Dating, Crushes, and Overcoming Shyness

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Rachael O'Bryan
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Rachael's New York

There comes a time in life when sometimes we just have to step outside ourselves and do something we wouldn’t normally do. For me the hardest part of my life involves dating. It’s a world I have no idea how to navigate. It’s a journey that has been filled with anything I can do to avoid it no matter how much I want it. I made my own roadblocks. First I hid from it. As far as I was concerned I was overweight and no one would look at me. Until one day some guy did and he became my boyfriend – in label only. He didn’t really take me out and he didn’t make a lot of time for me but it was more a social acceptance for me – I needed to have at least one boyfriend before I went to college and he would do. We talked and stayed in touch and he was still known as my boyfriend while I was away at Temple until I started realizing I deserved better, made some new friends, and decided that being without a significant other was socially okay.
Then I went through many stages of crushes and every time I put myself out there I continued to get rejected. I asked out Ni – the RA on my floor. I invited him to a movie. At first he said yes and I was so surprised I couldn’t believe it. Then when I followed up after he changed his mind. He said because I was his resident and yes I believe that is a plausible reason, but had I looked different perhaps he would have ignored that issue. Then there was Alex – one of the football players I tutored. A part of me was confident that he would like me since we joked around a lot, but he had a girlfriend. A part of me feels like I was close to him liking me, but that could just be my imagination. Then there was Pete. Years later I got the courage to say “I like you more than a friend.” I don’t think he knew what to say, but I knew he certainly wouldn’t feel the same way. Then there was Umar. I said “I love you” – it came out accidently. He is now married. We don’t speak for many reasons. Then there were a few other guys mixed in – all of which had girlfriends, got girlfriends while I remained the good, loyal friend.
Then I moved to New York, met a guy, thought he was interested in me and he ended up having a girlfriend. The whole situation was a little misleading but oh well it happens.
And now after months of burying my heart into the New York Mets to distract myself from my lack of a guy to be interested in I meet a guy I liked on first glance. This is a rarity for me. I didn’t like Pete or Umar at first – perhaps I should have listened to my gut then. Even Alex took a little bit of time for him to grow on me. For me attraction takes a while. This guy though caught my eye from day one and now I’ve spent like the last two and a half weeks of trying to come up with a way to talk to him. All I’ve managed to say is “goodnight” and “oh sorry” the two times I’ve almost run into him while coming through the door. He isn’t the type of guy I’m normally attracted to, but I just feeling something in my gut. Sometimes I think its crazy to care this much about someone I really don’t know, the other part of me thinks gut feelings/instinct really matter. I’m not sure what to say, when to say it, how to say it, whether he is interested in me, whether he has a girlfriend. I just know that I have to say something – start talking to him before time runs out and I miss my chance. I just really want this work. I’m tired of being the good friend or the not good enough or the girl who doesn’t have chance because you already have a girlfriend. I want to be the girl. I want to be the girl he thinks is cute. And the girl that he wants to hang out. And the girl he gives a chance. I know I’m making this more difficult then needed, but it’s so hard for me. My stomach is in knots when I see him and when I think we may be making eye contact I look away because I’m so shy. I hate that I’m like this. I wish this stuff came easy to me. Even when I feel confident, my shyness still wins. But I have to try – I’ll regret it if I don’t at least try. I just don’t want to be rejected again. I know it’s a part of life, but just once I want to like a guy that actually likes me back.
So hopefully tomorrow I’ll work up the nerve to at least say something more than goodnight. It’s more about the setting, than the ability to say something. I just can’t walk up to him randomly it will look weird. Hopefully I get the chance tomorrow though and hopefully I’ll have something good to report in future blog posts.
Any advice on what to do would also be appreciated ☺