Should I Tell a Guy I Like That I Like Him?

Sometimes you like a friend.  You know, like like them.  But changing a friendship into a romantic relationship comes with all sorts of risks and potential awkward issues.  This young woman worries those risks might outweigh the potential benefits of love.

Anonymous (Female, 22) asks:

I met this guy (22) when I was actually his teacher in college. He would spend 2-3 hours every day in my office working on homework. Nothing ever happened that semester or since but I feel like there’s constant tension where we both like each other. He decided that my family would be his surrogate family while he’s at college and he comes over to our house multiple times a week.

I definitely like this guy and everyone thinks we’re dating already and I’ve tried being as obvious as I can without making things weird. I feel like I’m at that point where I need to stop putting my life on hold for him because we’re both too scared of making a move and ruining the friendship (and to complicate things, my brother is living with him next year). However it’s not like I have other guys waiting for me so should I just enjoy the ride and see what happens or give up and try to pursue someone else?

I’ve got two points to make and both are reasons you should go for it.

You Get a Relationship and/or You Learn Something

You’re pretty young and so is he.  The chances are that this relationship is not going to work out anyway.  And while that may seem like a reason not to pursue it, I think it’s a reason to go for it.  First of all, it’s not like it’s impossible that you guys will be great together for many, many years.  And if it isn’t a long-lasting relationship, that doesn’t mean it won’t be beneficial.  Most of what you do when you’re 25 and under is going to be more of a learning experience than anything else.  For some people, that period lasts (a lot) longer.  The point being, there’s nothing to gain from not doing something and worrying about it.  Either something great will happen or you’ll learn something important about yourself.  Either way, now is the time you want that to happen.

Saying You Like Him Takes 20 Seconds, While Waiting Takes Much Longer

This is one of those things that feels huge but is actually not that big of a deal.  If you were weird about it then it could be a big deal, but you don’t sound like you’re crazy so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.  You really just need to say you’re into him, you want to date/be in a relationship with him, and if he wants that, too, great!  If not, you can just go back to being friends and you won’t be weird about it.  Then, if he’s not into you, just don’t be weird about it!

Give Yourself the Gift of Closure and Lack of Regret

Ultimately, this is all easier said than done, but fortunately it’s a pretty straightforward conversation.  Currently, you’re feeling tension from this.  If you just let it go, you miss out on a potentially great long or short term relationship.  If he’s into you, then you get that relationship.  If he’s not, then you’ve given yourself the gift of closure—something you won’t get simply by moving on, as you’ll never really know if he liked you or not. And if find out he did after the fact and you never did anything about it, it’ll feel like a regret.  Yes, you have the potential downside of screwing up a friendship by dating this guy, but nothing good comes risk-free.  Additionally, you may lose the friendship by just moving on without ever confronting this situation because this romantic tension is what makes it work.

So tell him.  Life is full of conflict, and it never becomes comfortable, but the sooner you get used to confronting it head on and dealing with it maturely the sooner these kinds of situations will get a lot easier.

Awkward Human

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