Have a Crush? Take 20 Seconds of Insane Courage


You’ve got a crush on somebody. But try as you might, flirt as you might, talk, joke, primp, and smile as you might, you’re not getting a handle on how the other person feels. You wish you could ask: Do you just not like me? Do you like someone else? Are you simply not ready for a relationship? Or do you just need a little nudging? Okay, a little more nudging.

But even if you could ask, the person might not know the answers. Seriously. Some people are not comfortable expressing their feelings. I know a guy who, a dozen girls have attempted to catch. He says he simply never thinks about his feelings. And when he’s forced to, all he can come up with is a strong feeling against having feelings. Good luck girls! And no hard feelings. Obviously.

Though this is an extreme case, there are lots of people who just don’t give you enough to go on. Or worse, they’re sending mixed signals. Friend … girlfriend … friend … girlfriendtheir message button is jammed.

If you have a crush on someone and you’re not sure how they feel (or if they feel), you have two options.

A) Brace yourself and tell the person directly how you feel.

B) Move on.

Choose one of them. Do not choose C) Wait around yet another day to be driven more nuts wondering if the person will ever like you, meanwhile remaining emotionally unavailable to meet someone who might actually care about you!

A lot of people take Option C, because it works fabulously inside their heads. They construct all sorts of hopes and dreams based on Option C.

The only real options are A and B. They’re both painful and for that, I’m sorry. I can only tell you that they’re nothing near as painful as Option C, which is a long, drawn out terminal illness kind of pain. Option A and B are risky operations but both promote healing and wholeness.

First let’s hash out Option A.

How do you tell the person you like them?

Keep it direct and keep it simple. If you get too intense you might weird the other person out. Nix any talk of, “I’ve been watching you for quite some time” or “I was in this bad relationship before and I never thought I’d fall for anyone again” or even “You’re my ideal.” Paleeze do not follow the person around either. If they had any thoughts in your direction, this will make them do an about-face and run. Keep your invitation friendly and non-threatening. Try something like, “I like you.” Or “Maybe the two of us can get together sometime?” I know it’s gutsy. I know how much is riding on words like that. I know how at the first syllable, you feel like your mouth is stuffed with ashes. But for better or worseit is over very quickly.

“You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo

Now, I know I just said that “something great will come of it” but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the answer you want. The great thing that may come is, in fact, closure.

What if the person says no?

There are lots of ways to say no. Some are clear: “No, thanks.” Others less clear: “Sure, we can ALL go sometime. Not sure what’s on my calendar because I don’t have it with me. Oh well.” This means no.

If someone has clearly said no and let you know they aren’t interested in you, don’t hang around trying to convince the person to like you. Years ago my sister went on one date with a guy but refused a second. So he sent her a letter, saying,”If you don’t marry Wonderful Me, you’ll spend the rest of your life alone in your apartment surrounded by cats.” Dude, this isn’t a sales pitch: Not only am I the Best on the market, you can’t afford NOT to take me! This sort of behavior makes a person go from feeling bad about hurting you to not being able to stand the sight of you to possibly even considering a restraining order. If you get a clear rejection, move on.

How do you  move on?

Realize that a clear no is a merciful answer. It means the person doesn’t want to string you along. Consider yourself lucky to know that. Now you are free to find someone else and to be happy. One person’s rejection does not mean you are an unlovable slug. It means that that particular person didn’t click with you. It’s easy to feel insulted, or hurt or angry. But chemistry is a mysterious thing. You can’t force it. So don’t hate the person for not feeling it. Unless you get a voodoo doll, you’ll only end up punishing yourself. This will keep you from being at your best so you can find someone who does click with you.

Last, don’t think you are alone in this struggle. I know how it is. When you lack something, it seems like everyone else who has it is suddenly dropping by or calling you or posting pictures of that coveted thing on Facebook. In this case, it’s a parade of happily married couples with their white dresses, honeymoon pics, and sonograms. You might be tempted to avoid those couples. I say don’t! Talk to them. You will soon find that most, if not all of them, have been hurt before. They’ve been rejected. They’ve wondered if there’s something wrong with them. They’ve cried hard into their pillows.

What changed things for them? They moved onnot with an air of sad resignation or resentment or baggage but with courage. They risked their happiness a second time, and maybe a third, and again and again until they found it. Take 20 seconds of insane courage. Repeat as needed.



