Adapted from Planned Parenthood
Telling someone you’re interested in them can be super scary, but it’s the only way to find out if your crush likes you back or not. Here’s how to make the first move, deal with rejection, and figure out if you’re in love.
How do I know if my crush likes me back?
Sometimes crushes feel so strong it’s all you can think about. You obsess over everything they say or do, trying to figure out if they like you back. Having a crush can be exciting, fun, and frustrating, all at the same time.
Flirting and giving you compliments can be a sign someone’s into you. They may also make an effort to talk to you or be near you a lot. But you won’t know for sure if your crush is crushing back unless you talk with them about it or ask them out.
How do I ask someone out?
Most people get nervous about asking out their crush. It definitely takes courage, but these tips can make it a little easier:
- Calm your nerves — breathing, exercise, music, talking to a friend first — whatever makes you relax. Thinking about what you’re going to say ahead of time can also help.
- Keep reminding yourself that you’re awesome, no matter how your crush reacts. Your crush may seem like the most important person in the world right now, but you’re just as great as they are — seriously.
Starting the conversation is usually the hardest part. But asking people about themselves is a good way to get the conversation going. Almost everyone likes to talk about their favorite hobbies, music, sports, movies, and food. And it can help you figure out what you have in common. Keep a few things you want to talk about in the back of your mind to help you avoid awkward silences.
It’ll probably make you both feel more comfortable if you talk when you have a little bit of privacy. Find some time where you can talk without distractions, either in person, on the phone or online. Some people feel better about calling, texting, or messaging online instead. Whatever works for you is totally ok.
If you and your crush are vibing, you could ask them to do something with you — like seeing a movie, studying together, going to a game or concert, etc. You can also try to go out with a group of friends, instead of a one-on-one date. That can take some of the pressure off and help you both feel more comfortable.
And for real: sometimes it feels like there are different rules for girls and guys when it comes to dating and asking people out, but that’s so not true. We’re not in the 1950s anymore — it’s 100% normal and okay for any gender to do the asking!
What do I do if I get rejected?
There’s no way around it — getting rejected sucks. But it happens to everyone at some point in their life (seriously, EVERYONE). And you’ll feel less crappy about it over time, promise.
Getting rejected doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you, it just means you weren’t a good match for that particular person. Sometimes getting rejected has nothing to do with you at all (like maybe your crush doesn’t want to date anybody right now). But don’t worry — you’ll be a good match for someone else. That saying “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” is true, and some of those fish are looking for someone exactly like you.
Give yourself serious credit for asking your crush out. And look on the bright side: now that you know what’s up with them, you can move on and stop wondering/worrying about it. Right now you may feel like you’ll never like anybody else, but the reality is you’ll probably have lots of crushes in the future.
Even though rejection hurts, it’s important to respect your crush’s feelings, so don’t try to change their mind or pressure them into going out with you. You can’t make someone like you, and everyone has the right to say “no.” It might be tempting to get angry or tell them off — don’t. Insulting them definitely won’t make them like you, and it can be hurtful to the other person. Instead of getting angry at your crush, lean on your friends for support. They’ve probably been through this too, and know how it feels. They can also make you feel better and remind you how amazing you are.
How do I know if I’m in love?
Crushing on someone and being super attracted to them is intense. It can definitely feel like you’re falling in love. But truly being in love goes deeper than being really attracted to someone and wanting to be around them all the time. Love means caring for someone deeply and wanting them to be happy. People show love by being there for each other, listening to each other, helping each other grow, doing things to make each other happy, and being patient and kind with each other.
Your parents and other adults you trust can help you figure out whether you’re in love or not. They know how it feels to have a crush, to be attracted to someone, and what it’s like to be in love.
How do I know if my relationship is healthy?
When a relationship is healthy, you and your boyfriend/girlfriend feel good about the relationship most of the time. And a healthy relationship makes you both feel good about yourselves.
If you’re wondering whether your relationship is solid, here are some things to think about:
- Do you listen to each other?
- Do you treat each other like friends?
- Are you proud of each other?
- Are you kind to each other?
- Are you both cool with spending time apart from each other?
- Do you feel secure about the relationship?
- Do you have faith in each other’s decisions?
- Do you both admit when you’re wrong?
- Do you both feel like you can tell the truth?
- Do you talk openly about your feelings, even when it’s hard?
- Do you both get to make decisions about your relationship and how you spend your time?
- Do you give and take equally?
- Do you both make compromises?
- Do you consider both people’s feelings when talking and making decisions?
- Do you talk about your feelings with each other?
- Can you disagree about something without disrespecting each other?
- Do you listen to each other without judging?
What if my relationship isn’t healthy?
Nobody’s relationship is perfect, and people make mistakes. But if you feel like you’re being treated badly, you probably are. Listen to your gut. Healthy relationships make you feel good about yourself — unhealthy relationships don’t.
Lying, cheating, and disrespect are signs of an unhealthy relationship. So is trying to control your boyfriend/girlfriend, even if it’s out of jealousy and even if they say they do it because they love you. Controlling behavior includes things like checking the other person’s phone without permission, keeping track of everything they do on social media, or telling them who they can or can’t hang out with.
