Plucking up the Courage: What It’s like to Confess for the First Time

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Your heart races, your palms get sweaty, and you can’t stop thinking about them – we’ve all experienced the classic case of fell-in-love-itis.

And yet, strong as our feelings were, the dread of confessing them to a loved one was even stronger.

Which is why we asked Malaysians to share their experiences of confessing for the first time. Here’s how it turned out:

Alice*, 28 years old

It happened for me back in 2013. I was 23 and still in Uni. He was in the same club, and so we went to all the activities together. Camping, organizing events, you name it.

I didn’t even know I had fallen for the guy until one of my friends said that I acted all different around him. Apparently, I was stiffer and more self-conscious. Yeah, I’m that blur sometimes.

I was really shy. He was good-looking and popular and could get any girl he wanted, or so I thought. I kept my feelings to myself for almost a year.

It became too much to bear over time, so I planned to confess before the semester ended. I felt that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to move on. Still, I bolted every time I saw him, so it never happened.

Until one night, our club was busy preparing for a big event. So, all of us were bundled in an apartment, where the girls were staying to finish up some decorations. We worked late into the wee hours of the morning.

I told everyone my mom didn’t let me drive after midnight (which was the truth). To my surprise, he offered to send me home, saying that it was on the way back to his place anyway.

In the car, we got to talking and he started asking about a Facebook status I put up a few days ago. You see, I had this ‘How to Confess to Someone’ guide posted up. It was meant for me, myself and I. Yes, me, because like I said, I was trying to pluck up the courage to confess.

He got all funny and asked me “So, who are you planning to confess to?” Right then and there, I wanted to dive out the window. I wanted to melt into the floor of his car and disappear. Somehow, I managed to squeeze out the words “Uh, you?”

Silence. It felt like the longest car ride because my emotions were a chaotic mess. “You didn’t just do that! You didn’t just do that! Why did you do that?”

When we reached my house (finally), I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. He called out to me, but when he obviously couldn’t find anything to say, I fled inside.

He called me later that night, saying something along the lines of “Can we maybe start out by being friends first?”

So there it was. The answer I was waiting for. Did I have hope? At the time, maybe.

He had several girlfriends after that, including some really kawaii Japanese girls. Well, I’ll never match up to that anytime soon. My friend, who pointed out that I had feelings for him, said that he sometimes stares at me when we hang out as a group.  

But I ignore it. I’ve moved on and now I feel free. Confessing, whether accidentally or not, is really important if you want to be free of unrequited love. Way better than suffering in silence.

Dan*, 32 Years Old

She was my schoolmate and I met her in lower six. It wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, we started out as virtual enemies. We hung out in the same circle of friends. She was the angelic school prefect and I was the rebel.

I would torment her incessantly. I would sneak out during class to buy food, and then purposely eat the meal in front of her. This drove her crazy. She had a duty to report me, but she couldn’t because all her superiors in the prefect board were my friends (no I didn’t pay protection money). So, yeah, free protection from the teachers by prefects!

Occasionally I would hide her stuff too, and a few times this drove her to tears and she’d be sobbing before I reproduced the missing items. I’d tease her and call her names, and she would be upset and annoyed the whole day.

I think I liked her all along and the teasing was my (rather childish) way of getting close to her. I don’t know why. I’m weird like that.

I thought she hated me. I mean, it makes sense. You torture someone like this; they would totally hate you right? Which is why what happened next was totally unexpected.

STPM had finished up and all of us had planned a gathering. I didn’t plan on confessing that evening. Like I said, I thought she hated me. I was giving her a lift and somehow during out conversation in the car I tried to gauge her feelings by confessing indirectly (no I can’t remember what I said).

But she came on way stronger than me and told me she had fallen in love with me. I was like ‘What on Earth!?” But of course, we both agreed to get together that night.

That was more than a decade ago. Now I’m meeting her parents to set a wedding date this year. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve stayed together. I still annoy her from time to time.

Sometimes relationships can happen with the person you least expect. If you’re attracted to someone who seems all ‘wrong’ for you, don’t let that stop you. I mean, it got me a wife.

Khairie, 32 Years Old

I think I was about 17 when I made the dumbest confession of my life. I can’t remember how I’d gotten her number, but we’d never met each other before. She was from an international school in Ampang, and I was around the age when I was illegally trying to get into clubs on jalan P.Ramlee. We texted on SMS a lot (phones were just text and calls back then), but it wasn’t anything serious.

I finally met her briefly, the one time when we were both clubbing on P.Ramlee street. She was cute, wore braces, and had the sweetest smile I had ever seen in my life. I fell in love with her immediately.

Now at this point, I have to say, if I had just done the normal thing of asking her out on a date, progressively built rapport, established romance and sexual tension over the span of a couple of months, well, we’d probably be married right now.

Instead, I wrote her a poem. A long, long poem about how I felt. To this teenager girl who I barely knew and who barely knew me.

To make things worse, I sent it to her via SMS. If you remember what it was like, SMSs had limited characters. If you sent a really long message to someone, the phone would break down the message into several parts, and send it to them piecemeal.

I basically flooded her phone with my 17-year old cringe-y poem.

Oh god.

I can’t remember what I wrote (and for my sanity, I hope I never do), but I knew I was coming on WAY too strong for someone who I’d just met.

Like any rational person would, she stopped talking to me after that. I still think about her sometimes. Not in a romantic way, but more in an oh-god-I’m-so-sorry way.

My advice? Don’t confess over phone messaging. Ever. And if for some reason you have to, don’t do it in the form of a long poem. That’s just one stupid mistake you’ll never be able to erase from your life.

We hope these stories will let you know that you’re not alone. If you have a confession story of your own, let us know in the comments section.

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy

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