My life tends to revolve around two phases. One phase involves telling people "I'm busy" (I really am) and focusing on various projects and work that I'm involved with. I spend most of my free time reading and writing, and the occasional Saturday outing with my gaming group. The other phase is the complete opposite: I yearn for company and start calling old friends. It might involve dinner, a simple chat, or some other communal activity. The former tends to be more common than the latter, as it usually takes just a few instances of going out before I resume my hermetic lifestyle once again.
I met my crush during my phase of reaching out to old friends. I wasn't expecting it (whoever plans to fall in love?) but the entire experience is heightened by my mood at the time, exposing the loneliness that engulfs most of my waking hours.
(Having said that, it also exposed my lack of social skills, and the fact that it's sometimes harder to rekindle old friendships than it is to make new friends from strangers.)
Whenever I mention my broken heart to friends, they inquire whether the rejection was difficult. Well, considering that for my previous crush half a decade ago, I experienced receiving the silent treatment for a year or two (even after walking with her for kilometers), had the phone slammed down on me, one of my letters torn into several pieces, and books abandoned in public places for other people to pick up, so having my crush be direct and mention that she's not interested in a relationship outside of platonic friendship actually couldn't be any gentler. But, as I point out, it's a rejection nonetheless, and so my brooding mood. I compare it to the death of someone you love (a friend, a relative, someone important or influential in your life): they can have the most peaceful of deaths or the most glorious demise (if you believe in Valhalla) and while there's a certain comfort in that, it doesn't change the fact that they're dead and so we mourn.
I was talking with my crush and I told her the value of an early rejection is that it hurts less compared to when you break it to them later on, when they've built up all this hope and expectations. That's why I want an honest answer when it comes to such matters, none of the second-guessing or ambiguous signals given by someone who's afraid of hurting the other person's feelings. I don't think you can avoid hurting someone's feelings--a rejection is a rejection--but at least if you're direct with them, they can cope faster, and there's a sense of closure in that chapter of their life rather than perpetuating a constant state that shifts between hope and despair.
Unlike the first time your heart is broken, I know I'll survive this. I have coping mechanisms in place, borne from past experience. Of course there's a cognitive dissonance between what you know and what you feel. I know I'll move on eventually but the day-to-day moments can be full of anxiety.
(Some coping mechanisms feel follow though. I was out late last night, playing DotA with my gaming group, and while it was distracting for the four hours we spent, it didn't feel productive when the game ended. An alcohol binge is the same case.)
Potential is what kills you in the end. You can't help but wonder the what-ifs and what-could-have-beens, even if in reality, that's not how it would have played out (everything is ideal in your imagination). It might make for great stories, but in real life, it's honestly unnecessary self-inflicted anguish. The grass always seems greener from the other side and you never take into account Murphy's Law.