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#428: My crush told everyone about my crush.

Dear Captain Awkward:

I told my crush that I like him and he said he wouldn’t tell anyone and he told people. Now everybody knows. What should I do?

Red Head

Dear Red Head:

Every single person that that guy told has had a crush on someone themselves, so hopefully they’ll be cool and not judge or try to embarrass you about it.

You might get some gentle teasing or people bringing it up. If that happens, I suggest you pause for a second, roll your eyes, and say “Correction. I did have a crush.”  Practice saying it in the mirror or with a friend so you won’t get flustered.

You were brave and cool for telling your crush about your feelings, and everyone here is secretly giving you an awkward high five. You couldn’t have predicted he’d act like a big jerk who would use your sincerely expressed feelings to feed his ego, and you didn’t do anything to be embarrassed about. Even if he didn’t share your feelings, the right thing to do in that scenario is to say “I wish I felt the same, but I am very flattered and glad you told me. Of course I won’t tell anyone.” And then duh, don’t tell anyone.

Keep being awesome and awkward.

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38 comments
  1. elsiekate said:

    my reaction is a little stronger than the captain’s–my first thought is that this person has saved you a lot of time and trouble by letting you know right out of the gate that they can’t be relied upon to keep promises.

    i hope your next crush is secretly crushing on you and that the two of you have an awesome time!

    • Manatee said:

      Yup. Bullet dodged!

      • Haha. Wow, yep. I’m just picturing Neo doing his matrix dodge with miniature movies of crappy dates whizzing by his head.

  2. SassQueen said:

    LW, you are a bad ass. I could never get up the gumption to tell my crushes about the crush. Rock on, and I can’t WAIT for you to try your cutting CA script on someone!

  3. kinelfire said:

    Urgh. What a dickish thing to do. Hopefully everyone who he has told will see him as you probably now do.

    The silver lining might be that the people who think the most hilarious thing of EVAR to tease you about it? They’re not really worth the time or effort. They’ll self-sort like that.

    Still, it hurts when your crush doesn’t reciprocate and even more when they actively try to humiliate. Deep breath. You’ll get through and this time next year, when you remember who he is (it will take a few minutes) you will wonder what you ever saw in him. And he will probably still be a bit pathetic.

  4. seenonflickr said:

    Way to go, LW! You used your words in a mature and awesome way, even though it was probably really scary. (Not like some, who used the Passive Aggressive *Anonymous* Mix Tape of FEEEEEEELINGS Left at his Locker to try to tell her crush she liked him.) (Um, that was me. It didn’t work.)

    I think the Captain’s advice is spot-on. This guy has shown his true (jerky) colours, and I think her suggested response is a good one.

    And to be honest, this might happen again with another crush. You or the people you crush on might be in an age bracket where they act like jerks when confronted with honesty and emotion, eg, “I like you as more than a friend”. A jerky reaction is not a reflection of you! Keep on being awesome and using your words!

  5. Vivinator said:

    Capt Awkward’s “I *did* have a crush” line is actually the best. Don’t deny your feelings because that will only make the teasing worse and everyone will know you’re not being honest. With this line, you’re copping to the feelings but making it clear that what he did wasn’t cool. LW, you’re awesome for telling your crush! So few people take the honesty route and it really is the best way to handle feelings. Sorry he acted like a jerk!

  6. lakeline said:

    That “did have a crush” line is really the best. And I’m so impressed that you told him – maybe it’ll be good practice for future tellings and pretty soon the crushes will be emotionally functional enough to respond without the assholery.

  7. M Dubz said:

    LW,

    I’m sorry, that really really sucks. I hope you will still feel comfortable telling crushes about your crush in the future though, because some day you will meet a person who is not a jerk, and will like you back, but in that situation the only way to make awesome dating times happen is by using your words! Good luck, and keep being awesome!

