Sharing your vulnerabilities with another person is a big deal, and sometimes, once you have acknowledged them yourself, you can’t help but want to tell your crush. But it’s isn’t always as simple as it seems in the movies or as complicated. Real-life is somewhere in between the two, which is great news because that means you get to decide how to tell someone you like them on your own terms. According to the American Psychological Association, the power of love is significant, so if you have a chance to potentially harness that, you should go for it!
You cannot just drop hints forever and hope your intended picks them up. Prepare yourself in a way that cultivates a game plan that you are comfortable with and that feels authentic to who you are.
Do not make it a big deal
Grand gestures are definitely romantic and can certainly be impactful, but they often come with a lot of pressure for both you and the other person involved. Instead of spending time and energy conjuring up a big production, keep your plans simple and to the point.
Pick your moment
You are hoping that your crush will respond positively, so finding the right moment to facilitate that is important. Think of places, times, and environments that are private enough for them to hear out your feelings and be able to respond in a way that is crystal clear on both ends.
Do it in person
Doing it in person can be nerve-wracking, but it is an essential step. Be sure that you are face to face when you deliver this message. Removing the element of a third party, technology, or written word means that your tone and intention can be presented in the way you intended instead of leaving room for any misinterpretations.
Acknowledge the possibility of rejection
It would be really nice if your feelings and those of the other person were identical and timed in tandem, but sometimes that is not real life. Do not put shade over your plan by assuming that you will face rejection, but be aware that there is a possibility you may encounter it, and be brave enough to accept it and take a chance.
Keep in mind that you have been experiencing these emotions for a period of time, but they might be coming out of the blue for the other person. When someone is caught off guard, their initial reactions and responses are often not wholly indicative of their absolute feelings. Be flexible to the possibility that just because someone doesn’t throw their arms around you in passion right away does not mean that their answer is no, and they don’t feel the same. They may just need a little space to process and decide on their own feelings.
Be clear but not too practiced
Do your best not to overthink your approach. While preparation is great and can set you up mentally to feel ready, understand that nothing will ever be perfect. Being as concise as possible and not rehearsing what you want to say over and over again is going to be your best bet. It can be hard to stay chill, especially when you are face-to-face, but you risk sending mixed messages if you let yourself get carried away.
How to show it
The way we show our feelings physically is important. We touch, talk, and act differently around people we feel romantic feelings about than we would a friend, even those of the opposite gender.
Use your body language
Here are a few ways that you can show a person physically that you are into them beyond the platonic.
- Touch them casually
- Be attentive to them in conversation
- Do not cross or fold your arms in front of you
- Smile often
- Let your hugs or handshakes linger when appropriate and comfortable
There is a time, and a place for everything, specifically physical affections, so be considerate of your crush and your surroundings and try not to put them, or yourself, in an uncomfortable situation where body boundaries are crossed.
Curate the timing
At what point you tell someone you like them is just as important as how to tell someone you like them. Pay attention to your timing, and if you feel that it may be premature at this juncture, here are some things you can consider while you decide when sharing is best.
Spend one on one time
If this is someone with whom you share good friends, it is possible that you two have not had enough one-on-one time for you to generate the guts to make it happen. If this is the case, think about how to spend time away from the group.
You could offer to carpool to the next event, giving you that alone time in the car. Or you could be bold and suggest meeting up as a twosome and not even have the option to include friends. Being together, just the two of you, will give you both a chance to learn about each other outside of other relationships and can help you feel more comfortable down the line when you have picked the right moment to express your feelings.
Watch their signs
Just the same as how you can use signs and signals to suggest how you feel, they may be offering signs and signals that indicate they either share or do not share your feelings. Be advised that unless you are a relationship expert, most everything you’ll observe will be an assumption. For example, if your crush is sitting across the table from you with crossed arms, it could just mean that’s how they are comfortable sitting, so don’t jump to the conclusion that it is their body’s way of telling you that they are not interested.
Stop making excuses
It stands to be said over and over; the perfect time does not exist. Even if you have taken time to prepare yourself, you have thought about the who, what, when, and where. Don’t adhere to your self-created step-by-step guide. It is easy to say ‘I’ll do it when’ or ‘I’ll tell them as soon as,’ Unfortunately, in these situations, unless the conditions feel ‘perfect’ we choose not to take any action. So, instead, challenge yourself to ignore those inner voices of procrastination and go for it.
Do it for yourself, not for a perfect response
Sometimes, things just don’t go our way. It’s a fact of life. Developing these kinds of feelings towards someone else is a sign of emotional maturity, and telling them is a sign of courage. Obviously, you hope that there is reciprocation, but that should not be your push to confess. If you do not hinge yourself on the hopes of positive feedback, then even if faced with rejection, you can feel proud of the fact that you went for it and were honest and vulnerable.
