You both like basketball, listen to the same music, and eat strawberry ice cream with chocolate chips. How could anyone else have so much in common?
He has the coolest hair, and he is so funny, but every time you see him, you feel shy and embarrassed.
You don’t even know her, but you feel nervous whenever you see her. Your face feels hot and your cheeks get red.
If a girl or boy is making you feel this way, you might be wondering, “What is going on?” Well, it sounds like you have a crush.
What Is a Crush and Why Do I Have One?
Just as our bodies grow as we get older, so do our feelings. They change and mature as we become preteens, teenagers, and adults. A crush is a word used to describe special feelings you have for another person, a classmate, or friend that you really like.
Noticing your first crush is an exciting time in life because you’re beginning to understand how it feels to like another person — a lot!
Sometimes, feelings for a crush can be confusing because they’re new to you and you aren’t sure how to act. You could have mixed feelings. When you see your crush, a part of you might feel embarrassed and you might want to run away and hide. Another part of you might imagine your crush noticing you and sharing the same feelings.
Crushes are a little bit like the romantic love adults feel toward one another. And in a way, a crush can help us think about the kind of person that we want to love when we grow up. They help us understand which qualities we notice and like in another person — and maybe a few that we don’t like.
The Object of Your Affection
You can’t choose your crushes. Sometimes they sneak up on you and — wow — who was that? Your crush might be a classmate, a neighbor, your best friend’s crush, an older kid, a friend of your brother or sister, a sister or brother of a friend, or a teacher at your school.
Your crush could even be on someone you don’t know, like a professional athlete or a celebrity. When the crush is on someone you don’t know, you might imagine what that person is like. Maybe you think about what it would be like to meet that person, even though you know you probably never will. It’s still fun to imagine!
You might find yourself writing the name of your crush over and over again in a notebook or telling a good friend about that special person you like so much. Crushes might last a few days, weeks, months, or longer.
What Does It Feel Like to Have a Crush?
If you feel strange around your crush, you’re not alone. That’s how most people feel around their crushes. You might feel shy or giddy or maybe even shy and giddy all at once! Some people can’t remember what they want to say when they see their crush. They feel speechless, or tongue-tied.
Some kids might chase their crushes around the playground, call them on the phone, or tease them to get attention. This might make a person feel uncomfortable. Have you ever felt this way? It can be hard to control how you feel, but the rules of good behavior still apply. If your crush doesn’t want to talk with you or it seems like you’re making the person uncomfortable, it’s time to back off.
Likewise, never let anyone behave in a way that makes you feel funny or uncomfortable. It’s never OK for anyone — a kid or a grown-up — to do or ask things of you that don’t feel right. That’s not a good crush.
If I Have a Crush, What Do I Do?
When you develop special feelings toward someone, it can change your world. You might want to talk on the phone or ask your crush to your birthday party or a school dance. As you get older and your feelings change, you might be ready for your first boyfriend or girlfriend and even your first kiss! But for now, you might just be friends with your crush, if your crush wants to be friends with you.
You might or might not want to tell other people who your crush is. It can be fun to talk with friends about it, but sometimes kids tease other kids about crushes. Getting teased is never fun, so if you know about other kids’ crushes, don’t give them a hard time!
Some people call first loves or first crushes “puppy love” because these feelings are new to you, you’re young, and you don’t have much experience with life. You’re the puppy! Get it? Think about how a puppy is so excited and happy with everything new in its life — from a rubber bone to an old shoe. But when your feelings seem real and strong, it may not seem like puppy love to you.
If you need someone to talk with about a crush, a parent can be a good choice. Remember, they were kids once, too, and they know what it’s like. Can you imagine who your mom or dad’s first crush was? Maybe they’ll tell you about it!
What if Someone Breaks My Heart?
When you have a crush on someone and you find out that he or she likes you, too, it’s a wonderful feeling. But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. It’s hard to find out that the person you like doesn’t feel the same way about you. You might feel sad, disappointed, and rejected. That sad feeling is called heartbreak, even though your heart isn’t really breaking into pieces. If you feel heartbreak, those feelings can last for a while, but they will fade.
Another word about heartbreak: Try to be kind if you’re on the other end of a crush — when someone likes you. It’s a compliment when someone thinks you’re special. If you don’t feel the same way, try to tell him or her in a nice way.
Crushes are new and exciting, so enjoy them while they last. Someday, you’ll be telling your own kids about your first crush!
Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: August 2013