If you think your relationship is unhealthy, talk about it. Sometimes you can help fix things by talking out your feelings and making changes to how you treat each other. If you feel unsafe or scared to talk about it, or you’ve tried talking and things aren’t getting better, it might be time to end the relationship. It can be hard, but you — and everyone else — deserve a relationships that’s healthy, with someone who treats you with respect.
What’s the best way to breakup with someone?
Breaking up with someone can be as hard as being dumped yourself. You may be worried about hurting them, or you may feel sad about the breakup even though you know it’s the right thing to do.
Relationships only work when both people want to be in them, and staying in a bad relationship that you don’t want to be in isn’t healthy for either of you. It’s not fair to your boyfriend or girlfriend to keep a relationship going when you’re not feeling it, and it’s only going to hurt more the longer you wait to end it. So it’s better to be honest as soon as possible about wanting to break up, even if it’s really hard.
There are no magic words you can say to make breaking up easy or painless. But you can make breaking up suck less by being straightforward and honest about your feelings (while still trying to be as kind as possible). If you’re not sure what to say, try writing down your feelings and the reasons you want to break up. You can also get advice from your friends or family members.
Sometimes it’s hard to be honest about why you want to break up because you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings. You don’t necessarily have to give a reason, but they’ll probably want to know why the relationship is ending — so be prepared for that question. You can say things like, “You’re a really great person, but I don’t think we’re right for each other” or, “I like you a lot, but I don’t feel ready to be in a relationship right now.” You don’t have to go into details, but it’s not a good idea to make something up or lie either.
There are definitely bad ways to break up with someone. Most people think it’s more respectful to do it in person, not over text or social media. Don’t ask a friend to deliver the news, because you don’t want to face the person yourself — it’s selfish and not fair to your soon-to-be ex.
Acting rude or distant so they’ll just “get the hint” may seem like an easier way to break up, but it actually makes things harder, confusing, and more painful. Ghosting — when you just stop talking, texting, or hanging out without telling them why — is also an uncool way to end a relationship.
It’s not a great idea to break up with someone but then keep trying to hang out or hook up with them when you’re not interested in being in a relationship. You might miss them and it may be tempting, but it can lead the other person on and make them think there’s hope of getting back together. The best thing to do is be clear that the relationship ended, and give each other some space while you heal.
If you’re worried that breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend is unsafe because they might hurt you or themselves, talk with a parent or adult you trust so they can help you stay safe. Read more about leaving an abusive relationship.
My boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with me. How do I deal?
A broken heart can really hurt, but time heals all wounds (no seriously, it does). So how much time do you need to get over it? The answer is different for every person and every breakup.
You probably really cared about your ex and have good memories from your relationship, no matter how bad the breakup was. So do what you need to do — cry, listen to sad music, go for a long walk or run, hang out with your friends, or write in a journal. Whatever works for you. These feelings can be hard to go through, but they’ll get less intense over time. And try not to feel bad about yourself. Just because this relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
Talking with someone who cares about you and is willing to listen can also help. Friends can be a great source of comfort, and don’t forget about your parents! It may feel kind of awkward to open up to them about it, but they’ve got a lot of experience with relationships and breakups — they’ve probably felt exactly like this before and know how much it hurts. Plus, it’s their job to take care of you when you’re sad, so let them help.
It’s normal to be really mad at your ex after a breakup. But try not to post about them on social media. It can lead to major drama and end up embarrassing you — and once something’s online, it’s there forever. If you’re feeling super angry, vent to your friends and family privately instead. Or do something creative or physical, like playing music or exercising, to help work through those feelings.
Some people try and stay friends with their ex, but it can be really hard and confusing to go from being in a relationship to being friends. It’s also not a great idea to keep hooking up with your ex after you break up. Being “friends with benefits” may seem easier than a total breakup when you really miss someone, but it can make you (or them) feel a lot worse in the long run. It’s okay to take time away from your ex on social media, too. That might mean unfriending or unfollowing them forever, or at least until you feel like you’re over it.
Some people also try to heal by finding another boyfriend or girlfriend as quickly as possible. Crushing on someone else can definitely help you feel better in the moment. But if you still have feelings for your ex, it may impact the new relationship and be unfair to the new person. It’s usually better to wait until you’ve healed from an old relationship before starting a new one.
It’s totally normal and okay to be sad after a breakup. But if you’re so depressed from a breakup that it’s affecting your grades, activities, or family/friend relationships, think about talking with a counselor or therapist. If you need help finding a counselor, you can talk with your parents, doctor, school counselor, or the staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center.
What counts as cheating?
People have different opinions about what cheating is. So it’s up to you and your boyfriend/girlfriend to decide what cheating means for your relationship. This means you have to talk honestly with them about it, and set limits you both feel comfortable with.
Some ways to tell that something you’re doing might count as cheating are:
- You have to hide or lie about what you’re doing.
- You think your boyfriend or girlfriend would be upset if they found out.
- You feel guilty about it.
- You wouldn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend to do it.
Betraying your boyfriend or girlfriend’s trust can be really painful and have long-term effects on your relationship. If you’re constantly thinking about cheating or want to cheat, it may be a sign that you don’t want to be in this relationship. And even though breaking up with someone sucks, it’s usually less hurtful than cheating on them behind their back. Cheating on your partner a lot and lying to them about it isn’t respectful — it’s abusive behavior.