Scared of rejection

I have a crush on this guy – how can I tell him without making it awkward? 

Our elder has a script.


Dear EWC

I’ve had a crush on my friend who happens to be a boy for the past year. I’m not quite sure how it began but I one day realized that I liked him. He and I live across the street from each other so we’ve known each other a long time. I’m 15 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never even been kissed or held a boy’s hand before so how do I confess my crush to him? How do I handle it if he rejects me? But most importantly, if he does reject me, how do I not make it awkward between us because I really do value our friendship.


Grandpa-Matt replies

If I read your letter accurately, it appears that you want to form some sort of relationship with this guy. As for relationships, I believe that we have several classifications of relationships, each with its boundaries. These relationships are platonic, casual, intense, loving, deep, romantic, intimate, passionate, or friendly. There seem to be some easily recognized boundaries of behavior in each classification that one can assume is applicable. 

You have to choose what type of relationship this crush of yours falls into. When you speak to a fellow, you both must investigate the depth of your interest in the other. For example, if he were peanut butter, would you want it at every meal, twice a day, a couple of times a week, or occasionally? Using those criteria, you can determine what level of relationship you are willing to be in with a guy at any time. Our aims in making a connection are very often very different from each other because we don’t understand the rules of the game that each one is playing.

Let me tell you about most guys. We generally don’t take risks with girls if we think that we may be rejected, rebuffed, or ridiculed. When you decide that you are OK and worthy of a fellow’s attention, you can relax and enjoy his focus on you. You may even take a risk and let him know that it is OK for him to take the next step in building a friendship leading to something more profound.

If you put yourself in his place, you can understand he might decide that, for his own reasons that did not involve you, he was unprepared to commit to having a relationship with you or anybody else right now.

Mostly, it is a fear-based decision when somebody like him chooses to be “unconnected.” We are not mind-readers, so we can only guess at some of the reasons he gives himself. It might be he wants to enjoy independence or the fear that he could be manipulated or controlled by a girl. Maybe his family circumstances demonstrate that relationships are frightening if his folks have problems. Perhaps he doesn’t know what he is looking for in a girlfriend. There could be many reasons for his “rejection.”

You used the word rejected, but it is probably not the right way to put it in these circumstances. Maybe he declined your offer of a connection, which is a better way to put it. I believe that a fear of rejection is one of our deepest fears. We all have a longing to belong, and we fear being seen critically. We’re anxious about the prospect of being cut off, looking foolish, or isolated. We may be afraid that rejection confirms our worst fear — perhaps that we’re unlovable or that we have little worth or value. 

Rejection is one of our deepest fears. We all have a longing to belong, and we fear being seen critically. Something like that comes from a fear that he is not enough, not good enough, not smart enough, not desirable, not likable enough, and so on. The question is enough for whom? I believe he made up specific ideas about how he should be, act, look, and behave as an acceptable guy. Then he judged himself as somehow lacking the things he needs to be OK with himself, which has eroded his self-worth. 

There is a difference between the rejection of you as a person and rejecting your offer. For example, if someone wants to give you something to eat that you don’t like (maybe liver) and you turn it down, you reject the offer, not the person who offered it to you. Metaphorically, If a man discovers a diamond in the earth, but through ignorance or short-sightedness, believes it to be a worthless stone and throws it away, doesn’t this tell us more about the man than the diamond? If you are the diamond and he does not see its value, it doesn’t lessen your value any more than the diamond loses its value.

How do you make it not awkward if he is not ready for the type of relationship you propose? If only a platonic, casual or friendly relationship is your starting desire, you might say to him, “I might be wrong, but I noticed that we have this friendly thing going between us for a long time which has been growing. I just feel pretty good when I am with you. Do you think the same thing?” And then take it from there. Be honest, open, sincere, and authentic with him.

Try this approach or something similar, and let me know how this goes.

Article #: 474587

Category: Dating/Relationship

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