Glances from across the room. Shared shy smiles. Lingering looks. Increasingly longer conversations. More time spent together. Shared jokes, conversations, moments.
A growing feeling in your chest when you’re around them, butterflies in your stomach; soon, they’re always on your mind. Finally admitting to yourself that you’re starting to like them, that you want to spend more and more time together.
You think they might feel the same; you’re ready to test the waters and ask them out. But right as you gear up and get the courage to do so — as if by a cruel joke curated by the universe or god or whatever — you find out they’re taken.
You start to feel embarrassed for flirting with them, ashamed that you didn’t realize it sooner, stupid that you thought you were the only one in their life, and maybe, if you fell really hard really fast, like your life is over and there’s nothing left to live for.
Don’t think any of these things, though. Be kind to yourself in the moments and days after this realization. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about liking someone and trying to show them, there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you didn’t know they were taken in the first place, there’s no reason to feel stupid for thinking you were the only one in their life.
The most important thing to do once you realize someone is not interested in you in that way is to make a decision: are you really going to let the fact that they’re taken/seeing someone come in the way of the relationship you’ve built with them? If you really like them as a person, the answer is likely going to be no. Obviously, though, just be sure to understand that there are boundaries because they’re taken. If your feelings still come in the way of maintaining a friendship with this person, call a timeout: spend some time away from them and try to forget about them in that way.
A lot of the time, when you like someone, your brain forgets to function. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the moments shared with another person, in the time spent together, in the attention they give you. It’s not too difficult to get wrapped up in the idea of liking them, wondering if they might like you too.
These are things that happen — and they will likely happen a lot — and it’s just part of life.