Everyone knows about that awkward in-between stage in a relationship — when the two of you are friends, but you could be more. Most people have that classic “DTR,” or “define the relationship” conversation, but what if you never have that conversation? Maybe it is time for you to put your pride aside and confess your feelings.
But that’s easier said than done. So, how do you know it’s the right time to tell someone how you feel? And how do you do it?
Savannah Nettesheim, a junior studying fine arts, said that it is always hard to tell someone how you feel about them.
“Being vulnerable is extremely hard,” Nettesheim said. “But the only way you can create meaningful relationships is if you let others see that more vulnerable side of you.”
Melanie Walker, a BYU-Idaho alumna, recalls a few times when she expressed her feelings for someone.
“My experiences of telling people I’ve dated or liked how I feel has been successful for the most part,” Walker said. “The bad experiences I have had have been when men haven’t been honest with me.”
Walker said she can tell when it’s the right time to tell someone how she feels based on how often they see each other, how many dates they’ve been on and their body language, among other things.
“For some guys I’ve dated, it’s been after one date,” Walker said. “For others, it’s been after a month or more of dating. It all just depends on the person and the type of relationship we’ve had.”
Walker said that while people may worry expressing their feelings may ruin their friendship with that person, it shouldn’t be a big concern.
“Don’t let that ever stop you from taking a risk and expressing feelings for your friend,” Walker said.
Walker said if someone doesn’t want to be friends because you have feelings for them, you shouldn’t want to be friends with or date someone like that.
Nettesheim recalled an experience where she expressed her feelings for a friend, but it didn’t end well.
“It was a good talk, and we decided to still be friends afterwards,” Nettesheim said. “It also took a lot of weight off my shoulders.”
Nettesheim said after their talk, her friend began to toy with her emotions. Despite the negative outcome, Nettesheim said that she did not regret what happened.
“The actual act of expressing my feelings was good,” Nettesheim said.
Walker said that while getting turned down can be really difficult, you can always recover from it.
“To help me get over rejection, I’ve really had to rely on the Atonement and asking my Heavenly Father for the strength to move on,” Walker said. “Talking about my feelings with other people always helps, too.”
Nettesheim said she sees every rejection as a learning experience.
“I’ve never regretted being turned down,” Nettesheim said. “It just means that I have something to learn. Not only that, but it just means that Heavenly Father is preparing someone better for you.”
Despite the risk of rejection, Walker said that expressing your feelings is always beneficial.
“The benefit of expressing your feelings for someone is that you have the opportunity to take a chance on love,” Walker said. “What greater thing in the world is there besides love?”
Mohonri Dorff, a junior studying computer engineering, said he liked someone and decided to tell her how he felt, but she did not feel the same.
“People act like that’s a big deal,” Dorff said. “That’s quite literally what happens on a daily, if non-verbally, basis. We’re all adults here. We should be able to speak our minds about things.”
Dorff said the whole beauty of relationships is communication and mutual respect, care, friendship, etc.
“Combine all these facets and it’s simple: speak your mind instead of wasting time worrying about what people might think,” Dorff said. “Find out what they really think by speaking what you really think. Relationships take time to build, anyways.”