Quick links will replace an outer (wider) chain link. That means you need to connect two inner (narrower) chain links, not two outer chain links.
Now, if you took the chain completely off the bike, thread the chain through the cogs of the rear derailleur and front derailleur’s cage.
Stick the quick link pins through opposite inner chain links holes.
Bring the quick lengths together. You should feel tension in the chain. If there’s no tension, you might have missed threading the chain through a cog.
Stick quick link pins through each others’ slotted holes. The divots at the end of the pins will catch on the slots.
If the quick link is a permanent, it’ll take force to push the pins into the back of the slotted holes. However, once they’re back there, they’re fixed. No redos.
Now, pedal the chain. Check that the chain runs through the gears smoothly.
If you lost more than one chain length, you’ll have trouble getting into the largest cogs. Your chain fits your bike’s gears. A shorter chain has less room to stretch.
You can finish your ride with a short chain. But, stay away from the larger gears. Visit a bike shop to resize your chain.