Keeping in your feelings is draining. Not saying anything is like holding your breath. Your feelings bubble to the surface, and you want to spit them out because it feels like if you don’t, the words will explode out of your chest.
You dance around your feelings. It’s a well-practiced dance, at this point. You know how to hide from how you feel; you know how to ignore your sentiments like someone ignoring cold symptoms. You know how to put your feelings away when you see them, your person. And so when they walk into the room, you shove them down, shove them away, and try not to feel them at all. You can only do that long enough for them to walk out of the room, before those feelings flood back into your system as soon as the door shuts behind them.
And the longer you keep your emotions bottled up, the more pressure it puts, as if you just keep carbonating a bottle of water, hoping it doesn’t explode.
There are good reasons to hold back, of course. Timing, as much as we all hate to admit it, is a huge factor, and if you’re trying to preserve a friendship, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to blurt out the truth you’re keeping in.
But as any of the old adages will tell you, it’s impossible to get what you want without taking the chance. They won’t know how you feel until you tell them, and you can’t get the chance you never took.
So it starts to feel like you’re just going ‘round and ‘round in your own head — a circle game in which you can’t figure out whether holding it in or coming clean is the right move. You can see the reward, you can see the benefits, and I you can picture the could-be moments, so saying how you feel sounds intriguing. But then you have all the potential repercussions that make you hesitate, and pull back, and so you talk yourself out of being courageous. And the two sides just continue to face off in your head.
So here is a solution. And maybe it’s not the right one, maybe it’s not the solution for you, but here it is: just say something. Figure out the right time, figure out what you actually want to say to them, and then just do it.
Because if you don’t, you’ll always wonder. If you don’t, you will stay hung up on this feeling; you’ll remain in this sentimental limbo, playing “should I, or should I not” with yourself, and you have better things to do with your time than become a slave to your inner monologue.
Think about it this way: The person you’re going back and forth about telling has no idea that you’re thinking this, let alone the amount of headspace it’s taking up for you. They don’t know that it occupies any of your time. And if they did, it might occupy some of their time. They might honestly want to consider what it would mean to move forward with you. They might want to know what it was like to go from friends with benefits to a relationship, or to go from just friends to dating. They might have been waiting to tell you the same thing this whole time.
But you won’t know until you say something.