How to Know When You Have a Crush
Signs of a Crush
So you think you have a crush? We've all been there. A crush involves romantic liking, although the interpersonal attraction may or may not be lasting or reciprocal. Call it infatuation, but a crush feels all-consuming like you've been swept up in a whirlwind of nervous giddiness. You might mistake this intense, feel-good attraction towards someone you barely know as "love," but pump your brakes. It's too early to call it that. A crush can also involve emerging romantic feelings for a friend.
People signal their attraction and interest in a variety of ways, including by telegraphing visual, verbal, and attentional cues. While you may think you're being low-key about displaying your feelings, you're more transparent than you think. (Ask your friends if they notice whether you behave differently around your crush.)
Learn how to recognize the signs of a crush in yourself as well as others. Then if and when you're ready, you can consider how to tell your crush that you like them so you can move your relationship forward to the next step.
12 Signs You Have a Crush:
When my daughter was a ninth-grader on the high school cross country team, she noticed that during team training runs a cute guy on the team kept slowing down or speeding up his pace to trying to talk to her. She didn't know why so she'd run faster to get away from him. (Awkward! That was years ago, but we still chuckle about it.) How do you know the signs of a crush unless someone explains it? I'm here to help.
- You typically start the conversation and are reluctant to end it.
- You get unusally nervous or embarrassed about talking to them.
- You smile a LOT at them, often shooting them a big goofy grin.
- You find yourself gazing or staring at them.
- You offer them compliments and small gifts.
- You find yourself daydreaming about them frequently.
- None of their love interests are good enough for them, in your opinion.
- You don't seem to notice other potential love matches.
- You listen intently to your crush.
- You remember details about them that others do not.
- You always seem to be near your crush.
- Other people (e.g., your friends and theirs) notice that you have a crush on the person.
A crush involves romantic liking, although the interpersonal attraction may or may not be lasting or reciprocal.
Some cues that you have a crush are plain to see. These can include eye contact, smiling, nervousness, and always seeming to being around them. Frequent and direct eye contact is a common indicator. Eye contact should usually be just long enough to take in another person's gaze but not so long that it would be considered rude or gawking. (Scientists have found that eye-to-eye contact becomes creepy when it exceeds 3.2 seconds.)1
Additionally, when you have a crush you automatically "smile to the eyes" instead of giving insincere half-smiles. You can't avoid sporting a big goofy grin when you see or talk to your crush. Finally, you're motivated to frequently be around the one you're attracted to, even though having a secret heartthrob is an anxiety-creating situation. You might get tongue-tied and have a hard time thinking of something to say. Just talking to friends about your crush can sometimes prompt unease, especially if they're are teasing you.
Verbal cues can also signal you have a crush. You mention details about your crush that others overlook, and you pay your crush compliments. You initiate conversations with him or her and linger, hesitant to allow those interactions to end. Other examples of verbal cues include running through crazy "what-if" scenarios or referencing a shared future.
Attention & Focus Cues
You've probably recognized that your crush takes up a significant amount of your attention. They become a big focus. You spend alone time daydreaming about them, and when you're talking to them, you try to sit as close as you can, generally face-to-face in conversation. You lean in so as to fully absorb every morsel of information they have to offer. You don't mind being away from your phone and you don't notice other potential dating partners. It's like you two are the only people in the room.
Others are bound to take note when you are displaying so many signs of attraction, including your crush. It's important, however, to also pay attention to how your crush is responding to your displays of interest in them.
Evaluating Your Crush's Interest
Now that you know you have a crush, evaluate how the object of your affection is reacting to your romantic interest. Try some fun, playful flirting and assess whether the attraction seems mutual. (If at any point they turn you down, honor their refusal, obviously.) Do they return your smile and eye contact, move in closer, seem eager to talk with you or do they instead seem less interested and make excuses to get going? Look for the pattern. You might also ask for their phone and social media contact info, but don't let this replace in-person communications. Their eagerness to communicate with you and depth of engagement should tell you whether they're into you.
1Melinda Wenner Moyer. "Eye Contact: How Long Is Too Long?" Scientific American, 1 Jan. 2016, www.scientificamerican.com/article/eye-contact-how-long-is-too-long/.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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