This is a problem most commonly faced in American culture: the inability to be openly affectionate. Americans are often looked upon as “cold” and “passionless” by other countries. We tease one another rather than say how much we mean to each other. We go through intermediaries — social media, notes through friends, etc — rather than confront the ones we’re interested in. We are told that “confidence is sexy“. Yet most Americans lack the confidence (or courage) to simply walk up to another human and say, “I think you’re attractive.” Why?
I believe it is because Americans have been brought up in culture where failure is looked down upon. People don’t celebrate the team that loses the Super Bowl. People don’t celebrate the small business owner that goes out of business. People don’t celebrate the actor or actress that went for the part, but didn’t get it. Of course not! We celebrate people’s success. Only when they win the Super Bowl, create a billion dollar business, or get the lead in a movie do we pay any attention. However, there is a LOT of growth that occurs in each of these “losing” situations. It is this fear of losing and rejection that prevents us from simply expressing how we feel. In fact we go to such extremes as forcing affection in settings such as cuddle parties or even speed dating where time is limited so you have to be open and forward.
However, being openly affectionate much just be the prescription:
In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.” – Mark Manson
So try being a bit more forward, a bit more blunt, a bit more honest, a bit more confident (without being arrogant) about your affection towards another person. The worst that happens is that you suffer temporary embarrassment (no one has ever died from being embarrassed), and you’re exactly where you were when you started. However, you never know, something might come of it.
“Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart.” – Basil Rathbone