Dear Miss Emily:

I met this guy a year and a half ago. He is really quiet and shy so he never came up to speak to me. I still had the feeling he might be interested in me so after some time I started to say hi to him and talk to him. He seemed pleased with my efforts to establish a contact and even though he was too shy to speak or look me in the eye he did not shy away from my company but just stood there. Gradually he started opening himself to me. Three months later we were friends and we talked with each other more and he confided deep spiritual things to me.However, he was only like this when we were alone and in a public setting he often ignored me which made me really confused. I wrote to him and told him that I like his company and that he makes me feel safe and also that I don't mind his shyness since I am shy myself. He wrote back to me and said he also likes my company because he finds it so easy to talk to me. He also asked me whether I'm attending a student evening. He sat down next to me and sat the entire evening by my side. We also talked and he had a warm interested look in his eyes while he listened to me and I knew he was really concentrated on me.  After that he walked me home and since then we have taken the habit of walking home together. He always waits for me by the door or leaves when I leave. He is very attentive whenever I speak and incredibly polite and helpful with things that I need help with. I know he does not speak with other girls or treat them in the same way and in general he is seen alone, since he finds it difficult to speak to people. However, he never tries to contact me or initiate anything more serious. It is I who have to write to him and he always replies readily. I know he likes me since he has indirectly hinted it to me but he gives me mixed signals and I don't know if he really is interested in me or not. It seems to me that I have given him so clear hints that any idiot would have guessed what I feel. Yet he does nothing. I am also old-fashioned in the way that I wish he would take the initiative which makes this more difficult. What should I do?

-----------------------------Miss Emily's advice------------------------------

If he were capable of being more than what he is, he would make the next move. I think he does care for you, and more than likely in the way you wish, but painfully shy people have, within them, a stop-mode. That is to say, no matter how much they want to be assertive, they cannot, and will not go that extra step to get what they want. It's an emotionally agonizing experience for that individual to go through. Sometimes they get lucky. Someone will come along and lead the way. And maybe that's you. He is young, and I believe, in time, it's possible for him to gain the emotional security he needs to free himself of this sad personality trait. All you can do is let him know how you feel, but don't blame yourself if you find him to be an immovable object.