Thank you for submitting your question to AlterHeros. It seems like you are in a difficult situation, as it is often hard to tell someone you have feelings for them- especially when it is a friend. It is tricky to gauge as to when, how and whether or not you should share your feelings with your friend. It seems that, from the attempts you have made, you have already decided you wanted to tell her how you feel. However, I think it is important that you ask yourself a few questions first.
One of them is, what would you like to come out of this? For example, would you want to date her? Or do you just want to express your feelings to her? Knowing what you want to get from this friendship, whether that means dating her or remaining friends with her or whatever it is you might want, can affect how you want to tell her about your feelings, or whether you want to tell her at all. If you feel like you get very upset every time you have prepared yourself to tell her, maybe you need to give your friendship more time to grow, so things can happen more fluidly.
My biggest concern with this situation is your fear of her aversive reaction- that she will laugh, or joke about it, and possibly embarass you by telling everyone. To me, this implies that your friendship with her may lack trust and respect, things which are integral to a friendship, not to mention a romantic relationship. If you can imagine that she will laugh at the situation, not listen to you and embarass you by telling others, this may be an unhealthy friendship for you, and even more so, an unhealthy romantic relationship. A friend, a girlfriend or boyfriend, is supposed to be trustworthy, understanding and they should make you feel good about yourself- not laugh at you or embarass you. This may be hard to come to terms with, but it is important to consider to save yourself potential hurt and grief.
There is also the possibility that sometimes you might want to be with someone who may not be right for you, no matter how hard you try to make things work. The crucial thing here is that you must realize it is not in any way your fault if things do not work out : it is merely two people not being compatible in a romantic way. You might still have these strong feelings for them, but the truth is that they might not reciprocate your feelings. Pursuing these feelings in the hope that they might be rewarded one day, might just lead to unnecessary heartbreak.
However, if you really feel like the best decision is to tell your friend about your feelings, I would suggest preparing her for it, for example by telling her that you have something you want to talk to her about in private. I would suggest doing it in a neutral space- such as a coffee shop or a public park. Then, if things do not turn out the way you expected, you have an easier way to excuse yourself to leave the situation without having to ask her to leave, or to put her in the situation of asking you to leave.
I hope this helped you somewhat. Good luck Sarah and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have more questions!
Evelyn, for AlterHeros