Crushes + Ships · ep. 42 · 10 for Teens + Tweens

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After MULTIPLE requests for this topic, I had to take it on. Today we’re talking about crushes. OoooOOOoooh! Now if you don’t have any crushes yet or at the moment, no worries. You can stash this in your brain storage for when you need it. But we’ll be talking about being just friends, more than friends, dance dates, etc. based on the questions I received. Those questions each referenced boys, and though some of my thoughts may just apply to guy crushes, other things like boundaries and respect apply to all kinds of relationships.

First, two related questions:

So I have this friend. He is a boy. All my friends say that I like him and I do, a little. How can I be friends with him?

How do you deal with the situation of liking someone, and you’re pretty sure they like you back, but you’re not ready to start dating? I want to keep the relationship going.

So do that. You can like someone and not move forward with your relationship. So how does the saying go, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Keep being friends. There’s no rush, no need to advance things. Take time to get to know each other more, build on your friendship foundation through multiple experiences, activities, and seasons. If you feel so inclined you can say things like, “I really enjoy spending time with you.” “I’m glad you’re in my life.” “You/our friendship means a lot to me.” Eventually things might grow into a romantic relationship, but even if it doesn’t, or you realize you’re better as friends, you’ll still have that solid base between you because you already know each other so well.

So from there, what if you want to be more than friends with your friend but they’re clueless that you’re crushing. Do not wait around “dreaming about the day that [he’ll] wake up and find that what [he’s] looking for has been here the whole time.” – Taylor Swift. If they can’t see how already-amazing you are, don’t hold your breath wishing and hoping. Ask me how I know. I know it can feel vulnerable, but share your feelings with them knowing that they may or may not feel the same about you. It seems scary but you’ll waste WAY less time by finding out sooner than waiting around for them to notice you later.

On the flip side, what if they want to be more than friends with you, but you want to stay just friends. Recognize that they put themselves out there, and respectfully share how you feel. You could use the phrases I shared earlier and make a “compliment sandwich.” This approach is useful when sharing any kind of feedback with someone. Imagine a sandwich. The pieces of bread are positive feedback and the meat in the middle is negative feedback. So to make a compliment sandwich you start with a piece of bread, positive feedback, “I really enjoy spending time with you.” Now add the meat, negative feedback, “However, I don’t feel the same way you do.” And finally the top piece of bread, positive feedback, “But our friendship still means a lot to me.” And that’s the compliment sandwich. You don’t have to apologize, either, don’t have to be sorry for how you feel. You’ve gotta stay true to yourself even if they don’t like what you have to say. If you do it gently and directly, you avoid further drama down the road.

Don’t start a relationship because of pressure from friends. Or because what’s her face heard from so-and-so that someone likes you. Or for superficial reasons (to paraphrase the Drs. Kite, everyone is capable of more than being hot). And don’t start a relationship because of a dare. Ask me how I know.

Do grow relationships from friendships, common interests, shared values, supportive exchanges, memorable experiences, things like that. 

Another question I received involved some drama. A girl and her boyfriend broke up, but months later she heard from friends that he still liked her and wanted to get back together. She still kinda liked him, but wasn’t sure what to do. Ok, first I think you need to do an audit of your original relationship. It may help to write out these questions and your answers to process your thoughts. What worked in that relationship? What didn’t? How did they treat you and make you feel? How did you treat them? Why did things end? How did things end, like badly/messy/ugly? 

Next, analyze your data. Are any of these audit details unimportant? A big deal? Red flags? No longer issues? Do you expect things to be different the second time around, and why?

Finally, consider why you want to get back together. Your reasons shouldn’t stem from pressure from friends, guilt, or just wanting girlfriend status. From there, let your answers and feelings guide you. If you’re open to it, find some time to talk together to share how you’re feeling and to find out how they feel. If you don’t feel good about it, don’t do it.

My crush just asked me to a school dance, and I am super nervous, and really insecure. I would love some advice from you about how to deal with guys.

Ok I felt similarly about my Homecoming date junior year. It was beyond butterflies, more like bees buzzing around inside me. I had really high hopes for how things should go and I put a lot of pressure on myself to act like/look like/be the perfect date. Take it from me, it’ll be really hard for you to enjoy that dance with all that self-imposed stress worrying about what he’s thinking or how other people see you. Consider writing down some affirmations, positive statements about yourself, asserting that you’re enough as you are, you can be yourself, and you deserve to enjoy the date, too. Repeat them in the mirror to yourself. Self-acceptance is easier said than done, but saying affiirmations outloud helps you do it. I really hope you have a great time.

Now for some words of caution with relationships. I mentioned red flags earlier, so watch out for these.

  • Don’t bend or break your boundaries in the name of “love.” If you’re not comfortable saying/sharing/sending/doing something, say so. Speak up. Say no. If they respond with, “If you loved me you would …” – that’s manipulative and it’s not ok.
  • If they say unkind things about you – your looks, your size, your weight, your intellect – but brush it off as a joke, or straight up criticize or compare you, or do anything that makes you feel not good when you’re , do not accept that. You deserve better.
  • Warning: if they are abusive in any way, get out immediately and get help. Talk to an adult you trust – parent, teacher, coach, counselor, ok?

I’m really glad we could talk about crushes.

And if you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to [email protected] .

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