Sex & Relationships

How to Stop Playing Games and Tell Your Crush You’re Into Them

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Paramount Pictures

In a day and age where apps like Tinder and Bumble have turned dating into a game of endless swiping, it’s almost unavoidable not to fall into a pattern of playing games IRL. Studies show that although millennials often turn to apps for a casual hook-up, “75 percent of those that were single reported that they wished they could find a real relationship.” When you shockingly meet someone organically and not through an app, when is the right time to tell your crush you’d totally “swipe right”?

The Start of Something New

The most daunting aspect of starting up a new relationship is the first couple of weeks of getting to know them. The constant worries of “what are we?” and “where is this going?” can be exhausting. Even before you DTR, it can be extremely difficult to tell whether someone is even into you on a romantic level. To get past this roadblock, it is often necessary to take the leap yourself and declare three simple words: “I’m into you.” You can put “kinda” in there if it makes you more comfortable, or even an “I think I’m into you” could do the trick.

Though it sounds so simple, it can feel to some like jumping headfirst off of a cliff into a pool of dating anxiety. The outcome, however, is usually worth it. Let’s be frank: no one dislikes being told that someone finds them interesting or attractive. Even if the feelings are not reciprocated, the likelihood of your crush being offended by such a statement is slim to none. In the beginning stages of a budding relationship with a new person, the stakes are low. There is virtually nothing to lose by admitting your crush and everything to gain.

What if they don’t say it back?

Paramount Pictures / Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I recently met someone who had been gravitating in my friendship orbit for quite a few years. He lived with one of my best friends and I sometimes ran into him at parties, but I didn’t consider him anything more than a cute acquaintance. We started hanging out when we would happen to bump into each other — grabbing coffee, smoothies, breakfast, you name it. Soon, we were planning to meet for drinks two nights out of the week. He came over to my apartment and we spent hours chatting over glasses of wine. There was no need to put a show on in the background for noise. Everything came very naturally.

Soon, I realized if it was going to become anything, I would need to tell him that I liked him. One night after going out for a drink, we took a walk. I blamed it on being cold and wanting to get my blood moving, but really I just wanted to be alone with him so I could tell him. Halfway through the walk, I did it. I made it very casual, admitting that I was telling him because I felt that if I didn’t, neither of us would.

First, he said, “thank you.”

I could have died right there. Quickly, however, he responded, “I’m into you too.” It was casual, easy, and felt right. Before telling him how I felt, I was a bundle of nerves and anxiety. After telling him, I immediately felt relieved, even after I thought it could’ve ended with the whole “thank you” thing.

Raising the Stakes

The stakes can be raised, however, when your crush happens to be someone you know well. Whether they are your childhood best friend, your neighbor, a coworker, or someone you’d be forced to run into on a daily or weekly basis, admitting you’re into them might be even more nerve-wracking. One might choose to take the option of playing games — waiting a while to text back, posting a cute picture on your Instagram in the hope of them liking it, etc. Though these “games” may spark an interest, they may never be enough to actually begin a relationship with this person.

According to a study by and other online dating services, millennials are consistently looking for relationships despite their “hookup culture” persona. “The vast majority, when you ask them what they are looking for, say they are looking for some sort of partner and some sort of commitment,” says Helen Fisher, a “love expert” and biological anthropologist at Rutgers University.

In order to start something special, someone has to take the plunge and admit that they see the other person as more than just a friend.
A friend of mine had a similar situation with her now-boyfriend of three years.
“We were really good friends. We were in the same improv club and were hanging out all the time, but always in a group. One day, I asked him to lunch. It took me months to work up the courage to tell him I liked him. Eventually, I got so frustrated that he hadn’t told me how he felt that we got in a big fight. In the heat of the moment, I yelled that I liked him. He yelled back, ‘What?! I like you, too!’ We’ve been together ever since.”

Stop Playing the Dating Game

Women have been taught and conditioned to play dating games. Whether one chooses to call it being coy or “playing hard to get,” oftentimes the only one you end up playing with is yourself. In order to truly embrace and exert your power over your romantic relationships, one must be willing to put it all on the line. At the end of the day, admitting “I’m into you” can change everything for the better, and you’ll never know what could’ve been if you didn’t stop playing the games and claim the prize for yourself.

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