Well, umm… How do I talk with a girl?

Asked: Well, umm… How do I talk with a girl?

Let me give you the lowdown: A girl has caught my eye. We're both at a small liberal arts college. She's a freshman; I'm a sophomore. Both of us volunteer for an organization where we each tutor a single academically-challenged grade school student throughout the year, on a weekly basis. Beyond that, I know nothing for certain.

I can recall only having spoken with her once when she briefly sat at my table during dinner in the cafetaria, to join a conversation. At the time I was so intensely focused on my schoolwork that I didn't bother letting myself fall for her. I can't even remember what words we exchanged, if any. At the organization where we volunteer, which is on campus, she sits with her tutee in a separate room, so I don't get to interact with her when we're in session.

She's certainly pretty. She seems the innocent type – I can't imagine her raging at parties every weekend. I don't think I know any of her friends. I deleted my Facebook a while back, but during this winter break a friend flew down to stay with me, and when he was away in the bathroom, I creepily searched her name in his Facebook. A quick scan showed that she is currently single; the "interested in" section was blank, though she appears to be straight. I get the sense that she has never been in a relationship, but that's just a hunch. When I enlarged her profile picture, I suddenly perceived in her a beauty that I was too busy to see during the semester. My heart starting beating, and I felt myself overcome with nervousness. That was two days ago. Since then, I haven't been able to get her out of my head.

So here's what it comes down to: I need advice. Ideas, techniques, past experience – whatever. I've always found those "pickup artist" techniques kind of bizarre, and sometimes just downright disrespectful. I can talk to girls in general – a great deal of my friends are girls – but this is something totally different. I'm usually confident, but as it is I'll probably transform into a stuttering, anxious fool if I try to talk with her.

About me, if it matters: I have never been in a relationship – but only my close friends know this. I'm pretty uniformly well-liked at my school. I study hard, and do well, but I'm no nerd. Parties have never been my thing, but I go when a friend urges me to;furthermore, I don't think I'll meet this girl at one of those. I can't dance for the life of me. I don't really like alcohol. I guess I'm good looking;the other day I overheard the girl across the hall from me tell her friend that I look like a "prince." Girls have asked me out in the past; but even so it's near impossible for me to evaluate myself here.

In my senior year of high school I fell head over heels in love with a beautiful girl in my grade. I thought she was way beyond me, but then she began to respond positively. We talked a lot over IM, we went for one double date, and then we went to prom. I became obsessed and tried to turn into a prince charming type figure. During the summer before college, it was clear that – though she may have at first liked me – she was trying to distance herself. I have only recently realized how naive I was. I certainly don't want to make the same mistakes. And now, to be honest, I'm scared.

Look's like I've been struck by Cupid. So tell me. I'm all ears.

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