Here I am in the mirror, psyching myself up for the big moment:
“Can I talk to you about something?” No, don’t start like that. He’ll think you’re about to say you have some fatal disease.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.” Will that freak him out?
“I’ve been reflecting on the time we spend together.” Just come out and say it.
“I have feelings for you. I like you. I want to be with you. I want to be with you every night I don’t have to work.” Feels good to blurt it out.
But what happens when I’m sitting next to him, and there’s a lull in the conversation, a perfect place to steer the conversation where I want it? I talk about something benign, or worse, I say nothing.
Scenarios of doubt play in my mind: I tell him I like him and he says nothing. He says he’s flattered but thinks of me only as a friend. He says, ”Now you weirded me out, let me show you the door.” So why am I still entertaining the thought of dropping this bomb of truth?
Because in my heart of hearts I believe there is a shred of a chance that he’ll say, “Why Tyler, I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life. Why didn’t you say so sooner?” But for every ounce of my being that believes that last scenario, there are a fucking million ounces of my being living in fear and dread of the worst.
So I say nothing. I’m completely silenced by fear. And I’m not proud of this fact. I pride myself on being open and honest in so many areas of my life, but my reaction never falters: when I develop feelings for someone, I feel like I’ve grown this terrible blemish that I must hide at all costs.
Telling someone you like them for the first time is so fraught with fear because you’re ultimately giving yourself up to another for evaluation. And if you’re anything like me, you’re afraid of rejection. The spectrum of possible responses is so wide, and each one will elicit an intense emotional reaction. Will the next words out of his mouth cause me to bust into a shit-eating grin, or will they glue my eyes to the floor, afraid of meeting glances from He-Who-Has-Bad-Taste?
This has been happening to me for years, and the process never gets easier. The first time I did it, I was cowardly and told my friend to put in a good word for me and watched what happened from the sidelines. And what do you know? I got an IM from HIM! saying “Can I call u?” Then, wham, bam, I got me a man. But there was also the time I told a guy friend I liked him and he kissed me and then he was all like, ‘Oh I have a girlfriend. I don’t think I’m going to leave her for you.’ It’s a crapshoot at best.
We must not rely so much emotionally on what one person thinks of us. Why be scared of one man’s rejection, when you’re going to find someone else in a matter of days? Or months (or years it seems sometimes.) Instead of holding back out of fear, we should turn that anxiety into productive energy and just come out and say it. Either way, it’ll provide incredible relief to bring these feelings to light. No longer are you living in fear, hiding in the shadows. The light is streaming across your face, the angels are singing, you are living an honest life!
And if he’s not into you, he obviously has some hang-ups of his own and ain’t nobody got time for that.