Wednesday, January 16, 2013

how to convince someone to love you

Confession: this isn't actually a post about how to make someone fall in love with you. Rather, it's a post about why you shouldn't try to do that. When you're ready to forgive me for deceiving you, please do read on.


Somewhere in the middle of college, I fell hard and fast for a boy who did not like me back. It all started with a chance run-in on campus one day, a couple flirtatious smiles and a hopeful "see you around." I was officially a goner.

For months and months, I crushed deeper and deeper. And you can't blame me -- he was good-looking, he was fun, he wrote me witty emails to entertain me during class, and we frequently hung out on campus between classes, and even sometimes on weekends.

He never took me on official dates, and he never held my hand or kissed me or did all the usual things a boy would do if he has feelings for a girl. But I told myself he would come around. I just needed to be patient, right? And maybe he was shy? And maybe he took out other girls (and not me) because he was intimidated by me and those other girls were safe...?

I remember once, we were joking around about me becoming a punk-rock pop star someday (who knows why) and he playfully touched my bottom lip and suggested that a lip piercing might work out well for me. It's funny how, even several years later, my breath still catches in my throat when I remember the way it felt when his finger briefly brushed my mouth.


But like I said, he did not like me back. Or if he ever did, he must have changed his mind. Because one day, there was someone else. There was another girl, and there was less of me and him. There was less of witty emails and less of campus run-ins and less of casual weekend hangouts. And then one day, there was a ring on her finger.

And I was crushed, and not in the good way this time. I was crushed, I was heartbroken and I was jealous. I wanted to win his attention back. I wanted to prove to him that I was the one he was supposed to fall in love with. But I am not a home wrecker, and there was a ring on her finger. And so I wallowed. And then I felt deeply numb.

I remember coming home one day a couple months later and sitting in my room, without even bothering to turn on the light or take off my coat. I simply laid on my bed and looked at the ceiling, until the numbness finally broke inside me. I cried...and I cried...and I cried.

And this is when a dear friend found me lying there, in my pitiful, tearstained condition. She was one of those wise souls, and I'll never forget what she said to me:

"Katie, do you really want to spend the rest of your life convincing someone they want to be with you?"

It hit me like a welcome ton of bricks. She was right. Why WOULD I want that? Even if he did magically change his mind and decide he wanted to be with me, what victory is that? What victory is it to manage to convince someone to be in love with me? That my persistence eventually wore him down into being with me? Would I ever really feel secure about that? 

I realize there is something to be said for persistence. And sometimes, people do change their minds down the road. Sometimes, patience does pay off in the end. (I know it does, because I've been there. I've been the exception to the rule, so I know it exists.)

But even if someone does eventually change their mind about you, there is so much more you can be doing in the meantime than putting all your eggs in one basket and pining away with a lovesick heart.

I'm not talking about pessimism or not taking risks. You know I'm an infallible believer in hope, vulnerability and courage. But I do think there are times when we all need that good friend to sit down next to us and say, "It's time to let this go and move on."


what do YOU think?


60 comments:

karajean said...

It appears you have wiser friends than I do. I was once pining for a boy who was not-quite engaged (for the sole reason that he was oh-so pretty to look at) and someone told me "just because there is a goalie doesn't mean you can't score."

Worst advice ever.

Camille said...

Love this advice! I definitely don't believe in love-at-first-sight like many people. But when you meet the right person it's amazing how different it is. Both Jacob and I commented that we felt like we'd met the coolest person the night we met. We knew there was something different. We couldn't get each other off our minds even when friends had told us both to give up and move on (shyness + awkward engineer + abuse victim= you get the picture).
Patience can be great, but I'm a firm believer in adoration at first sight and knowing you've found something amazing pretty instantly! If people don't think you're the greatest then it's time to move on!

Annie Citrine said...

I love this so so much and wish I'd read it about 10 years ago... It would have saved teeny bopper Annie and Teen Annie and Young Adult Annie a lot of heartache!

Chantel said...

Gosh, YES!! I love this post. I held on to every word! First of all, when he touched your bottom lip, definitely got the chills. I love that captivating feeling of what-if and will there be more? And I also know that feeling of heartbreak - wanting someone to love you like you like them. Man, this post just spoke to my soul!!! And you are right, why would we want someone that we have to convince? yet it's so easy to get in that snare. I just love this so much. I love vulnerable Katie :) Thanks for sharing.

Katie said...

I have always considered you "one of those wise souls." And I still think about what you told me when you said that a boy should be beating down your door because he wants to be with you so bad. I've always loved that. Awesome post!!!

Meg said...

I think you are wonderful. I know EXACTLY how you feel.

Nicole Allen said...

Not even joking, Katie, I read this and got a little upset that you're telling the world my story of love unrequited (adding lip-ring anecdotes for embellishment). Then I remembered that I never told it to you.
And I really want to hug you right now, not only because I can empathize, but also because you're proof that there's a chance of survival from this. Thanks.

Becca said...

I had almost this EXACT thing happen to me! There was a boy, we would hang out, talk all the time, and all MY friends thought that there was something there. After a year of nothing happening, I finally decided I needed to move on. Then, a few months later, he has someone....he has a boyfriend. To this day, I am still hurt by it, but I have moved on and we are friends :)

Thanks for the post though. It is really a good thing to remember for sure!

