PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Crushes: Ouch! Denied!

You finally got up the nerve to confess your crush, and…Doh! Your crush isn't crushing back! You're not the only one this has ever happened to.

Katie, 12, told us that she wasted third, fourth and fifth grade swooning over a guy named Kevin. Her suggestion for getting over a crush? Find another one FAST, even if it's a celebrity like Brad Pitt.

Xavier, 11, asked us: "I like this girl and she knows it. I think she was starting to like me, then she liked this other boy, and he liked her! So they are getting together now. Should I be jealous or should I start looking for another girl to like?"

We can't control other people's feelings. You're a great person, of course, but there's always a chance your crush doesn't think of you romantically. Or maybe he or she is already crushing on someone else, possibly even (oh no!) one of your friends. It's a fact of life. When we find out our crush is a one-way thing, it HURTS. But the pain doesn't have to last forever, and it definitely doesn't have to affect how you feel about yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind:

DON'T try to "make" someone like you. When a crush doesn't return our feelings, it's easy to think we can fix it. If that involves trying to be someone you're not, or acting the way you think your crush likes people to act, you're not being true to yourself…and probably just making things worse. In the end, the best thing to do is respect his or her feelings. If you were friends before you admitted your feelings, it might help to take some time to cool off and then work on the friendship again. Read more about this in the IML Advice section.

DONT get obsessed. Maybe you can relate to Amberly, 12, who told us about a crush she's had on this one guy since kindergarten, even though she knows he won't go out with her if she was "the last girl on earth." What if you're convinced your feelings will never go away? It's okay to keep on admiring someone, but you'll be happier, in the end, if you start putting the crush behind you. It can be difficult, but it certainly gets easier with time, especially if you concentrate on your favorite activities or hobbies. If you find you can't move on, ask a school counselor for help dealing with your emotions.

DON'T let it affect who you choose as a friend. You might feel like you have to stop hanging out with people you like just because they're also friends with a crush that didn't work out. If you feel awkward about being with someone because of this, talk to her or him about how you can get past the situation.

DO keep liking yourself. Believe it or not, your crush not liking you does NOT mean you're a horrible, unlovable person. Sure, his or her opinion of you seems really important, but remember that this person is only one person out of many, many, many on the planet. Your opinion of yourself is what truly matters. Chances are that there is someone out there who sees how wonderful and likeable you are, and that might be the person you were meant to get together with.

DO keep an eye out for a new crush. You know that old saying, "There's lots more fish in the sea"? Guess what? It's true! The best way to get over someone is to focus on a new fish. It's likely that there are many other people out there who are worth getting to know, and perhaps even more deserving of your feelings.

DO confide in trusted friends and adults. If you're feeling low or your self-esteem is at rock bottom because you found out your crush isn't crushing back, try talking about your feelings with a good friend, parent, or another trusted adult, like a school counselor. Try your best to explain what happened and how it makes you feel, and work on ways that you can be happy and confident again. Adults always have stories about their own crushes, and these may help you understand that things will get better over time, even if it feels like they never will.

DO see the positive side of it. What? Getting turned down can be a good thing? Yup. Think about it: now you don't have to lie awake nights, wondering what your crush thinks of you. Now you know, and even though it wasn't the result you were hoping for, it's better to find out sooner than later. Plus, consider all that time and energy you spent thinking and fantasizing about your crush. That's yours again! You can put it towards something else now.

Remember: It's normal for you to feel a little depressed after an unhappy crush experience. But if you find yourself deeply sad for more than a few weeks in a row, it could be a sign of serious depression. If you want to learn more about this, check out the IML section on Depression.

Copyright © 2005 CastleWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.