  8. Leonine said:

    You get 100 points for courage! You took a risk by telling him how you felt and that’s an inherently scary thing to do, at any age and in any circumstances. I think those kinds of risks are always worth it even if you don’t get the outcome you were hoping for – in this case, the outcome was that you discovered Crushguy is an idiot, so that’s useful knowledge right there.

  9. Kacienna said:

    I get the sense that the LW is young – maybe high school age. And I apologize if I’ve misread that; my thinking so is mostly based on the letter being so concise about “everybody knows” – it hasn’t been since high school that there’s been an “everybody” for me rather than “everybody in x friend group” but of course there are other explanations for this.

    Anyway, LW, if you are in high school, I also want you to know that it gets so much better! I was one of the lucky ones that loved high school (mostly by being a happy introvert and having blinders on), and I still love adulthood far more. If you’re in high school and are using your words to tell your crush directly about your feelings, you’re more mature than many of your peers. As you grow up, more people become more mature, and better behavior becomes more common (though there are still jerks, as the letters here show). And more people have more kinds of experiences and hopefully develop more empathy. And you’ll have more experiences and survive more awkward times and become more confident in your ability to get through them – which happens mostly by practice – few of us are born confident (I sure wasn’t!) and we’re not always socialized to be. And you’ll have more opportunity to choose who you hang out with and to what degree. In the meantime, keep being brave and awesome and using your words!

    TD;DR – if LW is in high school: social life gets so much better after! Stay strong!

  10. Copcher said:

    So many awkward high fives for telling your crush your feelings! That’s a hard thing to do and it sucks when people use that moment of vulnerability to put you down, but those people kinda suck. The Captain’s line is really good. Anyone who keeps bugging you after that, maybe insisting that you still have a crush or teasing you for ever feeling that way or anything like that, is not worth your time. You are being awesome. They are not.

  11. Tucker said:

    “everyone here is secretly giving you an awkward high five”

    Some of us are doing it not-so-secretly. And thirding the “*rolleyes* /did/ have a crush” line.

  12. Mimey said:

    What a nasty thing for your [ex-]crush to do! Kudos to you for telling him in the first place. It took me awhile, but I now always tell my crushes when I like them, almost as soon as I realize it’s true. Even though more times than not they’re just flattered and then we go back to being friends, it’s worth it for the other times when they get all fluttery and say, “Oh I crush you too!” and then we make out.

  13. anadelis said:

    Red Head,

    Hey, I was in a similar situation around 5-ish years ago, in college. I lived in the dorms and I had a crush on my best guy friend. He was talking to (unbeknownst to me) with the intention of dating the girl who lived in the room next to me. One night, in his car, we were talking and I told him about my feelings. He turned me down and explained his feelings for my dorm mate. I got upset and dramatically ran out of his car and back to my dorm hall.

    A few weeks later, in between I was putting the crush behind me and trying to be friends with my friendcrush, I was sitting in a lounge on campus when I heard someone talking on their phone. “Yeah, she’s here… I know I am not going to say anything… She better hope I don’t punch her.” I turned around and it was her staring right at me. I texted him later and told him I didn’t want to have anything to do with him because he told her and (as I felt) shit on our friendship.

    He became upset and sent me a bunch of sad texts/messages/aims about losing our friendship etc. I blocked him on everything social.

    It was really shitty. So I know how you feel. But maybe, like my ex best friend, he is using it as a mark of pride like “LW has a crush on me, I am so desirable, everyone look at me!” If he is going to tell everyone about your feelings and make it so everyone has to be involved than he isn’t really for you anyway. So ignore him, block him, give him the cold shoulder. If someone says, “I heard you have a crush on X.” Say, “I don’t even know who that is.”

    • Wow, what bullshit! Having a crush is NOT a punchable offense and nor is telling them about it, especially if you don’t even know he actually likes someone else. You’re well shot of both of them.

      • How does this train of thought even go? But welp, I probably am too weirded out by the “people who like my crush are dangerous [insert adjectives] assholes” camp to understand.

