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August 14, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I've got a huge crush on a friend. I'm pretty sure said friend likes me back. YES!! Caveat: We won't see each other until school starts in a month, and I want to make my move in person. How do I keep my twitterpated daze from eating up the last beautiful bit of summer while setting the groundwork for possible dating in the fall?

We're both rising college juniors, and we've been fantastic friends for about a year. About three months ago, I realized that I had a crush on him, but kept mum because I was in a terrible emotional place (aftermath of a messy breakup). Said goodbye for the summer, have kept in touch since through crazy-long +2000-word emails two to three times a week. Meanwhile, this summer has been almost freakishly blissful: my job is wonderful and fulfilling, I've been making new friends and having adventures, and I've been doing a lot of self-reflection. I think I'm finally in an emotionally healthy place, and finally unafraid of being alone.

Then crush blows into town for three days earlier this week. Clearest signs I've ever gotten from him: he spends literally half of his time with me, we stay up talking one-on-one until 4am two nights out of three, his eyes seek mine out in groups, etc. Oh my. This isn't unusual for how we act, but I wasn't expecting it to be so concentrated! I haven't been able to think of anything else since he left four days ago. I like the feeling, but I dislike how it's crowded out everything else! I also think I'm now getting too invested, since I'm not absolutely certain that he's attracted to me and, even if he is, I don't want to get in too deep come fall.

How do I keep my cool during this month, and is there anything I should be doing to relish this last gasp of summer or set the scene for fall? I'm probably just going to keep on doing what I've been doing w/r/t keeping in contact with him (since the long emails worked for something), and I'm more interested in what I should do with myself. This question is sort of similar, but most of the answers run along the lines of "do recon/don't do this"; I know he's a wonderful guy, and our mutual friends agree (the ones who know about my crush keep pushing me to make out with him already).

This is a great problem to have, but I'd still love your advice! Thanks for reading through and answering.
posted by flawsekno to Human Relations (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh--a note (though not an important one): my job is with the university we both go to, so a lot of his/our friends are in my area. Obviously the signs would not be significant if I was the only person he knew in town.
posted by flawsekno at 9:58 AM on August 14, 2011

The first thing to do is make sure that he feels the same way. He might, in which case you need to focus on other things as much as possible. Or he might not, in which case you need to focus on other things as much as possible.

I don't mean to burst your bubble, but it's entirely possible that you're seeing this through rose coloured spectacles. You might be projecting your own feelings on to him, which is a really common thing to do. Ask him how he feels first, before you get any deeper in to the crush.
posted by Solomon at 10:01 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the quick response! I know that I need to focus on other things as much as possible, regardless of the way he feels; I guess I'm asking more specifically for some strategies and tips for how to focus, since I've been trying but having a hard time with it.
posted by flawsekno at 10:05 AM on August 14, 2011

If this works out you'll need a bunch of new stuff to talk about on the first date. So you should concentrate on getting out there and doing all sorts of exciting things and making new stories. It sounds like your sort of doing this already, so you can probably just keep on keeping on and really throw yourself into it.

And if it doesn't work out, well, you'll still have lots of neat stuff to talk about when the next one comes along.
posted by Gin and Comics at 10:12 AM on August 14, 2011

I would say don't get too excited yet. Keep doing what you're doing with your summer, but don't plan much for the fall.. Let things happen naturally once you see each other. The crappy thing is that even if both of you like each other, you both need to be in the same state of mind for dating, you both need to want to be in a relationship. If he likes you but you're the only one who wants to be in a relationship, nothing will come out of it. So just let things happen as they happen, and let him first show what he wants before you jump to conclusions about dating him in the fall. I don't mean to sound negative, I hope things work out awesome, but from my experience girls too often think "we both like each other, surely we'll date and be happy together" when the guy doesn't want to be exclusive, or doesn't want to put in the effort to have a gf even if he likes the girl.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 10:47 AM on August 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

I understand the desire to "make your move" in person, but maybe that isn't actually the optimal choice in this situation? Given the freshness of your intense time together this week, and the frequency (and depth) of your communication, you could easily choose to erase the challenges of this waiting time for yourself. Maybe you have a specific bold in-person gesture planned, or maybe you're hoping he'll beat you to it, or maybe you secretly want to relish this unknown-but-so-promising time (heck, we've all been there), but I hope you'll consider just making your move now.

Tell him how much you enjoyed being able to spend so much time with him. Tell him that you think he's amazing, and can't help but think of how amazing you might be together, romantically. You know you're taking an emotional risk here anyway; I say, if you're going to take it, TAKE IT. If he's not as interested as you are, I think you are truly better off knowing that sooner than later. As you say, your feelings for him are not driven by a desire for just "somebody" because you are afraid of being alone, this is because of HIM, in all his him-ness, and a possibly wonderful connection with you, in all of your awesome flawsekno-ness.

I know personally how easy it is to underestimate the value of taking control of your own destiny, but it's one of the VERY few things I wish wish wish I could impart upon my long-ago college-aged self.

posted by mauvest at 12:20 PM on August 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'd be surprised if you can continue the slow-smoldering of the long emails, because it seems like the log just burst into flame, if you will.

To slow down the burn, maybe create a little space for yourself? (I mean, how can you write 2000 words honestly NOW without talking about all this excitement you feel toward him?) Tell him about your desire to get the most out of the end of summer, and that you're having trouble doing that given how much you enjoy being in touch with him, so you're going to cut back on email but cannot wait to hang out again in the fall like you did this past week?

It might help to set goals to do before the end of the summer. Have lunch with your three favorite high school teachers, throw a bonfire for your friends, run a half-marathon, finish XYZ work project, and/or organize your childhood photos?
posted by salvia at 3:29 PM on August 14, 2011

Eye contact, smiles, compliments, touching. The rest will take care of itself.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:38 PM on August 14, 2011

Get more deeply involved with your hobbies, especially if they aren't ones that give you time to think. I have a relative who can follow a knitting, watch TV and have a conversation simultaneously. Granted, she's been doing it for about 30 years, but you need something that will distract you.

Set yourself some tasks to do that require regular work towards them. Maybe you want to run a marathon, so you need to get exercising regularly. Or you want to cook a three course dinner, so you need to practice preparing food. Basically, give your brain something else to focus on.

Choose something mentally stimulating to work at. Your brain has "100% space" to use, and any free little bit of it will be given over to the crush until it subsides. Fill as much of your brain as you can on other mentally taxing things. It also might help to analyse the crush, and pick it apart to see what it's made of. Why do you like this guy so much? What is so appealing about him? Does he have any negative qualities? Basically, try to be a little more rational and less emotional about it. Try to remember that nobody is perfect and half of everything is below average.

Seriously consider what you will do if he's not as interested as you are. How are you going to handle that fallout?

For what it's worth, I know what it feels like to get sucked up into the Crush Tornado. It feels amazing. But you need to set down some pretty strong roots right now. You don't want to end up anywhere other than Oz, which unfortunately might actually happen. Good luck and I hope it all works out well for you.
posted by Solomon at 3:48 PM on August 14, 2011

In a similar situation, I've focused my crush energy on making a maybe-kinda-sorta-romantic mix CD and sending postcards. You are getting it out of your head a little bit by Doing Something, and you are also making a move. Sortof. Maybe. But not really. But he'll know.

(Of course, mix CDs and postcards might not be for you--any kind of thoughtful posted message or item would work. It should take some time and effort for you to prepare, that's the part that's beneficial, I find... it makes the crush thoughts feel a bit more productive and less obsessive.)
posted by equivocator at 5:25 PM on August 15, 2011

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