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I just can’t seem to open up

Tony wrote:

I’ve always found it very tough to open up to people. I’ve had a shell, which is protected by a force-field.

When I was 16, my father died. I noticed this force field get stronger. I’d shaved my hair off, to look more aggressive – I’d shut most, if not all my friends out. I’d developed depression.

This has effected all my close relationships with people, either romantically, or platonically. I really find it hard to open up to people. I’ve never actually told someone how I feel about them. I’ve never plucked up the courage to ask someone out on a date. It’s really gotten to me recently. I’m 23, and I’ve felt more and more lonelier – despite being surrounded by people. I just can’t seem to open up.

Recently, there’s someone at work who’d I really like to date. We’ve spoken and there seems to be a fairly good rapport. But I’m dying to ask her out. I just can’t.

Do you have any advice about how I can improve my situation?

Dear Tony

You are here, asking for a date is way up there. So what's in between?

Maybe it's getting a group together for bowling or whatever. Maybe it's ask her something that isn't quite a date - chat with her a few more times, and see if you can think of some 'safe' meeting outside work.

But nothing's totally safe; you have to take that risk - what's the worst that can happen? She can say 'no thanks'; and she might. So then you'll know.

What's killing you is not knowing if she'll say yes or not. Make it a safe meeting for her, and 'no' is less likely. Either way, if you've got to know her a little before you ask, she'll not be unpleasant about it - why would she be?

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