My first crush was Tyler in the first grade. He lived in my neighborhood, and we rode the bus together. To be honest, I don’t remember much else about him, but at six years old I discovered what it was like to get that little flutter in your heart that says you like someone. Crushes are fun. You can have one or you can have many. They can be someone you see every day or a celebrity that you swoon over every time you see them on the big screen (shoutout to my guy Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Sometimes if you’re lucky, a crush can turn into something more. But there can also be gray areas with crushes, and there isn’t exactly a rule book on how to deal with some of these things.
Like most people I have dealt with the confusion and frustrations that can accompany the uncertainty of whether or not a crush could ever return your feelings. As I said, sometimes a crush leads to something more, and maybe you get your happy ever after. But what would happen to all those angsty songs about love and lust if every crush turned into a relationship? Tori Kelly’s “All In My Head” perfectly describes the feeling when you start to realize your crush isn’t going anywhere. “Time for me to move on now. It was probably just a silly crush anyway. But I just cant help but think that we, we could’ve had something.” These people get us, because everyone experiences these feelings.
When I stumbled upon this article where John Green discusses why girls shouldn’t be put on a pedestal, it got me thinking about how easy that is to do with a crush. Having a crush doesn’t have any requirements. You really don’t actually have to know that much about a person for a crush to develop.
crush (n): someone you are infatuated by and have a desire to be in close proximity with*
Sometimes–without meaning to–we start to fill in the gaps with what we want them to be. We imagine what it would be like if they returned our feelings, and we don’t actually know what it would be like until we experience it.
At the end of this article about John Green, it thanks him for helping guide us through the ethics of crushes, which got me thinking. What are the the ethics of crushes?
On liking your friends. When you spend a lot of time around someone, you either start to get really annoyed by them or start liking them more and more. I always think of Harry in “When Harry Met Sally” when he tells Sally that men and women can’t be friends, because there is always sexual tension–even if just on one side. While I don’t know if I believe that, I know that sometimes the lines start to blur, and feelings can develop. But keep in mind, while you can be friends with your exes, if you cross the line with a friend things likely won’t be the same as before.
On celeb crushes. Keep rocking these–unless you have an uncontrollable obsession for any member of One Direction (current or past members), in that case: shut it down. For the most part celebrity crushes are pretty safe. You can watch Ryan Gosling movies all day long and lust after his beautiful smiles, and as Emma Stone so nicely puts, his abs look like they are Photoshopped.
On liking your coworkers. This is kind of similar to crushing on a close friend. You spend a lot of time together, you think they are really cute, and so the “work-crush” develops. The thing about the “work-crush” is that since you work together, sometimes it is best left as a crush (unless your names are Jim and Pam).
On admitting feelings for someone other than your SO. This puts you and that other person in an awkward position, and you are not being fair to your SO. If you are not happy with the relationship you are in, that’s something that you need to work through and think about whether or not you want to continue it. By telling someone you have feelings for them when you are in a relationship you are saying: (1) I like you, but not enough to risk losing the relationship I am in if you don’t feel the same way, and (2) I am going to keep seeing this other person if you don’t tell me you feel the same.
On a person of authority. Let’s all take a moment to acknowledge how creepy it would actually be if Ezra and Aria were real people. Pretty Little Liars is fictional for a reason, friends. In real life we wouldn’t be cheering this couple on, we would be indulging in the gossip surrounding the fact that a teacher is secretly dating his minor student. Gross. Having a little crush on your young TA with adorable dimples is one thing. But crushes on teachers, bosses, etc. should probably stay as crushes.
On random crushes. Personally, these are my favorite. That guy that always rings you up in the dining hall. Your friend’s friend that you never actually talk to. You know exactly who I am talking about. We might not actually know anything about them, but we perk up just a little when we see them.
The thing about the ethics of crushes is that sometimes your head might want to play by the rules, but your heart has other ideas. Face it: your heart is a rebel, and it wants what it wants. But if your head can stay ahead of your heart, then you are golden. Now, excuse me while I go watch 500 Days of Summer, and pray that some day my Tom comes along (preferably in the form of Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
*My own definition.