I have heard from so many friends, who, were romantically interested in a guy, but couldn’t quite gain the nerve to express themselves to let him know. In case you can identify with this problem, I will share with you the advice I gave them.
While I understand that your heart is at stake, you must realize your happiness is, too. If you were completely happy by yourself, you wouldn’t consider marriage or a dating relationship on any level. You have to be willing to risk your heart, not just for your own sake, but for the happiness of the other person.
I would often tease my nervous friends, “Well, just kiss him, and then you’ll find out if it’s mutual.” Of course no one ever took me up on that advice, although all my guy friends admitted, albeit shocked that I would suggest such a thing, that my advice would work.
Kissing would get the message across clear and simple. Granted if these women were so afraid of even verbally expressing how they felt, it would take a lot more courage to actually kiss the guy they like. Faced with the ridiculous kissing option, talking to express themselves didn’t sound so risky, and that was part of my point.
Here is a list of other things that I have done or suggested to help friends get over that fear:
1. Draft a Letter. Writing a letter of what you would want to say to the person you are interested in helps organize your thoughts—even if you never give the letter to the recipient. Sometimes at the end of writing a letter, you realize your feelings are just a “crush”, and that the person doesn’t really have all of the qualities you’re looking for in a spouse, or they have other qualities you couldn’t really live with or even appreciate. Some find it easier to compose themselves through writing, and then avoid having to witness the immediate reaction of the other person.
2. Have a Mock Conversation. I would indulge some friends in mock conversations, playing out the different scenarios they may encounter. This helped those friends voice their fears and vulnerabilities to a trusted friend who loves them anyway. I would try to come up with as many different possible outcomes to allow my friends time to consider how they would react to each one.
3. Take Ballroom Dance Lessons. There is a lot that you can learn about relationships through partnered dance. Trust is the biggest element in making a relationship and your feet work. Even if you’re dancing with complete strangers, you’re still in some small way allowing yourself to take a leap of faith and trusting someone you don’t know very well.
4. Make a Plan, and Set It in Motion. Find other challenges to overcome to build your confidence. Enlist the help of a friend to keep you from backing out of the obligation. If you try it and it doesn’t work out, laugh at your mistakes, and remember we have all experienced failure. Accept that humility, and either try again, or try something else. In that exercise, you will build confidence, grow in humility, and perseverance. These are all attributes that contribute to a successful marriage.
5. Work More on Trusting God. You are an incredible person. I know that, because God has made you uniquely for a very specific reason that is very different from everyone else in your life. So remember He loves you, He has confidence in you, and as long as you trust and depend on Him, you can’t go wrong. He also uniquely made this other person for whom you have feelings. He or she is equally deserving of love from God and other people; so why not show them love, too?
6. It’s Not You. Remind yourself the problem is not you, it’s them. If for some reason another adult can’t handle you expressing your feelings with charity, then they’re not mature enough for a relationship with anyone. Remember how we have all fallen short of grace and hurt God in similar ways. While their response can hurt, keep them in prayer, and hope they will become more loving people. Congratulate yourself on having saved yourself greater hurt in having a romantic relationship with such an immature person.
7. Just Do It. The choice is yours, but remember that indecision is still a decision. What if you feel it’s too late to express yourself? The only time it is too late is if the person is married, has made final vows to religious life, or is dead. Until then, make that risk for happiness. Remember John 8:32, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus made the risk for you; in some small way, return that favor by letting another one of His creatures know the truth: they are loved.