8 Rules for Navigating Your Crush

It’s hard to type with your thumb soaking in lemon juice, so I hope you appreciate how painful it is to write this post. I chopped a jalapeno earlier without the presence of mind to use gloves, and my fingers have burst into flames since then. (Don’t ask what happened when I touched my nose!)

I caught up with a best friend of mine last night, and we did what all twenty-something girls do when they get together after a long absence: eat ice cream and drink sangria while talking about their lives. It was so nice to receive some encouragement and be able to give some as well. Most of our conversation was about how frustrated we are being single. None of us have ever had any serious relationship, and it’s really starting to get annoying. I know the only reason we feel this way is because society tells us that we “should” have had a relationship by now, so we assume that because we don’t there must be something wrong with us. Even though I know this isn’t true, that doesn’t help those feelings of inadequacy and loneliness go away. We sort of started an informal “singles support group” so we can remind ourselves how awesome we are and how fun it is to be single. Yeah…I know that’s kind of pathetic and I don’t care.

Hearing some of the horror stories with guys my friend has gone through led us to create a list of eight “rules” to use when interacting with guys we have crushes on. Hopefully, we can stick to these and avoid situations like having a first date at Golden Corral with a guy and his little brother.

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  1. Maintain the illusion. Most guys secretly know that girls do all the disgusting things that they do, but that doesn’t mean they want to witness these events. Squeeze those cheeks, ladies, until you can get to a bathroom. It will also prevent a lot of embarrassment if you do not do things like burp, pick your nose, or snort in front of them – just a suggestion!
  2. Don’t get wasted. It is fine to show guys that you like to have a good time, but you shouldn’t drink so much that you can’t control your behavior in front of them. This is a good way to become “just one of the guys” or even worse, make them a babysitter. Stick to one drink per hour. Also, do not under any circumstances drunk text your crush! Trust me on this one.
  3. Moderation is key. Something has happened to the guy-girl dynamic that has resulted in many guys feeling insecure in front of assertive girls (#me). For some reason, (and I’m completely generalizing here, so don’t get upset), guys don’t like to pursue girls they see as too aggressive or “forward”. If you think your crush is one of these, turning it down a notch or two may not be a bad idea. I realize this sounds like coddling the male ego, and…it kind of is. The superiority guys learn through socialization and gender roles is an illusion, but letting them down easy isn’t the worst thing you can do. (I’m not saying it’s right; I’m saying it’ll most likely work.)
  4. Open up slowly. I hear a lot of stories about girls who overshare information about their lives in order to develop trust with a guy faster. I think this can backfire as guys could think you are self-centered, annoying or boring (this works the other way too). So, try scaling back on how much you share about your life, especially the everyday details. Wait for them to ask questions, and be genuinely interested in them too. People love talking about themselves, but they love a good listener even more.
  5. Give adequate encouragement. Guys are dense and usually can’t figure out if a girl likes them or not (even though you are clearly doing everything you can to show them you’re interested). “Encouraging” your crush to pursue you will look different for every guy. This rule is really about picking up on visual cues and reading between the lines so you can gauge how your crush really feels about you. (This is where girls also come up with misguided ideas that a guy likes her when he doesn’t. If you’re unsure, consult your girlfriends and provide evidence.) If he is “making a move” and you misinterpret it, that’s a lost opportunity to show that you’re interested in return. However you give encouragement, remember not to overdo it; again, moderation is key.
  6. Be consistent. Sending mixed signals is a great way to confuse guys that you like. If you like a guy but don’t necessarily trust him yet, you can do a few things: 1. Create opportunities to get to know each other, so you can develop this trust. 2. Figure out why exactly you like this guy. If your gut is telling you not to trust him, there’s probably a good reason not to. 3. Decide to trust him and go from there. This is a high risk option, but sometimes our own insecurities can prevent us from acting on our feelings and we can miss out on opportunities.
  7. Be upfront. At some point, the flirtation and verbal jousting need to result in something; a date, a relationship, a friendship, etc. If someone doesn’t say something definitive about your relationship status, you risk finding out years later that he used to have a crush on you. If you think your crush likes you too but doesn’t want to have “the conversation”, you owe it to yourself to bring it up. If you don’t, you risk being led on by a guy who doesn’t want a relationship. Asking him out on a date may not be the end of the world; he could say yes, but be prepared for the worst. Use your discernment to figure out the right time for this. It doesn’t have to be awkward, but if you’re like me, it will be.
  8. Move on. Most of your crushes won’t result in a relationship. If you ask a crush out or talk to him about your “status” and he rejects you, move on. Don’t be that girl who pines for a guy that doesn’t want her. No guy is that great if he doesn’t realize how awesome you are. You deserve to be with a guy that knows how cool you are. Moving on from your crush is the only way you’re going to find him.

