Rachel Wilkerson’s Second Rule

by Rachel on June 9, 2010

Now that we’re cruising along on the rules, it’s time to get into the next one…

I used to be the queen of secret crushes. When I say “secret crushes,” I’m talking about being mildly in love and just a tad obsessed with a guy who we know in a very non-sexual setting. Examples: your co-worker, your best guy friend. It’s not a normal setting where you can just start spinning game and flirtexting from the second you meet. It’s a more delicate situation than that!

When girls talk to me about their secret crushes, they are frustrated, desperate, delusional, and feeling crazy. But they won’t do anything about it. Why? Oh because they “can’t.” And then they have a million reasons and excuses: “There just isn’t a good time” and “It could be so awkward” are the root of most of them. Yeah, yeah. You’re saying “awkward,” but all I’m hearing is, “I’m afraid.”

Now, believe me, I get it. I’ve had quite a few secret crushes and I always took the “awkward” and “bad timing” cop out. I also took the, “If he’s into me, he’d tell me” route, which is a principle I believe in. But…there comes a point when you have to stop with the excuses. Because even if you believe that if he were into you, he’d tell you, and therefore he must just not be into you…you’re still a mess. You’re still hooked on him. You’re not interested in anyone else, you’re going out of your way to make sure he’s noticing you, etc. You’re still trying.

And that trying is exhausting. When I lived in the dorms my first year at MSU, I had a secret crush on a guy who lived a few rooms down. I was around him all the time; we were really good friends. So my plan was to just umm…make him fall in love with me. (As if I’m the first girl who has ever thought this way!) My awesome plan meant I always felt like I had to be on. It was ridiculously stressful! (And oh, how much I had to wash my hair!) I did it for five months before I finally told one other person how I felt…and a few more months before something finally happened! We could have been slamming it out in my loft for the entire semester, but no — I had to do everything in my power to make him think I didn’t like him like that. So then he’d realize he loved me like that.

Girls. Are. Crazy.

Eventually, I finally learned something that made me make this my second rule: knowing is better than not knowing. The way you feel after he says, “Gee, no thanks,” is nothing compared to the agony you feel during the months of wondering.

And I know how it feels when a secret crush says, “Gee, no thanks.” I had to confess my love to one of my best friends last fall, something I had been avoiding for months. It was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. And yeah, it got awkward and it cost me a friend…all the excuses I had given came to be and that sucks…but I don’t regret it! I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had continued to balk every time I had a chance to say how I felt. I’d probably still be miserable.

As much as I emote, I don’t like to have emotional conversations with guys at all. I actually used to avoid them at all costs. But I finally found the best advice for when you have a secret crush: “The way out is through the door.” (Gotta love it when Confucius helps us date!) Stop trying to come up with elaborate plans and ways to talk to him and ways to get him to notice you. Stop thinking that something will totally happen when you have to work late together five months from now. STOP IT. You’re trying to MacGyver out the window when you could just go through the door.

DBR, kids. You have to grow up, put on your big girl panties, and just own it. You have to have faith in yourself that even if it doesn’t turn out how you want it to, you are strong enough to handle any outcome. You have to believe that you can handle anything, even the not-so-great stuff that really hurts.

Knowing is better than not knowing.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Diane June 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

Oh lord, did you write this for me?!?!?! Let’s try not to remember our behavior my freshman year. I cringe thinking about it.

I had a secret crush after that one, too. For the remainder of college, I completely shut out other guys to wait for this dude to realize he was in love with me. Needless to say, he stood me up the day I was going to make my confession. That was all the information I needed.

The best part, though, is that I started dating my (first) boyfriend (ever) about a week later. It was the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned: if he likes you, he will ask you out. Even if you act like a complete dumbass during his confession of interest. (In my case, I was kind of drunk and drinking out of a gravy boat because I ran out of cups. I also possibly cried a little and talked about “Star Wars.” And yeah, he still wanted to hit that. LESSON LEARNED.)

Here’s to no secret crushes!


2 Kendra June 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

Ooh, I totally have a secret crush right. It’s a little different, though, because I have no interest in anything happening. While I don’t particularly like him I totally like lusting ater him. It’s a little weird but it gives me something to think about on those boring days at work.


3 Jaclyn June 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm


After this post I absolutely have to stop lurking and commend you for your dedication to encouraging people to check in to reality and “get it.” I did this very thing with a guy I spent two years being attached at the hip with. To make a very long and RIDICULOUS story short, I finally told him how I felt when he decided to start dating a friend of mine (who totally knew how I felt about him and decided to go for him anyway, but that’s a whole OTHER story). It was too little too late, we stopped speaking to each other, and I’ve pretty much had to change my entire life in order to move past it. Some of it is good; I’ve lost 33 pounds, I’ve cut out toxic people in my life, and I got to see how great other people in my life really are, but there have been a lot of bad days and I’ve put a ton of time and energy into trying to “get over it.” This is a great post. Thanks for being so real!


4 Rachel June 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

@Jaclyn — I’m so glad you connected with this post! (And I totally relate to the long ridiculous story of friends sleeping with crushes…ugh…) Anyway, I’m glad to hear you’re doing well in the long run! It’s not easy but we’re all strong enough to get through it…I know we are! :) But sometimes girls need a reminder!


5 Melanie June 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Honestly every girl who reads this is having a “Did she write this about me??” moment because we ALL do this to ourselves (sorry to generalize – but really I’m pretty sure that 100% of women have done this).

Couldn’t agree more.


6 Isha June 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Once again, you’ve addressed the story of my life.


7 Lauren June 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm

hahahaha i was wincing as i read this hoping you weren’t going to call me out….


8 Carla June 9, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I JUST learned this lesson myself, seriously like a few weeks ago! Knowing is SO much better then wondering! Time is all you need to start healing and then its done, and soon enough you’re on to the next one!


9 Julie October 26, 2010 at 11:00 am

Oh Lord. This speaks to me on so many levels, but I honestly don’t think I could tell my secret crush that I like him. He’s so out-of-my-league good looking it’s not even funny. Plus, the mere thought of him being in my presence makes me so nervous I nearly sh*t myself. It took me MONTHS to friend him on facebook, and I only did it because I was hammered.
My biggest fear is not rejection right away, but having him say “oh, let go out sometime” then never calling me. I’m such a chicken sh*t :(


10 Michelle December 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Thank you! Def. needed to read this! I’m the queen of “if he likes me, he can ask me out himself”. & I’ve been challenging myself to be more forward to guys, and this post is the ‘cherry on top’. I’m done with secret crushes. :)


11 Lisa April 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I am so glad to find this blog , now i decide to confess my love to this guy – i do not know what happen after that only i know that i do not want secret crush in mi life NO MORE !!


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