Last weekend, I hooked up with someone from my Encounters class at the 80s dance. It was really chill, but now I think I have feelings for them. I’m trying to play it cool, since I’m worried they’re not into it—they don’t sit by me in class any more, and it’s been pretty awkward since that night. What should I do?
Jilted in Jewett
Dear Jilted in Jewett,
I’m sorry. Situations like this can drain the better part of our good nature. Although you are confused and unsure as to how to proceed from the sound of your note, it is clear that the status quo can’t and shouldn’t continue much longer. The good news, is that there’s salt for these kind of things–if you have the stomach to apply it.
The first thing to know is that you’re not alone. In the course of Whitman history, you are not the only one who has encountered a problem like this and you are certainly not the only one who has had an interesting 80’s dance night. In the end we’ve all been there, but not everyone could’ve received the quality advice of a trusted columnist at the time, so today’s your lucky day.
One reality to consider is that the person might not feel the same way. From a third party perspective, if they’re not continuing to make an effort to reach out, they might not be interested in pursuing anything further. Drunk or impromptu hookups sometimes lead to an emotional connection between two people that lasts for less than the lifespan of a fruitfly. Something to think about the next time you find yourself sweating with other first-years in clothes purchased from Goodwill while gyrating to music on the Prentiss lawn. If this is the case, they’re not worth it. Gain wisdom from the experience and move on.
That being said, they might just feel like they don’t know where to go from here. If you’re feeling bold, maybe it’s your turn to make the first move and sit by them. See how it goes, maybe you’ll get some good conversation in before class and be able to read the signals more clearly. Either way, you’ll get the chance to get to know them better—maybe next time you see them in the dining hall, you can take your friendship out the classroom.
A lot of times, it all comes down to miscommunication, and the feeling of awkwardness is probably mutual. Making the first move towards friendship will be well received whether or not they’re interested in you romantically, and give you the chance to feel it out and see if they are. At the very least, Encounters will be less awkward. You’ll have to be there for a full year, so make the best of it!
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