Dear Straight Talk: I’m a junior and small for my age. I would like to ask this girl to prom, but she is quiet and I can’t tell if she likes me or not. I’ve never asked a girl out and don’t understand how guys get up the nerve. My friends are hopeless geeks and no help. Is it OK to ask her on Facebook? I don’t have her phone number. How have other less-popular guys handled asking a girl out? — Shy guy in Lodi
Taylor, 17, Santa Rosa: If she’s shy, don’t make it a big production. Do something quiet but meaningful. Bring flowers, or send a note to her class asking to excuse her. If you aren’t sure she likes you, you can still ask and go as friends. It’s an opportunity to get to know each other. Good luck!
Chuck, 19, Toledo, Ohio: The first time asking a girl out is incredibly hard! I remember hiding in my closet, shaking as my hand held the phone to my ear. That this absolutely requires courage cannot be overstated. I can’t stress enough: do not use Facebook. It seems easier, but that night you have to face her — and the awkwardness from contacting her through text. That said, if you absolutely cannot ask her verbally, write a note, decorate her locker, build a website, do something that shows creativity.
Warren, 24, Nashville, Mich.: I had trouble just talking to girls. What helped was reminding myself: She’s a person, just like me. Definitely ask her in person. It’s harder but it means more, I promise. Just be upfront. Ask if she has any plans for prom. If she doesn’t, ask if she’d like go with you. If she says no, or she’s busy, no big deal. There will be more proms and dances.
Chris, 25, Washington, D.C.: I still get nervous asking some girls out! Keep perspective: For every girl who says no, 10 will say yes. Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple and do it! Definitely ask her in person. She’ll either say yes — or no. After hearing ‘no’ over and over, you pick up little tricks. Flashback: Middle school. I’m rollerskating. The DJ calls “Couples Skate.” I’m shy and scrambling to exit the rink when this girl asks ME! We must have skated 10 laps in complete silence, as I could not form a single sentence! Moral of the story: Build some sort of relationship BEFORE asking her out.
Christina, 21, Marysville: Ask her when she’s alone in a public place where people aren’t standing around. It’s scary, but it’ll be easier next time. I love thoughtful stuff. Have a pretty flower (doesn’t have to be a rose or her favorite) to give when you ask. Don’t go all out, just something sweet and thoughtful. Girls: Be considerate of the courage it took the guy to ask you.
Sarah, 16, Monclova, Ohio: Definitely don’t ask over text or Facebook! It’s too impersonal. If you’ve been talking, incorporate something you know she likes into the invite — or put it in her locker. Don’t be extravagant, something small and personal is best! If she says no, don’t beat yourself up. Prom is fun without a date, too!
Dear Shy Guy: You heard the unanimous verdict: Ask her in person. You won’t die, I promise! In fact, you will have faced an important challenge, and regardless of outcome, you win just by doing it. Avoid a note if you can — they can leave you wondering if they were received. You can do this! Keep it simple (she’s quiet), sweet (add flowers), and straightforward (Warren’s script). Breathe deep and go for it! — Lauren
Ask a question or go deeper in today’s conversation at www.straighttalkadvice.org — or write P.O. Box 1974 Sebastopol, CA 95473. Straight Talk Advice.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. If today’s column has been useful, please consider a donation!