I was sitting on my sofa listening to Nat King Cole’s song “Unforgettable” and I started to listen to the lyrics. Unforgettable, that’s what you are. And forever more that’s how you’ll stay… And I said to myself: “it’s an amazing thing to have a girlfriend; it’s a sign of Grace!” I started remembering wonderful moments that I had with an incredible girl in college, and that lead me to remember another relationship, and another, and another... for a while I was just remembering all the good things of past relationships. Then I traced those relationships to their beginning, and I remembered the things that I did in order to be with the girl I liked. I realized that in order to have a girlfriend, I had to go through a very complicated process. And guess what: Wemust all go through that same complicated process. Yet I am not here to give an explanation on the best ways to be with that special someone, because frankly I don’t know, but I am here to describe what not to do during this process.
Many times the first big mistake that we make when we go after a girl is to go after the wrong girl. When I was in 10th grade, I liked this French girl named Roxanne; she was an 18 year old senior. She was in my math class. She used to sit next to me. We talked and laughed during the entire class: she was open with me about her past, about how she felt about moving in from France, and about how hard it was for her to break off with her 21 year old boyfriend before coming into the US. And that was my first mistake. I should have read the signs that told me that Roxanne still liked the French guy. She always talked about him, and about how great and handsome he was. Every time she talked about him, she smiled and her eyes opened wide. Yes, deep down inside I knew that she still liked this guy. But I decided to close my eyes to those hints. “I really like her” I would say. I decided to go for the wrong girl.
At the beginning everything was going smoothly. I started to get to know her even better. I remember that we wrote letters to each other and in each letter there were hints that we liked each other. From my perspective, it was all going in the right direction; I was getting closer to her. One Saturday we both went to a party. She was a little depressed because she was missing the parties in France. So to cheer her up I decided to dance with her. We danced non stop for nearly an hour and a half. After that we were exhausted. I sat down on a chair at the back yard of the house; she sat on my lap. We talked about how great it was to be together; then she told me that she really loved my company. There was a moment of silence. She came closer, and we kissed. The rest of the party we stayed together.
I thought that it was great, that the battle was won, and that everything was ok. But truth was that nothing was ok. The next school day, after an awkward kiss and conversation in front of her locker, Roxanne told me that she was still in love with the guy in France, that Saturday night, and everything before that was all a mistake. She wanted “us” to be over. But the pain did not end there: Her ex in France was no ex at all but Roxanne and he were in a shaky long distance relationship all this while! And so I spent all that day alone, feeling awkward during math class, and having an attitude towards a man I did not even know. And all because I went for the wrong girl who had a boyfriend, but was somehow on the rebound.
Yet liking the right girl does happen, and it is a great joy when it does. But it is not as great when we don’t act soon enough upon our feelings. When I was 16, I knew this nice girl named Jennifer; she was a year younger than me. She was very beautiful and very fun to be around. I loved her long black hair; I remember always playing with it. Well, she always tried to be next to me and to talk to me. She always looked at me weird when I talked to other girl. Her friends even gave me obvious hints that she liked me (one confirmed my doubts by telling me that she did like me). I liked her back! But fearing that I would make a mistake or that I would get hurt or that I would go too fast, I decided to go very slow.
It turned out to be too slow. I was around her nearly every lunch, and I called her on the phone at least 4 times a week but I never asked her to be my girlfriend. I was afraid of messing up, of hurting her. And even though I knew that she liked me, I still had that fear of rejection. This went on for like 2-3 months, or more! So as one can imagine, Jennifer was getting impatient. Even some of her friends would ask me what I was doing. I always replied that “it” would happen one day.
That day did not come. All of a sudden Jennifer did not meet me during lunch, and I started to see her less and less. Our conversations on the phone were also getting shorter. I did not have any idea of what was happening until one day one of her friends told me that Jennifer had a boyfriend; his name was Roberto. I could not believe it. That same day Jennifer talked to me about him in the most comfortable way. They lived on the same block, a cool guy. He looked like me. But he popped the question first. I felt so stupid. I wasted such a good relationship with Jennifer just because I did not want to get hurt and I took my time. I did not know what I had lost.
