When I was a sophomore in college, I met a boy I knew was my soulmate.
Our meeting had all the makings of a great romantic comedy. A mutual friend set us up for a dating event, and neither of us expected anything serious to come from it.
I had heard some not-so-great things about him, and my reputation wasn’t exactly crystal clear, either.
The night ended up being fantastic. In just a few minutes, we felt we’d known each other forever. The flirty banter was very much present, but it really did feel like there was something deeper between us.
You don’t know me, but I don’t get mushy like this very often. For me to say anything even remotely close to “there was something deeper between us,” you have to understand that I REALLY f*cking liked this guy.
I liked him so much that it scared me. I had never liked someone the way I liked him.
I had never felt so comfortable with a guy as I did with him… and something about that initial level of comfort made me immensely uncomfortable.
So I started doing weird sh*t.
After our perfect first night together, I started spiraling. I teetered between divulging way too much information and pulling away so much that he could never really be sure how I actually felt.
After one too many mornings of my sneaking out early after doing another form of weird psycho sh*t the night before, things fizzled between us.
I started seeing someone else (who, in my defense, was more mentally stable with the first guy), but that didn’t stop the initial guy from taking reign over the back of my mind.
The problem was we had no closure because there was nothing to officially end. Even when we were seeing other people, the occasional Snapchat or text kept my hope alive.
After months and months of this, I decided to sack up and tell him how I felt.
Again, you don’t know me, but this is also huge in the world of Candice Jalili. In fact, this was the first time I had ever done something even remotely close to this.
We hung out one night over the summer, and things felt off. I sent him a text (yes, a text…a pussy move, I know) the next morning.
I told him I was sorry it took me so long to come out and say it, but I still had real feelings for him. I told him I regretted letting things fizzle between us earlier in the year. And he… NEVER RESPONDED.
So, yeah, this was a pretty awful time for me. The girl who was so deathly afraid of rejection finally put herself out there — only to get rejected in the absolute worst way possible.
But it’s been three years now, and I see it all in a whole new light. At this point, I would go so as far as to say that what I thought was the worst time in my life was one of the most important experiences I’ve ever had.
It taught me life goes on.
Yes, there were several days after that text when my life was put on pause. Anxious thoughts ran through my mind: “Will he ever respond? Does he have his phone? Omg, what if he’s dead?!”
Life hit a standstill as I obsessed over a text that could arrive at any second.
But, after a few days, it became clear he was in fact alive and simply not responding. So what happened? Life went back into play.
Yes, I sulked for a little bit. But I had no choice but to build a bridge and get over it. I put myself out there; I got rejected; the world kept spinning.
My friends were still my friends. My family was still my family, and — most importantly — I was still myself.
We kept living life the way we always did, and eventually, things were back to the way they always were… maybe even better.
It taught me how to put myself out there.
All of my problems with this guy stemmed from the fact that I was terrified of putting myself out there.
As soon as I did something that made myself too vulnerable, I would react by doing something absolutely psychotic — like sneaking out of his room at five in the morning or physically running away from him mid-conversation (not kidding; this happened once).
This was all in pathetic avoidance of telling him the truth, which was that I really liked him, and I was scared.
If I had only had the courage to say that to him before things got so out of hand, our story could have played out very differently.
Also, having this conversation in person, rather than text, would have probably been a good idea too. But hey — you live and you learn.
It forced me to let go.
After the texting fiasco of 2k13, I knew I had to move on. The hope for us that used to exist in the back of my mind was gone.
I blocked him from Snapchat and deleted his number. Dramatic, I know, but I wanted him out of my life, and this was the best way to do it.
If I hadn’t put myself out there with this guy and found my efforts utterly rejected, we would still be exchanging the occasional text here or snap there.
Slight communication would be giving us false hope for a future “us.”
It taught me there’s more than one person out there.
Despite our tragic ending, he was a great guy.
We clicked in a way I had never clicked with anyone before, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent with him — even when I was being a total nutcase.
But since then, I’ve met plenty of other great guys.
There are guys I click with in different but equally awesome ways. There are guys I enjoy spending time with… WITHOUT turning into a weird psycho version of myself.
And, finally, there are guys who know how to respond to a text.
So, basically, if you like someone a lot right now, PLEASE learn from my mistake. Stop being a pussy; tell him or her how you feel.
The worst-case scenario is you’ll end up like me.