Dear Dr.Date,I am …

Dear Dr.Date,
I am really interested in this really nice, shy guy in my anthropology lab. My problem is that he is really, really, really quiet. I want to “get to know him” and I just don’t know what to do. I’ve never had trouble striking up a conversation with a guy I was interested in before. This guy makes me flustered. I only see him during lab time, which is very short so I don’t get to talk to him much.
— Need a Little Something Something Coming My Way

This is certainly a switch. The most common letter I get is from shy men and women who don’t know what to do when it comes to approaching the opposite sex. Really, though, your situation isn’t that much different than a shy person’s plight. To the shy person, social interaction is difficult mainly because rejection is a possibility. Another problem is that shy people aren’t able to think quickly enough to hold a decent conversation. They may be a very smart and interesting person, but the shyness erases any notion they may have about normal social interaction.
You’ve got the same problem. Because this guy doesn’t act like any guy your used to dealing with, you are unsure how to proceed.
Fortunately, the solution is the same for you as it is for shy folk. Just do it.
Before you barge into his space however, try to understand how he is feeling. This should be fairly easy for you to grasp, but remember that any stress and anxiety you are feeling is probably nothing compared to the stress and anxiety he is experiencing. The most complicated part about this whole situation is why he is shy. Everyone is different, so there is no knowing for sure. (Of course, this is the secret appeal of quiet people — so mysterious.) Oftentimes shy people choose to be quiet because everyone else is so dumb and loud. He may simply think everyone around him is an idiot. If you came up to him in a bold, all smiles, cheerleader-type manner, that may not work. I think the best thing for you to do is approach him honestly and friendly.
Above all, I think you are going to have to make the first move. Some women are very good at making the first move in such a way that it appears to the man as though he made the first move. Whatever works. My mom talks a lot about how she had to chase my (extremely shy) dad around campus for three years before he would notice her. My mom, the stalker.
You could ask him if he’s going to check out Dr. Date’s Mini-Mixer this Friday at The Whole. While his answer may be ambiguous, it will help spread the word about this 9 p.m. singles event.