The biggest emotional roller coasters in life are often the result of thinking about and obsessing over a new crush. If you’ve been here before, you know the agonizing thoughts that go through your head:
“Does he like me?”
“Did he mean to say that as a friend, or was he implying more?”
“What did it mean when she put her arm around me?”
Crushes are both frustrating and elating. When your crush behaves in a way consistent with your desires, it’s like you’re on the moon. But when they behave as though the two of you are merely friends or acquaintances, it’s as though a thousand water balloons landed on your head.
What makes crushes such a roller coaster is their speculative nature. You know that you’re interested, but generally you don’t know the other person very well, or how they really feel towards you. Your feelings swing wildly based on any bits of information or interactions with the other person, as everything is extrapolated based on small clues.
A crush can be dis-empowering, especially where you obsess over the other person, thinking about them constantly, daydreaming about the possibilities, stalking them on Facebook, calling their voicemail in the middle of the night so you can hear their voice.
I’m not saying that a crush is an altogether bad thing. Feeling a strong, passionate desire to connect someone else is part of what makes alive. But I do suggest that, when you have a crush for someone, that instead of letting yourself marinate in your feelings, take charge and either move towards what you want, or move on entirely.
The middle ground of being smitten with someone for weeks or months without any direct action is far too agonizing a place to be. Nothing is free in life, including the time, emotions and energy that you spend pining away after somebody. It wastes a lot of potential time when you could be with that person, or otherwise have moved on and pursued someone else. It can also cause a build up of thoughts and emotions that can cause you to behave or talk strangely when you’re around your crush.
A crush is fundamentally a lack of information – both about who the other person really is, and how they feel.
The way to get over a crush is to obtain the information you’re missing. You have to move beyond the speculation towards another state. You might lose interest in your crush after you learn more about them. You may express your interest in your crush and they may reciprocate, starting a formal, open exploration. Or your crush may reject you altogether, allowing you to move on. Any one of these states is much more empowering than hanging in limbo.
So how do you get the missing information that you need to get over a crush?
1. Immerse yourself
Obsessing over a crush is often caused by projecting who you think someone is onto them. So you’re really obsessing over who you think they are, not who they actually are. Thus, your goal is to align your thinking with reality as much as possible by finding out as much about your crush as you can.
The best way to do this is to call up your crush and get together with them. See if he/she will join you for dinner, a show, a trip to the museum, or a walk around the market.
You’ll gather new information about your crush when you meet up, and if you’re still interested, try to arrange a repeat date or two. Seeing your crush in a variety of different settings helps you to see a number of different dimensions of them and their personality.
Even a chat on the phone can provide a lot of information – much more than endlessly checking their Facebook profile for updates.
The goal is to find out – who are they? What are their interests? What are their goals in life? Do you like their personality? Are they caring and nurturing? And so on.
2. Directly communicate your interest
The other chunk of information missing in a crush situation is how the other person feels about you. Are they equally interested in you? Do they think about you during their off-moments? Are they eagerly hoping you’ll call and invite them on a date?
If you’re really smitten with someone enough that you’re thinking about them everyday, hoping they’ll call you or write on your Facebook wall or that they’ll show up to your cooking class on Wednesday night, why not call them up directly and tell them how interested you are?
I know this isn’t easy and it opens you up wide open for rejection. But believe me, I’ve been there many times, and while rejection can be tough, it beats the living daylights out of pining away in speculation.
Rejection can be immensely helpful because once you’re rejected, your emotional bonds to that person loosen and you can move on.
On the other hand, your crush may be interested in pursuing a relationship with you as well, and openly stating your interest can open the doors to an exploration that wouldn’t be possible if you communicated more passively.
A nudge from your soul
Crushes aren’t meant to torture us. They’re a nudge from deep inside us that pushes us to take courageous action to fulfill our desires and need for companionship.
You can (try to) ignore a crush. You could passively wait things out, hoping that you’ll get the chance to bump into your crush at a party, or that they’ll suddenly call you out of the blue. Or you can get into the driver’s seat, and follow your heart directly.
Even if it turns out that your crush isn’t interested in you, they’ll probably be flattered and impressed at your courage and willingness to communicate openly and directly. Those are great things to have in any relationship partner.