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Advice from physics guys please

  1. Jun 17, 2009 #1
    i'm asking for guy advice. normally i wouldn't go this far as to post on a forum, but i'm really intrigued by this man.

    so, i met this guy a few weeks ago. he is a physics phd student studying some complicated laser stuff. normally, a guy like that and i would never cross paths. i'm a college senior studying theater.

    i had seen him around the theater campus a few times (it turns out he was doing something new - acting in a play) and we had made eye contact and smiled, so while we never talked, we knew each other. finally i got to talk to him at a party (it was the cast party for this play). he was very pleasant and sweet. i had never met anyone like him before, he was extremely shy, adorably dorky, a little awkward and very intelligent. very into physics.

    we had a long conversation at the party, where i found out that he doesn't get out much and he admitted to never taking the initiative in situations. he doesn't really use facebook or do things that most other people use to keep in contact with each other. he pretty much spends a lot of time in the lab doing research. at the end of the night, we didn't exchange numbers. but the next day i ran into him on the street. i had been telling a friend about him, and he suddenly popped up out of nowhere, walking with his friends! he waved at me and gave a big smile. if i hadn't been so taken aback and embarrassed that he might have heard me, i would have stopped and talked to him, instead i just said hi and continued walking.

    he accepted my friend request on facebook, so i decided to email him and invite him and his friends to a play i was working on. i had already known from our conversation at the party that he was going to be out of town (i had asked him then), but i just wanted an excuse to make contact. he replied within a few hours saying he was leaving town for 2 weeks to do research, and didn't leave much room for reply. i thought that was that, but a guy friend convinced me i hadn't been forward enough and he probably didn't understand my intentions. so i emailed him again 5 days later suggesting that we go see a play when he gets back from his research.

    now it's been 2 weeks and i've yet to receive a reply. at this point i highly doubt i will get one. i am really surprised because he seemed like a really sweet and nice guy. i had thought that even if he wasn't interested in seeing me again, he would have at least responded and said he was busy or something.

    in any other situation, i would have given up within a few days of not hearing back, and not bothered with the guy again. but in this case, i'm wondering if i'm missing something. was i not obvious enough? or did i scare him off by being too forward? are physics phd students interested in friendship/dating with girls or do they simply not have time for anything else but their work? i admit i'm clueless about how a phd program works, and how rigorous it is.

    there's a possibility i might run into him around the neighborhood again. if i do, i'm wondering how i should handle it. should i say hi and attempt to ask him to hang out again, or should i just leave it?

    p.s: i know this is a really long post about a guy i barely know, but i've been obsessing about this on and off! perhaps it is the fact that he is so inaccessible to me that just heightens the intrigue
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2009 #2
    I don't know anything about romantic relationships or other such interactions. However, I do observe that you might be incorrectly assuming some general characteristics about physics PhD students. We're a pretty diverse demographic. Some are highly extroverted, some are quiet and reclusive, and some are just plain apathetic (sort of like the American population in general). Aside from some pretty obvious factors like intelligence and education, physics PhD students aren't all that different from everyone else, at least not in my observations as part of this group. Whatever this guy is like, his personal characteristics might not be so strongly correlated to his status as a PhD student as one would assume.
  4. Jun 17, 2009 #3
    i'm sorry if it appears as though i'm stereotyping you guys. that was not my intention and i admit i haven't met many people from the physics department so there's definitely a level of assumption about physics students and their quirkiness. i suppose it's like how people assume all theater majors are loud and dramatic and want to be actors when in fact there are many different aspects to stage craft.
  5. Jun 17, 2009 #4
    I am working in a physics lab, and I have been very, very close to a girl who has been administrating theaters for as long as I know her (years). I would certainly not claim the population are alike. There are very significant statistical deviations. As in every population, yes there are tails of distributions.
  6. Jun 17, 2009 #5


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    So, if I understand your story correctly, he was going out of town for 2 weeks and now you think he's back, right?

    Give him a few days to catch up on emails and do his laundry. Then send a short message saying something like, "Welcome back, did your trip go well?'
  7. Jun 17, 2009 #6

    Now, BACK TO WORK.......BACK TO WORKKK people. <cracks whip>
  8. Jun 17, 2009 #7


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    I agree, give him another week before writing him off. Whatever he was doing on his trip might have taken longer than planned, extending the trip, or he could be completely overwhelmed catching up no everything else since then.

    Though, from your description of him, it does indeed sound like he's introverted and shy, so yeah, just try being as direct as possible rather than leaving it up to him to initiate anything. He might not be interested, but at least if you're direct, you'll know for certain and won't keep wasting your time. If he is interested, then again, you're not wasting time tip-toeing around him and can get affirmation sooner.
  9. Jun 18, 2009 #8

    Chi Meson

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    If he was anything at all like me during college, he's probably cursing himself for acting like a dork every time he talks to you. I am going to guess that there were moments when he stared at his phone for several minutes wondering if he should call, and finally deciding that he would only embarrass himself if he did.

    Burying oneself in studies and research takes one's mind off social awkwardness. Some people what have been branded as "geeks" through middle and high school will take more than four years of college to realize that mature people actually prefer intelligence. You share an interest in theater; ask him to join you in seeing a play. If you are up to it, you may have to come up with the majority of ideas of "what to do."
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