is, he's not even in your English class. If he's all of a sudden in-the-know about you and your whereabouts, that means he's paying attention.

* The grapevine

Your BFF Samantha just talked to your crush's pal Jordan, and word on the street is that the object of your affection thinks you're pretty awesome (yay!). It may not be the most reliable way to get info, but a little hearsay counts for somethin'.

Be an ask-master

So you feel like he's giving you signals that he's interested. Even so, you're dragging your heels on the whole asking-him-out thing. We know it's scary, but go for it!

* No spectators, please

Your crush eats lunch with the baseball team every single day, so pick another time to ask him out. Be sure to get him alone so he won't be pressured by his pals. You can always pick up the phone and call. Just don't rely on e-mail or IM. It is way too easy to misinterpret what others are saying.

* Loud 'n' clear

Instead of asking if he's seen Blood and Chocolate, invite him to the flick. Be direct--otherwise, he'll think all you're looking for is his movie review. S-P-E-L-L out your intentions so he knows you're into him and want to go out on a date.

* Play it smart

You ask him out for next weekend, but he says he's not sure if he can because he might have family stuff. Don't rattle off future dates and times in an effort to nail down a day. Just say, "That's cool. If your schedule opens up and you want to hang out, let me know." Leave it at that. You've made it clear you're interested. Now, it's up to him.

Going places

Yeah! You've scored a date! But wait, what on earth are you gonna do on date night?

* Easy does it

It's great you have so many things you want to do on the date--ice skating, eating at that new Mexican restaurant, checking out an awesome local band--just don't plan them all for the same date. Instead, pick one or two and concentrate on having a great time. Save the rest for a second date (and hopefully a third and a fourth...).

* Shake it up

If you guys don't know each other well already, plan an activity. Going to an arcade or bowling is a whole lot less stressful than staring each other down over dinner. After your 10-pin tourney, suggest going for coffee. That way, you get some face time following all the fun 'n' games.

* All together now

It can be way intimidating to hang out with a guy one-on-one. So if it puts you at ease, make it a group thing and you each can invite friends along. Just don't abandon your date in favor of the comfort of BFFs. Sit next to him at the movie and pizza place. You are on a date.

Clothes call

Don't bust your bank on an all-new ensemble. What to wear is all about picking the perfect outfit--for you.

* Make the right choice

Going to a concert? Sure, your high heels are rock star hot, but leave 'em home--hello, you'll be standing. Are you two catching up on TiVo and ordering a pizza? A miniskirt isn't the best choice for lounging on the couch. You are not Lindsay, Britney or Paris.

* Comfort is key

Your skinny black pants and off-the-shoulder shirt shave off, like, 10 pounds. Problem is, you can't sit down very well in the pants and the shirt doesn't stay put. So leave 'em in the closet. Instead, pick one unique piece with your normal cute wear, like dark jeans with a fancy beaded top. You'll look extra special but feel like yourself.

* Ask for help

If you're really baffled about what to wear, call the girls over for a dress rehearsal. Pick someone you trust to tell it like it is ("That green is not your best color"). If you can't find a thing to wear in your closet, borrow something.

Say, huh?

Worried the two of you will have nothing to talk about? Yeah, awkward. But don't worry--you can keep the convo going....

* Don't be a copycat

Nothing wrong with being polite when he talks about his passion for football. Just don't act like you're into it, too, if you don't know the difference between a touchdown and a first down. You're going to have different interests, and that's part of what makes dating fun. But if you fake it too much, sooner or later he'll catch on that you're pretending to be someone you're not. And no one wants to date a phony.

* Ask away

Does he play a musical instrument? Have any brothers or sisters? Want to be an astronaut? People like to talk about themselves, so you can't go wrong by asking him questions. Then, listen.

* So ... um ... yeah ...

Beforehand, think of a few things to chat about when those inevitable silences happen. Maybe talk about the killer bio exam or a new band you're into. When spending time with someone in a new way, it can be uncomfortable at first. If you come prepared with mental notes, you'll have something to say. No need to be a chatterbox--just have convo starters in case you need 'em.

So, now what?

You made it through the date. Phew! So what happens next?

* Leave it to him

You have that post-date glow and can't wait to see him again. And he seems to feel the same--he meets you at your locker between classes and you got, like, five text messages from him yesterday alone. So will you go out again? Maybe. But this time, let him do the asking.

* Loves me, loves me not?

You talked, you laughed, there might have even been a goodnight kiss. But now it's like he's icing you out. Unfortunately, sometimes guys lose interest. There's not necessarily a specific reason for this, so don't try to make sense of it. And definitely don't keep contacting him. Maybe he just needs time, or maybe he wants to move on. Don't sit around waiting for him--you had a life before, and you have a life now.

