Dating is so complicated. I try to be bold and flirt and make it know that I’m interested. But I’m so scared that I’m gonna read things wrong or go too far and become the predatory lesbian. If I decide I wanna tell my crush straight up that I like them, I always overthink, I come up with so many reasons why it’s not a good idea. And I’m young, I have time but I want the young love. Like, I see people getting to be carefree and do wild teenage stuff and I want that. I have very few regrets but, I feel like if let these years go by without doing anything I know I’ll regret it.
Sometimes, I get really lonely. Being a black lesbian from a west african country is such an isolating experience and sometimes even when I have experiences in common with people it doesn’t feel enough. And my friends try, they really do and I love them for it. But they see things the same way I do and I feel it in so many of our conversations where I say something and they don’t quite understand.
How do I find that line between flirting and overstepping? How do I get the confidence to do something about my crushes? I’m tired of pining.
I wish I had the power to free every lesbian, but especially Black lesbians, from the fear of being seen as “predatory” when we are simply trying to flirt. I think this trope has held so many lesbians back from making moves and finding love with someone they’re interested in. There’s this belief that making any move on a woman can be perceived as creepy, and I think that comes from this belief that lesbians are aligned with straight men because we both pursue women. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, and I’m sure you know that on some level. The world of the lesbian person is so far removed from the world of the straight man, but I often hear young lesbians bemoan not wanting to come off like men when they hit on women.
Of course, lesbians can be toxic and predatory, but lesbian existence is not inherently those things. So when you go to flirt with a woman, keep in mind that the spirit of what you’re doing is trying to make a connection. You’re not going into it with the idea that you’re gonna manipulate someone into having sex with or falling in love with you. I wanted to address the predatory lesbian stuff upfront because I think it does so much harm, and it’s a trope we need to free ourselves of. You’re not gonna come off as predatory just by flirting with someone, trust me.
The next thing I want to talk about is flirting in general. When you’re interested in someone and want to date them, you’re taking a risk by approaching them. As many friends and acquaintances have told me, the worst thing that can happen (in some cases) is that the other person will say no. Of course, being a lesbian adds another level of risk to the task of flirting, because you may be in a situation where you aren’t sure if the person you’re flirting with is lesbian/bi/queer too. People can react poorly when hit on by someone who has perceived them as queer in some way, but that doesn’t always happen. I’ve been in gay bars and hit on straight women that I didn’t know were straight. You get turned down, it sucks, but it won’t end you. If you are sure you are flirting with another queer person and they turn you down, it also sucks, but it’s not something you can’t recover from.
You said that you want that young love experience, but you’re stuck talking yourself out of approaching crushes. A thing I want you to think about is how accurate of an assessment you have on the situation. Before you talk yourself out of it, think about how this person talks to you, how they respond to you, if they have even done things that would constitute flirting, have they asked you out for coffee, etc, etc. Another thing I’ve noticed in younger lesbians is how they often miss flirting cues and don’t really catch that the other person is interested until they are practically asking you to be their partner/girlfriend. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little reassurance that the other person is into you before you make a move, so look at the situation objectively. If you can’t tell or aren’t getting signs from the other person that they are into you, then that isn’t the end of it. You can still make a move, they may be in a similar mindset as you.
With this, you want to be delicate. I suggest approaching with something like:
“Hey, I know we have this friendship/relationship right now, but lately I’ve been feeling like there could be more than just friendship between us. If you don’t feel the same way that’s fine, but I just wanted to put that out there!”
It’s not overly formal and clinical and it gets to the point. Try something like that with your crush and see how it goes.
If you aren’t on the apps, I suggest maybe downloading one! It’s a great way to be sure the intention is clear for both people: you’ve come here to flirt, hook up, date, find love, whatever it is you’re looking for.
I also just want to say, there’s a possibility that you may find love for the first time at a later age. That desire for young love is totally normal, we are saturated with images of it in TV shows and movies and music, and it’s okay to want that, but you might not get it. This reality can be very lonely, but love at any age is beautiful and can be just as carefree and fun as love at a young age. When you fall in love, at what age, doesn’t really matter. Love is all about quality. Young love can be fun but it can also be incredibly difficult as both people may be immature and engage in behaviors that are not healthy. This can happen in relationships with older people too, but I think it’s more common amongst young people, especially because they may not believe they have the power to ask for better treatment.
To get past the pining stage, you just have to go for it. Really ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you make a move on the person you want. It’s easier said than done, but you have to believe in the things that you want and your ability to achieve them. If you want love, you have to be willing to go through a couple of rejections, a couple of dud dates, etc, to find that person you really connect with. It may take time, but if it’s what you want, it will be worth it.
You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.