"The Kiss" by Francesco Hayez (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
I had to give this one a lot of thought after a reader asked me to write on it: how to talk to crushes. And this is for a few reasons: first, I talk all the time. So my attentions to a particular crush wouldn’t seem much different from any other day I bet. Second, this isn’t exactly a “be nice” thing, but if put in the right perspective it can be. Being confident in yourself is part of being “nice” to yourself. So I think it fits. Third, I’ve been with the same fella for 6 years now. So, I’ve been out of commission awhile. Now, remember: this is just my opinion. Always trust your judgment first. I’m definitely not an expert. But here goes!
I’ll tell you how it worked out when I talked to my biggest crush EVER: my husband. I met him at an art opening of a show we were both in. He walked off the elevator and it was immediate: I had to talk to this guy. So without thinking I walked right over to him, put out my hand, and said, “Hi! I’m Jen. Who are you?” with a huge smile on my face. Now the key to doing this was no thinking. If I thought about it, I would get insecure and I would not say a word. And getting insecure is exactly what happened that evening.
We had a blast walking around, talking about the art work. I don’t even remember what we said, I just remember making sure I was being cool and not sounding like a moron. Things were going great! It was me and him alone virtually the whole time we viewed two entire floors of work. But then came, as we stood around digesting the show, this little, short-haired, petite cute girl. I was always intimidated by those girls. Here I was, 5′ 10″, at the time I was a size 18, and naturally next to a 5′ 5″ skinny blonde with stylish clothes and that mysterious “cool” vibe, I figured I was defeated by default. I thought, “Oh, she’s pretty, she’s probably his girl friend.” So while he made conversation with her I wondered off, insecure and angry with myself for being such a chicken. He left the party and I was devastated.
But then I got brave again, and found his email on our college directory (slightly stalker-ish, but hey, it worked!). I emailed him with the “Hey, that was fun and I liked getting to know you. Would love to talk about art again. Want to hang out?” And he wrote back, “Yeah! Here’s my number, here’s when I’m free.” (PS–it was fate because he NEVER checked that email, but just happened to that weekend.) So, we hung out. And my insecurity prevailed again because I assumed he might just want to be friends even though we spent 3 hours just swinging on swings at a park talking, plus dinner, plus seeing some art. I should’ve known he was into me when he called each day he said he would (he called every other day), when he picked me up and we went out to dinner. So I told him, “I like you,” on our second date. He was shy, and said nothing! UG! Again, thrown into tumult. What was going on?!!
My friend Michele suggested some “game” type strategies. They didn’t work. Jake wasn’t into “games.” He was oblivious. And playing games wasn’t like me either. So finally, I took some of my own advice. Be blunt. Be reckless. When I don’t think, and speak, it works best for me (with him at least!), so I said, “Look, I like you. And I don’t know if you like me because you haven’t said so. And it’s fine if you don’t like me that way, but I just want to know. Because if I don’t stop liking you this way soon, I won’t be able to be friends with you and I really like to talk to you so I’d like to be at least friends. So do you like me or not?”
And he said “Yes.” The rest, as they say, is history.
My suggestions are these:
- Always be yourself, from the start. Be true to your feelings, your intuition, who you ARE. Your love interest will either like you or they won’t. It’s nothing you can change. If you change who you are, eventually the relationship will fail because you aren’t being you. So just be you from the start because that pain is probably less than the pain of being in a relationship that feels like a lie. Want another argument about being the true you? It’s unfair to assume someone won’t be into you the way you want them to be. Give your crush his/her due credit and give them the privilege of knowing the real you. You are awesome, and it’s just a matter of finding some other person whose “awesome” jives with your “awesome.”
- Just treat them like you might when you want to make a new friend–at first. It might take the pressure off. Then after a few tries at talking, you can tell them you “like” them. They’ll know you by then and probably have an idea of if they “like” you too.
- Talking to crushes comes in waves of pure mindless bravery and bouts of crushing insecurity (if you’re anything like me). The important thing is to always try to defeat the insecurities and go for what you want, even if it scares you. Worst case: s/he won’t “like” you. And what you get out of that is knowing that you care enough for yourself to go after what you want. That is something pretty special. Best case: s/he is into you. That would be sweet.
- When in doubt, just talk. Could be about anything. Don’t know what to say? Make a comment about something you are into. They might pick up on it. Still short on words? Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. Give them a chance, and they might take it. And then you can respond with a story, or another question. It’ll get the ball rolling.
- There may never be a day when you feel ready to talk to your crush. Or maybe you just need to build confidence for a while and then you will go for it. You know you best, so trust your instincts and believe in your qualities and go for it when the time is right. If you know that you are a good person worth befriending, that will come across to your crush, and that is a very attractive trait to have.
I hope this gets you thinking. I’m sorry I’m a little out of date on the whole crush thing. Just remember to be safe, make smart decisions, and to be good to yourself. Those are most important.
I’m going to keep you all updated on my Kickstarter project with every post until its deadline in March. This is my first update!
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