Jeph Hunt said...

As the male representative to this comment feed, I would like to state that we, too, know that feel

Julia Jones said...

So sad, so true. Why do we do this to ourselves? I love this story!

Be! said...

Wow! I had one of those for 3 years. It finally got to a point where I sorta hated him, thought I wanted to "be a couple" with him. I remember the day he told me that he had decided to go on a mission and that he was putting his papers in. That night I thanked the Lord that the pain would finally be over soon. It's funny how a little flirting and attention can turn into a toxic feeling that will change the way you view relationships forever. Thank you for this post, I need to remember that that a guy who pursues me is worth waiting for.

katilda said...

Oh i believe it! And thanks for chiming in :)

Tess Birch said...

Man, this post just took me back. I can think of at least 3 different guys I crushed on like that, one specifically for over 4 years (who eventually came out of the closet). With each of them I felt like we had a special connection and I just always thought if I waited long enough, they'd finally come around. I've been there with the tear-stained pillows more times than I care to admit. I actually lost 60 lbs because I thought it would make me more attractive to the most recent guy (I'm not sure if I've ever actually admitted that to anyone before). Luckily for me, that gave me the self-esteem boost to try online dating and I met my awesome husband!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I crushed on one of my best friends, HARD, for years, and he ended up being gay. Even though I'm now happily married, I'm still mad that he never trusted our friendship enough to tell me (he even created a facade facebook profile to hide his new life from his old friends).

young dimitri said...

I have done the same thing... several times. You'd think a guy would learn. With different girls: 2 years, 18 months, 3 years. It hurts, but man was your friend right. A few months of trying to get to know someone, flirting, chatting, emailing, planning group activities for the specific purpose of inviting one particular someone... well that can be productive. And sometimes it wins them over. That worked for me once. We dated, but only briefly. The world would really be better if, after say 3-4 months of really liking someone we would each just walk up to the other and say, hey, are you interested. At all? Any possibilities? If they say, no definitely not. Ever. Well, then is the time to buck up and move on. Maybe some tears are shed. That is OK too. But, well, life is for living. I feel very done with trying to approach dating and love like a real estate salesman. If someone shows up, looks around, and doesn't like what they see... who am I to try and finagle them into it. Even if it works, they will wake up someday, look around, and realize that they didn't get what they wanted... and feel cheated. And that is a big problem too.
Better to find someone who really loves what they see, and wants to be there.

katilda said...

Isn't it funny how we fall for the same problem over and over? Sometimes it takes more than one knock over the head before I'm compelled to make a change. Rough way to learn, but man I LEARN IT.

katilda said...

I love this story! Except for the tear-stained pillow part. But it's how we learn, eh? I just love the part about how it all lead to you meeting your husband...because you certainly seem so happy with how the story ended :)

katilda said...

I remember you telling me this tale over breakfast in Old Town Scottsdale one Saturday! And yes....that guy (whoever he is) IS worth waiting for. I'd rather be single than with someone who I wasn't sure loved me back.

katilda said...

I love it too....in retrospect, haha. Hated it at the time but it taught me something important, eh?

katilda said...

From all the comments, it seems like maybe we all do! Maybe this is one of those lessons every human has to learn??

katilda said...

Vulnerable Katie. I like her too :)

katilda said...

Amen and amen! Not sure younger katie would have listened though :) She was a hopeless romantic. And still is...but maybe now more of a "hopeful" romantic. Much safer that way.

Elizabeth Downie said...

I can SO relate to this post!!! I had a very very painful situation like this about ten years ago. That one lasted about three months. It turned out the guy had a girlfriend in a different state the entire time and never told me.

I still sometimes find myself holding out too much hope for some guys in my life. My goal for 2013 is to not pursue guys who aren't pursuing me. Sigh.

cute is good said...

reading this story and the comments has made me feel so much better about the situation i am in. i'm now in limbo and i feel like things aren't working in my favor. i'm so afraid of him not liking me back and the numbness/on the verge of anxiety is pulsing inside of me. haha, i'm so tired of it! thanks for sharing this, though. it came to me at the right time.

katilda said...

It's one thing when the guy doesn't like you back, it's another terrible thing when you realize he was lying to you. Dislike! But in those cases, I'm always grateful that I (or my friend or whoever was lied to) was able to dodge a nasty bullet by NOT ending up with that guy! And I hope your 2013 is magical. I find that when I stop hunting the boys down is when they tend to appear.

katilda said...

I hope you sort it all out! That situation can seriously be the pits. I am confident you'll figure it out, even if it takes time :)

Elisabeth @ Imma Walking Fashion Crime said...

Katilda,

You are my hero! I always sit and pine away...waiting for that boy I've liked since I was 14. But then you write posts like this and I realize that it's not worth it to sit and pine. It's so much more worth it to make something of yourself. You're the best. Love your guts! :)

Elisabeth :)

Crystalee said...

This reminds me of the "He's Just Not That Into You" book. The book, not the movie, is really worth a read for single ladies. You're right, Katie - you deserve to have someone who ADORES you. He's out there.

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