I Put Myself Out There And Got Crushed But It Was Still Worth It

I thought I was being brave when I decided, this time, I’m going to be the one that makes the first move. On a whim of confidence and empowerment, I sent that first text to someone I’d been thinking about constantly. Then I waited… and waited. Crickets. I felt like an idiot for a while, but then I realized some important things.

  1. I’m no worse off than before. Besides some ego scrapes and bruises, life went on. I looked the same. I went to work every day and I was surrounded by some amazing friends and family. In reality, nothing had changed. He wasn’t there before and he’s not here now. No big deal.
  2. I’d let my hopes get the better of me. Okay, okay, guilty. When he liked that picture, I thought he was basically declaring his love for me. I thought he must be sitting at home dwelling on me—and for all I know, he was…at the time I was in a relationship. We all want what we can’t have, don’t we? It doesn’t matter. The bottom line was I realized I was putting a lot of weight on very little. Time to recalibrate my reality.
  3. I got some closure. Wouldn’t it be great if, with every crush, fling, or relationship, we got some form of closure? Well, in a way, instead of wondering and leaving things open-ended, I got that for myself. No response means no. It hurt, but it wasn’t uncertain anymore and there really wasn’t much more to it. I realized I have the power to get the answers I’m looking for, whether I like them or not.
  4. I freed up a lot of mental space for more worthwhile endeavors. Somewhere along the line, I let myself escape into a fantasy of us being together way too often. Next thing I knew, I was pulling a lot of my happiness from that fantasy space. Once I realized it was just that—a fantasy—I was able to divest my energy from that and start thinking about other things. It just wasn’t as gratifying to continue to think of us that way once I knew he didn’t feel the same way.
  5. Bouncing back didn’t take that long. It actually took much longer to bring myself to pull the proverbial trigger and text the damn guy. But licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself didn’t take as long as I thought. The quicker the bounce back period, the more chances I’ll take. The more chances I take, the more I stand to gain. So, whatever. Thicker skin will serve me in all areas of my life.
  6. Everyone who’s ever done anything worthwhile in life will tell you it’s better to try and fail than not try at all. Action is better than inaction, and action leads to answers—definitive answers. Sitting around speculating, wondering, hoping, leads to…well, nothing at all. Put yourself out there. Know that failing is part of success. Don’t get discouraged.
  7. It made me a more considerate person. It sounds crazy but, at the same time I was hung up on this guy, some other dude was sending me Snapchats daily, liking all my SM stuff, and trying to meet up. I knew he probably liked me but I wasn’t interested. After putting myself out there and getting shot down, I got a Snapchat from the aforementioned dude and I realized I was doing the same thing to him that had been done to me. So, I told him straight up, “Hey, you’re cool but I want to be really honest with you. I’m not into you.” I think I wish my crush had said that to me. It would have hurt, but we all want to be acknowledged. I thought for a few minutes before sending a follow-up text. “And for what it’s worth, someone else pretty much told me the same thing…in much fewer words, if you know what I mean.” He responded with “We’re all breaking someone’s heart, aren’t we?” Probably.
  8. I saw the guy I thought I liked differently after. Because I respect myself enough to think I deserve to hear back and talked to like an adult, not responding is kind of immature…and that snapped me out of the image I’d built up in my head of him being this amazing, sensitive guy. I would call it grounding. My feelings smoldered and died down drastically. Now, I’m in this interesting place that I’ve never been in before—not only am I single but I don’t have any active crushes and/or potential love interests. It’s been kind of refreshing with just me and my thoughts. So much mental real estate. Would I do it again? 1000%. I’d rather take control, get what I need to get to move forward, and keep my mind open for whatever comes next.
Tanya Fijalkowski works as an editor for Printers Row Publishing Group in San Diego, CA. She believes in the live-and-let-live philosophy, and has been a longtime advocate of shamelessness. Her motto: "It's time to take things too far."