You Need Help: Should I Tell My Crush How I Feel?

Q:

Hi there! Over the summer I was taking a class at a different university than the one I attend and developed a crush on my lab partner throughout the semester. Although our friendship didn’t get as personal and developed as I hoped, we still got along great and I really valued our friendship as I didn’t know anyone there. Fast forward to now a couple months later and I am no longer on her campus but both uni’s are in the same city. We’ve only texted a few times and I still get the same butterflies seeing her texts as when I saw her in person. I can’t stop thinking about her and I want to ask her out but I’m worried the feelings aren’t as reciprocated. Like I said, we rarely talked about much other than the class but we often did joke around with each other. She is insanely smart and beautiful and I really want to get to know her but I don’t know if (1) it’s weird that we only text once a month then I drop this bomb on her or (2) if she’s even queer. Should I admit my feelings to her or find another way to get her out of my head?

A:

Hi friend! Oooh crushes, so much fun but also sometimes so painful. Just reading your descriptions of this girl and your crush really put me back in the crushing mindset. So, thank you for letting this tired new mom in a longterm relationship experience your crush butterflies vicariously.

Okay, onto business. It sounds like you want to do something about this crush. You’re wondering if you should admit your feelings to her, but you’re not sure if she’s queer or not. Let’s look practically at all the options:

1. Tell her you are into her via text without ascertaining if she’s queer first.

This is a bold move, but maybe that’s your style? (I kind of doubt it from reading your letter, but we’re going through all the possible options here). Just text: “Hey I think you’re cool and smart. Do you want to go on a date?” One bonus of this option is it’s like ripping off the bandaid. You just get it over with! And it’s not as scary as telling her in person, for sure. But spilling your feelings like this leaves you vulnerable. You’d have to be prepared for all possible outcomes. She tells you she’s straight but flattered! She never responds and you never know why, and you remember her as probably a homophobe. She is gay but already has a girlfriend. Or, of course, she is interested in you and impressed by your boldness. I don’t think this should be your go-to move, but it has its merits. If it goes badly, you don’t have to see her again since you don’t go to the same school!

2. Try to slyly figure out if she’s queer indirectly and if she seems to be, tell her you’re into her.

This option requires being a bit sneaky and fake acting casual, but that’s a lot easier to pull off via text than in person. Given what you know about her, what kind of queer hint could you drop to see if she picks it up? You could ask her if she’s going to watch the new season of The L Word. You could ask if she likes Tegan and Sara’s new album. You could mention a local queer event that’s already passed and ask if she went. Drop into the conversation what you did for Pride this year. If she is queer, I think odds are pretty high that she’ll answer in some way that indicates it, even if it’s “God I hate The L Word! Why are queer women so obsessed with it?” But if she doesn’t pick up on the reference, you might have to try more than one, just to be sure. I’m not sure from your letter if you’re connected with her on social media, but you could also do this investigative work there too! Then, you go for it and just ask her out, all casual like: “want to go on a drinks / coffee date / go to the park / other lowkey date hangout?” FWIW, I like this option because I think it’s very likely she’ll know you’re trying to figure out if she’s queer if she is, but will be clueless if she’s straight. That leaves you in a less vulnerable position. You can know she’s straight but she still won’t have any idea about your crush. I think you should be clear you’re asking her on a date if you get that far though! Avoid her or you wondering, “is this a date?” Use the word date!

3. Directly ask her if she’s queer and if she is, tell her you’re into her.

You could literally just text “Hey, this is kind of out of left field, but do you date women?” If she responds yes, ask her out! If she responds no, you can save face and say something like “Okay cool I was just wondering if I should invite you to this LGBTQ get-together my friend’s hosting.” The thing with the unsubtleness of this option is she might get the idea you have a crush on her even if she is straight, which might embarrass you or cause awkwardness in any attempts at future friendship. That said, it seems like you’re crushing pretty hard and friendship with a straight girl you want to date is a bad idea anyway.

4. “Get her out of your head” some other way — stop contacting her, get out to some queer events, and try to meet other potential crushes

Overall I don’t think you have much to lose in this situation with Crush Girl since your in person relationship situation with her has ended. So while simply stopping texting with her (and deleting her number) is definitely an option, I don’t think it’s the best one. Then you’ll never know!! What if she is crushing on you and is wondering if you’re queer?? In my experience, we more often regret not doing something than doing it. Will it suck if you ask her out and she says no, for whatever reason? Yeah, it will. But I don’t think in the end you’ll regret it. At least you’ll know, and then that’ll make it easier to move on to other girls who will like you back.

In case it isn’t already clear, my vote is for option two. But I also think option three is great! If this girl isn’t interested in you, that’s her loss. Protect your queer heart if she isn’t, though, and cut the few little friendship ties you have with her for at least 6 months or more or forever if need be. You don’t want to get into a situation where you’re pining with unrequited love for your friend who you can’t really be just friends with because you have romantic feelings for her! I am sending you all the good queer dating vibes!! Go get her!


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Casey

Known in some internet circles as Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, Casey Stepaniuk is a writer, librarian, and new parent. She writes for Book Riot and Autostraddle about queer and/or bookish stuff. Ask her about cats, bisexuality, libraries, queer books, drinking tea, and her baby. Her website is Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian. Find her on Twitter, Litsy, Storygraph Goodreads and Instagram.

Casey has written 124 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. This was such a lovely and kind response to the ask ❤️

    Love that you approach problems through a “here are multiple solutions with pros/cons”, which is exactly what I like to do when stuck on a work/life issue! It gives the asker a whole range of options to go for, without judging which one they select

  2. Curious to know how this goes. Just from reading the clues (they only spoke about school stuff, albeit with a few laughs, and they don’t text regularly let alone meet up), it doesn’t seem like
    the crush is reciprocated. But! Lab partner could also be messaging her friends/fave site about the exact same thing. Both scared to push for more, confusion abounds. Let’s hope it’s that.

    • While this may be true, the person could simply have never viewed the relationship through a potential crush lens, and will be pleasantly surprised by the attention, and say yes!

  3. I think the letter writer should casually invite this crush to hang out. Something friendly and lower stakes if solo (like coffee) or to a group gathering/event. Maybe the crush mentioned some hobbies or interests that could serve as the basis for an outing. Heck, maybe they could study together or meet up to chat about school, assuming similar majors albeit different schools. The letter writer could use their experience in the lab class and the rapport between the two of them as pretext, if there’s need for that. Whatever is most organic. I think they should get to know one another a bit better before the letter writer makes bold overtures via text to ascertain the crush’s dating preferences and if the attraction is mutual. Hanging out together is a way for the letter writer to gather intel, build a deeper relationship, and possibly charm the socks off their crush. The crush’s response to an invitation can also be a more definitive indicator of how they feel about the letter writer and whether there is any desire to be more than former classmates/current acquaintances and infrequent texting buds.

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