What You Need to Know About Crush

A crush is the feeling of intense euphoria and giddiness that makes you feel strongly bonded to someone, even if you barely know them. But if it’s not handled properly, the feelings can quickly turn into obsession—and that’s when things can get messy. Crush can lead to fantasies, a destabilizing state of uncertainty and anxiety (thanks to your adrenaline and serotonin levels), and, in some cases, even break up relationships. Here’s what you need to know about crushing if you want to avoid the worst of it.

According to linguists, the word “crush” evolved from the Middle English noun crush, which likely originated as a variant of the Middle English verb csher, meaning “to smash, to behead, or to cut off something.” A linguistic historian suggests that the word may also be connected to the act of flirting; to have a crush on someone was to be on their mash list and to be a masher was someone who could entice a girl with a few crafty glances and a smooth line of conversation.

As a teenager, a crush can be a major source of embarrassment and may be linked to raging teenage hormones, but it can happen at any age—even when you’re in a committed relationship. In fact, a study found that even adults can experience a crush—but it’s less common and typically occurs when we’re bored with our current life situation or are searching for excitement.

In the Hulu original movie Crush, Rowan Blanchard stars as Paige, an aspiring artist who obsesses over Gabriela “Gabby” Campos while stressing about her admission essay for the art college of her dreams. She’s got a platonic soulmate in Dillon and a supportive home environment, where her open-minded mom Angie (Megan Mullally) challenges conventional parent-child boundaries by allowing edibles before school and gifting cool intimacy swag like glow-in-the-dark dental dams.

However, Paige’s crush is not without its obstacles. For example, her crush appears to have a penchant for drawing only the most flattering features of others. And when she’s assigned to find the graffiti artist AJ known only as KingPun, Paige sees him through her own biased lens, which doesn’t always give a full picture. As a result, she gets more and more obsessed as she searches for him. This behavior can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where we continue to look for the positive qualities in our crush while ignoring the negative ones. This can lead to the feeling that they’re perfect, even if they’re not. It’s a tricky cycle. The best thing you can do is to recognize this tendency and work on balancing your view of the person with reality. You’ll never really get a complete picture of them, but you’ll avoid the pitfalls of obsession and maintain a healthy relationship with your crush. Besides, it’s more fun this way.