Shoot Your Shot: words of encouragement to tell your crush how you feel
by Gaby Ferrell, Well-Woman Peer Educator
(The official opinion of the well-woman office is that people should do what makes them comfortable and happy – this article is not intended to be a directive. Rather, what is presented below is a nudge, if you’re looking for one, to take a leap.)
Do you have a crush? Is there someone in your modern dance class that you get butterflies around? Have you and your new friend been spending lots of time giggling about nothing, and you’re starting to think it might be fun to kiss them? I’m here to tell you to throw caution to the wind and shoot your shot!
Whether there’s a cutie who you see at Hewitt all the time, a new friend that you have vibes with, or a close friend that you’re feeling more-than-platonic about, it’s time to normalize sharing your feelings. By contributing to the normalization of asking people out, you make it less awkward for yourself and everyone else the next time around!
Now, you might be thinking “that’s a great idea in theory Gaby, but what if they think I’m creepy or they reject me or it makes everything totally weird????” These are super valid concerns, and I detail my responses below.
What if they think I’m creepy?
“Creepy” probably isn’t the most helpful term here. A better way to think about this might be “am I crossing someone’s boundaries by telling them how I feel?”
This is a good thing to be concerned about, because it means you always want to practice enthusiastic consent. The truth is that it’s impossible to know what someone’s boundaries are if you don’t ask, and it is possible that someone might be super uncomfortable with even the suggestion of someone having a crush on them.
But generally, as long as what you’re expressing is reasonable, and doesn’t imply that you’ve been giving undue attention to them from afar without their knowledge, you won’t be crossing any boundaries. Telling someone that you think they are cute, that you have feelings for them, or that you’d like to go on a date sometime, are normal things to say to someone. If that does make someone uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong or that you are “creepy”, it just means that you should apologize and move on.
Things that might cross someone’s boundaries:
- “I think about you all of the time and I’ve been in love with you from afar for years.”
- “We’ve never met, but I’m completely obsessed with you and I’m convinced we are going to get married.”
- Continuing to ask someone out after they have said “No.” (See “What if they reject me?” below for how to cope </3)
Super normal feelings to express:
- (for a Hewitt Cutie) “Cool that Hewitt has smoothies all the time now, right?! I’m [name], what’s your name?…[chatting, chatting]…I’m happy to have met you! Would you want to hang out sometime? I could add you on Facebook and message you?”
- (for a Class Cutie) “I’ve really liked sitting with you in calculus this semester, do you want to get lunch sometime – either in a date way or in a non-date way?”
- (for a New Friend Cutie) “It’s been so fun hanging out with you lately! Would you ever want to hang out in a romantic or date-way?”
- (for an Old Friend Cutie) “I know we’ve been friends for a long time, but recently it has felt like we are flirting sometimes…do you feel that too? I would be down to explore more-than-friendship if you are.”
These are acceptable things to say. We all have feelings, and sometimes they change over time, and sometimes they match up with how other people feel and sometimes they don’t! Regardless, it’s almost always the best choice to share how you feel.
A note on the mean and untrue stereotype of the “predatory lesbian” (or gay/queer person in general):
If you’re some sorta queer, part of the fear of being “creepy” might come from internalizing the stereotype that queer people’s desires are inherently predatory.
This is a patently untrue & homophobic stereotype that is unfortunately prevalent in society. There is a narrative out there that queer people are always scheming to seduce/spy on/violate the boundaries of straight people. In reality, people of all identities sometimes violate others’ boundaries, and people of all identities should be committed to enthusiastic consent. It is not true that queer people are inherently creepy or dangerous, and having a crush or even just thinking someone is cute is not creepy, it is normal!
What if it makes our friendship weird?
It might! But hopefully only for a little bit, and that’s okay.
Put yourself in your friend’s shoes – if someone you were close to and supported and cared for told you that they had romantic feelings for you, and you didn’t feel the same way, would you choose to never speak to them again? I hope not!
You might feel confused, embarrassed, or another not-quite-comfortable feeling, but people feel that in relationships all the time and we work through it. Plus, when you work through a tough spot in a friendship, most of the time the relationship ends up stronger in the end.
Also, if you’re at the point where you’re having a lot of more-than-friends feelings for someone, your friendship is already a little weird! Sharing your feelings will help you both get back on the same page, whether that means being more-than-friends or deciding to be just-friends in which case you’ll have a little bit of emotional work to do on your own.
What if they reject me?
You’ll feel how you feel, and then you will move on with your life having had a learning experience! You might feel embarrassed and vulnerable, you might feel angry or slighted, you might feel confused and frustrated, or any other emotions, and all of those are okay! We don’t have positive feelings all of the time, and working through hard feelings (much like working through tough parts of relationships) is necessary for learning and growing as a person.
The first time you are vulnerable with someone and experience rejection will probably be the hardest, and take the longest to recover from. But as you keep putting yourself out there and experiencing both rejection and reciprocation (!!!), you will start to learn what you need to recover and cope.
Recently someone I had gone on two (I thought) great dates with texted me that she felt “platonic-y”. I thought the dates had been so fun, and I thought she was cute, so why didn’t she like me? Who knows! We all have different needs and preferences when it comes to dating/romance, and there are lots of reasons she might not want to go in a romantic direction with our relationship. While I understand all of that, I still felt embarrassed and a little self-conscious. After I got that text, my roommate (shoutout peer-ed Sophie K) came home with ingredients to make pizza, pulled up Derry Girls on Netflix, and showed me how to do a clay face mask. We had a cathartic night and by the end, I was good as new! Well, actually, for several days after and even still sporadically I would remember the text that said “honestly I feel platonic-y” and feel a flush of embarrassment…and that’s because healing isn’t linear, which is normal and okay!
Even if things don’t pan out how you hope, you should be super proud of yourself for being vulnerable and practicing healthy communication! Plus, you’ve flattered someone else and contributed to normalizing sharing your feelings which benefits your community in general!
What if they say yes/feel the same way?!
You’ve got yourself a date! Or a hookup! Or a whatever-you-want-to-do-together plan! Go forth and enjoy your flourishing sexual/romantic life!
Okay, you’ve convinced me, but I need support in deciding how and when I’m going to shoot my shot!
I recommend talking to a friend, so they can help you plan and also so they can be ready to support you no matter what the outcome is. You can also always come in to Well-Woman to talk through your feelings and strategize! Jessica or the peer eds would be stoked to talk with you about your crush and what you want to do about it.
Gaby is a senior who is single and taking matters into her own hands. She would love to game-plan with you about how to ask out your crush, and then celebrate or console you depending on how it turns out! Find her in the Well-Woman office or hit her up at email@example.com with questions, comments, concerns, and excitements.