How To Get Over Your Nerves & Finally Tell Your Crush You Like Them

Photographed by Refinery29.
Some of the big reveals on Bravo's new web series Secret Crush are awkward, some are sweet, and some are downright heart-wrenching. But if there's one thing all of the people on this show have in common, it's that they're incredibly brave. The show asks people to meet up with their crush over dinner or drinks and finally reveal that they like them.
"That’s really hard to do face-to-face, almost impossible for people," says Frankie Bashan, PsyD, a professional matchmaker for queer women.
If you're looking to make your own secret crush a little less secret but don't quite know how, don't worry. We talked to Dr. Bashan and Erika Ettin, an online dating coach and founder of A Little Nudge, for their tips on how to do it right. (Spoiler alert: You might not even have to do it in person.)
Read on for the rest of their tips, and take a deep breath. You can do this.
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Ask your friends to boost your ego.

If you need a little confidence boost before you say something, don't just rely on the thoughts spinning around your own head. Ask your friends to shout out all of the things they love about you. Then you can remember how thoughtful, caring, funny, and friendly you are, Dr. Bashan says, and it might help give you courage to face your crush. If you don't want to involve your friends, you can always create affirmations for yourself. Just remember to stay positive — the goal here is lift yourself up, not tear yourself down.
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Think about the worst-case scenario.

No, we're not saying that you should obsess over every detail that could go wrong. Would you really want to confess your feelings for someone after doing that? But it can be helpful to think about the worst thing that could happen, because you might realize that no matter what happens, "your world isn’t going to collapse and the sky isn’t going to fall," Dr. Bashan says.

If you're asking out someone from your friend group, for example, the worst that could happen is that they say no and then maybe tell some of your mutual friends that you asked them out. "So what? We’ve all been rejected," Dr. Bashan says. "It shows that you’re human and that you were bold and had courage." There's nothing wrong with that.
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Consider doing it via text.

Like Dr. Bashan said, it can be difficult for people to tell their crush that they like them face-to-face. So don't feel guilty if you'd rather do it over text message. "It’s already so bold and courageous, so it’s over-the-top to expect someone to be there face-to-face and then stand there waiting for an answer," Dr. Bashan says.

While it might seem rude to say something so personal over text message (after all, you'd never break up with someone via text, right?), Dr. Bashan says it's okay in this case because once you declare your feelings, the other person needs to make a decision. And they might need a minute to think about it. So telling someone you're interested over text message gives them time to collect their thoughts, instead of having to answer you on the spot.
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Be very clear.

"You don’t want to muster up all of your courage and then be confusing," Ettin says. So make sure what you tell your crush can't be misconstrued. That means being very straightforward about how you feel and using scary words like "date" and "relationship."

"Literally say, 'I want to go on a date with you,'” she says.

Ettin knows this from experience. She was once interested in a man who shared office space with her. So she gathered the courage to ask him out to a drink when she bumped into him around the water cooler. When she followed up to schedule a date through email, he casually mentioned that he'd have to ask his girlfriend when he was free. Needless to say, Ettin and this man didn't go on the date she was envisioning.
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Cushion it.

When you're talking feelings, either over the phone or in person, it's a good rule of thumb to ease into the conversation, Dr. Bashan says. While it might seem weird or awkward, she suggests saying something like, "I’m going to tell you something that may surprise you, but there’s absolutely no pressure for you to say anything. I just want to share my feelings."

Setting the conversation up like this immediately tells the other person that you're thinking about their feelings, too, and that you don't have any expectations for how they should respond.
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Give them an out.

Let's call it crafting a conversation with kindness. It starts with a compliment, Dr. Bashan says. Something like, "I think you’re super cute." Then moves on to acknowledge their potential feelings by saying something like, "I have no idea if you have interest, but I wanted to put it out there." Then it ends on a note that shows you know they have a choice in this, too, by saying, "If you have interest in me, I'd like to take you out for drinks sometime."

Creating a conversation like this shows your crush that you're respectful of their feelings, even if those feelings don't match yours.
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illustrated by Paola Delucca.

Set a deadline.

Now that you know how to make the conversation happen, it's time to make the conversation happen. But nerves are hard to battle, so if you're the type of person who needs a push, go ahead and set a deadline for yourself, Ettin says.

Choose an arbitrary date, and put it in your calendar if you have to. Just don't keep pushing it off, because it has the potential get more awkward the longer you wait. "People love to make things more difficult than they are," Ettin says. "Just say what you mean, ask for what you want, and take what you get."
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Respect their answer.

Of course, you're hoping your crush will say they're into you, too. Then, you'll have a perfect first date and live happily ever after. But your crush may need a little time to consider how they feel, or they may already know that they're not interested in you romantically. While it's normal to be disappointed or even devastated if this happens, don't try to talk your crush into liking you — that never works.

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