What do you all think? Are these rules helpful? Did I miss something?

Beck

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What Are You?

Today, I attended the Women of Color Institute conference at my school. While this conference was very inspirational and empowering, I couldn’t help but feel a bit frustrated by my awkward position as biracial. Most of the speakers and attendees were African-American, with a few Latina and Asian-American participants. And then there was me, half Indian and half White. I don’t believe that I was the only biracial or mixed race woman there, but if there were others present, I wasn’t able to distinguish them from the group. Most of time this doesn’t bother me, but I quickly grow silent when the topics such as African-American hair care come up (and it always comes up). I don’t quite fit in.

Most people who are biracial choose to favor one part of their identity over the other in order to participate fully in that race or ethnic culture. I don’t have that ability. Sure, technically I’m Asian-American, but no one thinks of India when someone says “Asia”. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know that India is part of Asia. Even some Asian-American people I have met look confused when I try to identify myself as Asian. Then, when I say I’m Indian, people ask me what tribe I’m in and I have to further clarify my racial identity.

Trying to pass as White was never really an option for me either. Living in the US, it’s easier to identify more with the majority culture, but no one ever looks at me and thinks, “That girl is white.” I’m not white, I’m half white; historically and culturally, there’s a huge difference. I can’t ignore the Indian part of me and I don’t want to. Nor would White people accept me if I tried.

Coming to a predominantly white institution really emphasizes my otherness, so I never felt comfortable hanging out with huge groups of white students. Nor did I feel welcome in the small Black community on campus. Even though I’m a woman of color and feel some affiliation with Black culture, when it comes down to it, I am not Black and I will never know what it’s like to be a Black woman in the US. And while I do look Hispanic, I’m not, so it’s not as though I could insert myself into their organizations or social groups either. In fact, it bothers me when people mislabel me as Hispanic, because it emphasizes the fact that I don’t really look Indian, even though I am.

I know what you’re thinking, “Why aren’t you making friends with the Indian students?” Well, reader, I cannot participate in the Indian culture completely for two reasons: I don’t know Hindi, and I’m a Christian. Knowing the language would open up new opportunities to participate in the shared stories, songs, and traditions of India. Because I have not yet learned the language, participation in these aspects of culture, shallow though they are, is more difficult. I listen to and sing Hindi songs and I watch Hindi films, but my understanding of them will always be through a Western and English filter. Much of Indian culture, values, and traditions also come from a shared participation of Hinduism. I’m not Hindu, so many of those aspects of Indian culture are lost to me. So yes, I am Indian, but only half Indian, and other Indian people tend to ignore me because I cannot participate in their culture fully.

So, where does that leave me? Nowhere and everywhere. I don’t fit into the ineffective and over-simplified categories of race in the US. But, this is what sometimes makes me feel frustrated and sometimes fortunate. I have a double consciousness and I can code switch really well. I know what it is like to be a minority in the US. I also know what it is like to not be a minority in the US. As a racially ambiguous person on the surface, I am faced with discrimination and racism. However, because I am not a part of a historically marginalized group, the stereotype threat I face is not as well-defined as that of African-American or Hispanic people. In other words, people are racist, but they’re not sure what I am, so they can’t make specific negative assumptions about who I am. This is good because it gives me more opportunities to define myself before others try to define me. This is also frustrating on days like today, when I wish I could identify easily with one race or another in order to feel a stronger sense of community and sisterhood. I love being biracial because I am proud of both sides of my racial identity, but if you don’t learn how to navigate around racial barriers and code switch, it is a lonely existence.

Beck

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Don’t be afraid.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love

Sex and Love in That Order?

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There’s something I’ve noticed about loves stories in movies and tv shows that has been bothering me for a while: People fall in love by having sex. Or they don’t realize they are in love with someone until they have amazing mind-blowing sex with them.

Think about it. How many tv shows and movies have you seen that revolve around a couple having sex and suddenly realizing they’re meant to be? Chandler and Monica from Friends, Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally; the friends with benefits story arc is well known and the list of examples could go on forever. Sometimes there’s a PG version of this when couples kiss and things change, but for the most part, I feel people jump right to sex and fall in love.