* Let's be friends

OMG. You had nothing to talk about, he chews with his mouth open, and he actually jumped away when you bumped arms! It's obvious there was zero chemistry. If the date is that bad, you don't have to stick it out until the bitter end. Cut the evening short with an, "I have to get up for swim practice tomorrow...." Then use your cell to call for a ride. And when you inevitably run into him again, be friendly and natural, but not flirty. Soon it will all be a distant memory.

* Break it off

The entire evening was such a complete disaster, so why is he asking you out again and again? Maybe he didn't find the date as disastrous as you did. Don't take pity on him, because the longer you let him think you might be into him, the worse the letdown will be. So be honest. Try, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I just don't see us dating. I do hope we can stay friends." He should get the message.

Face it, the dating game is tricky with all those twists and turns. But the thing is, as stressful as it can be, it should be fun, too. Whether you're still smiting after a date with your dream dude or cringing over the silly stuff you did in the name of love, the key is to keep it ... lighthearted.

Blushworthy crush stories

In math class, I was talking to my crush while eating a mint He asked, "What's in your mouth?" In reply, I stuck out my tongue, wanting to be all sexy. Instead, the mint flew out of my mouth and landed on his shoe.

My crush sat down at my lunch table and asked me out. I practically yelled, "Yes, of course!" He gave me a strange look, and I realized he'd been talking to my BFF, who was on the other side of him. And she said "yes"! I don't talk to either of them now.

During lunch, I was staring at my crush. He turned around, saw me and smiled. I blushed and turned away quickly, but my friend was right there and we bonked heads.

I was sitting on a railing outside school waiting for my ride. My crush walked up behind me and grabbed my shirt. It startled me and I fell off the railing, face first. I didn't have time to put my hand in front of me, so I went face first onto the pavement.

An adult I was sitting next to told a funny joke and t cracked up--and spit all over my crush who was sitting on the other side of me.

After bio, I really had to pee. I walked into the bathroom and saw my crush washing his hands. I was about to ask him why he was in the girls' bathroom, when I realized I was in the guys' bathroom! I turned around and ran.

I work in my school's front office first period with this total cutie. We went out to get a few trays of food from a teacher's trunk. We had our hands full, so I tried to balance a tray in one hand to close the trunk with the other. As I pulled down, the trunk hit him beans spilled all over him, I was mortified, but couldn't stop laughing.

My friends and I were walking into the cafeteria and my crush was behind us. I was playing it cool and chatting with my friends, when I ran into the garbage can and knocked it over.

I was talking to my crush, and it was going great, I bent down to tie my shoe and, when I Stood up, the tampon I had slashed in my jacket pocket fell out. I picked it up and walked away as fast as I could.

It was Sadie Hawkins Night, and I was rushing to get ready before my date arrived. When he knocked, my mom got the door. I started down the stairs, and my heel got caught--I tripped down the next few steps. My mom said to my date, "Are you sure you want to go with her?"

Ouch!

Rejection hurts

You asked him out, he said "no," and now you feel completely humiliated. Everyone's advice to "not worry about it" isn't helping. Before you swear off guys completely, get real: You're going to go on some bad dates, get rejected (probably more than once) and go through some tough breakups. But don't freak out too much, because there will be good times, too. promise.

* What? Me upset?

Even if it hurts, keep it to yourself, confide in a trusted friend or write about it in a journal. Don't tell everyone or try to get people on your side. If you need to vent, do it in the privacy of your crib. The ladies' room, classroom and mall are not the best places to have a good cry. Then, get over it. Not to be insensitive, but it happens.

* Be the bigger person

If you run into your former crush, you might want to run and hide. Instead, keep your dignity by smiling and saying "hey."

* Later, haters!

If anyone teases you or comments on your not-so-successful attempt at asking out your crush, a simple, "Why do you care about my personal life?" should suffice.

* Movin' on

Life goes on, even when you're down. But it's easier if you don't tie up your self-esteem in whether or not a guy likes you. It sounds cliche, but being cool with yourself is the most attractive quality a girl can have. The people in your life who love you couldn't care less if you are boyfriend-free. Good friends will be your cheerleaders when you're ready to ask out someone new, let you cry if he turns you down and help you get ready for the big night when he says "yes." How great is that?

ILLUSTRATION BY WENDI KOONTZ
COPYRIGHT 2007 Monarch Avalon, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Forr, Mandy
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:2244
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