So, two weeks ago I made a post about being asexual and getting a crush. However, one question that this brought up is how we define crushes in the first place! Crushes seem to be this weird phenomenon that a lot of people feel, but no one ever really takes the time to define it. In general, when I ask people how they know they have a crush, they just reply, “You know it when you have one!” It gets more complicated when you factor in asexuality, since so often, people lump romantic emotions with sexual ones. So, the past two weeks, I’ve been on a journey trying to define crushes.
The dictionary definition of a crush was vague and varied. They ranged, from “the puppy love of an adolescent” to “an intense but usually short-lived infatuation.” However, if I’ve learned anything from my past experiences, it’s that dictionaries can rarely describe the complex emotions felt by actual human beings. So, I decided to move on to asking friends and acquaintances how they experience crushes.
What I’ve gotten (unsurprisingly) is a huge diversity in responses. They were from ‘wanting someone to call you nice things and cuddle with them’ to ‘finding whoever will give you the best sex.’ One friend described her crushes as finding someone physically attractive, then wanting to get to know them to see if their personalities matched their exterior. Another described them as ‘otp feels’, except directed towards another person.
There’s also squishes; platonic ‘crushes’. What defines these? The entire thing can get rather confusing rather quickly.
But from listening to people describe their crushes and the emotions they feel during them, I’ve been able to narrow it down to a few commonly agreed-upon characteristics:
- They are usually short term
Crushes appear to be a rather short-lived happening. They don’t last long, and if they are acted upon, they fade into a ‘liking’ or a relationship. However, there also are people who have crushes for years and years! Could these be classified as less of a ‘crush’ and more of a ‘like’ or even a ‘love’?
2. The person you have it on makes you happy/feel awesome
Most people I spoke to talked about how being around their crush made them feel good and it was a rather positive experience
3. You want to make the person you have it on feel awesome
Many people also explained that they wanted to tell their crush nice things about themselves and make them happy and feel good about themselves.
4. You want to do romantic things with said person
This final characteristic I feel is the defining one between a squish and a crush. However, ‘romantic things’ has its own vagueness and subjectivity. While some people may find kissing to be a very romantic act, others may find it quite platonic! It all really depends on the person and the context of their relationship.
So in general, the crush phenomenon seems to be a very positive one. There seem to be a lot of favorable emotions. However, some other, more negative emotions seemed to also come up. There can be frustration, especially if the person one has a crush on is unattainable or doesn’t feel way. There’s also often confusion. Are the feelings returned? There can be sadness, anger, upset; all sorts of negativity associated with crushes.
So what I’ve discovered, overall, is that crushes are really complicated incidents. Everyone experiences them differently, though there are a few common similarities. However, I’d like to end with a question. How do you experience crushes? Do your experiences fit within the characteristics I’ve described above? How are they similar, how are they different?