Yes, we don’t know what we have lost until it’s too late. And sometimes we don’t know what we feel until it is too late also. Let me explain. I had a very close friend named Hilda. Hilda Tejero. She was Cuban, she had long hair, and she had a contagious white smile and clear eyes. I had known her since my freshman year in high school but it wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I really started liking her. We had always been in the same class since the beginning of high school. I knew her quite well. We talked and laughed very much when we were together. Some times she would seek my advice. She would call me when she was depressed. I was her confidant: she would tell me who she liked and why she liked him; she used to also complain to me about other girls. We were good friends.
At the beginning I did not like her in romantic way. I knew that she was very good looking and that many guys were after her but she was my friend. A little like my sister. But from one day to the other, little by little, I started thinking about her more often. I started enjoying being with her more and more. And I also started getting this funny feeling when guys were flirting with her. I even told one of my guy friends once to stop undressing Hilda with his eyes as she passed by. He laughed. I didn’t. I realized I liked her when one day, during French class, she was speaking to me, and I was just looking at her eyes without listening to what she was saying; I was just looking into her light eyes.
After that revelation during French class, I started following my heart. I talked to her more often, and I tried being with her more often too. We sat side by side in all the classes we had together; we even pulled our tables next to each other. I was so sure that she liked me. It was great! I thought that I was so close; the next step was being a couple. But I was wrong. I did not catch the hints when Hilda always introduced me as her best friend or when she talked to me about other guys. I only caught on to what was really going on when Hilda was complaining to me about a certain guy, and she told me with a laugh: “Yea Sebastian, he is not like you. You are nice. If I did not see you too much as my best friend, I would go out with you any day!” I was shocked. She liked me as a friend, and no more than that. She had given me the classic rejection even before I had asked anything:
“Do you want to be my girlfriend?”
“No, I like you, but just as a friend”
I felt horrible and depressed. I found out what my true feelings for her were when it was too late. I was her friend, her confidant and no more.
So what happens when we find the right girl, and recognize our feelings towards her, and she does not treat us as her confidant? We don’t dare start an intelligent conversation with her that would lead to a close friendship. In high school I used to walk in the hall ways during lunch. In my freshman year, as I was walking I saw a girl sitting with her friends. They were eating; she was beautiful. She had brown hair, she was Hispanic and she was thin. I remember that as I passed by we made eye contact. There was something that attracted me to her but I did not know what it was. I wanted to start a conversation but I began telling myself all kinds of excuses not to do it. “She is talking to her friends; she will ignore me; what am I going to say...” I did not talk to her that day or the next one, or the one after that even though I saw her every day. The weird thing was that every time I would pass by her spot we made eye contact. After a while, we even started to say hi from afar. But it did not go any further than that. I remember that one time she was sitting alone where she usually was. So I took the opportunity to talk to her. Her name was Sara; she was a freshman too. But the conversation did not go too far. I couldn’t find anything to say. We just talked about school and where we were from: nothing deep. I felt so dumb. It went horrible: there were so many awkward silences! And then the bell rang.
That was one of the few times I talked to Sara. Yet the more I saw her, the more familiar I felt around her. I started expecting her to be at her spot every day, and I worried when she wasn’t. It was as if I knew her well. I started imagining her to be this amazing person that was sweet and deep. I imagined that she liked the same things that I liked, and that I was going to be with her one day. Now that I look back, I almost imagined her semi perfect!
But nothing ever happened. I never went after my feelings. Maybe it was because I had given her so many good qualities that I did not want to break the illusion. I don’t know. Later I found out that she was a very nice and caring girl (a friend of mine that knew the situation got informed for me), and that she had an older boyfriend. It did not bother me. Yet I used to imagined what would happened if I had gone after her. Who knows? It might have ended good or bad.
And that’s the thing. I will never know. I made the mistake too many times of not taking risks. I look back and I see that I have not taken opportunity when she is in front of me. And that’s my biggest mistake. So my advice is that if you like some one and if you made sure that she is the right girl (no French boyfriend in her life), take the risk, and go after her. Talk to her. It might not work out, or it might. But just take the risk. Don’t be afraid of going after your heart. And when you mess up, do not worry: if the person likes you enough she will give you another chance (hopefully).