I missed the bus more often than I rode it in fifth grade. I knew my mom would drop me off at school, even if she protested. When the new girl moved into our neighborhood when I entered sixth grade, I woke up early and sat at the bus stop, always the first one there. I looked forward to seeing her walk around the bend and head towards the stop sign. I’d stare the entire time and then could barely make eye contact when she came close. I wanted to tell her so many things, but usually said nothing. I just enjoyed spending time around her. My mom knew I liked her, but I’d deny it whenever she asked. My mom would even offer to drive me to school on days that she didn’t need to be at work early and I’d turn the rides down. When my neighborhood crush eventually moved, I stopped waking up on time for the bus.
I tried to convince myself that I didn’t like the girl at the time. But you don’t wake up early, start listening to Edwin McCain (since she loved the song “I’ll Be”), and pick out your clothes the night before, if you don’t like someone. When you start falling for a person, whether you’re a kid or not, you act differently around your friends and family and they most certainly notice. There’s no hiding your unusual behavior.
1. Strange New Interests.
When you’re really into someone, you want to find ways to start conversations and also show the person that you have the same interests. If you know the person watches Orange Is The New Black, you watch the show or read reviews so you have something to talk about. If your crush is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, you watch the games or find out the scores. The only problem is when you don’t do the homework yourself, your friends and family start to take notice. “What was the score of the Cubs game?” you’ll ask. “Cubs lost 7-5,” your parent, friend, or co-worker will respond. And then they’ll realize, “Did you just ask me for the score of the Cubs game? That’s a first. What’s really going on here?”
2. Asking Lots Of Questions (And Inserting Your Own Answers).
Any information is useful when you’re interested in someone. When a friend or colleague mentions the name of the person you like, you try to play it cool, but instantly perk up and start asking lots of questions. Do you think he/she is more of a cat or a dog person? I mean, I personally like dogs, but I can learn to deal with cats. Do you think he/she is a good pet owner? I wouldn’t want to spend time with someone who can’t take care of his/her pets. What are the top dog food brands out there? I bet that’s what he/she feeds his/her dog.
3. Becoming A Detective (Or Stalker).
When it comes to this person, nothing gets by you. You’re constantly on the lookout for clues, patterns, and anything you can learn about that person. You spend parts of your day doing Google searches of the person’s name with the hopes of discovering insight into his/her life. Then you search Facebook to find mutual friends, Instagram for photos, LinkedIn for his/her past career information, and check Twitter to see if he/she has a good sense of humor within the constraints of 140 characters.
4. A New Outlook.
The things your crush (or the person you just started dating) does in front of you and/or your friends that you would normally say are irritating, childish, and/or dumb become cute, adorable, and/or charming when the person you like does them. Your friend will ask, “Did your date just fart out loud?” You’ll smile, nod, and laugh. “He/she always keeps things loose.” Your friend will respond, “I can tell.”
5. Inserting Information About Your Crush Into Any Conversation Topic.
It can be a conversation about America’s relations with Israel or whether Fritos, Cheetos, or Doritos are the better snack choice, but somehow you’ll make the conversation about the person you like. Your friends and/or family members will wonder, “What does that have to do with this conversation?” And you’ll think, everything.
6. Creating Interactions.
The person you like goes to throw out the garbage during a friend’s party. You see a full bottle of soda, pour it out into the sink, and then run after the person so you can add it to the recycling bin and have a few moments alone. Or you know the time the person leaves work on Tuesdays, so you make sure you’re packed up by then and are ready to exit just in case you have the opportunity for a “chance” encounter.
7. A One-Track Mind.
All you can think about is your crush. You have three days worth of work that has to be completed in three hours, but instead of freaking out, you smile and wonder how the day of the person you like is going. And then allow yourself to start freaking out, but not without a smile first.
You know that your behavior is changing, but won’t acknowledge it and do your best to hide it from those closest to you. The feelings you’re having are natural, even if you think they’re bizarre. All you can do when these feelings come over you is embrace the weirdness and hope for the best. If you’re lucky, the person you like will have similar feelings and thoughts about you.