Hump Day Crush: More Than Just Pining

I spent a good many years standing in the corner gazing longingly at the object of my affection.

That girl wouldn’t even give me the wrong time of day. She wouldn’t breathe in my direction if she didn’t have to. She’d set up walls of friends so she wouldn’t even have to look at me if I ever got the courage to walk on by.

And yet, for nearly three years of my adolescent life, I wanted nothing more than to date her.

That, my friends, is a textbook definition of a bad crush.

During bad crush, you lose yourself in the vision of the other person. The mythology you create–the dream relationship between you and her (or him, as the case may be)–does nothing to forward your own sense of being, your own self-awareness. A bad crush leaves you feeling sad and depressed and less than you were before it started.

Bad crushes are unhealthy. Sometimes I look back at just how bad of a bad crush I had and think it’s amazing I made it through alive.

Good crushes, on the other hand, are fun. They leave you feeling invigorated and upbeat. Sure, there’s waves of doubt and bouts of nerves, but that’s part of the excitement. The ebb and flow of positive and negative–the dreams of adventure and the challenge that go along with it–that can be very healthy and even inspiring.

A good crush lets you revel in the possibilities. Not just the possibilities of getting into a relationship with that special someone, but the possibilities of what you are capable of. A good crush can be empowering.

The diving line between a good crush and a bad crush can be a thin one. With some work (and a realization of just how bad things are) a bad crush can be turned around or dropped.

But if you’re not careful, a good crush can degrade quickly into an obsession or a bad crush. That turn often happens when the object of your crush finds out you have a crush on her. Any number of things can lead to this. In my case, it was a combination of a group of overly enthusiastic “friends” who wanted to cause trouble and my own unwillingness to accept the reality of the situation as a whole.

The main way to tell if a crush is good or bad is to look at the situation as objectively as possible.

If you interact with the other person, do they treat you with any sort of respect? When you think about them, are your first thoughts of how great a match you are or of how much you’d have to change yourself to make things work? And, if you could step away and look at yourself from another person’s point of view, would you see someone eager to be all that he can be or would you just see some sad little boy pining for someone who doesn’t even know he exists?

A good crush is more than just pining. A good crush is working toward a goal–be it the eventual task of asking out the object of the crush or a deeper exploration of yourself.

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