Help for the awkward teen


by Cyn Collins

Dear Cyn,

I’m a 15-year-old freshman in high school, and I’m just starting to date. Here’s my question: If I like a girl, do I text her? Call her? Facebook her? Talk to her in person? They all feel awkward.


Dear You,

False choice. Any and all of the above. It will just feel awkward for awhile until you practice, have some success, and get the hang of it.

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First, I recommend talking to her in person, so you can get a feel for her response. If you have a class together or pass each other in the halls, you’ll have something to talk about. You could ask if she’s going to the next game, and if you could hang out with her there for part of it. Ask her out for the afterparty. Ways to know if she’s interested when you talk in person: Does she smile when you talk, laugh at all your jokes…exaggeratedly so, more than is warranted for how funny you are? (You’re going to have to be honest with yourself here.) Do her eyes light up, does she linger and make cute flirting gestures?

If you feel too shy to talk in person, then I’d skip ahead to my recommended Step #2: Facebook her. It’s cool and impersonal, they don’t have to see the disappointed look on your face if they reject you (yes, rejection will occur, to everyone, even if you are the hottest freshman in school). Facebook, as you know, allows flirting and checking each other out without being too serious at first. It’s great for the shy, awkward type—like I was when I was your age, and have occasionally been since. Anyway. Comment on her photos, tell her the things you share in common, ask her to an event you’re attending. If you get no response, clearly it’s a dead-end street. If there’s a relatively even wall-to-wall exchange, awesome. If you want to get personal, write her a short message (for privacy, and to let her know you seriously are into her).

Then, in person or on Facebook, ask for her number. If you get this quickly, score! You’re in. Feel free to call her (more personal than texting, but that’s just me). When you’ve gotten to know each other a little, or you begin dating, go ahead, text till you get carpal tunnel. The only thing I’d add is this: don’t barrage the girl from multiple forms of communication—hone in on the one or two she seems to respond to best.

Remember, don’t think about failure or rejection—proceed with confidence when you like someone, and you’re halfway there. Rejection will occur, but don’t take it personally: let it roll off your back. Success with girls will happen as often as not; if you’re not getting the green light, just move on and don’t linger too long. There’s more than one pretty girl in school. (If not, it’s time to transfer.)


Published on 1/29/09. Photo by Alex Haglund (Creative Commons).