Catch and release

Pay attention to the lecture you’re in, not the subject of your delusions! Graphic by Elizabeth Hein


Hopeless romantic. Lovesick. Maybe even delusional. 

We have all had a crush that engulfed us. Friends and maybe even family have voiced concern and urged you to get over them. 

When you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, it’s pretty hard to take a step back. So, how do you take those glasses off? A key step in this process is to validate and fully understand your feelings. 

I think it’s safe to say that we romanticize the hell out of our everyday lives, especially that special someone, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But, pitting your entire emotional well-being on the chance that your crush likes you back is not the healthiest thing to do. 

I will call myself out; I have definitely had my moments. I have had great results with shifting that energy to focus on myself and the relationships around me. Kindling those existing connections instead of a possible one pays off in the long run, as well as in the short run. 

Sophomore marketing major Connor Kossman offers some words of advice to those out there pining over their crush. 

“Do something nice for yourself,” Kossman said. “At the end of the day, if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be, and that’s okay. But you can’t let it ruin your day. Go throw a frisbee, listen to some music, watch some Netflix, cry a little … just get it out of your system, and it’ll be okay.” 

I don’t want to sound like one of those social media influencers preaching self-love and self-help, but both of those things really do work. Taking time to focus on yourself is by no means selfish; in fact, it’s essential. 

Plus, at the risk of sounding cliché, it truly is hard to fully love and appreciate someone else romantically if you aren’t able to stand alone and love yourself. 

Cate Pugliese, a sophomore criminology-sociology major, has found that having a crush is much simpler than what it gets made out to be sometimes. 

“Being delusional — it’s just having a crush,” Pugliese said. “The whole point of a crush is to say I find this person attractive … delusion is just wanting to be liked, wanting to be loved … I don’t think [having a crush is] completely negative though; I think it’s just satisfying a human need for love and desire.” 

College is a roller coaster, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting someone along with you on the ride. It can get pretty lonely sometimes, and that’s totally normal, crushing on someone can momentarily ease that loneliness. 

I know we all make up scenarios in our heads before bed or daydream during a boring lecture. And that’s all completely harmless until you let those scenarios dictate your day-to-day actions and personality. When you start to change who you are for a person who isn’t even giving you the time of day, that’s problem central. 

Molly Parker, a first-year criminology-psychology major, has found that social and mainstream media have encouraged unrealistic crushes, specifically on someone “out of their league.” 

“I definitely think [having a crush has] gotten romanticized a lot because … [society] feed[s] into people’s delusions,” Parker said. “People oftentimes don’t date out of their league … it’s something that you really don’t see often or something that you [only] see in books … That doesn’t happen as often as the media portrays it.” 

Parker is right. We do stoke the fires of love especially when it comes to things like TikTok, specifically BookTok. Fictional tropes definitely feed into the idealization of a person, even yourself. 

I am certainly guilty of daydreaming about someone I know I would never in a million years end up with; contrary to what my daydreams depict, my long-shot crush will never happen. It comes with the territory of being a teenager during the golden age of social media. 

But, there is nothing wrong with having a crush on someone: it’s a part of being human.  Something that has helped me has been to take a step back and really analyze the potential for connection — or lack thereof. Also, exploring the idea that our personalities and lifestyles are incompatible, instead of focusing on the superficial look aspect of a relationship, helps me feel a little better about myself. 

Again, having a crush on someone is completely normal and acceptable, but don’t let yourself get swept up in the whirlwind of emotions. 

Remember, when you catch a feeling, you have to release it too. 


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