You shouldn’t wait by your phone. But you do, of course, and you even do that embarrassing thing where you check it every 30 or so seconds to make sure that they haven’t written something (even though, obviously, you would have seen the screen light up if they had). You find yourself, more than you’d like to admit, in yet another situation where you have to wait for someone to give you the green light, to say they want you back, to be interested enough that your interest doesn’t make you weird or desperate. There you are again, fearing seeming desperate at all costs, while behaving in the most desperate ways imaginable.
There is nothing worse than being the one who loves more, who needs more, whose emotions and tears and dreams run so close to the surface. Sometimes it feels as though a single pinprick could send it all streaming out, that you’re always one bad text or unreturned call from breaking down completely, from letting out everything you’ve been being so good about pretending not to feel.
But the truth is that you don’t have to be this way, your own insecurity and dependence on the approval of others isn’t the price you have to pay to play the game. You are allowed to feel the pull of the phone next to you, but then to pick it up and say exactly what you want to say. There doesn’t have to be something so scary about “hello,” or even “I’m thinking of you.” You are allowed to be the person who texts first, who texts back right away, who starts off the day with a “Good morning” and doesn’t have to feel like it might have been too much.
Because, no matter how addictive they are – no matter how much they make you feel like you’re getting better at a sport by learning how to communicate without bothering them – the people who leave you hanging aren’t worth it. Even the little moments of affection they give you won’t make you feel any better when you’re by yourself again. You aren’t ever going to convince them that you’re worth getting excited over, and even if you could, would you really want to be with someone you had to negotiate your own worth to? Would you really want to spend years learning the exact right way to be so that they aren’t annoyed by you?
Feeling things isn’t annoying. Getting excited about someone you love (or are just starting to really like) doesn’t make you weird. Wanting to reach out, to keep a conversation going, to ask them how they are, isn’t too much. You don’t need to pretend to be disinterested to be interesting. And love isn’t a competition for who can seem like they need the other one less.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for someone who’s just as excited as you are, who can’t wait to go on awesome adventures and learn all about this new person. You deserve to be someone’s priority, if you’re making them yours. And maybe this means that you’ll have to wait longer, search harder, and be even more picky. But there has to be a moment when you prioritize yourself, when you stop being afraid of seeming too much like the person you are. You shouldn’t be afraid of being what they call “needy,” because when it comes to love and people in your life, it’s okay to need. It’s okay to not accept a three-day rule when it comes to calling you back. It’s okay to want someone who isn’t playing games, who wants to build something together (or doesn’t, and tells you without dragging things out).
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for all of this, because it’s not asking too much. It’s not making ridiculous demands on the person you’re seeing. Never let anyone convince you that modern love means saying only 20 percent of what you mean and making sure you always keep the upper hand. Never let anyone tell you that romance is dead, or that you can’t expect people to just be open with you.
You can expect nearly anything, if you’re willing to ask for it.