  1. Yujia Z. February 20, 2015 Reply

    I don’t think option C’s “hopes and dreams” necessarily mean fantasies and pressure. It can be an experience of great growth of patience, observation, reflection and prayer. Life is much more than simply reacting and accepting the magic of “chemistry.”

  2. Susie Lloyd November 28, 2014 Reply

    Hey, I admit my example was pretty lame – especially the last one. I can see that it could come across as condescending – depending on the situation, etc. So thanks for pointing that out, Dan. That helps me do better next time. But my main point is good – which is that you should try to be kind – even when you say something negative. You don’t want to demoralize anyone. So, I stand by, “You’re not the guy for me” rather than using words like, “spoiled, selfish, stuck-up, teenage princess.” You would not use the middle section to tear someone down. 😉

    • Dan-1002097 November 28, 2014 Reply

      Okay, agreed, If I ever show up at a Toastmasters, I’ll grind the edges off that “middle part”. 😉
      You are right that there’s nothing bad about telling someone good things about them. But, as you seem to understand, that very dismissive last bit “You’ll make a great husband for someone else…”, oh, Ladies!, that one I do not recommend.

  3. Susie Lloyd November 26, 2014 Reply

    I love this question, Anna. The first thing I thought of was again, Toastmasters. We were all learning public speaking and we all had the opportunity to evaluate one another. The rule is: If you have to say something negative, you sandwich it between two positive thoughts. So your lead is positive and so is your finish but you manage to get the negative across.
    a) You are a really nice guy.
    b) You’re not the guy for me.
    c) You will make someone else a great husband.

    How does that work for you?

    • Dan-1002097 November 26, 2014 Reply

      So, Susie, here I’m going to try applying the Toastmasters Rule just as you taught it to us:
      1) Your article topic is a great one and much appreciated, and your clever characterization of the issue by way of “options a, b, and c” is accurate.
      2) The a, b, c sequence you suggested to Anna as a way to politely dissuade an unwanted suitor reflects more what a spoiled, foolish, stuck-up teenage “princess” would say than what an intelligent, secure, compassionate, grown-up woman would say.
      3) We’re both here only trying our best to help others sort out tough issues, and given any specific real-world situation out there, either or both of us could be wrong.

      How am I doing? 😉

      Anna…look…reaching out to someone to whom you are attracted is always, always, going to be a risk. If the guys who meet you don’t seem to understand that, then that is a problem they have, not one that you have. So, apart from being politely honest that you’re not interested in him contacting you any further, you don’t really need to say anything more…okay?

      In fact, almost anything you would say further is just going to make it harder on the guy. I’ll here go out on a limb a bit to say, I don’t think there is a fella alive who would take hearing Susie’s “a, b, c” sequence, especially from a woman he thought he really liked, as anything less than a insultingly condescending put-down. No kidding. The reason? He’s going to think, “Well, just what other kinds of ‘really nice guy’ do you think are out there, Girl?” And, you know the right answer…you’re entitled to your exercise your own will here…dignity of a person, and all…but that’s not how you phrased your answer to him…so, now you’re stuck. Not good. Just say “No, but good luck.” Liberty, Anna. Truth is liberty.

      But…if you think it may be appropriate…consider saying; “I’m not sure. Message me in six months.” Yeah, no kidding. Roll the dice. But, if he is so impressed by you that he actually contacts you six months later, Girl, you better give him some additional thought ! 😆

  4. Anna-1112265 November 26, 2014 Reply

    It would be easier for me to tell someone I liked them and was interested rather than telling them I was not interested and did not want to see them again. Any tips on some verbiage to tell someone you’re not interested and don’t want to get together again? It’s so hard while trying to be kind and respectful.

  5. Susie Lloyd November 25, 2014 Reply

    Option C is to wait around being driven nuts while remaining unavailable to meet someone who might really care. It doesn’t sound like a plan to me.
    That isn’t to say that people can’t change their minds about someone. My brother asked a woman to marry him and since she didn’t know him too well, she said no. So he left her alone. That made him pretty fascinating to her but whenever she was around he would vanish. So one day she walked up to him and said, “Um, do you still want to marry me?” He said, “You bet!” And they lived happily ever after. Notice that in no way did he wait around to be driven more nuts. Sounds like you didn’t either. Neither did your 19 plus friends. Friends is not a crush situation.

    • Bob-59786 November 25, 2014 Reply

      … but it’s amazing how friends have been known to develop strong relationships leading to strong marriages. There seem to be a LOT of people who rush into relationships because The Sparks are so great … then over time the Sparks fizzle out. Better to allow smoldering ember to burst into a strong flame of Love?

