What Really Happens When You Tell Someone You ‘Like’ Them

Daryn Bartlett
Daryn Bartlett

Telling him how I felt was the bravest and scariest thing I had ever done. In my 20+ years of life, I had yet to be able to tell someone I cared about them and wanted to date them. Partially because I had never let myself be so vulnerable with someone, and partially because I had felt very few connections with other people as I had with him.

He wasn’t perfect, I saw some of his flaws, but I also saw the beauty in him. He made me laugh, feel special and beautiful, and the time we spent together was unique. I finally understood what it was like to want to spend time with only one person and be happy. Before I had needed to float from one excitement to the next, one social activity to another. I didn’t want to anymore. And that hurt like hell to admit to myself. You see, I had spent my whole life trying to avoid situations that could cause me hurt or disappointment. Admitting I cared for someone meant I was opening myself up to the possibility of disappointment.

I was afraid that I would slip back into old thought patterns. That the problem was with me and I wasn’t pretty enough or good enough or enough at all.

The problem is we weren’t dating. We were friends. Friends for three years that had started to develop blurred lines on my end. Not because we had ever been physical, but because we had shared so much with each other. Blurred lines because he saw things about me others didn’t seem to see and he let me into a world where he told me things very few knew. We worked well together. Things were easy and made sense.

But once my feelings turned romantic and I acknowledged them I felt crazy. Crazy that I couldn’t make sense of the situation. Did he like me? Was he afraid to ruin the friendship? Had I friend zoned him?

I overanalyzed every text, every touch, every like, every tweet, every smile or lack thereof. I overanalyzed until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t carry on wondering and feeling a roller coaster of emotions. I needed to take back and command my own ship.

When I told him, he took it better than I thought I would. He was kind about it. It would have been nice to hear him say kind things about me, but I can’t control him. And that’s all I wanted. I wanted to control the situation and force him to like me. And that’s what drove me crazy. Because at the end of day I don’t want that. I want to force someone to feel a certain way about me. I want them to determine their feelings.

In those 5 minutes of insane courage that it took for me to tell him how I felt, I didn’t change his mind. He didn’t reciprocate my feelings.

I didn’t walk away with a lower self-esteem. I felt beautiful that I was capable of caring so fiercely for someone who didn’t feel the same. That’s power. Power to know that I am capable of such beautiful emotions. I am beautiful because I am willing to care and be vulnerable.

I’m sad that my feelings weren’t reciprocated, but I’m also brave. I’m bold. I’m beautiful. TC mark

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