Communicating Interest vs Coming On Too Strong

Dear Toni--

I have a male acquaintance that I'm romantically interested in. He is giving me some signals that he shares a similar interest in me. I have dropped hints and tried to communicate my feelings in suggesting we do something together, etc.

How can I let him KNOW how I feel without scaring him off by coming on too strongly? --Flirting Challenged

Dear Flirting Challenged--

My response to your question is really two-fold. There's the issue of how to communicate interest to another person. Then there's the issue of how it may be perceived or received. Let me deal with the second one first.

You like him but you are not sure how he really feels. You decide to tell him. He either responds positively, becomes distant or is suddenly unavailable, etc. If he reacts negatively, it's a good bet it has nothing to do with HOW you expressed interest. It is because he doesn't feel the same way. Even if you expressed it differently, you would have had to deal with the fact that he simply doesn't return your feelings.

Now, how to tell him you like him. How about an easy, straightforward approach? "I'm having feelings that are stronger than friendship for you, and I think you may be feeling the same way; can we talk about it?" If he shares these feelings, he'll be glad you brought it up. Sure saves time and angst, doesn't it?

(from June 2003)

Want to read other columns on this subject?

"He's Interested and I'm Not; and Vice Versa"
List of more
"Help With Dating"

"More on communicating Interest"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


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