Crushes are the best and worst part of being a human. You spend all day thinking about a person, without having any idea of whether they’re thinking about you. Talk about anxiety. But at the same time, it fills you with warm fuzzy feelings when you picture their face, hear their name, or when they post a cute puppy video on Facebook.
Every crush has a lifespan and a life cycle. They end in one of two ways: either your crush returns your feelings and you start dating, or your crush doesn’t return your feelings (or you never get the nerve up to tell them how you feel), and you eventually move on. Possibly after much anguish.
It starts out when you meet a new person. It could be someone from a party. It could be the new bartender at your favorite bar. It could be the new guy at work. Or it could be someone you already know but you’re seeing them in a whole new light.
Either way, in the beginning, it’s all warm and fuzzy feelings. In most cases, in order for a crush to really develop, there was likely some interaction to begin with. Maybe it was just a friendly chat, or maybe there was some heavy flirting going on. In any case, your brain sits there thinking about all the little things they did that mean they absolutely MUST BE IN LOVE WITH YOU.
Revel in this. Those warm and fuzzy feelings are sometimes as good as it gets.
Now, if you’re Facebook friends or follow each other on Instagram or Twitter, every little interaction will feed this fire. Every time they like one of your pics or statuses, it will serve as further proof they MUST BE IN LOVE WITH YOU.
As this goes on, you start to analyze things. You start breaking them down. That’s when the doubts start to creep in. That’s when you start to think maybe you’ve imagined everything. “Were our knees really touching on purpose at the bar for 3 hours?” “Maybe he sent everyone he met that night a friend request.” “He liked my status about crushes because he has a crush on someone else.” “He hugged me because he’s a hugger, not because he specifically wanted to hug me.”
This is when the doubts start to really creep in. You hunt for red flags. You hunt for alternative explanations for every little positive thing they did. And you completely blow out of proportion anything neutral or negative about their behavior.
And you take the fact they haven’t messaged you or called your or texted you as further evidence it was all in your head (never mind the part where you haven’t called, texted, or messaged them, either).
It’s a downward spiral from there. Pretty soon, you’ll convince yourself you’re delusional and there’s no way someone like them would be into someone like you. I don’t care if you modeled your way through your PhD program and spend your weekends feeding the homeless and reading to kids with cancer, and he spends his weekends kicking puppies and drinking 4 Loco, you’ll convince yourself he’s too good for you and you don’t have a chance. (Although, seriously, if that’s the kind of guy you go for, then I strongly recommend you get some therapy to figure out why you’d be attracted to such a douchebag. You deserve better).
This phase is the worst. You will never feel as low as you do when you’re certain your crush isn’t interested in you. Every time they don’t like something you post, every time they don’t retweet you, every time they don’t heart your Instagram photo, you’re convinced it means they hate you.
I don’t care how confident you are. I don’t care if you put on a brave face and pretend like you’re not thinking about it 24/7. When you’re in the throes of a crush you’re not sure is reciprocated, you have doubts about yourself and your own worthiness.
At this point, one of two things happens. Some of you might give in to this negativity and write off the crush. You’ll find someone new to crush on and try to forget about the original crush. Sometimes this will be facilitated by finding out more about them. Maybe they just got out of a relationship, or you find out something that dulls your crush-y feelings a bit. Or maybe you decide it’s never going to happen and you’re better off to move on (which may not always work, no matter how hard you try).
If you can’t let go of the crush, then your only other option is to make a move. If you’re really ballsy, you might ask them out directly. Text them or message them and say “Hey, wanna grab a beer Friday night?” (Friday nights put this much more squarely in the “date” category as opposed to the “friend” category). If you’re a little less ballsy, you’ll come up with an excuse to hang out. It could be anything, from wanting to talk to them about something they’re an expert on to being in their neighborhood and wanting to catch up.
This is always a risky move. You’ll probably sit there composing and recomposing your message to them a million times before you actually hit send. You might send it to your five closest friends for their opinion about what it sounds like. Or you might write it once, and then hit send before you have time to second-guess yourself and back out.
In either case, at that point all you can do is wait (probably in agony) to see what your crush says. I recommend you send it and then go do something to distract yourself, so you’re not sitting there thinking about their reply (or checking to see if they’ve read it). No sense torturing yourself more unnecessarily.
Crushes are wonderful. And horrible. But without them, we’d never have relationships (which are also wonderful and horrible).