Over the years, people writing into Scarleteen have asked a lot of questions about all kinds of crushing and crushes. Concerns about crushes have included all you’d expect: like worries about rejection if a crush is being pursued — and all the usual, dizzying do-I-or-don’t-I? — worries about crush-discovery with an iffy-crush, or when crushes put someone outside heterosexuality; how to make decisions while you’re under the influence of a crush. There’s been crushes on friends, teachers, dudes on the bus, that amazing girl, someone’s brother — awkward — someone else’s girlfriend (dammit), even on someone else’s persona. There’ve been so many worries that this delightful-but-also-agonizing feeling might never end or even just give you five minutes of peace ever again.
What even IS a crush? I think crushes can be like what some people say about being in love or about porn or about orgasm: kind of hard to define, but you’ll probably know it when you feel it. There’s more than one kind of crush — there’s the lusty-lovey kind, but also just the lusty kind or just the lovey kind, but THEN there’s also friend crushes, I-want-to-be-as-cool-as-they-are crushes, parent crushes, pet crushes, crushes on someone’s creative work and so many more AND then crushes that are more than one kind at once! There’s certainly more than one way of feeling when a person has a crush or is crushed on, and goodness knows there are a million different contexts in which we all experience crushes.
Most generally, I just define crushes as a strong — usually very strong — interest in, or attraction to, someone (or something), and usually someone you’re not already super-involved with or close to. I’d personally say that a lot of what limerence, or new relationship energy is, are people with a mutual crush who are now connecting. (Shazam! SUPERCRUSH POWERS ACTIVATE!)
I’m someone who tends to identify what a crush is or isn’t for me, though, by how I’m feeling: totally distracted, no matter how hard I try to focus on something else? Check. Feeling like my whole emotional center of gravity has gone all pear-shaped? Check. Finding that my thoughts seem to have a very singular focus? A singular focus I seem to keep making everything else about? A singular focus my friends might maybe be getting really, really sick of hearing about? Eeyup. Listening to some music, sometimes on endless repeat, that makes not-crushing-me cringe and crushing-me swoon? You know it. When was the last time that I went a whole day, or even a whole hour, without thinking abou— oh dear. Yep. I’m crushing out.
The good news and the bad news for all of us is that crushes — or at least the initial intensity of them — are usually temporary. We won’t always feel that way, which, in my mind, is pretty equal parts bummer and massive relief. But whatever does or doesn’t come of crushes, whatever their shape or size, and however long they hang around for, it can be amazing and life-affirming to just let yourself fully experience the way they feel and go with it for a while.
If you want some crush-based or crush-adjacent bits to read, might I suggest:
- The Do’s & Dont’s of Crushes (With Help from a Very Small Dog) I have attached a photo of Troublepants, my canine companion who is mentioned in this piece, for crushing on. It’s been a rough week, he’s adorable and I think we all could use a puppy rightabout now.
- About rejection: What’s In a No? And, if you needed that one as a salve for rejection that’s already happened, you might also have some use for some of this: Self-Care a La Carte.
- If you’re trying to decide what to do about a crush, you might be considering something that carries some risks, even just to your pride. That might even have you backing off when you’d actually really like to pursue something that could be potentially good, and when it’d be good for you to take a positive risk. Risky Business: Learning to Consider Risk and Make Sound Sexual Choices can give you some help if you need it.
- If things with a crush can get sexual, it can be really easy to get carried away with ourselves, so, just in case: Whoa, There! How to Slow Down When You’re Moving Too Fast and Safer Sex…for Your Heart.
- In the event a crush becomes a relationship, two great places to start here to get some basic information to help you start intimate relationships on the right foot are: Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship and Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models.
- If things could get potentially domestic while you’re in the throes of a crush, gawd help you, you may want the sage counsel of a few friends and a copy of this: You, Them and a U-Haul: Considering Cohabitation.
Are you now or have you ever been floating and gooey or jangly and excited or blissed out or feeling downright tortured or just plain imploding from the giant wave of what even are all these freakishly distracting feelings? There’s a song here for that: even if you haven’t ever had a crush before you just might wind up feeling like you have one now.
This theme was super popular with our staff! Joining me this time around were Alice O., Alice M., Jacob, Siân, Chanté, Sam, Ruby and Al! You can turn it up and crush on it with us on Apple Music or Spotify!
- It’s Oh So Quiet – Björk
- Sucker – Jonas Brothers
- Make Me Feel – Janelle Monáe
- I’ve Just Seen a Face – The Beatles
- He’s So Fine – The Chiffons
- There She Goes – Sixpence None the Richer
- How Will I Know – Whitney Houston
- Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
- Saturday Sun – Vance Joy
- Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
- Stone in Love – Journey
- Blank Space – Taylor Swift
- Strange Magic – Electric Light Orchestra
- ILYSB – LANY
- Cherry – Rina Sawayama
- Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean
- Strawberry Blond – Mitski
- I’ve Been Waiting – Matthew Sweet
- The Hopeful Song – Hello, I’m Sorry
- Honey – Eryn Allen Kane
- Bad Liar – Selena Gomez
- I Touch Myself – Divinyls
- Gentle Earthquakes – AURORA
- I Melt with You – Modern English