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Don't know how to get him to open up


Disheartened

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There's this guy in my class for whom I have a special fondness. He's sort of the class clown, yet there's so much more to him. He's incredibly smart, he can be really sweet, and he's just a decent guy in general.

 

I really really want to get to know him. It's weird, but I feel there's something so deep within him, and I wish he'd let me in.

 

I'm a very understanding person, so I wish I could somehow convey to him that he can let me in without fear of being judged. I don't know what he's hiding. He doesn't like to talk, especially about emotions, and I don't know how to get him to open up.

 

It feels like the more I try to get him to open up, the more he closes up. And it's extremely distressing because I feel like it's all my fault, like there's something wrong with me or my approach.

 

We had lunch together today and I asked him questions which in retrospect seemed just pushy and prying of me. And I feel terrible because I shouldn't have asked him those questions, because they might have made him feel self-conscious and/or uncomfortable, and thereforee he won't want to be around me anymore.

 

I'm just so sad about this. I really want to be his friend.

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A lot can be due to the setting, shyness, and being asked a lot of questions. I think that if someone is not very talkative, it's best to get to know them when doing things together. My bf is like that, it can be really frustrating, also for the person who feels he is shutting down during a conversation. What I would do is stop asking very personal things for a while. You will learn a lot of things by talking about more general and more concrete topics. For instance, suppose you want to know what he likes to do during a holiday. Instead of asking that as a personal question, you could just ask him what he actually DID this past summer, and abstract the info from that answer.

 

Instead of talking over a meal (which can be a complicating factor because of mouths being full of... food and all that), ask him and go to a museum, or find a historic walk in a nearby town or something. Go to the zoo or to a theatre show.

 

And don't assume he is 'hiding' stuff. Some people really don't answer direct questions about feelings. They will tell you in other ways though- by body language, by behaviour that you learn to recognize to express feelings.

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