Most people older than 14 have experienced a crush. It’s that inexplicable emotional, physical, and psychological maelstrom that happens when you encounter someone that just turns you inside out.
For seemingly inexplicable reasons, you develop romantic feelings around them. You may not know them well or even know their name. But whenever you see them around, you can’t help but stare at them in wonder. They even invade your daydreams, sometimes, and cause you great anxiety at the worst times.
Based on various studies and surveys, here are 37 interesting social and psychological facts about crushes.
37 Psychological Facts About Crushes
Based on various studies and surveys, here are 37 interesting social and psychological facts about crushes.
In short, it’s a feeling of affection and attraction—sometimes intense—towards another person. It’s usually brief, lasting a few weeks or months. It is essentially a mental state, engaging psychological processes. Sometimes, the crush causes false perceptions and can even create physiological reactions, but more on that later.
One way to look at crushes from a psychological perspective is that they are all about projection. When you crush on someone, you imagine the best things you wish about them. This is why you need not know the person very well to crush on them.
The chances are that if you develop a crush on someone, it will be someone you already know and interact with in other aspects of life. Perhaps it’s a work colleague or someone in your social circle. Evidence also suggests that people who live close to each other and see each other regularly will be more likely to develop an attraction.
Even if it isn’t immediately apparent, you likely identify with certain personality traits in someone you crush on. This may mean you subconsciously react in similar ways to triggers or that you see desirable characteristics that you wish for yourself. In a sense, you look for yourself in other people you’re attracted to.
If you like the same things, you’re more likely to develop an infatuation with a person. Perhaps you’ve seen them have the same lunch choices in the cafeteria, or they happen to wear the same training shoes in the gym.
These similarities in choices may not be the thing that draws your immediate attention, but they certainly can deepen a passing interest in someone.
Creepy as it sounds, a study conducted in Scotland discovered that people might inadvertently be attracted to someone who reminds them of their parents. This seemed apparent in the men studied, who indicated that they were drawn to subjects that somewhat resemble their mothers and women with their fathers.
It was not all that surprising to researchers, who have long held that people gravitate towards that which is familiar in many aspects of life.
Contrary to the “wisdom” espoused in romance novels, there is no real idea of how long it takes to feel an attraction to someone. It can happen immediately or take days, weeks, months, or even years to come to the fore.
Researchers managed to identify physiological reactions to physical attraction (lust) and emotional or romantic love. But they could not determine a specific trigger or time frame for it.
A university in Austria found an interesting statistical anomaly when it comes to people and their eyes. They discovered that people who had different colored eyes were more likely to be attracted to or develop crushes on each other.
Some biologists theorize that the reason people inadvertently attract opposites (as above) could be a genetic impulse to help diversify the gene pool. There’s no guarantee you’ll find love just by looking for this trait. So don’t take it too seriously.
There is another fact well worth knowing about the eyes, though. The longer two people look at each other, the higher the chances of them finding something attractive about the other.
If two people lock eyes and perhaps even maintain that stare for a few seconds, the chances of attraction go up even more. If you notice someone’s pupils dilate when they look at you, chances are they like you, too.
There is one caveat: At least a few other studies suggest that men will stare at the subject of their crush, while women may, in fact, avoid looking at theirs altogether.
It seems obvious, but your walls come down when someone smiles at you. And their chances of attracting your attention in that way increase substantially.
Stony Brook University contends that their study showed you needed only seven seconds to subconsciously (and consciously) tell whether someone likes you. They also insist that it had little to nothing to do with physical looks. Most teenagers would probably disagree on all counts.
Most people think that looks are among the primary factors, and it might be. But smell also has a role to play, as humans seem to feel very comfortable with familiar smells. Whether someone wears perfume or cooks a meal that reminds you of a comforting memory, it all plays a part in finding them attractive or developing a crush.
Far from being a minefield, flirting playfully when welcomed (without being overbearing) can lead to increased confidence and a general sense of happiness. Provided you don’t invest too much into absolutely demanding something from someone for it, that is. Overall, leaving a great conversation or interaction with a good sense of fun is good for you.
It’s important to note here that being open to conversation and interaction is fine, but it’s no reason to assume that your crush feels the same way as you do. Respect boundaries and good social etiquette at all times.
Not to overstate it, but studies show that someone who makes us laugh may seem more attractive to us. They don’t need to be a stand-up comedian, but seeing the funny side of the same things makes it that much easier to relate to someone. They’re also probably easier to get along with. At least, that’s what we begin to assume.
