Hey, everybody. Welcome to the wonderful world of Having Crushes On Girls. You may be scared, but let me walk you through this in a gentle not-scary way. First off, having a crush on a girl doesn’t need to mean anything if you don’t want it to mean anything. Knowing and stating that sexuality is fluid as a fact is way different than experiencing that flow. By all means, keep identifying however you identify in whatever label feels comfortable to you. If you feel the need to come out or change any of those labels, come out only when you’re ready. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making that decision. Second: the first time you experience same-sex attraction can be confusing. It won’t feel like your normal crushes, if you’re also still attracted to men. It’s still a crush, though. And that’s okay.
Don’t be surprised if this crush doesn’t feel so overtly sexual (…yet). Don’t be surprised if you give yourself a weird, unrealistic checklist to deem this crush “real” either. From when we’re young, regardless of our ultimate sexual orientation, we’re encouraged to sexualize the opposite sex. So, if you grow up and are attracted to the opposite sex, it’s a lot easier to make the jump and sexualize your crushes. However, if you’re experiencing same-sex attraction for the first time, it might feel less sexual at first, but throw you for a bigger loop than your typical crushes. It can also make you question everything, including the crush itself. How do you know if you actually like this person, or if these are just friend feelings? It can start to feel overwhelming.
Ultimately, having a crush on a girl is exciting, confusing, and scary at the same time. At its core, it’s the same as what you experience when having crushes on boys, but it’s surprising and new. Have fun, be safe, and learn to navigate your new feelings. Girl crushes (and no, I’m not talking about the phrase “girl crush” people use to refer to a woman they idealize) are hard to pinpoint or identify because we’re never taught to call these feelings “attraction,” but if these 16 things sound like you, chances are, you totally have a crush on a girl and (one more time for the people in the back) that’s 100 percent extra extremely okay.
1) You want to be really far away from them.
Shutting people out, actively avoiding them, and even homophobic behavior (while totally awful, cut that out) are all pretty good signs that you have a crush. Why? Could be because your insides turn to mush when you get within fifteen feet of them and you’re convinced everyone else’s gay-dar has just been triggered, thus outing you without knowing it. If you have a crush on a girl and you’ve been identifying as straight your whole life, be prepared for all of your internalized homophobia to rear its ugly head. I don’t care how liberal of an upbringing you’ve had, it might surprise you that it’s there. It’s not in the “gay people are bad” sort of way just the “oh no, this crush is 100 percent impractical” sort of way.
2) Or maybe you want to be close to them all the time.
Crushes, no matter who they’re on, are awful and stupid and the best all at the same time. So while you want to be far away from them, you also want to sit next to them, seek their attention, see if they’re looking at you when you’re in a crowd. You want to be near them and feel like it’s no big deal even though it feels like a Big Deal to you.
3) They make you nervous.
To put it simply, they make your heart skip. Then catch in your throat. Then make you short of breath. So yeah, it might feel like you’re running a marathon even though all you’re doing is sitting there, that’s part of having a crush.
4) You really care what she thinks about you.
You’re used to trying to impress the “cool girls” in school, except now you care about what *this girl* thinks about you as a person and what you’re wearing and since she’s a girl, too, her opinion somehow counts double so now you’ve put a toooooon of stock in this person’s opinion. Suddenly you’ve switched from team IDGAF to Team Care The Most.
5) There’s sexual tension.
It’s difficult to explain sexual tension, but uh, you’ll know it when it’s there. It doesn’t need to be two sided, but those hugs are lingering, if not tense and loaded. Meaningful eye contact when there doesn’t need to be a ton of meaning, and getting surprise jolted when they brush up against you by accident.
6) You go out of your way for her in a way that’s different than your other friends.
All of the favors and special consideration for this one. Of course you’re there for your friends no matter what, but you aren’t that close with this person yet. That’s not going to stop you from giving her the most thoughtful gifts or doing nice things “just because.”
7) You really, really care about them.
Surprise, being invested in someone else’s happiness happens when you have a crush.
8) You felt an immediate connection with her, like a best friend, except you aren’t BFF yet.
You feel bonded to them like your bestie, except they aren’t your bestie. Not to mention you don’t feel this way about your best friend. Your best friend is like a sister. This one? Not so much.
9) You want to be closer as a friend, but becoming best friends feels a little too… friend-zone.
Even how you hang out with her is different than how you would hang out with a best friend. The thought of wanting to get to know her better “as a friend” somehow doesn’t match up with how you’d like to be hanging out. You know what the first feeling feels like and this feels similar, just different.
10) You aren’t sure if you want to be her or be with her.
Okay, full disclosure: you’re going to hear this phrase more often than you’ll be able to count if you’re googling “Do I have a crush on a girl?” over and over again, which is both helpful and not helpful at all. What it really means is what you’re feeling is admiration. That’s the baseline. Now, look for the nuances. Most people stop at defining it as admiration. But, do you like her top or do you like the way her top looks on her? Is that top even your style or do you just like her style and confidence?
11) You notice things about her you don’t typically notice on your other girl friends.
Not strange, you’re just looking at this girl differently than how you look at your other girl friends.
12) You can’t be casual when you talk about them.
Good luck trying to get me to talk about Kate McKinnon in a chill way. You ask if they’re coming to hang out and you’re really careful and deliberate about the level of nonchalance you ask when you bring her up. It’s not surprising if you feel like you have to double down on the subtext of “Oh, this? This is no big deal.”
13) You literally invent any excuse to talk about them.
This includes bringing them up to make fun of them. Remember what I said about wanting to distance yourself from them? Oops, it’s back. You name drop them constantly, whether it’s positive or negative.
14) You stalk her social media profiles like you would any crush.
Maybe you open a separate private browser window to do it then immediately clear your history to destroy all evidence. Just a thought. If you stalk hard then cover your tracks like crazy, you probably have a crush.
15) You’ve tried to talk yourself out of this crush more than once.
“It’s no big deal,” you say to yourself, lying. “I just really, really want to be her friend. Really want that. Really. Hashtag no homo.” Yes, homo. Okay, homo. No big thing, homo. Everyone’s a little bit homo, homo.
16) You’re afraid of anyone finding out.
Enough with the jokes, this one’s real. Here’s the thing: it’s okay, it’s normal, but you might not be ready to fully experience this crush. That’s fine. However, the level of fear you have around a new feeling is generally a good indicator that it’s new and you don’t know how to handle it yet and that’s more than okay. The fear is normal. It may decrease over time, but if your initial response to this crush is to be afraid, shut it down, or suppress it, that might mean that it’s a really real thing.
Have you ever had a crush on a girl? Was it exciting or confusing? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.