Let’s talk about sheepish overtures.

A sheepish overture is a romantic overture performed in a burst of shaky bravery by someone who is otherwise timid and awkward. It almost always leads to festering embarrassment and regret.

For example: inviting your crush to play Draw Something. Not the most brazen flirt move in the world, but because it’s your crush, suddenly you feel nervous or unsure.

You consult your friends on GChat.

                            You: Should I start a DrawSomething game with My Crush??

                             Your Friend: YES. Do it.

                             You: Ahhhhhhhhh, I dunno…it seems obvious?

                             Your Friend: No, it’s not? Just do it?

                             You: Should I do it?

                             Your Friend: Yes!!!

                             You: Ahhhh, I just did it!

And your heart starts beating really quickly from the exhilaration of doing something so wanton as to initiate a cellphone game. You check the app constantly for the next three hours, waiting for them to respond somehow. By hour four, you’re worried.

                                 You: My Crush hasn’t responded to the game.

                                 Your Friend: Probably just hasn’t seen it yet.

                                 You: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh

                                 Your Friend: Don’t freak out yet!

                                 You: Ok.

You spend the next 6 hours quietly freaking out.

                                 You:  My Crush never responded. I’m so embarrassed.

                                 Your Friend: Whatever, it was a Draw Something game.

                                 You: Crush saw, and then was like “yeah, no…”. That’s humiliating.

                                 Your Friend: It’s not!

                                 You: I started a Draw Something game that got turned down.

                                 Your Friend: Well…..

And then you vow to never, ever do a sheepish overture again. (Except of course, you will.)

Other examples of sheepish overtures include:

  • Replying to a tweet.
  • Poking on Facebook.
  • Texting “Hey!”
  • Sending an event invitation.

These are all things that you wouldn’t think twice about doing to someone you aren’t romantically interested in, but because it’s to a crush, suddenly the gesture becomes fraught with meaning, at least in your head. You convince yourself each time that if he or she does not immediately and appreciatively acknowledge the fact that you “Favorited” one of their clever tweets, not only are they unequivocally not interested in you, they are also completely aware that you harbor a secret and burning love for them. Which of course isn’t true.

Because sheepish overtures are so, well, sheepish, it’s actually highly improbable that the other person will take your Draw Something invitation as a profession of love. They’ll probably take it as just another notification on their phone, and  maybe they don’t want to download the app, and maybe they don’t have a smartphone, and maybe they don’t really even think twice about it.

So you continue to obsess, and kick yourself for “putting yourself out there,” which, of course, you didn’t. You sent a Draw Something invitation. It’s not the same thing.

Next time, you should just ask them out. You won’t, of course. But you probably should.