Ah! Who can find a cure for the common crush? But if someone did, would this not interfere in a terrible way with artistic endeavour? I suspect much of the Nineteenth Century collection in the National Museum in Kraków was inspired by people's crushes on other people.
It's a terrible conundrum. No pain, no art. Life-long emotional tranquility for everyone, or Widor's "Toccata in F" and Dryden's "Hidden Flame"?
On the other hand, maybe this pain = art thing is a myth of the Romantics. And it could be that art is a natural therapy for depressives, which is why so many depressives dedicate so much time to it. But back to telegrams from campus life:
Dear Auntie Seraphic,
First, I’d like to say that your blog is one of my very favourites. The good, common-sense advice that you provide in your posts is a great comfort, and I'm very grateful that you provide it.
The short version of the situation I am writing to you about is that I have a crush on a NCB, and I need someone to tell me that I should not ask him if he wants to meet up for coffee or something, because the temptation to do so is very great. However, I will elaborate further now, and apologize in advance for any rambling.
I am in my second year at university, as is the NCB in question, and we’re both [active in] our university Catholic society. I met him last year and would see him fairly regularly after Mass and at various Catholic events, and always found him very easy to get along with. I considered him a friend but never more than that, as I never saw him outside of chaplaincy-organised events, and he is a very outgoing, friendly person so whenever I did see him he would generally be talking to several other people as well as myself. Also, for about half of last year I was battling with a completely irrational crush for a boy [...], and after I had overcome said crush I was busy making sure that it didn't sprout up again, so my attentions were otherwise engaged.
This year I returned to campus a couple of weeks before the start of term to settle into my new accommodation, and in the first few days of my being here I received a message in my Facebook inbox from the NCB around whom this narrative is focused. The message said that he hoped I’d had a good summer, and that he was looking forward to seeing me soon, and would I be up for meeting up at some point, perhaps next Wednesday for coffee? This message took me rather by surprise, as I had not heard, nor expected to hear, from him all summer. However, I knew that I got on well with him and the more I thought about it the more I thought that it would be nice to see him again, so I replied saying yes, and we exchanged a few more short messages about when and where we would meet.
Now, I’m not a girl who gets asked out for coffee an awful lot, and I was really completely at a loss when trying to work out if this was merely a friendly gesture or if he had other intentions. The way that he’d asked me out of the blue seemed to suggest that he’d been thinking about me, but I also knew that he is a very friendly person, and it would not surprise me if he met up with friends for coffee all the time. (If you were to tell me at this point that I was overthinking the whole thing, I would agree with you).
We met up for coffee at the time we’d arranged, and went for a walk afterwards, and it was really good to see him and talk with him about various things. He told me about a difficult family situation that had made his summer quite a hard one. He did not make it clear what had motivated him to ask me to go for coffee with him, but I reasoned that he may have wanted to know that he had friends at university that understood what he was going through and who could give him support, as the issue he is having to deal with is a very difficult and on-going one.
This was fine with me. But, of course, to complicate matters I soon became aware during these proceedings a seed of a crush on him had been planted. I thought it would probably fade in a few days, but it sprouted. Fast-forward five weeks or so to the present day, and here I am, with feelings blossoming all over the place, and not a clue of what to do with them. I see him every week at Sunday Mass, and generally also at [X and Y]. He is always very friendly, and will give me a hug whenever he sees me, and talk to me, but has not asked me if I want to meet up with him since that solitary and confusing coffee incident.
Now, dear Auntie, my supposings tell me that he does not have the same feelings for me as I do for him, but this does not help me very much regarding what to do with these feelings of mine. If I did not feel this particular way about him I think I would have had no qualms before now about asking him if he wanted to meet up outside of chaplaincy events by now, as he is a really great person and I would have wanted to be better friends with him anyway. I am sorely tempted to try and put my feelings aside and suggest such a thing just so that I can become better friends with him, but even if I could muster up the courage and composure to do that without betraying the extent of my feelings, would this be breaking the rules of sense of how to behave? Agh.
I have been praying pretty much daily about the whole situation ever since I realized how much it was distracting my poor heart, and asking God to look after it all, which I trust He will one way or another. But if you could shed some light on anything that I have said, and give me some advice on what I should to, it would be greatly appreciated!
Sense vs Sensibility
Dear Sense vs Sensibility,
I am sorry that your friend is having a difficult time with his family and had a hard summer. It must have been a great relief for him to go back to school and be once again among his Catholic chaplaincy friends. And it seems to me not that unusual for a contemporary young man, needing to talk but not knowing who to talk to, to ask a female friend to have a coffee with him so he could unburden himself.
Because I am afraid that is what I think this coffee date was about: free therapy. I wouldn't blame him for that--friends naturally turn to friends for emotional support--although I wish young men were a little more aware that when they speak intimately to young women about their problems, the emotional closeness can make the young women experience strong feelings of attachment.
So that, my dear S vs S, is what I think has happened. He reached out for emotional relief, you naturally thought it was a date, he told you all, and you felt emotional closeness and therefore attachment. Boom. Big crush now.
So what to do? Well, I think you should do what you want, but always remembering that any guy who does not think you are so marvellous he simply must be around you all the time and buy you coffee is slightly defective and definitely not boyfriend material.
It is good to have friends, and it is not good to avoid Catholic chaplaincy stuff when you get so much enjoyment and support from it, so I think you should keep on being friendly with him as before. I wouldn't say, "Hey, let's have coffee again!" because he might construe this as an invitation to talk about his lousy family situation again, and begin to associate you with the lousy family situation.
The important thing is to tell yourself the absolute truth and remind yourself of it as often as you need to, like a mantra: This boy is a nice guy and a friend, but he's just not that into me, so he's kind of defective.
I'm sure my male readers will feel indignant that I am encouraging women to think they are defective just because They're Just Not Into Us, but that's too bad: it's a useful mental habit to get into. Love the man who loves you, that's my motto. This can also work as a way of thinking well of the men we're just not that into who are into us: Scooter may have all the sex appeal of a squashed banana, but he does have good taste in women.
Anyway, hang in there, remember that Mr Family Problem is kind of defective, and if it helps, when you are around him, focus on what about him (besides ridiculously not being that into you) you don't like: his monobrow (if he has one), his horrible sneakers, his terrible clothing combinations. If all goes well, he will return to the Friend Zone part of your mind.
By the way, you might want to keep in mind that he does have this terrible family situation going on and therefore might not be emotionally available for a romantic relationship right now.
Grace and peace,
Hmph. These modern young men and their hugs. Why do they never hug me? I am pondering a banner: Hugs for Married Women! Just kidding, B.A.