What bothers me about this is that it’s a completely unrealistic expectation and is a harmful model to follow when beginning a relationship. I know this is a plot device used to escalate the falling-in-love process in film, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s unrealistic to think that just because you have sex with someone you like, or are even in love with, that they will suddenly fall in love with you. People, men and women, don’t “call back” all the time, probably most of the time. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, I’m not saying this doesn’t happen in real life occasionally, but I think the whole “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free” adage applies here. Why be in a relationship if you can have sex and sleep around without any consequences? People are selfish, especially college students, and will seek relationships that will benefit them and not you. If you buy in to this fairy tale that the media sells us and expect “true love” after having sex, you can end up getting hurt physically and emotionally (sexual assault, STDs, unwanted pregnancy to name a few).

Your milkshake may bring all the boys to the yard, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stay there and love you or marry you.

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Sex changes things. Your body releases hormones that make you form attachments to the one you sleep with, which can make you fall in love or at least become infatuated. (That’s why being friends with benefits doesn’t work most of the time.) I’m not saying women can’t or don’t enjoy casual sexual relationships, I just think it’s difficult to do so without getting feelings involved eventually. When enough of these failed experiences occur, it can make you feel insecure, desperate, and unworthy of a healthy relationship, which further perpetuates the potentially harmful behavior. That’s why I think keeping your pants on before marriage is a good idea. I’m a Christian, so this belief originated from my knowledge of the Bible. But even if I wasn’t a Christian, I would still want to wait until marriage, because like I said, sex changes things. I wouldn’t want to form a strong emotional and physical connection with someone who won’t be there when I wake up. It damages you, even if you don’t or can’t realize it now.

I’ve never been in love or had sex, so I don’t speak from experience, but I have witnessed my friends go through horrifying and damaging relationships/non-relationships throughout college. It pains me to see them go through things like that. I’m not saying everyone needs to convert to Christianity (although that would be awesome). I am saying people need to have realistic expectations when they begin a physical relationship with someone. Ask yourself if you are okay with them walking away. Because they probably will. If not, zip up your pants and find someone who wants to stick around. If you are okay with them walking away, that’s a whole other issue, because you deserve to have someone stick around. Everyone deserves to be with someone who loves them, not just someone who wants to get in his or her pants. I’m okay with waiting for that person, because I know I’m not missing out on anything except a lot of heartbreak and bad sexual souvenirs.

Beck

PS: I was going to name this post “Great SEXpectations” but I talked myself out of it. Haha

 

Know Thyself

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The most interesting LEAD workshop I attended was the TAIS Debrief, which went over my scores for The Attentional Interpersonal Style Inventory (TAIS).  A description from the makers: “The TAIS measures constructs crucial to effective performance, especially performance in high pressure situations…results will emphasize how you are likely to react under stressful conditions and will illustrate how pressure affects your ability to concentrate, stay motivated, and communicate effectively.” This test is so legit and it’s interesting to hear how I compare with others tested. It didn’t really tell me too much that I didn’t know already, but it did bring some problems to my attention. haha Get it? I’m hilarious.

What I learned from the test was that I am best at paying attention to a specific task for long periods of time, while being relatively good at being aware of my environment and thinking conceptually. My biggest distractions are internal, which basically means I get caught up over-thinking things and dealing with my emotions. #preach

I love being busy and having a diverse number of activities, but that can backfire when my schedule is too full. #college I scored high in the need to control others, which means I like leading others, and high in self-confidence, which means I believe in myself. But my self-critical score was low, which means I’m hard on myself when I make mistakes. #mylife I’m really intellectually competitive, even with myself, and this intimidates people. #maybethisiswhyI’msingle

One of the most interesting, but not surprising, results was that I am equally extroverted and introverted; my scores in both categories were the same. This means that I enjoy being with people and being in the spotlight, as well as needing alone time and reflecting. According to the test, this is very rare and is confusing for people who think you have to be one or the other. This wasn’t surprising because I’ve known this for a while. I’m always borderline when I take the Myers-Briggs and I’ve noticed that I slowly go insane when I’m stuck in the house for more than two days or constantly out of the house for a few days.

The last part of the results basically told me that I like to talk and express my ideas, which are generally good ideas and encouraging to others. It also said that I need to listen more, which I’ve noticed is not my strongest attribute although I am working on it. I really like to talk, and as you can read from this blog I have a lot to say. The results also indicated that I have troubled voicing concerns or problems to others because I think it will ruin relationships. I have a tendency to swallow my feelings and deal with them internally rather than addressing the problem, probably because I’m non-confrontational when it comes to dealing with coworkers. People also tell me that I’m hypersensitive because I take criticism personally, so when something is wrong, I usually just think it’s my problem and try to move on. I think this blog helps me vent that frustration indirectly though. Maybe that’s a good thing?

Congratulations, you now know more than you ever wanted to know about me.

Beck