Dear Alice,

There is a girl in class who I think likes me, but I'm not sure... if she doesn't, what can I do to make her like me (if I can) and how should I go about asking her if she does like me or not? I am pretty sure she does, but I want her to tell me.

Dear Reader,

It sounds as though you really like this girl — and that's great and exciting. And, also a little bit scary because what if she doesn't like you back, right? And it sounds as if you'd kind of like to try to make it less scary by knowing whether or not she likes you, too, and/or by being able to "make" her like you, if she doesn't already.

But here's the thing: that scary feeling is part of forming new friendships or romantic relationships. It's something to get used to feeling and working with. New relationships are scary because you could get your feelings hurt if the other person rejects you or doesn't like you as much as you like him or her. That's a fear that you just have to learn to face and, at this point in your life, it would be good for you to practice facing that fear because the better you get at facing it, the more successful you'll be at making friends and forming romantic relationships.

So here's your first chance to practice taking a risk. And the risk you have to take is being the first one to let the other person know that you like her. The chance you're taking is that she will tell you she's not interested or that she only likes you as a friend or something like that. Of course, if she doesn't like you as much or in the way that you like her, that would hurt your feelings and make you feel sort of embarrassed. At first, that would feel kind of weird and bad — but, here's the key thing: that weird, bad feeling wouldn't last forever. Eventually, you'd find a place for it — realizing that, if she's not interested in you, it doesn't mean you're not likeable; it just means she's not the one for you and you have to try again when you meet someone else you like. Eventually — whether it's with this girl or another girl — you will take the risk and it will pay off: she'll like you, too. And that will feel completely great. The hard part of it all is, there is just no way to get to that great feeling unless you are willing to risk the possibility of feeling the weird, bad feeling.

As for how to "make" someone like you, there is really just no way to do that. If you start trying to do or say things that will "make" someone like you, chances are you will be doing and saying things that are about making yourself into someone you think the other person will like. And then, if the other person likes you, she won't like you, but someone you've pretended to be. And then you have to keep pretending to keep her liking you. And, being in a romantic relationship where you have to pretend to be something you're not and put on a big show is a way more awful feeling than the bad feeling you get from just being rejected in the first place. So, the best thing to do is just be you. That way, if someone likes you, she'll like you for who you are. And that is just the greatest feeling in the world.

So, in the end, you could take a few approaches. If you're really feeling bold and brave, tell the girl you like her. You don't have to just march up and say it (although you could). You could just talk with her about other stuff and then tell her you have something important you want to tell her and then spill it, "You know, I really like you." Or, you could write her a note. That's an okay way to tell her, too. Or, you could just ask her to do something with you — like going roller skating or to the movies, or to spend some time together in a different way. If she says "yes" a few times and you spend some time hanging out together, getting to know each other, and becoming friends, it will become easier and more comfortable telling her anything, including that you like her.


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