Skip to content
Inside Beat

Romantic realism: Why you must work for love

Having a crush can make us feel like we're on cloud nine. But, without introspection and a bit of pragmatism, reality can be a painful crash back down to earth. – Photo by

When I think about crushes, I think back to middle school. My fantasies around my crushes formed from the unrealistic plots of romance movies and books. It made me not only a romantic, but also a fool.

I still remember the racing heartbeat, the hotness that would rush to my face, the silent wishing that my crush would one day return my feelings. At the same time, I didn’t feel good enough for them to do so. So, I made many mistakes and put the blame on myself.

The thing is, no one is at fault when it comes to crushes. A crush is not love, it's an infatuation. By admiring your crush, you’re bound to feel inadequate because he or she has something that you don’t.

This inadequacy is what I think stops so many people from pursuing their crush. But, I believe that stopping oneself from pursuing a crush isn't the right answer.

It’s a fallacy that love falls into place without effort. Love, no matter how stable, requires work and maintenance — it’s a job. To put it bluntly, you have to work to make a crush turn into a lover.

You could outright confess your feelings. You might get a date, you might not. But if you don’t really know the person, the sting of rejection will be short-lived. That being said, confessing feelings without knowing a person actually diminishes the worth of your feelings.

Here’s the thing: When you confess your feelings, you're in a vulnerable position and have the chance of getting hurt. But you must look past this. Affirm to yourself that you're worthy, no matter the outcome.

Ultimately, the question is not whether you are good enough for them, but rather if they are good enough for you.

Before even thinking about love, do your research. Find opportunities to get to know them better. Are they your local barista? Get coffee from where they work and strike up a conversation each time you see them. Are they a classmate? Try to sit next to them and ask them questions about the class.

The goal is to break the false, idealized lens you look at your crush with and actually get to know them for who they are, not who you think they are.

Love is dangerous, so put yourself in a position of control and ask yourself if you really want to put yourself in danger for this person. Know that if you do, you will no longer be safe from hurt, from instability or from the possibility of failure.

Of course, it gets much more complicated when your crush is your friend. In that scenario, you’ve already covered the steps I mentioned above. You know your crush enough to say, “Yes, I think it is worth it, despite all the dangers of love.”

But the closer you are with the person, the more your heart will ache. After all, the heart wants what the heart wants, yet, your mind will hold you back out of the fear of things becoming awkward if you get rejected. And honestly, I'm not here to tell you that they won’t be. I can’t guarantee that you won’t permanently hurt or even ruin the friendship.

Ask yourself though: How much do you like the person? What do you like about them? What makes them worth it? And most importantly, how painful would it be for you to continue in a state of not knowing?

Evaluate your feelings because not only does that give you clarity, but it also gives you autonomy. If the result is that it’d fill you with dread to live out your life never knowing, then confess.

With good friendships, awkwardness can be resolved and fixed with time. What can’t be solved is the past. Think about whether you will be okay ten years from now if your friend is with another person in a happy relationship. Do you think you would be able to let it go?

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons. The only advice I can give is to confront and question your thoughts. Think realistically.

You’ll probably experience many crushes in your lifetime and go through the same dilemma each time. Before embarking on your romantic fantasies, be sure to do some self-reflection. You might think that crushes are scary and hard, but love is even more so. Have your romantic daydreams, but when making the real decisions, remember to come back to reality. 

Join our newsletterSubscribe