Being attracted to someone can be exciting but you may feel quite anxious, wondering if they feel the same for you. If you ask them out and they refuse you may feel rejected. You may be concerned that if people find out who you're interested in, they may tease you about it. Some people are so worried about this that they find it difficult to get started.
Does she like me? - Is he interested? - How can I tell?
This is a question that loads of people ask - and there isn't any simple answer. You could always try asking them out - that's the only way you're going to know for sure!
Asking someone out - on a date - getting started
Many people find this the really difficult bit - how do you ask someone out? There's no simple answer to this one, either, but the main thing to remember is that 'if you don't ask, you'll never know'. What's the worst that could happen? They say "no." Well, that's not the end of the world - and anyway, they might say "yes", you won't know until you ask. Anyway, even if they say "no", they might say "yes" later – now they know you're interested, they might just need time to think about it.
The practical side of asking someone out doesn't have a recipe, I'm afraid - it's different in every situation. However, there are a few useful things to remember:
Asking someone out is flattering - they should be pleased, even though they might be surprised.
Try to get the person alone before you ask them out - it's often harder with other people around.
Try to get to know the person a bit, first.
Try to relax!
Sometimes, you just have to say it - "Will you go out with me?"
If they say "yes" - brilliant!
If they say "no" - well, you've just got to respect that. Remember, it doesn't say anything about your value as a person.
Remember - there's someone out there for everyone!
Going out - dating - having a relationship
There are lots of different types of relationship, from 'friends-with-benefits' to full-on marriage! All relationships are different, but they usually all have one thing in common - when you're in a relationship with someone it usually means that you both like each other (and fancy each other!) more than anyone else.
“There are lots of different types of relationship, from 'friends-with-benefits' to full-on marriage!”
Most relationships are monogamous - which means that for as long as you stay together, you'll only be physical with each other - you won't get off with anyone else or have sex with anyone else. The advantage of this is that you're less likely to catch any sexually transmitted infections if you stay with just one partner (as long as they don't have any!).
Some people have lots of relationships. Some people have a few, or one long one. Some people don't want a close relationship at certain times in their life.
Sex is an important part of many people's relationships. Not just sexual intercourse ('going all the way') but kissing and touching each other for pleasure. Just because you're going out with someone you don't have to have sexual intercourse.
Two views of going out the first time
"The first person I went out with, a girl from school, was really lovely but she must have thought I was an absolute idiot. We went to the pictures and almost as soon as we had sat down I tried to kiss her. She sort of kissed me back so I thought, great, next step, hand down her shirt. She wasn't keen on that, so I tried to put my hand up her skirt. Then she got up and said she was going home. It took me a while to realise what a stupid thing I had done. You can't rush into these things and everybody has different feelings about things they like. You have to understand that and make sure it's what you both really want to do."
Keeping relationships going
"It feels like you're walking six foot in the air."
"Some people think you're only half a person until you love someone."
Being in a relationship can be really good. It can give you a real high to know that someone wants you and you want them. Many people feel more confident about themselves when they are in a relationship.
For most people being 'in a relationship' is an important part of their lives. It can be hard to keep a relationship going. You have to work at it. There may be tensions between partners and pressures from people and circumstances outside. For example, your friends might resent you for not spending so much time with them. You might feel that your reputation depends on who you go out with, how long for and what you do together.
It is easy to become jealous and possessive and wonder if your partner is going to go off with someone else. You might not be able to talk to your partner about it, but it can help to check out your feelings with somebody else you trust.
Two views of a relationship
"I just can't control my jealousy. It feels like my girlfriend goes out of her way to upset me by flirting with my friends. Since I mentioned it to her she tries to annoy me even more by talking about good looking men. I know she's saying it to wind me up but I can't control my feelings of jealousy.
"I sometimes plan to follow her when she's going out with her friends to see if she is seeing someone else. When I brought it up with her she said she loved me and I was being stupid. But how can I be sure? I don't ever want to lose her. Sometimes I think it's her friends that are leading her on."
"I feel trapped because he is so possessive. Every time I go out with my friends he accuses me of being unfaithful and sneaking off to see other boys. Why are boys so possessive? I'm not his property am I?
"Some of my friends say that a boy's reputation would be really bad if they were dumped by a girl. That's why they are so possessive. I still like my boyfriend, he's just being immature.
"He says he loves me and talks about when we have children and live together. Sometimes this seems really romantic, but mostly, I feel under pressure because I don't know what I want yet."
Breaking up a relationship
Very few people stay for ever with the first person they have a relationship. Some people can feel trapped in a relationship. People who stay together just for the sake of 'being together' or because it seems like everyone else is in a couple may not be happy or be good for each other.
Relationships break up for lots of reasons. For example, because they get too 'heavy' or serious. Or because one of you feels used or because you want to do different things.
It can be difficult to break up because you may feel upset and feel like you're hurting someone. But sometimes it may be a relief for both of you.
Two views of breaking up
"Boys and girls are different aren't they. It stands to reason. I mean I'm not like Kerry, I can't stand gossiping about all my worries and telling everyone about our love life.
"I sort of feel more comfortable with the lads in the team. I mean you don't have to watch out all the time and try to make an effort like you do with girls. Maybe we're just not suited."
Talking about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help. It can stop you feeling alone and the chances are you will discover other people have had the same feelings. Realising other people have been in the same position helps and you could learn from their experience.
Choosing who you talk to and when is important. It may be someone you fancy or someone you are going out with. If these people are connected with the feelings you have, it can sometimes make it more difficult.
The person you talk to should be someone you feel easy and relaxed with and can trust. It might be a parent or guardian, especially if you have a good relationship with them.
Or it might be that a sister or brother or other relative would be better. Some of your friends' parents might be approachable or you might have a friend who would listen.
Talking to people who are a bit less close to you might be good too. For example, a teacher, or someone at a youth group or a medical person such as a doctor.
Talking about things can be hard. Especially if they are difficult feelings. But it's worth remembering that very often the reaction you get will be helpful and understanding. You may wonder why you got so worked up in the first place.
"Danny and me had been going out for six months - things were going really well and we spent most of our time together in school and in the evenings and at weekends. I thought that was what we both wanted because that's what people in love do, don't they?
"But then Danny got picked for the first eleven and now he's always training and celebrating and there isn't time. I've tried telling him how I miss him, I'm not jealous, I just want to be with him all the time. I told him that when we were married he'd have to give up his football. He went white and mumbled something about he hadn't realised we were a real long term thing. Then he just got up and left. I haven't seen him since."
"Although I'd really fancied Jim, when we actually went out together it was an absolute disaster. We went to see a film, but in the end I only saw a few minutes of it. We sat down, it went dark, and next thing I knew he was trying to snog me. Trouble is, I think I must have been his first date because he had no idea how to kiss. I tried to respond but it was a bit difficult. Next, he had his hand down my shirt, and it's our first date! I quite like that sort of thing but I want to do it when I feel like it, you know, not by numbers. I mean, I don't really know Jim and if we could have just relaxed and talked and had a laugh it would have been better. I know he was just nervous really but some boys can be so insensitive."