How To Deal When Your Crush Doesn’t Like You Back

You finally got up the nerve to do something about that crush you’ve been harboring for months or years. You mustered up the courage and let them know how you feel…and you didn’t get the response you were hoping for. First: I am so, so sorry. That kind of heartbreak is truly awful. If you’re struggling with how to deal with this new, fresh pain, I have some words of wisdom from someone with unfortunate recent experience on this topic.

1. Realize that it’s okay not to be okay.

You’re strong, I get it. But you don’t have to be strong right now. You can cry and be sad, and feel like the world is ending. There’s this urge to be okay, but you know what? You’re not okay, and that’s okay. Sit in your feelings. Wallow if you have to. It may feel self-indulgent, but it’s all a part of the process.

2. Don’t listen to the mean voice in your head.

There’s probably a voice in your head saying things you really don’t need right now. So I’m here to tell you: You’re not stupid. You’re not stupid for falling for someone who didn’t like you. You’re not stupid for reading signs that weren’t there. You’re not stupid for caring. You’re not stupid at all.

3. Let it be a big deal.

Don’t try to diminish what you’re going through by telling yourself it’s “just a crush.” If it feels like a big deal, then it is one.

4. Take a few days off if you can.

If you can’t take actual work off–which is a luxury few people can actually afford–you can take time off other things. This is a perfectly acceptable excuse to skip out on drinks with friends or dinner at your parents. It can be hard to actually heal when you’re so busy distracting yourself. Take the time you need.

5. Talk it out with your friends.

Get together with the people you trust the most and let them be your sounding board. Pick people who are super emotionally mature and supportive and cry it out with them. If you can’t meet in person, there’s always a super long text thread to get it all out. Keeping it in is never the answer. Speaking of which…

6. Set up an appointment with a therapist.

Like taking time off work, this might be a luxury you can’t afford or don’t have access to. But if you can swing it, talking it out with a professional is always a good choice.

7. Avoid cute crush content for a while.

I made this mistake. Before the heartbreak, I’d been power-watching Jim and Pam episodes of The Office and YouTube compilations of their cutest moments. Then I tried to do that afterward and all the cuteness of their relationship was replaced with heartbreak. Now isn’t the time to watch couples fall in love. Save that for when you’re feeling better.

8. Limit how much you see your crush.

This is probably the hardest one on the list. If this was a crush on a barista, it’s relatively easy to just choose a different Starbucks. But what if you had a crush on a friend or coworker? It’s a lot harder to extricate yourself. For now, try to limit contact as much as possible. But if you are still feeling fresh heartbreak even months later, you might have to make some tough decisions. In the end, being happy and healthy is the most important thing.

9. Write an article about it.

Okay, maybe not everyone can do this one. But that’s what I’m doing right now. Getting it all out, in whatever artform works best for you, is a good way to help organize your thoughts and get over it. Let’s hope this works. Cross your fingers for me.