One of the key ingredients of the potent concoction known as “attractiveness” is self-confidence. People tend to be drawn to others who exhibit at least an internal happiness or satisfaction with themselves.
This translates to an interesting observation. When you crush on someone, you tend to let them do a lot of the communication—the talking. You subconsciously enjoy their confidence and self-expression.
A crush is a mind-bending experience, and it can warp reality. When you crush on someone, you tend to see much of what they do as perfect. Flawed as they may be in reality, you simply cannot see any shortcomings.
Sadly, in most cases, a crush—especially an unrequited one—only lasts four months. This is a figure commonly quoted by a number of studies and anecdotal surveys. For whatever reason, the impact of the crush on your mind begins to mellow out. So enjoy it while it lasts.
If a crush on someone lasts for a much more extended period than the above, scientists begin to refer to a mental state called limerence. This begins to straddle the line of dysfunction, and psychologists will often associate it with co-dependence or even delusion.
If you still find yourself having sleepless nights over the subject of your affections, you may technically be in love! Only 1% of crushes advance to this stage, sadly. If this is the case, we need to talk about a whole bunch of other psychological and social impacts on your life.
Psychologically speaking, you will be happier talking to your crush in your imagination than in real life. In your mind, you can control the mood, the lighting, the conversation—everything. In real life, everything doesn’t go according to plan. In at least this respect, crushes make you feel good.
This is an interesting observation in cognitive psychology that has to do with frequency bias. Simply put, it states that if you notice something interesting, you begin to observe it around you more frequently.
So, for example, once you learn your crush’s name, you will hear it a lot more often. You’re also probably going to see their car a lot more. And not just when you’re stalking them.
It’s a psychological anomaly that when you like someone in a crushy way, you find it hard to lie to them. You’re also likely to overshare things that were not entirely necessary.
Your crush can cause actual physical changes in your body. The idea that your heart beats faster is a real thing. Even hearing their voice will cause a chemical reaction with the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine in your brain that causes these changes in your body.
It’s not just a Hugh Grant thing. Lots of people tend to get clumsy when their crush is around. They struggle to handle everyday objects, stutter and mutter their words, or seem to be distracted by menial things. They may fidget with their hair or clothes, all of which seem unnecessary at the time.
Studies and observation suggest that someone will suddenly speak louder or at a higher pitch when their crush enters the room. Even subconsciously you want to get noticed, after all.
As mentioned before, looking at your crush through rose-tinted glasses warps reality. Scientists have tried to quantify this, saying that you will see them as 20% more attractive than they are.
The good news is that the opposite is also true. Someone crushing on you sees you as more attractive, too. You may be the hottest person in the entire city to your secret admirer.
In some cases, people with a crush may mirror behavior. This may simply be an impulse to be relatable and engaging. It’s nothing to worry about unless you start coloring your hair or wearing the same underwear brand.
Science shows that if you try to delude yourself and tell yourself you don’t miss your crush, you will miss them even more.
Scientists theorize that crushes play a part in our psychological maturing. It may teach us how to process feelings of love and desire in a way that helps us in later life.
It’s possible to have a scientifically defined crush from as young as five or six.
For some reason, the memories of a crush—even ones that never amount to anything more than distant admiration—last a long time. Often, the memories are fond ones, too.
Procrastination is undeniable when it comes to trying to talk to your crush, and you’re likely to put it off over and over and over again. You love to feel the crush, but you really struggle to get the words out.
If you have a celebrity crush (who doesn’t) and also happen to develop one on someone closer to you (a friend or colleague), you’re going to forget about the Hollywood A-lister soon enough. It’s far more powerful to be within touching distance.
Although associated with teens, because of the psychological nature of crushes, they can happen at any age. For the most part, they are healthy and provide positive feelings all around.
Crushes can be seen as an imprtant and healthy psychological aspect of a person. There is no imperative to act upon it, and it may provide insight into strengthening the relationship you already have if properly understood.
Often, a crush never amounts to anything more than that: a perfectly innocent mental infatuation with another person over a short period. Sometimes, it does blossom into a real romance. Regardless, the whole thing comes down to a lot of psychological state of mind on your part.
So enjoy the feeling of confidence, engage in your daydreaming, and take advantage of that spring in your step while it’s there.
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