  14. Elle said:

    Yeah, I’ve been on the other side of this (when I was like 20) and I don’t think the ex is necessarily a jerk. She says everyone knows, she didn’t say he told everyone. I’m sorry but I tell stuff to my friends. I don’t run around saying sh*t to feed my ego but I can’t really keep a secret about non SERIOUS things. Most people can’t. Especially if it’s something like this. I can imagine telling my best friend, and then it somehow getting out despite best efforts. Small friendship group and “everyone knows”. No one is evil or mean.

    It’s also not that big a deal. Everyone has had crushes. People will understand. Not sure what you have to be ashamed of.

    • hummingbear said:

      In high school especially, someone working up the courage to confess their feelings and risking rejection is pretty serious to that person (and as far as my hazy memories can tell me, “everyone” acknowledges this. Stuff is Serious in high school that is less so later in life, when you have more practice.) Plus there’s the fact that he promised not to tell anyone, and then broke his word. Both of these point to him not respecting LW’s feelings and needs. It doesn’t make him evil or mean, likely just young and thoughtless, but he did a mean thing. And would probably not make a great boyfriend for someone sensitive.

    • Revolver said:

      This is a longer version of dismissing someone by saying they’re expressing “First World Problems.” Just because it’s not a Big Deal to you doesn’t mean LW has to define it in the same way.

    • Guava said:

      I think it all depends on context. It can be evil or mean to tell everyone that someone confessed to having a crush on you, if they’re being all: “Ewww, can you believe it? Like I’d ever!” We don’t know that for sure. If he is telling tons and tons of people, he could be doing it expressly to make fun of LW, or he could just be a giant gossip. Either way, I think it’s totally reasonable that LW’s feelings would be hurt by that reaction.

      • currently mulling over changing username said:

        This was my reaction too, like I wouldn’t make it a topic of conversation for fun but I would probably tell my best friend privately because that is how I process things.

        That said, this IS different because he -promised- he wouldn’t tell, but I don’t think it makes sense to immediately assume that he did it to feed his ego. Benefit of the doubt, but especially if everyone is young, people do dumb hurtful shit without it necessarily being for actual jerk reasons.

    • thneedle said:

      She says everyone knows, she didn’t say he told everyone.

      Actually, you should re-read. From the original letter: “and he said he wouldn’t tell anyone and he told people”

  15. I want to make you tea and cake and then help you verbally trash the person who did this.

    As others have said, at least now you know what kind of a person he truly was, and now you can roll your eyes and say “I know, right? Him! Ha!” to people who ask if you liked Crush.

  16. rinna2412 said:

    You are so much braver than I’ve ever been–seriously. Congratulations on Using Your Words! Even though it didn’t turn out the way you wanted, it’s an awesome thing to do.

    Nth-ing the Captain’s script. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, “everyone” will have moved on to other things.

  17. Congratulations, LW! Telling your crush that you have a crush on them can be super super hard!

    Sometimes they crush you back, but sometimes they do not and you know beforehand how they feel about you. It sucks. It really does.

    But you know what, LW? Most people have crushes. Most of those people are embarrassed to tell their crush about their crush. So most of the “Everybody” who knows about your crush will know how hard what you did was.

    I know it hurts but my advice will be to try and laugh it off until the time passes. If you can’t find enough truth in “I DID have a crush” as other people are suggesting (because unfortunately one episode of jerkiness is frequently not enough to make my crushes fizzle out) then I’d advise saying, with as much humour as you can summon “oh my gosh and then he went and told everyone about it, how embarrassing”. I have found, paradoxically, that it less embarrassing to say “oh my gosh, I am so embarrassed by thing X” than it is to just be embarrassed about the thing and worry about how red my face is getting.

