I'm not even going to beat around the bush on this one, you'll see why in a minute.
Why can't we just say what we want to people?
We spend so much time trying to carefully wend our way towards saying things toward each other, so cautious of showing our true selves. But why? What are we so afraid of?
See how I just jumped right in? I didn't pitch woo, I didn't pull you into my blog with a story about how I got busted rocking out to the Dead Kennedys in my office yesterday only to smack you in the face with my half-ass thoughts on life... I just went for it! I said it plain!
Wouldn't it be easier if we all did this? Easier said than done, I know... it's a complex issue and I can think of several reasons why, but I think the scariest one has to be the fear of rejection.
If a teen girl says to the clique she runs with "Hey you know what, I don't really like wearing purple on Thursdays", will those girls say "Hey great idea! Let's all wear what we like instead! It'll be Free Thinking Thursday! Let's invite those other girls to join us, what say"?
Probably not, but we'll never know because Teen Girl would *never* risk rejection from her carefully tended group of friends. She can only work with her fear that they'd say "Wear purple or regret it for 3 years solid".
Similarly, if we walked right up to the object of our affection and said "Hey, I totally dig you", would the receiving party say "Wow, I totally dig you too," or would they say "OMG SPAZ!"? Are we willing to risk it?
And truly, I think that's the crux of the fear of rejection - the fear of risk. Are we willing to risk the comfort of our current situation to get something off our chest?
There are entire movie genres and endless catalogs of songs dedicated to people taking these risks and winning the prize in the end, and regretting it when they don't, but the truth is that it's *so* hard to gauge what the end result will be. So you just have to ask yourself...
Are you feeling lucky, punk?!
What you have to decide is if the risk is worth it.
If you risk a budding relationship by laying it bare instead of just trying to be all coy and beat-around-the-bushy about it, is the object of your affection going to reject you? How will you know if you don't say something? The problem is getting the words to come out of your mouth.
But if you tell someone you've been seeing that you really like them, and they tell you you suck, then that person is an asshole and you should dump him/her immediately. The risk you were afraid of was "will he/she still want me", but what about whether or not *you'll* want *them* if they say something so mean? You're probably better off knowing when it comes to that one.
Similarly, say you have a friend and she asks you how those pants look on her, and you politely (and that is the key) tell your friend she's got to stop wearing stretch pants, there's a reason The Gap stopped making them (with the exception of Blair Catalogs, which all sell Bend Over pants and tshirts with kittens a-frolickin' to the over-70 set), will she say "I hate you, never speak to me again," or will she say "Wow, thanks for telling me since I can't see my own ass in these"?
If your friend tells you to take a hike because you answered her question with honesty, do you really want a friend like that? The risk you feared was losing your friend, but a person like that is no friend to you - you're just a sounding board for their ego.
Decide if it's worth the risk.
I've both held it in and let it out, and although I have crashed and burned spectacularly when putting it out there for all to see, I've also been rewarded even more not only by having my thoughts supported or my feelings reciprocated, but by the weight that seems to lift from my chest.
I've only ever truly regretted the missed opportunity of *not* telling someone what I really felt about them, good or bad; not only did I miss out on what were probably some great experiences, there are also those toxic relationships I could have lost sooner but didn't for fear of rocking the boat.
So just say it! Get it out there! If you crash, you crash, but it's worth the risk...