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I am a 20 year old male living in India. Most probably, I am bi, but I am not out yet. My problem is a mixture of shyness, attraction, and confusion.

So I live in a college in a hostel (hall) of 400 people and a common mess. New people come in for summer internships every year and this time in my hostel too. I started going to the gym two weeks ago with the sole motive to make myself feel good about myself and look better. I live very isolated and would not start any conversation just for the sake of talking.

I saw this 23ish and 6'2" guy who also has a very nice moustache and at least one year of going to the gym. He used to do a full body workout of maybe three-day splits. So almost every day some of our machines were close to each other's. I shifted my time to a bit early so that I could find the gym empty and wouldn't have to talk to anyone while working out. I noticed that he did the same too. I am not implying that he did so due to me. I see him in my mess too. Some other eye contacts too around the campus. The same happened in the canteen too while we both were buying ice cream. If it matters, I went to the box first.

In a week, we both had acknowledged the fact that we live in the same hall, gym in the same time slot, are serious about it and live alone and quiet mostly. I at least have some people to talk to. But given he is new, he might not. Then suddenly I didn't see him for three days and figured out that he has changed his timings.

Sometimes I would run my eyes across the area he usually sits for eating and find him looking at me. It is not like that stranger eye contact that we make every day with so many people and ignore later. But recurring one which shows that okay we know each other, but there's no talking between us.

I am in no way interested in him sexually.

After this buildup, I have so many questions and confusions: Am I going to talk to this guy? Yes! But how?

There are several ways I have imagined the ice breaker! For instance: simply saying hi, waving, or asking about his gym routine. Since he is the senior, I don't expect him to do it. I've also considered sitting in front of him or inviting him to sit with me in the mess, but I have already messed up such a moment with another guy, who also comes to the same gym, is in the same batch as me, and lives in my hall. He was there to talk but I just kept my eyes in the phone.

I have read on Reddit, posts which start (or end) with gym, approaching and hitting on people or people getting annoyed due to being hit on. I am trying to make this very clean and less creepy. But I cannot stop thinking about the possibility of him leaving the campus after summers and me never meeting him again.

I believe we can be good friends and given the very few I feel good with, I don't want to lose any. My goal is to become friends with this man, not anything more.

How can I start talking to him, with the goal of becoming friends, after these previous interactions?

Edit: What I have thought of doing was there in original question but was edited out for legibility. Adding to those remarks, these questions were dug-up for build-up.

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All these 3 questions question are related but stand different like this:

  1. They are of opposite genders and it is for office culture. I cannot invite this guy out for lunch or coffee or, show up asking doubts. Although I had written about some ideas about having the lunch together in original question.

  2. They regularly meet and have to talk. And also I have no big event coming soon.

  3. 3-5 times a month. In my case it is 3-5 times a week. Any bitterness can be ignored in a public space in that case but not in mine.

I need an answer or guidance that considers this context and helps me start talking to this guy without creating awkwardness later by coming out as creep.

  • I suggest people to read Edit#2 to get an idea of what I am confused about. I would appreciate any answer which tells me how to start convo, the first meeting or the first few interactions, doesn't matter if they are non verbal. Give me a start. – sock Jun 7 at 5:28
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I do not know the culture in India very well. Because of that I give an example of how I would manage this in western Europe.

Circumstances:

I live in a students residential building, regularly going to university and gym.

I notice a lot of people who live in the same building, others who go to the same courses and additional other who go to the same gym.

Approach:

If I notice some of them regularly (and they are personable/likable to me), I will smile to them, if we have accidental eye contacts (there is no difference between genders for me). By their reaction I can see, if they are "open for new contacts" too (i.e., they could smile back and go on, or they can turn away). There is no commitment in this, it is only nice/friendly behavior and I show "I am in a good mood".

The second step is: If I see some of these people again and again and they smile back most of the times, I can say "Hi" to them. For example, I have seen this person in the gym with "smile contact" and at the same day in the corridor of my building or university and we have eye contact and smile again, and I go a step further and say "Hi". I do not stop to talk, but I do not speed up either, I may slow down a little, but I do not have to. Also, I do not expect any answer. So it does not become an awkward situation like two people standing in the corridor and have nothing to talk about. I only greet him/her as a sign of "I have seen/noticed you before, I remember your face". There is nothing sexual in this.

I would greet about five times (with no response) before I give up (faster if the face of this person shows some signs of negative feelings, or he/she stops to smile in the response of my smile). If he/she responds, one can add a "bye" but this is optional, I think (for example if both stay at the same time at the gym).

After these steps are completed, and the greeting is performed for a while, one can make a further step and search for interactions. For example, if this person sits in the common mess, one can greet while going past this person and slowing down, asking if the place aside is free. Or in general to talk about daily public life, common public activities and something like that. It should be something like "The meal today looks nice, but this side dish tastes strange" or in the gym "The quirk of this equipment drives me crazy" or "I like this exercise". It should be something you honestly mean; no act playing. And it should be a stand-alone statement. So one gives the other person the possibility to answer ("Yes, I agree" "No I have another view on this point") but he/she do not have to.

If the person does not answer to me, I will do what I always do: eat/exercise and go (maybe with a "bye" greeting). At the next contact, I will do the same as the previous ones, smile and greet. If the behavior of the person does not show any reluctance, I can try it again after some days. (Other people are shy too... or do not have the best answers at once).

In general:

Take little steps. Let the other person have some time to adapt to new situations. And be yourself (if you want the other person to like you and no act playing picture of you).

I will show, with these steps that I am interested in the person, but not in a sexual adventure. This goes the same for friendship, as well as for amorous attraction. The difference, in my opinion, comes later through the topics of conversation and the intensity of friendship.

In your situation:

I think you are somewhere between eye contact, smile and "hi". This is a good position to start.

  • Thank you so much for the answer. It is logical and progressive. Guess who is going to make an acquaintance today! – sock Jun 7 at 9:54
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    @tonu thank you for edit, I changed one failure in spelling of mine (stop to talk instead of stop to walk) back again. The last "whith these steps, I will..." should say that I show with these steps I am interested in the person, not in a sexual adventure. I do not know how to write it others than this version you have edited.. I guess now it is not like my first intention anymore, is it? May you change it? – Allerleirauh Jun 7 at 10:03

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