Over and over, in advice columns across the country and around the world, the same question is asked:
There’s this girl I know from school/work/next door/a friend of a friend. She’s cute, funny, and just my type. Although I’ve known her for weeks/months/years, we’ve never done much more than chit-chat and occasionally hang out but I think we would really be good for each other romantically. Should I ask her out? Should I let her know I’m interested? Can I use “game” to get her to see me in “that way”?
It makes me sad each time I see something like this, partly because I know there’s a 99.9% chance it’s going to end badly through bad advice, and partly because in a long-ago time, that was me.
The bad advice more often than not comes via those who consume large amounts of romantic films and books. There is no plot more durable in a Hollywood romance than the couple who find instant “chemistry” but through circumstances can’t voice their undying love until suddenly the perfect sequence of events unfolds. They finally kiss, the orchestra swells (or a Sixpence None the Richer song plays) and everyone lives happily ever after.”Just tell her!” these dispensers of bad advice urge, having seen My Best Friend’s Wedding or read Wuthering Heights once too often but not thinking through how it works in the real world.
The hard truth is this: if you’re not dating already, you’re probably not going to.
The second hard truth is that suddenly confessing that you’ve wanted her all this time is more likely to creep her out than to make her leap into your arms.
That’s not to say that people never get together after long periods of just being friends. They sometimes do. But they’re an extreme minority. Most women will determine whether they want you or not very quickly. In the first few hours after she met you, if not in the first five minutes, she decided on how she thought of you. Then, if she did see you as a romantic interest, the longer it took you to catch on and do something about it, the more her feelings eroded. And if you have no idea whether she really wants you, chances are she doesn’t.
And at the far end of the spectrum we have the issue of the guy who works on being the “perfect gentleman,” treating his crush like a queen even though she’s just a platonic friend, listening to her endless dating horror stories and her ennui/sadness/frustration about her love life. Here’s a hint: she wouldn’t be dumping all that on a guy she hoped to be getting it on with. And finally, I might point out that there’s nothing healthy about sitting around pining for a “dream girl.”
The only good solution to this problem is getting away from that girl. Cut all ties. If you can’t avoid her, at least stop asking her to study/go to lunch with you. At the same time, start building your value, improving yourself and increasing your confidence and meeting other women. You might be surprised how you’ll look back on your “special girl” and see it as mere infatuation. There’s a world full of women out there, and I guarantee you there are some who are better in every way than your longtime crush, and with some new confidence and experience with women, you’ll be able to seize that moment when another woman gives you the high sign to take it to the next level.
As a side effect, if your crush notices your absence and your attention to other women, it might spur her to action…if she wanted you at all in the first place.
But by then you might just find you’re a lot less lovesick. Hey, the dude finally did forget Sarah Marshall, after all.