      • Susie Lloyd November 26, 2014 Reply

        Completely agree about friends making for a strong married couple!
        I was definitely not going against that when I said friendship was not a crush. I just meant your friends’ story didn’t seem to apply to my original post wherein someone pines for someone who doesn’t seem to notice or care. If you’re both happy being just friends and something develops later – GREAT!

  6. Bob-59786 November 25, 2014 Reply

    Better rethink Option C. I know a 28 or 30-year married couple where she initially rejected his marriage proposal. I chased a local woman for 2 years and was rejected, but then she told me that yes, she had rejected me those two years but then, after being around me for two years in our Singles group – got interested and tried 2 insane times … but I had lost interest. Another … a happily-married local couple were ONLY friends for 19 years, no dates, but then the epiphany moment arrived.

  7. Susie Lloyd November 24, 2014 Reply

    Well, Joan. I guess there would come a time when you meet someone online and you are interested and you might have to ask if the person has any inclination to meet in person. Then go from there!

    • Joan-934203 November 25, 2014 Reply

      True Susie. I’d rather he takes the initiative to lead that into a meeting.

      • Susie Lloyd November 26, 2014 Reply

        I can see not wanting to ask him out directly. How do you feel about saying something like, “Hey, one of these days we should continue this conversation in person?”

  8. Susie Lloyd November 24, 2014 Reply

    Completely agree about appearance, Eric. I was in Toastmasters for two years and I love their simple principle: Take care of your appearance so when you go on you can forget about it and concentrate on delivering your message. The same would hold for when you are presenting yourself in a social situation.

  9. Joan-934203 November 23, 2014 Reply

    I should believe that this insane courage is about being sincere and truthful about who one is, what one wants and feels. Not caring too much of what the other might say but also being respectful. It may be quite difficult online but possible.

  10. Eric-97921 November 23, 2014 Reply

    Susie–I think Andrew’s points are pretty good. I was a bit more awkward in the past, and at some point I decided to be a bit more intentional about my appearance (but not to the point of vanity) and to just practice talking to random people on the elevator, bus, etc… It made it a bit easier to mingle at parties and happy hours. Also, I’ve found it helpful to organize happy hours and parties for friends and mix various different social circles.

    I won’t get into the point about awkward women (or men) because I just don’t feel like having that fight.

  11. Andrew-1151352 November 23, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for your follow up Susie. I do believe in allowances, too. The only awkwardness I can allow, for me personally, is if she can laugh at herself and not take herself too seriously. In those cases her awkwardness can actually be charming. However, if she is always being taken off guard then there may be some work she needs to do from her end. But since you specifically mention it, I do know there are guys who exhibit no tact in how they approach a perfect lady. If they have made her feel awkward for no good reason then my advice holds the same: Dude, quickly move on. He is not doing her any favors pushing a situation he has blotched because he snuck up from behind her and shouted something nuts like “why are you wearing those shoes?!”

  12. Susie Lloyd November 23, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for commenting, Andrew. I think I see your point. But I think some allowances should be made for people who are taken off guard or who are awkward. I think your point about getting to know people makes sense.

  13. Andrew-1151352 November 23, 2014 Reply

    Nice article. What helped for me and where guys have the advantage is we don’t have to get caught up with one girl. So, do not form a crush but instead follow up with as many women as your heart desires, it’s not like you are sleeping with them and breaking a commandment. Become a social animal and it won’t matter if this crush of yours takes notice of you. Become so social that courage will be an afterthought and talking to women has been so practiced that it comes as natural to you as blinking. If she flat out insults you then you should be so much of a social beast that it rolls right off as you laugh. You are a man! No woman deserves to be your crush until you know enough about her. A crush is for the imaginative people who like to throw things to chance and romantic movies. As a man it is our duty to know who will be helping us forge the small Catholic Kingdom that is to become our family. The only way you will know she’s on the level and can be queen is if you’ve put your head before your heart. In other words, you have been using your head this entire time and have not given yourself a chance to have a crush. If she is so interesting or attractive to you then act immediately and if she doesn’t show interest in you, or she thinks you’re strange because you took her off guard then immediately move on. Nothing is strange about courage and if she thinks so then she will be a useless queen, better for you that you move on. Which for Catholic ladies, this is for you, be prepared to be approached. Some Catholic women have been so awkward as to announce to me that they are well to so lawyers before they told me their names. I thought their names were “well to do lawyers!”

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