I’m 17, and I have kissed two girls ever, and am very insecure about this low number. Additionally, I have spent the last four years in a cycle. The stages of the cycle are:
1. I see a girl.
2. I want that girl to be my girlfriend.
3. I talk to the girl (this step wasn’t really introduced until junior year).
4. I figure out that she doesn’t like me and move back to step 1 with someone else.
The most recent girl-interest (let’s call her Anna) felt different. I feel a connection to her. She likes my music and laughs at my jokes and tolerates my Kanye obsession. I like the way she talks and the general warmth that I feel when I’m around her. I also like her ideas and the way that she got a detention for protesting the school dress code.
I thought that finally I would break the cycle and find some lasting happiness, and I recruited a mutual friend to confirm this. Her report back to me was a screenshot of this paraphrased message: “I’m afraid it’s just as a friend…maybe sometime in the future I’d date him but not at this moment.”
I want to tell Anna that we’re missing our only shot at that feeling before the end of this part of our lives but I’m afraid to do that because I already know she’s not interested “at this moment.” What should I do?
I’m having trouble sleeping; I feel like I’m wasting my youth. It’s been four years of “maybe sometime in the future but not at this moment.” When is it going to get better?
Oh man, have I got good news for you.
First of all, you’re seventeen. I had kissed (no further) exactly two girls at seventeen, so we’re in the same boat. I felt super insecure and crazy and all that good stuff about girls because, you guessed it, seventeen.
Everything is fine now. More than fine, but “fine” started and dramatically began to rise at eighteen, or when I got to college. You asked when it gets better- it gets better then. Trust me; good things are coming. And that’s not some “buck up and smile!” optimism either. That’s as close as I can come to real, hard facts: everything will be much, much better in college.
But, alas, we live in the present, which is way more real than all the hopeful and vague promises I can write. I get it. This is absolutely real while you’re in it, and it’s that way for most everyone, boy, girl, or otherwise at seventeen. Hormones and insecurities and missed opportunities and fear and paralysis and, worst of all, the fictional panic that everyone else is getting some.
Everyone is worried and confused, and loving and anxious and pining and sad. When you’re older, you’ll get that. Until then, try to borrow some perspective, as tough as that sounds. You’re not “missing (y)our only shot at that feeling,” dude! You just found this feeling! Life is long and amazing and you sound super ready to get into it, but I promise: it will find you.
Also, not to split hairs, but c’mon; you’re not even rejected. Be cool.
Here is what I would try to do if I were you, knowing full well how much easier this is said than done. First, try to remember that everyone is going through this internally. Everyone. Jocks, nerds, and even the girls you like.
Sometimes we forget in the drama and passion of our crush, the humanity, agency, and complexity of those we crush upon. Anna has given you a complex answer secondhand, which only adds more complexity. Talk to her, say what’s up — maybe Anna wasn’t sure you were fully interested — but please don’t give her a dramatic reading. If a girl was only swayed by the drama or the intensity, than she’s not really with it. She’s just doing you a favor, and that only makes you more anxious in the long run.
So: tell Anna what’s up in your calmest, “whatever” way. She’s probably going to say no. Be cool with that; you’ve done your job, got that off your chest, and put the ball in her court. You, meanwhile, should keep your surface area up. If you’re so good at falling in crush with cool, smart, and talented people, keep finding places to meet them. Keep at it.
Trust me. Everybody is failing and floundering at seventeen. The best you can do is accept it, know you’re not uniquely bad, smile, and find happiness and calm where you can.
Who is your favorite Kardashian?
Kourtney is my favorite, if she stops playing and texts me back.
How important do you think going to college is?
College is an interesting thing, because its value oscillates on so many factors. Personally, I think about it like this: if you can, college is very, very important, because that will be the cocoon you nestle in to grow from snot-nosed teen into a slightly less snot-nosed young adult. Also, hopefully, it’ll involve your career or whatever.
College can be very important. But where or how you go to college isn’t really worth shit.
When you get to good colleges or expensive ones, they become fetishized past their own effectiveness. They have to be, to justify their price and exclusivity. Are you really going to learn much more at Harvard than at the University of Michigan? Not really, if you’re smart and ambitious and take the right classes. It’s not like more expensive or more renown schools have, like, a patent on knowledge. Hell, you could go to any library in the world — or even the internet! — and learn what you want to learn.
Don’t get caught up in the hurricane of college ambitions. Really and truly. They’re all very similar, if you don’t have a specific, burning interest, and few of us do when we apply. I went to a pretty good college, one with whistles and bells and a name worth knowing and all I really did there was drink a lot with people I liked. That’s it. I love my college- I do- but I could’ve done that anywhere. And that generic truth is more comforting than scary. The truth is college is awesome. Wherever you go, you’ll learn if you want to, and grow even if you don’t plan on it. And that, by far, is the purpose of its education.
My advice? Find a college that feels good to you, is as affordable as it can be, and use the resources at hand (professors are dying to help you! Student groups are dying to have you!) to customize your experience and seize the fucking day wherever you land.
And, if you find that college isn’t for you, that’s okay too.
Hey, it worked for Kanye.