I’m going to tell you a story about how to tell someone how you feel. Bear with me, because for my confidence, it’s really quite tragic.
A few years ago I had a crush. It wasn’t just a school crush, it was one of those ‘oh my God, there he is, I can’t stop shaking’ type of crushes. Quite frankly, at 26, it was embarrassing. It began to take over my entire working life. Yes, he was my work colleague of sorts, albeit in a totally different department. It didn’t help that he was the hunk of the entire organization. If we’re talking cheerleaders and jocks, he would be the jock and I would be the geek in the corner that nobody talked to.
Get the picture?
[Read: How to not be nervous – 18 calm ways to eliminate your nerves]
Anyway, this particular Saturday night, I was out with friends and who did we happen to bump into? Yes, Mr Hunk himself. I was a little intoxicated, he was also. A kiss happened. Floating on air doesn’t really sum up how I felt for two days afterwards. I was euphoric, this was it!
This bumbled kiss gave me a confidence that I never thought I would be able to muster up. So, I sat down with a male friend and we talked about what to do, we talked specifically about how to tell someone how you feel. He said ‘just do it’. Blunt male advice. I did exactly that. I told him that I liked him and said it would be nice if we could get to know each other. While I’d like to say it went well, it didn’t.
Despite that rather crushing blow to my confidence, a short while afterwards, I began to see the blessing in disguise. He had just come out of a relationship and was clearly rebounding. A relationship at that time just wasn’t on the cards. Did I regret telling him how I felt? At first, but then I didn’t. I was pleased it was out there, I knew the outcome and could just move on.
How many of you are nodding along to this story, having experienced something similar yourselves?
[Read: How to get over a crush and have fun while doing it]
Why you should always tell someone how you feel
You might be shaking your head at my story and thinking how tragic it is. Okay, I agree, it was a little, but it’s life and we all have crushes that don’t work out. The thing is, by telling someone how you feel, you’re giving yourself the chance to find out whether your fantasies are going to come true, or whether you’re pouring your attention into the wrong places.
It’s always better to know, whether it works out, or it crushes you for a few days. You will bounce back, believe me.
This isn’t just a situation that comes from crushes and love. We should always tell people the way we feel about certain situations. For instance, if a friend has done something to upset you, of course you should speak up and explain. There are ways to do it, which we’ll cover shortly, but speaking your mind is something you should always do, without fail.
Why? Because if someone has hurt you, you have the right to tell them so. If someone has done something great for you, it will make them feel great to know about it. If you have a crush on someone, you’ll get to find out if there is a chance or not. However, if a situation is making you uncomfortable, speaking up will make it all the better. As you can see, telling someone how you feel is your basic human right.
[Read: 17 ways to be assertive and speak your mind loud and clear]
So, now we know why, let’s talk about how to tell someone how you feel, without crashing and burning or causing offense.
How to tell someone how you feel, whilst saving face
How exactly do you do it? Exactly how do you put those feelings coursing through your entire system into words which someone else will understand? It really depends upon the situation in many ways, but be brave, always.
#1 Choose the right time. It’s no good simply jumping in and spilling your inner thoughts and feelings while on the bus, or in the corridor *that’s where I did it, bad mistake*, or in the kitchen at work. You need to choose the right moment and location.
This doesn’t require a lot of planning, but just acknowledge when a place feels right and when it’s really far too public. At the same time, don’t spill your guts when the other person seems stressed or upset about something else.
#2 Don’t keep putting it off. It’s so easy put it off right at the last moment, because your nerves get the better of you. Don’t do that! If you choose to tell them how you feel, make sure you commit to it and go for it. Choose the right time, as before, and just take a deep breath – you can do it! [Read: How to ask someone if they like you without embarrassing yourself]
#3 Keep it simple. One of the best pieces of advice on how to tell someone how you feel is to keep it as simple as you can. You don’t need to make it a huge drama, or make it oh-so-complicated. Stick to the basics – I like you, or I didn’t like what you did yesterday, etc. Whatever it is you need to say, simplify it and say it. [Read: How to tell someone they hurt you without hurting them back in return]
#4 Avoid foretelling the future. I get it, it’s completely natural to sit there daydreaming about future outcomes, but it won’t really help. For instance, hopefully if you’re telling someone you like them, they’ll say the same back, but what if they don’t?
If you’ve spent hours daydreaming your first date and it doesn’t happen, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m not suggesting you imagine the worst case scenario, but simply avoid thinking anything and you’ll side step a huge issue.
#5 Fake confidence and you’ll feel it. Even if you’re super nervous, can’t stop shaking, and you’re sweating deep down, fake confidence and you’ll start to feel it. Force yourself to make eye contact, no matter how much you want to look away, and keep your head up, shoulders back. You can do it! [Read: How to build self-confidence and realize you’re absolutely worth it]
#6 Accept that rejection is a possibility. While I personally hope that rejection doesn’t come your way, accept that it is a possibility and you won’t be disappointed. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. It’s the best advice to give when talking about how to tell someone how you feel!
#7 Don’t worry about stutters and stammers. If your speech is full of ‘so, erm …’, ‘er …’, ‘and like …’ don’t worry. It’s fine. As long a you get the message out there, nerves are a part of the deal. Embrace them for the awkward things they are!
Sometimes, even appearing awkward or stuttering can benefit you, because the whole thing could come off casual and unprepared. That’s a way better option than appearing like you’re regurgitating a pre-planned speech, no one likes that!
#8 Don’t play it down, but don’t make it super-emotional either. When you’re talking about feelings, it’s easy to become emotional, but keep it as level as possible. At the same time, don’t be tempted to play down how you feel either. Be honest and real, that is how to tell someone how you feel in reality. [Read: How to tell a special someone you like them – A step-by-step guide]
#9 Make sure you say what you need to say. If this is your one shot to get these feelings out, make sure you say everything you want to say at the time. Don’t be kicking yourself afterwards, wishing you’d said this and that. Simplify it to a few key points and make sure you say them.
#10 End the conversation on a positive note. You’re both adults, so make sure the conversation ends on a positive note. If it doesn’t go well, say ‘I hope we can still be friends’, and if it does go well, say ‘I’m so glad we had this conversation’. [Read: How to be an adult with 15 mature ways to actually behave like one]
#11 Do not avoid them afterwards! No matter what the outcome *how well or otherwise it went* do not be tempted to avoid them afterwards because you feel awkward. Be proud of yourself! You spoke up and told someone how you felt, no matter what the subject was. That is something you should be pleased about, and not a reason to hide when you see them.
[Read: How to handle rejection without making a fool of yourself]
These are all the points you should bear in mind on how to tell someone how you feel. Having the strength to be able to open up and tell someone your inner feelings is huge. If you can do that, you should be patting yourself on the back. If they don’t see the value in you afterwards, well, that’s their huge loss.
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