Let’s be real, dating is the worst. More often than not, romance these days starts with an lengthy text convo between strangers-hoping-to-be-lovers via Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel or whatever app is currently trendy. If you’re lucky enough to find someone who doesn’t immediately repulse you with cheesy one-liners (or unsolicited dick pics), then maybe, just maybe, you meet up for an awkward coffee or after-work drink. Sometimes things go well, sometimes you realize you got catfished and the person you swiped right on looks nothing like their photo IRL. All that to say, finding someone you like (and who likes you back) is hard these days—and the cast of summer romcom To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before can relate.
The latest flick in Netflix’s rollout of romcoms worth watching brings YA author Jenny Han’s bestselling teen love story to life. In the feature-length film, which drops on August 17, protagonist Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) pens love letters to five guys she has crushed on… and they they mysteriously get mailed out. Did your stomach just flutter with that oh-that-would-be-the-worst feeling? Because same.
Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish, who plays Lara Jean’s sister, can relate to the seriously squirm-worthy feeling that accompanies confronting your crush.
“I felt really awkward talking to boys I had crushes on, I would have to write letters,” she says, adding that as a teen, she was just like Lara Jean. “I didn’t leave them in a hat box [like Lara Jean did], but if I found out that the boy liked me, I would throw the note across the class or find a way to pass it. But, I could only speak to them through notes, I couldn’t speak to them face-to-face. I would just turn beet red and get so awkward and uncomfortable.”
Parrish admits that she “got really lucky” and met her IRL fiancé Chris Long through friends. Her advice for those searching for that special someone? Try to do the same.
“I would say just be bold in hanging out different groups of people and broadening your horizons, you know? Try new things, sign up for a new experiences where you are around people who you wouldn’t normally meet in your own path. And just be open to meeting all different types of people,” she says.
And if/when you manage to meet the person that makes you simultaneously excited, boundlessly happy and only a tiny bit nauseous, Parrish still believes in the power of a good love letter—even if they’re in a slightly different form than in To All the Boys I Loved Before.
“My fiancé and I definitely didn’t write each other love notes but we would flirt a lot through texting with the thing on the iPhone where you can use the pad. He would write me cute little notes with it, like “Do you want to go out next Friday? Yes or no?” and I would check the yes box. So, I think that was kind of our way of our own love letters,” she says. “I would say keep it fun. Even though people don’t write love letters any more, you can find ways to flirt and make that person feel important to you, even with the world of technology.”
And if you’re looking for some motivation to send that message, look no further than the seriously cute IG pics of Parrish with her fiancé. *insert all the heart eyes emojis*
With files from Sarah Trumbley
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