The reality of your entire class finding out who you had a crush on when you were a kid was one of the top 10 fears I think most of us faced. Nightmares owned our slumber as we tossed and turned at the idea of word getting out and being teased for the rest of our existence. In all honesty, thinking back I think the teasing lasted for about a month and then we were over it because we’re kids and our minds wander on to the next shiny piece of information to come our way. Of course you can’t tell a kid today that because when you’re that age, your crush being public knowledge is unfathomable…but why is that the case as we continue to get older? Like my favorite Meryl Streep movie, it’s complicated.
Gone are the classrooms that care because even when you’re in college and like someone in Econ 200, it’s likely that you know maybe 10 people in that class if you’re lucky and it’s even more likely they are not going to write yours and your crushes names on the board while taunting your affection towards them. While the teasing aspect is gone as we get older, we still hold onto that playground fear because it then grows into a fear of personal rejection. At 25 you could care less if all of Facebook knows you like the guy you see on the bus every day but do you make a move and tell this stranger you see Monday-Friday? In some cases no because you’re scared not of it being out there but because you’re biting your nails they will tell you to get lost, leaving your heart broken on public transportation.
Sticking with good ol’ Streep, crushes on strangers is one thing but some of us grow to like-like people in our own social group and again – at times it can get complicated because on top of the fear of rejection, you also don’t want to fuck up the friendship dynamic. If you tell so and so you’re into them and they reciprocate but it then doesn’t work out, are you both mature enough to remain friends and not make it awkward for the rest of the gang? No one wants to have to go out and make a whole new group of friends when they’re older – so yeah…complicated.
The idea of being teased outweighs just about everything when we’re younger and have a crush but as we grow older we mature out of that but not by much as we care less about other people knowing who we like, but are still a little frightened by other aspects of our crush finding out how we feel; fear of rejection or it screwing up a friendship. Which shouldn’t be the case. Rejection is hard but it’s life and you’ll live through it. Plus, it’s better to know early on if you and your crush are compatible or not. It’s all about taking chances and that’s when it continues to be very Streep-like when it comes to crushing on someone you’re friends with. Here, be a little more cautious because if there are other friends involved in the dynamics of the social construct – you don’t want to rattle it too much. Perhaps talk to another friend and have them get some intel into what your crush is thinking. If the crush seems interested, go for it – if not, well The Beatles sang it best (well Brooke White did), let it be.
This week we’ll explore crushing as an adult and send out some well deserved thank yous along the way.