    Good luck, LW! Crushes can be hard to stamp out unless you grow a new one and you might not be ready for that. I recommend celebrity crushes for that purpose so go look at tumblr for a while or something 🙂

    • Revolver said:

      Yes, I have also found that verbalizing embarrassment or awkwardness helps a lot in reducing it!

    • Yep the ‘wow that’s embarrassing’ line is always a good diffuser! And if you are struggling with the ‘I DID have a crush’ line, maybe try something like: ‘In a way, I’m glad it happened. Better to find out he’s a bit of a douche now, right?’ Because your (ex? I hope) crush – a bit of a douche.

  18. Prisca said:

    Speaking of this, I have a question as well captain awkward:
    This time I don’t have a crush but I have a tendency to be manipulated by my friends saying I do like the guy but I really don’t think so, but everyone already told him I have a crush on him. Aaand he has been avoiding me lately because of it. (i think and obviously he doesn’t like me?) How do I tell him I don’t so ever have a crush on him? should I text him? I don’t want to feel weird around him because I have just known the guy, or should I just go aorund normally when he is around?

    • JenniferP said:

      Go around normally! Don’t bring it up unless he does.

      • Also, possibly consider looking about for some new friends? Because that is uncool behaviour!

  19. I haven’t noticed anyone saying this, but…

    It’s okay to still have crushy feelings on this guy, too. It’s hard to get over a crush! And even though you know he’s a jerk and you don’t actually want to date him, maybe your wishful thinking brain is going around saying What If and all that.

    That’s okay! It’s normal! It will pass and get better, really it will.

  20. Guava said:

    I think it was super immature of your crush to tell so many people about it. Sure, maybe tell a close friend or two, but everyone? Lame.

    A guy in college did this to me. Turned out he was only nice to me because he liked my friend, and then after I told him how I felt, he treated me like Scary Fatal Attraction Lady, complete with eye rolling and turning away when I (once) awkwardly tried to say hi to him after my confession. Problem was, we had tons of friends in common and several classes together and I got tired of him treating me like a stalker when I was just trying to go about my everyday business.

    So I finally confronted him at a party and said, “Look, I USED to have a crush on you but trust me, it is OVER. I am not pining with love over here, and I am not following you. I see you three times a week because you are in three of my classes. Can we stop this shit already?”

    It got a lot better after that.

    • Good for you for saying that! People can be really uncertain how to handle news of an unrequited crush.

  21. Emmers said:

    God, I wish I’d had you INTESTINES OF IRON when I was your age. (Regardless of what your actual age is, there’s a good chance it’s younger than mine.) It took me *so* long to come out of my shell. Godspeed, LW.

  22. sp4rema said:

    *hugs* Yeah, your crush acted like a jerk and you definitely deserve better. You should still feel proud of yourself for telling him, and be relieved about the bullet you dodged. And another silver lining too – anyone with an ounce of sense will also see this guy can’t be trusted, and maybe the next girl he asks out will turn him down because she doesn’t want to go out with a guy who lies and spreads gossip (maybe not, but it’s a nice thought!)

    When I was in high school, one time I told a guy I had feelings for him and he was really cool about it at the time and then a few weeks later he and a bunch of his friends stood around mocking me and making obscene gestures and it was basically the worst…

    And then a few months after that I started dating a girl who was super awesome and I was really into, and I got to see his face when we walked past holding hands and it was the best revenge ever.

    I hope your story has a similarly happy ending 🙂

  23. Shora said:

    Having a crush on someone is nothing to be ashamed of, despite what popular media and middle school have taught us. If you act like it’s nothing to be ashamed of and no big deal, people will follow your lead and not bug you about it.

  24. staranise said:

    When I was 18, I had a crush of mine go public in a minorly embarrassing way, especially since the guy turned out to be kind of a jerk, but people did tease me about it. (!!! but that’s another matter.) I coped with it by saying, “Hey, aren’t young people SUPPOSED to make foolish romantic decisions? That’s one of mine.”

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