When did you have your first crush on a guy?

I remember this one time I had a  conversation with a boy in my homeschool co-op cooking class when I was in the 3rd grade. It was the last day of co-op before Christmas break and we had made marshmallow snowmen that day. After class, the guy told me he liked my snowman, and my insides felt like they could melt!

I went home that day, thinking he was super cute. All during Christmas break, my thoughts would drift to that boy and how he told me he liked my marshmallow snowman. I wondered if he liked me. I decided I had a crush on him. After all, he did say he liked my snowman.

And then Christmas break ended, and co-op restarted. He and I had a class together that spring and I was thrilled!

But then the strangest thing happened- he didn’t act like the sweet gentleman I had imagined him to be over Christmas. He behaved like an eight-year-old boy! Laughing at body noises and teasing girls too much. Ew. Rolling my eyes, I decided that day that my crush on him was over!

That’s the problem with crushes.

They start small, from a tiny encounter and then explode into something more. The issue is, oftentimes everything is just in our head. We imagine the guy to be more than he really is, and then when we discover reality we’re incredibly disappointed.

I’ve had many crushes since that one time when I was eight and over the years I’ve discovered that there’s something different about “crushing” on a guy and “liking” a guy.

When you’re “crushing” on a guy, he’s all you can think about. You replay situations in your mind over and over again and blow things way out of proportion.

He said “God bless you” after someone sneezed? He must be a Christian! Oh! And that one time he held the door for that elderly woman? He must be a gentleman! And that one time he snickered at my joke? He must think I’m funny! Did he just compliment me? Clearly, he must have a crush on me too!

Do you see what’s happening here? We’re making a broad generalization- taking one sample of his actions and applying an assumption on them.

Often times, the problem with crushes is that they happen suddenly when we haven’t known the guy very long.

And when we haven’t known the guy long enough to know his true character, our imaginations tend to take over.

Crushing on guys was the worst for me in seventh grade. Just ask my best friend. Every other week I had a crush on a different guy and was convinced he had a crush on me too.

Typically, the reason why I had a crush on each guy was for a reason I made up. (Example, I bet he’s kind. I bet he loves Jesus so much! Surely he’s respectful to his teachers.) 

Or I only had a crush on him because he was cute.

I never stopped daydreaming long enough to take a reality check on the guys. 

Instead of making up characteristics, I should have been observing them to see if there was any evidence of those desired traits. But I didn’t, and this is proof of the problem with crushes.

None of my “feelings” for any of these guys lasted because eventually they would do something that would make me realize they weren’t as awesome as I would imagine them to be.

Another similar problem with crushes is that they blind us to reality.

Sometimes, when the guys we have crushes on do something we would normally wince at, we downplay it and make excuses for the behavior.

Oh, he cussed just now… I’m sure he didn’t mean to. Ooh, that was disrespectful to that person… I wonder if he’s having a bad day? 

Because we are “crushing” on that guy, we lie to ourselves and burn any red flags that are popping up about him. We do this because we are attached to the imaginary guy we created in our minds that looks just like the guy in real life.

Did that sentence make any sense?

By daydreaming about our crushes, we become attached to the imaginary attributes we’ve created. And then when evidence comes out that those imaginary attributes aren’t real, we ignore that evidence.

This is a major problem with crushes!

Pause with me and think about how this pattern could build into a pattern when we date- red flags pop up about the guy, and we ignore them. Parents and friends warn us about a guy’s character and we blow them off, convinced that we know the true character of the guy.

The main problem with crushes, is that we have a crush on a guy based on characteristics that we've imagined him to have, instead of reality.

Remember how I just told you about my crush epidemic in the seventh grade?

I was cured in the strangest of ways. I stopped crushing on guys I didn’t know well when I started to like a guy.

Hear me out- I know this sounds confusing.

Here’s the thing I had to realize and you may need to realize too: Having a crush on a guy isn’t necessarily the same thing as liking a guy, even though the two terms are often used interchangeably.

It’s kinda like the differences between love and lust.

“Crushing” on a guy is primarily based on our imagination. “Liking” a guy is based on actual observations about him and his character. 

In March or April of seventh grade, I started to notice a particular boy in my class. I noticed how he was always respectful to our teachers. I observed how he was kind to his classmates. He was funny and made me laugh. He was someone I actually could have a conversation with, instead of being too timid to talk to.

I noticed all of these things without realizing it. My subconscious was taking notes while I was busy crushing on other guys.

But then, one day, we were assigned to work on a project together in class. And during that class period, I thought, “I think I like him!” 

That night I went home and got out my journal. Instead of writing the usual daydreamy “I wonder if so and so likes me?” I wrote, “Kara, there is no way he likes you!” I knew deep down that this was a truly awesome guy, and I didn’t feel worthy of his “liking.”

And then I ignored my advice to get over him and liked him for the entire next year. (During which time I stopped “liking” him and started “crushing” on him instead. Read more about that in this post.) 

Anywho, I tell you all of this to illustrate the differences between “liking” and “crushing.”

When we have a crush on a guy, it’s usually sudden and out of the blue.

But when we like a guy, it’s because we take the time to observe him and see if he has the godly characteristics we like.

I know these two terms “liking” and “crushing” are used synonymously. I don’t think they should be. Ever since I noticed the difference between liking someone and crushing on them, I’ve tried hard not to use the terms interchangeably.

What do you think? Is there a difference between crushing on someone and liking them?

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10 thoughts on “The Problem With Crushes

  1. Blaze Ann

    This was a fun post to read! It made me think back on my past crushes and cringe haha! I completely agree with what you have to say about crushing being about your imagination. I feel like crushing is when you don’t really know him, whereas when you like someone you have some sort of interaction with them. Thanks for sharing this post! I found you through the Graced College Girl Bloggers group. :)


  2. Neva

    Kara, your snowman story made me cringe and laugh because I had so many experiences like that in 2nd and 3rd grade. I think you make a good point about a crush versus a like — of course usually both are kinda looked down on as immature and fleeting, but I think that liking someone does generally involve an element of actual friendship, and isn’t that what all great relationships are based on? Great post!


    1. Kara Beth Post author

      Haha! Yeah, I cringe and laugh every time I remember that story too :D
      That’s so true- all great relationships are built on actual, concrete, quality characteristics… not just liking someone because they’re cute.
      Thanks for commenting <3


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