Friends, let’s talk about the most enjoyable of all mental illnesses – the Inappropriate Crush.

It’s made of a cocktail of pent-up hormones, raw emotions, and proximity to the first attractive person who happens to walk past. You come rushing up from the grey doldrums you wandered through for all those weeks (months? years? it feels like longer…) and suddenly the sadness that held you evaporates. You’re bright, witty, charming. You can’t even concentrate on your phone, you stare into space trying to come up with puns or thinking of fun activities that will let you get some one-on-one time with your new object of affection.

It’s just a crush. A spark. You could use it to build up a fire that keeps you both warm for your whole life. It could flare up and consume you in passion. Or fizzle out in about a month if you don’t feed it. Which would you rather? Actually, all three of those outcomes are spectacular in their own way. You must abandon all requirements when you enter the house of love.

Even the fizzle is fun while it lasts. The real danger is if you let something that should have been a two-week fling turn into a relationship status, with parents informed, friends ordered to be polite, his toothbrush in your bathroom… too proud to admit you picked the wrong man, you stick with him and waste a year of your life.

Well don’t do that. But here is how to proceed.

First, is it your boss or teacher? Keep your damn mouth shut. Is it your subordinate or student? Same. You can’t shut up? You really have to confess your love or you won’t live any longer? Get a new job first. Oh you can’t do that? Guess you don’t want it that bad. Give up. A power imbalance is kinky as hell, but on average, it ruins lives. Ruin your own life, but not your crush. That’s not love.

Second. Are they married or taken? Then you will have to confess your crush to their partner and ask their permission to pursue it. Oh, you don’t have the balls to do that? No kidding you don’t. Keep your mouth shut.

Is it your roommate or coworker? Well, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life (no, I am). If this goes badly, you might have to find a new place to live/work, or they might. Either way, you’ve caused a lot of inconvenience for the other person because you couldn’t manage your emotions. Remember the part up there where it says “it will fizzle out in a month”? It will. Go to the gym. Lift. Eat better food. Take up painting. Drop in on your friends. Will this make the crush go away? No it will not, it will make you feel so strong and happy and awesome that you will want to share it with your beloved, which will make the problem worse. But there’s no cure other than time, and you might as well get healthy.

Is it your best friend, or a new friend? Someone with no strings attached to them? Tell them now. Stop reading, pick up the phone and tell them. They might say yes. Or if they’re a true friend, they will let you down gently. Be polite, be gracious. Don’t whine, don’t cling, don’t try to be clever, just ask if they will love you more thoroughly than before, and accept whatever answer they give. If it’s a yes, you have a happy future waiting and a whole new set of problems that can wait for another article. If the answer is no…

This is what’s been keeping you up nights, right? What if they say no? Will you die? The hope you’ve been living for, gone forever? Will you be so embarrassed you never talk to them again, and lose your good friend as well as your maybe-lover?

No. Here’s what happens: it’ll be awkward for about two weeks and then you’ll get the hell over it. That doesn’t happen naturally or easily, but you can do it if you try.

And finally, how do you tell them?

There’s a different way for everyone –

  • “I’ve gotten a crush on you, what should I do?”
  •  “So… I want to fuck you.”
  •  Lean in for a kiss and see whether they lean back or “lean back”.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to be polite. You have to leave an escape route, in case they need time to think. And you have to be sure that when they say “yes”, it’s a wholehearted yes with no hesitation and no doubts. Settle for nothing less than that. There’s always another one coming.

Everyone reading this is probably either my bestie, my coworker, my roommate, or someone who’s just been on the receiving end of an embarrassing confession, and is now wondering if this post is about them.

Yes, it is about you. All of you. I fall in love easily and I never fall out. I express this with a total lack of outward emotion, essays like this one, and by showing up at your front door when you weren’t expecting me. Don’t make it weird, just enjoy it. I do.