Discover more from Submit Here
Do they like me like me?
Can we talk about friend crushes for a second?
Like, tell me if this ever happens to you:
You meet someone. Get to know them a bit. They’re clever. Interesting. Possibly successful.
And you feel this…thing happening. Inside of you.
Intimidation? Yeah. Attraction? Yes, that. Are you starting to act a little weird? Nervous? Like you want to impress them, but you also want to be normal around them, so you start imagining how an impressive, yet normal, version of you would act? So that the next time you see them, you’re just casually magnetic?
Like you totally didn’t plan that witty aside. That TikTok slang. That above-average outfit.
Welcome to the friend crush.
It’s just as embarrassing as your classic crush. I should know. I get them all the time.
For me, a core component of the friend crush is admiration. Once I realize this person is more clever, more interesting, and more successful than I ever will be, and they’re funny and cool, it’s like – well, damn. Ok. Have to comport myself appropriately. But because I am nervous, I will fail at that task.
Here’s an example.
A few weeks ago, one of my friend crushes walked by my car. She was en route to an event we were both involved in, I heard her heels clacking down the sidewalk, and rolled down my window to see her.
In the privacy of my parked car, I’d literally been practicing what to say.
So when she walked by, looking fabulous as fuck, I went ahead and blurted out some stuff:
HI! I was just thinking about you and telling myself that the next time I see you I was going to tell you how beautiful and talented you are! And also sooo successful!! And like, yeah!!! Ok! So!!! Haha!!
She smiled kindly.
Thank you, Tolly. See you inside?
Haha yeah cool!!! See you inside!
And I did see her inside.
And I avoided meaningful interaction the rest of the night, because I’m intimidated, and she’s amazing, and my lack of chill is about as subtle as a face tat.
This used to happen all the time when I podcasted. It was taped at our local newspaper, so we got some pretty big guests. Esther Perel for example, who also intimidated me, but for understandable reasons (icon). We mostly hosted normal people though, people you may or may not have heard of, but when they got going about their art, I’d start getting…dreamy.
I’d look into their eyes, and see how passionate they were about their Hedwig cover band / public access archival video project / YouTube comedy career and suddenly realize, yo. I want to be more than host.
I want to be friends!
And then they walked out, and I thought about them for weeks, but never acted on it and we never spoke again.
Now at this point, you’re probably wondering if by “friend crush” what I really mean is “crush crush.” But no. That’s not it. We don’t have enough vocabulary as a society to describe this. Because these feelings of mine aren’t sexually-tinged, but they do give off a type of heat. A heat that rises off a particular interpersonal ratio, which I think goes something like:
Amount of time you have hung out = a lot
Amount of time you have stalked them on social media = a lot
Amount of time you have been emotionally intimate with one other = zero
Do you see what I’m saying? You know them, but you don’t.
There is no resolve by the way, no solution. Just a quirk of human existence. But I’m reflecting on friend crushes right now because I think they’re cute, maybe especially because they’re non-sexual. People just quietly being fans of one another, or in my case, leaning out of car windows and proclaiming your admiration in ways you might later regret. That’s also an option.
And it’s not the worst thing in the world, anyway, walking around thinking about all my friend crushes. Wondering if I actually have the bandwidth to pursue a more real connection, the answer to which is usually no. And maybe there’s something lovely about that, keeping them suspended in an idealized state, where we aren’t friends, actually. Maybe I don’t want to know more. Maybe we’re not supposed to get close. Maybe it’s a parasocial relationship. Maybe the distance is a gift.
Maybe this is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Thanks for reading Submit Here! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work. Feel free to tell a friend.