Do not expect an immediate response
We have given a few tips on how to approach the idea of starting a romantic relationship with the person that you like, but even considering all the things suggested, keep in mind that your intended may still feel blind-sighted.
Just because someone wants to wait to collect their thoughts does not mean the worst-case scenario. Besides, a good relationship is built on honesty, and it is not uncommon for the first thing that fly’s out of someone’s mouth to represent their immediate reaction and not a true response that is carefully thought out with consideration.
How to handle being rejected
It is common to catastrophize situations in advance of them actually happening. Sadly, in this example, there is a very real possibility that you are going to spill your guts, and the person on the receiving end of this confession is going to say, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t feel the same.’
While rejection can be difficult on many levels, it is a survivable pain. This is also part of the reason that it is a good idea to have a positive inner dialogue with yourself going into the moment you tell your crush how you feel about them.
Just in case you are rejected, here are some suggestions of ways to take care of yourself if you tell someone you like them and they do not share your feelings.
Allow yourself to be sad, mad, confused, frustrated, whatever it is that you are experiencing, right away. Sometimes we tend to tell ourselves that things are not a big deal and push them off to the side, and then they rear their ugly heads down the line, often at inopportune times. If you hope to keep your self-esteem intact, let yourself work through these emotions as they come. However you feel like you might be spiraling towards depression over this, the National Institute of Mental Health brings to light a few things to know about depression and how to overcome it.
Respect their choice
If you tell someone you like them, and they respond unfavorably, you can wish they felt otherwise, but you must respect their choice. As hard of a pill as this can be to swallow, remember that this is someone who you like, respect, and likely hope to continue to have in your life. So showing them disrespect over their own feelings of honesty is not in your best interest.
Do not assign self-worth to the outcome
If your crush rejects you, keep your mind right. Do not allow a narrative to form in your mind that because they have rejected you, so you are not worthy. Their answer, good or bad, does not define you. It can be very easy to slip into a hole of self-loathing when we are sad, or when things did not go as we hoped or assumed they would, so feel free to mourn the possibility of a romance with this person, but understand that you are still a human of value and worth.
It does not matter how old you are; sometimes, being mature is just difficult. Dealing with wounded emotions and acting like an adult at the same time is the best way to move forward. If you are rejected, try not to spin out of control. As the dust settles, you will want to look back on how you handled their rejection and feel proud of your behavior, not embarrassed by it.
Reach out to friends
Find a shoulder to cry on. Seek out someone who will let you vent for hours without interruption. Do not isolate yourself when you are feeling sad or disappointed. Or perhaps you genuinely do not feel that a series of conversations are necessary to help make you feel better. If that is the case, still make it a priority to communicate with your friends. Maybe hanging out together or going on a weekend getaway feels more like ‘you’ than a tearful cry session anyways.
Do not beg or apply pressure
Disappointment can make us react in ways we otherwise might not. Do your best to resist the urge to beg or pressure the receiving party to change their mind if they have reacted in a way that is opposite of your ideal scenario. You want someone you like to be interested in you too, and have that be the reason to begin a relationship.
Trying to convince someone to change how they feel may buy you some momentary peace or even yield the results that you had hoped for in the moment, but that moment will be fleeting. You will feel better down the line knowing that you were given an honest response based on the reality of their emotions, even if it turns out that they were the wrong person.
Potential risks to consider
Here are some possible roadblocks to success that you can consider as you get closer to your big moment.
Doing it in public
Just because you are comfortable expressing your feelings in public does not mean that the one you are conversing with feels the same. Try not to put them on the spot or bring up this sensitive topic in mixed company where they might feel like they have to tailor their response to suit the environment.
Doing it over text
Nowadays, more than ever, so much conversation happens via technology. Texting, emailing, video chats, etc., are all quite common. However, these are not the most ideal ways to deliver such special messages. Having this conversation via text can complicate things because there is potential for your tone to be misinterpreted. There is also potential that they do not respond for a significant amount of time, affecting your psyche. It is also not as personal of a delivery method for such a private subject matter.
If you are interested in someone, and you have decided to tell them, this is exciting! While there is much to consider, the main thing that you really need to care about is taking care of yourself throughout the process and staying true to who you are.
It is all too common to play games when you are in the middle of a flirtation or budding romance with someone you like, but games are not going to successfully or maturely get you to where you hope to be. If you want to build a relationship, then speak up. Sometimes we are so busy talking ourselves out of how we feel or are too nervous about sharing our feelings that we overlook the possibility that the individual may have already guessed how we feel and feels the exact same way.
Take a deep breath, be sure you are in a good mood, and pull the plug. This is exciting, and you should allow yourself to enjoy the moment because these moments do not come around often! Just remember that if you are rejected, allow yourself to grieve the loss of a potential relationship, respect their decision, and move on. Your person is out there and waiting to date someone as special as you.