Rule #2 states that when it comes to relationships, knowing is better than not knowing. I am seriously opposed to secret crushes. I believe that feelings are not meant to be hidden away and that once you hear “no,” you can move on with your life and find someone who will say “yes”…but as long as you avoid the facts and keep telling yourself it could be yes, you’ll be miserable.
If you, like me, are not a fan of emoting to other people because you feel your emotions so strongly that you think they must know (they don’t) and are still claiming it’s awkward and bad timing or some other nonsense…well, today, I’m giving you a starting point. If you’re doing it via e-mail (not ideal, but we’ll get to that later), you probably have no idea what to say. I know I didn’t. I wrote my e-mail from scratch, without any sort of guidelines or idea what to say, except what I could remember from “Dawson’s Creek” Season 1. But you, dear friend, are in luck. I’m going to give you the e-mail I wrote and you may do a nice little cut/paste and add or subtract words where appropriate.
I’m making things really easy for you, like I wish someone had done for me.
But first, some background on how I got to the point of confessing my love via e-mail in the first place!
I did the whole secret crush thing with two different guys in college for and it didn’t work out so well. Then I did it again, in the early part of 2009, when I was living in NYC and was crushing so hard on a good guy friend.
It totally snuck on me and when I realized it, I was not pleased. And why would I be? It’s never pretty when a friend hits crush hits; it’s messy. And it was always particularly messy for me because I handled it so poorly. At this point, I still thought it was appropriate to hide my feelings as much as possible. Why would I ever actually just tell anyone how I felt when I could instead blow him off, pretend I didn’t like him, and not say anything when he talked about other girls? I would just swallow my feelings, make up excuses for why I couldn’t tell him, and then I would periodically lose my shit and get standoffish before eventually getting all Joey Potter bitchy and then giving him the silent treatment for days/weeks/months.
No matter which approach I took, the whole “not saying anything ever” thing never really worked out too well for me leading up to this point. Yet I decided to take that approach once again.
And with this last situation, I let it get really, really bad. There was drama (I have no idea what about at this point) and then there was the silent treatment and, because I was still at a point where living my life like a WB teen drama felt right, I let things get all Season Finale dramatic and just up and moved out of NYC without telling him. (And, of course, he finally broke the silent treatment via the day after I got home to Michigan. I was at once furious, heartbroken, and thrilled when I texted back, “I moved home.”)
Even though I was no longer in NYC, my friend and I continued to text and G-chat a ton over the next few months, and, when I decided to go back to NYC for a visit that fall, I decided, OK. I’m going to do it. I’m going to confess my love for him! In person, like an adult. I had no idea what I would say, but I knew I’d say something. I couldn’t not at this point. My feelings for him were oozing out of my pores every time we talked. I felt like a wreck; I was happy to be home but I missed him and I wasn’t sure I could really move on without knowing if there was something there all along. So, finally, I was ready to deal.
A week before my trip, we were G-chatting and he asked me for some advice. OK, fine. Then he told me he had a thing for his girl friend, he told me, and he wasn’t sure if he should tell her or not because it might ruin the friendship.
And I responded, “Um, seriously?”
Now, I’m sure you’re probably thinking, OMG, it’s you! You’re the crush! That’s so cute! Well, I wasn’t thinking that. Not at all. Because people don’t actually do shit like that in real life. So, I started to get upset.
“Do we really need to talk about this?” I asked. I was desperate to change the subject. I knew I didn’t want to have The Conversation via G-chat but I also knew I couldn’t not say something when I was so mentally prepared to say something. He just kept pushing for my advice on the issue and I felt backed into a corner. So finally, I gave it to him.
“No. I don’t think you should tell her,” I said. Because…I wasn’t going to tell him to go date some other girl. Because…fuck that! I waited six months to tell him how I felt and now he was telling me that he had met someone?! I was not going to give my blessing.
He seemed pretty appalled by my answer. He started to argue with me. (Why did you ask me if you already knew what you wanted to do?! Why did you put me through that?? I thought.) He flat-out said, “Are you really going to let a fear of rejection keep you from getting what you really want? Isn’t it better just to know??”
I don’t remember how the G-chat conversation ended, but I know it ended suddenly. He was all cranky with me for telling him that I didn’t think he should tell his friend about his feelings and I was just…upset. I was pissed that he liked someone else and even more upset that now we were having more drama this close to my trip to NYC.
But once he signed off, and I was left at my computer, thinking about what to do next, I suddenly had my getting it moment. I just thought, Rachel. Just. Stop. Fighting it.
So I didn’t get up until I had written probably the most difficult e-mail I’ve ever had to write and hit “Send.” I don’t often search for words but I had no idea what to say or how to say it. I probably Googled “How to confess your love for your best friend via e-mail without saying ‘love” or any other romantic or mushy stuff” (and likely turned up nothing). All I knew was that I wanted to say this in the most non-committal way possible. It was so hard for me to say it at all.
Old habits die hard.
Eventually, I sent this:
Hey, I’m sorry if I didn’t seem interested in our conversation earlier. It hit a nerve for what I assumed were obvious reasons. I told you I’m not the right person to give advice on a situation like that and that’s true, for several reasons — namely that I DO know what it’s like to have feelings for a friend and that a fear of rejection is pretty much a defining personality trait of mine. Anyway, I have been avoiding having this conversation for months and I really, REALLY would have preferred to say this in person, but I feel like I don’t have a choice at this point. I’m so sorry to effectively ruin a really good friendship, but trying to just be your friend is, for me, completely exhausting. I didn’t expect to feel this way for this long, but the fact is, there hasn’t been a day in the the past year that I didn’t think of you and want you. And I guess you should just know that, because it should explain my refusal to tell you to ask another girl out, but really you should just know because everyone has the right to know when someone thinks they are amazing.
So there you go.
Oh, and you can use this e-mail but it isn’t guaranteed to make the other person say he or she feels the same way. I mean, we know how my story ends, right? I’m not with him. It didn’t work out. When he finally responded, it was with a lot of nice words that didn’t really say anything, so then that pretty much said everything. I was pretty upset for about 36 hours. I didn’t see him on that trip and haven’t seen him ever since — things did get awkward and then ultimately crashed and burned. I lost my friendship and I miss it a lot. It was pretty much everything you worry will happen when you confess your love to your friend.
But you know…it was worth it! I got over my crush and once I did, my love life (and sex life!) got better in about…three weeks.
Three weeks! THREE WEEKS. Three weeks and I was already onto someone new and really cool. Why did I wait so long? HOW MUCH SEX DID I WASTE? Lame. SO LAME.
But hey…lesson learned.
Have you ever confessed your love to someone? (I hope it wasn’t via e-mail, but hey. Wouldn’t judge.) What did you say? How did it go? I’m curious to hear other people’s stories!