I have a crush on someone in my remote meetings

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As a college freshman who's staying home and taking online classes my first year, I feared that I’d have to wait till my sophomore year to have my first relationship.

Recently, however, I've seen that might not be the case. I've joined a club at my university, and over the last few weeks I've formed (what I consider) a bond with another student who's also at home this semester and whose worldview seems quite similar to mine. He also has a terrific sense of humor.

I'd love to tell him how I feel, but I’m hesitant on several fronts. For one, he's never seen me (the group doesn't do camera-on events), and since I'm not particularly attractive, I fear I might sooner or later meet a rude awakening. Additionally, our "bond" might just be in my head; I've never interacted with him outside the club's virtual chats of about 20 students.

Should I go ahead and try to tell him how I feel? Or should I wait until my sophomore year and hope I can then get to know him face-to-face? I'm anxious to have my first romance, but I'm terrified of botching it.

— Long-distance admirer


You might not feel "particularly attractive," but almost everyone is attractive to someone. Your self-esteem is a big issue here. You are interested in the world, engaged ... you like a good sense of humor. Please think about all of the reasons someone would want to date you.

Also remember that this man may have already googled you. It's 2020, after all. Make no assumptions about what he knows.

My advice is to ask if he wants to have a call to talk about an event. To socialize. If that's too scary, you can ask him and two or three people. It's the COVID-19 version of asking people to grab some food after class. Design the event so that cameras are on. Remember that you might decide you're less into him when you interact this way. This is a fact-finding mission, really.

All of this remote socialization is allowing some people to experience new things with the help of Zoom-fueled training wheels. In person, it might be scary to suggest an outing. Now, the stakes are lower. You're not going to botch a simple request for FaceTime or whatever platform you use. If he says no, you've lost nothing – and you don't even have to look at him.

Don't jump to any confessions of romantic feelings just yet. First, see how you feel when you get more of him.

- Meredith

Readers? Worth asking for a virtual meetup to learn more? Should remote students give up on romance for the year?