We’re shy geeks

Quick, half-hour chat today at 1. Updates tomorrow and Friday. Have a safe weekend.

Dear Meredith,

I need some help with geek love. I'm talking “Big Bang Theory” territory.

Here's my situation. I get together regularly with a group of friends. We all met in a Meetup group that kind of attracts people who are somewhat socially awkward and are definitely not the type to pick up people in bars. I sense that a lot of them lack the confidence to ask someone out. And I'll put myself in that category too.

There are two guys -- I'll call them Charlie and Rob -- that I'm very attracted to and interested in. I've known them both for several years and have sensed attraction/interest at different times from both of them. Sometimes even a little flirtation. But things haven't gone anywhere with either of them.
Charlie regularly sends me very chatty emails, remembers details I shared with him months ago, and lights up when we meet. We've gotten together twice outside of the group on a platonic level. Both times were great. We chatted while the hours flew by and very much enjoyed each other's company. Both times were my idea and he always says he's interested in getting together again but never suggests it. I'm sure he would go again if I suggested it. From various conversations we've had, I get the idea that he's very shy about asking girls out.

Rob can be physically flirty and he also lights up when we meet. He often walks me to my car and we stand there and chat for a long time before a very affectionate hug good-night. I get the idea that he didn't date much before he got married and now that he's divorced, he's very gun-shy about women.
I don't think either one of them is dating because most people suddenly don't have time for this social group once they find a significant other.

For my part, I've had some really bad life experiences that make me pretty rejection-averse as well. And even if I were to summon the courage, I feel like I just don't know how to show my attraction to a guy. And I get myself into this situation all the time - a guy is attracted to me and I'm attracted to him ... but we don't do anything about it because we're both too chicken. Is it them? Is it me? Or is it both sides? Or maybe I'm imagining their interest?

So what is the universe of geeks supposed to do? These people are attractive and smart and interesting, but we all settle for platonic love because we're too afraid to do anything about it. Or we're convinced the other person is just not that into us. Or we give off the "let's just be friends" vibe. Help!

– Geek Love, Medford

There are many ways to communicate your feelings, GL. You don't have to talk about this stuff in person. You're allowed to write it all down, just like you did with this letter.

If I were you, I'd write an email to Charlie/Rob explaining that you're open to spending time away from the group, and that you've often wondered whether your relationship is really platonic. Tell them that you've hoped for more and haven't known how to communicate your feelings. Also make it clear that if your feelings are one-sided, you can deal. You just want to make sure you're being honest and not missing out on any opportunities.

You won't have to stress about their body language or wonder what they're thinking because they'll email back. They'll have to be clear.

That means your biggest problem is choosing between Charlie and Rob. If you all hang out together, you can't pursue them both, at least not at the same time. You have to pick a suitor and send one email. Do you have a top pick? You should.

And please know that if you wind up dealing with rejection, it's OK. I mean, it's not OK ... rejection is terrible. But I promise you, regret is worse. It's better to be a grown up and ask for what you want. You did that with your letter to us. Consider this your practice run.

Readers? Is it OK to email? Aren't we all geeks when it comes to this stuff? What should she say? And ... Charlie or Rob? Do you get a sense of who she wants? Can she approach both men? Help.

– Meredith