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Ask Ogonna: Important to like a person, not an idea

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Have a problem with love or life in general? Send Ogonna your questions at askogonna@gmail.com and get them answered here in her column. You can also tweet her at @askogonna


Reader: I know there’s a friend of mine who has a crush on me, but I’ve never really felt the same. But right now, I just really want to date someone and I’ve been thinking about her lately. Should I go for it

Ogonna: This is a classic case of liking someone versus liking the idea of someone. With the idea, you basically fall in love with the thought of having a significant other, but you imagine this relationship with someone you already know. Even though you know this person well enough to think about them in a different light, you project certain characteristics of how you would want this person to be in your relationship as opposed to accepting how they act right now. You mentally change the aspects you don’t like about this person to fit what you would want them to be instead of accepting the fact that perhaps you should look for love elsewhere. It’s all about the future and the possibilities, no matter how unrealistic they are.

Now, this is very different from a circumstance where you have simply overlooked an individual and now you want to explore this sudden interest. Even though you are still imagining what a relationship would look like, you wouldn’t have to play a guessing game when it comes to feelings.

When you really do like someone, you don’t have to imagine what it would feel like to date that person. You know yourself, and you know how you feel when you really, truly like someone. It could appear in those little moments you spend alone. It could show up when you’re watching a movie and the relationship montage starts; you immediately put yourself in that cheesy Netflix rom-com and the first person you imagine yourself with is the person you are currently crushing on. We all do that when we watch those sappy movies, right?

Regardless of when it happens, it happens. You feel the fuzzies, and you know which fuzzies I’m talking about. You find yourself thinking about this person at random times of the day. You want to get to know this person on a deeper level. You actually care about their past and want to deal with their baggage instead of running away from it. You’re excited to learn more about their lives and want to be the one they confide in about fears, insecurities and things they hide from the world.

So whether you think you like this person, or you might just like the idea of that person, it’s worth it to go out with this person and see if your feelings change. There’s no harm in going on a few dates unsure of how you feel about someone at first. Isn’t the whole point of dating getting to know someone anyway? It’s after these few dates that you realize whether you clicked and if you want to pursue something further.

It’s tempting to be in a relationship simply because the option arises, but you’ll find that you won’t be happy if it’s not with the right person. But you’ll never know if it’s the right person if you don’t give it a chance at all.

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