How do I let someone know they're special?

Dear Alice,

I would like some advice on how to make women feel special. You see, there's a girl I see on the bus who I think is the most beautiful girl in the world. I wanted to talk to her, but I am extremely shy. I'm thinking of writing her a letter and giving her a rose. Yet, I do not know what to really write to make her feel like responding. My other question would be if she is interested, how could I keep her? I really would like to meet this girl. Thank you for your time.

Dear Reader,  

Your heart and thoughts are in a kind place with this romantic gesture. However, it might be good to start small, both to make sure this stranger feels comfortable and to avoid embarrassment if she doesn’t feel the same way. You may also want to get to know her before writing notes and giving gifts; she may be beautiful, but that’s only one facet of who she is. When approaching someone you’re interested in, it may be helpful to maintain both an optimistic and realistic attitude. In other words, proceed as though there's a possibility of reciprocation alongside a possibility of rejection. This is best done by taking things slow and building up the potential relationship over time.  

Since you two haven’t formally met yet, you might start by smiling and making eye contact a few times. If it seems like she’s annoyed or uncomfortable, stop. Many people often receive unwanted advances and comments in public spaces, so it’s critical that you’re respectful of the person's boundaries. If she notices you and smiles back, you might then try to say "hello," if the opportunity presents itself. Assuming this person is open to talking with you, you could introduce yourself and likely discover the name of your bus friend as well. 

The next step might be to start a conversation. You could take notice of any clues about her interests. Does the object of your affection read any magazines or books or does she have any paraphernalia on her bag or clothing? How about starting a conversation based on that —"I've been wanting to read that book. Is it as good as they say?" or “I noticed that button on your bag — where’s it from?” If that idea doesn't work for you, you can always start with a comment about the bus, the weather, or another shared experience: "This stop is really crowded (or empty) today." Or, "Sure hope this nice weather holds out." As you approach these conversations, try to focus on being honest and genuine so she gets to know the true you. You can't control another person's thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, so the best you can do is be yourself and enjoy the time you spend together. If your admired stranger seems willing to chat, you can keep the conversation going. If not, it might be time to pull back and give them some space. 

If the chatting is going well and you like her beyond her physical appearance, perhaps you could suggest meeting for lunch one day, or grabbing a bite to eat before or after you get on or off the bus. If you both get on and off the bus at different stops, you could always try this one: "There's a great coffee shop at the next stop. Would you like to join me for a cup?" 

While you may be inclined to compliment this no-longer stranger and share your feelings right away, it’s probably a good idea to hold off until you’ve established a routine of talking to each other. Then you might focus on providing a compliment that focuses on their interests or ambition, rather than their looks as it may feel objectifying. Offering a compliment beyond physical attributes can also show that you’re listening and interested in what they have to say. In terms of gestures, consider what it would be like in their shoes and think of what they may find to be caring, sensitive, respectful, and loving gestures. When you hold someone dear in your heart, it shows in your actions and words. All this to say, buy a rose if you want, but don't feel like it’s a must.  

The key here, Reader, is to let the relationship develop and grow naturally. In due time the wheels of your love bus will go round and round with a special companion, whether it’s with this beautiful stranger or another!   

Last updated Sep 03, 2021
Originally published Sep 12, 1997

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