Having crushes can be a wonderful, scary, fun, and heartbreaking experience. When you get your first crush, you may feel confused about what’s happening. You may have never had these feelings before. On today’s episode of Insights Into Teen’s we’ll talk about what crushes are, the risks associated with them, the importance they play in adolescent development and ultimately how to help your teen handle rejection associated with them.
Insights Into Teens: Episode 144 “Teen Crushes”
My co-host Joseph Whalen
Having crushes can be a wonderful, scary, fun, and heartbreaking experience. When you get your first crush, you may feel confused about what’s happening. You may have never had these feelings before. On today’s episode of Insights Into Teen’s we’ll talk about what crushes are, the risks associated with them, the importance they play in adolescent development and ultimately how to help your teen handle rejection associated with them.
But first I’d like to invite our listening and viewing audience to subscribe to the podcast.
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Teenage crushes have a significant role to play in the journey of adolescence.
There are three types of crushes, two of which we’ll look at in further detail, which are
In the cases of identity and romantic crushes, the teenager feels smitten by a compelling person who captivates their attention, for good and ill.
The celebrity crush shapes ideals and stirs fantasies, but there is usually no interpersonal contact to play them out.
However, this is definitely where the market for celebrity posters comes in, to decorate teenage bedroom walls.
In all three cases, the young person largely projects onto another person idealized attributes the admirer highly values and wants to be associated with.
Then they attach strong positive feelings to the perfectly wonderful image that has been created.
Crushes have more to do with fantasy than with reality, and they tell much more about the admirer than the admired.
It’s because they usually prove unrealistic that in a relatively short time they soon wear off.
But it is because of the idealization that crushes have such momentary power.
This is why parents need to respect an adolescent crush and not dismiss or put it down.
After all, it is an early approximation of love.
While it lasts it is seriously held, so it should be seriously treated.
Romantic and Identity Crushes
Identity crushes are formed when your teen finds someone they much admire, want to become like, and treat as a leader or model they are eager to imitate and follow.
Romantic crushes are formed by finding someone whom they find powerfully attractive, who they feel excited to be around, and with whom they want to spend a lot of time.
In both cases, the person with the crush gives enormous power of approval to the object of their crush, like wanting to be liked by them and wanting to be like them, willing to do a lot to get in the other person’s good graces.
They go out of their way to be around each attachment.
There is a great outbreak of romantic crushes and gossip about them in middle school.
By this time, early adolescence and the separation from childhood has caused young people to want to act more grown up, and sexual maturity from puberty has motivated them to act in more young manly and young womanly ways.
Since girls tend to enter puberty before boys, they are more likely to experience the wave of crushes first, more drawn to have crushes than boys are, taking romantic feelings seriously that boys might treat lightly or even laughably.
However the time for same-age boys to become romantically smitten is not far off, and when it arrives a crush proves to be no laughing matter when they become smitten too.
Because a romantic crush is a potent mix of idealization and infatuation, it doesn’t require knowing another person well at all.
In some cases a superficial impression can be provocation enough.
Things like, “I like how they’re so quiet and watchful and keep to themselves.” “I like how what others think doesn’t matter to them.”
As mentioned, although the crush appears to be about attraction to another person, it is actually about projection of valued attributes onto another person, more or less a statement about what they find attractive.
Crushes are very revealing
Teens often have crushes on other teens who seem the opposite of them
A serious teen might have a crush on a more fun loving teen
Crushes are not only the stuff that dreams are made of; they signify a lot about the dreamer.
Risks of Romantic Crushes
Of course, romantic crushes can have a risky side.
You don’t want a teenage crush to become a fixation, a young person unable to stop daydreaming and fantasizing about this person, for example.
You don’t want the young person to act out under the influence of a crush in self-endangering ways, soliciting or expressing inappropriate interest
And you don’t want the crush to be exploited by the object of the crush, such as an older adolescent taking advantage of a romantically besotted younger adolescent, for example.
Feelings are always a difficult road for teens to navigate
As teens grow and mature they experience feelings and emotions they’ve never felt before
They don’t understand these feelings
Sometimes they can’t even identify or describe these feelings
This makes it difficult for them to cope with this new and confusing feelings
It also makes it difficult for them to seek out help and advice on how to deal with these feelings
They often interpret these new feelings through examples they are exposed to
Those examples should be found at home, through the guidance of the parents and guardians
In the absence of that guidance teens seek out other alternative examples such as peers, the media and popular fiction of the time like books, movies and television
These alternative sources of examples aren’t always the healthiest depiction of how these emotions should be handled
Thus they can lead to more confusion, frustration and embarrassment for teens
Because a romantic crush is so intensely felt, parents must not take it lightly or make fun of it.
An awakening of romantic feelings, it provokes a lot of anxiety because there are many problematic questions for the young person to answer.
“What am I supposed to do with these feelings?”
“Should they just be kept secret, thus increasing the risk of obsessive preoccupation?”
“What if I tell close friends?”
“Suppose I get talked about and teased, thus increasing the risk of embarrassment.”
“What if I have to be around other people who don’t know how I feel?”
“Now feeling nervous, there is more risk of doing or saying something awkward.”
“What do I tell this person about my crush?”
To declare the crush to the person creates the risk of rejection.
It’s not easy managing a crush.
What to know about romantic crushes
One way to manage the feelings is by telling the object of the crush.
The language used, however, is important.
The temptation, because the romanticized feelings are so intense, is to express the feelings with the word “love”.
It’s probably best if you stayed away from such a strong and emotionally charged term such as love
It’s best to talk about these feelings in “liking” terms because that reduces the pressure on everyone.
“I like talking with you.”
“I like hanging out with you.”
Keep it simple and to the point and see how the other party reacts.
By not over committing or pressuring the other person it gives you an opportunity to determine if the feelings you’re experiencing are mutual
It also helps to shelter you from flat out rejection if you come on too strong and maybe scare the other person off
Most romantic crushes don’t last very long because once the object of the crush becomes better known, the magic of the other person soon wears off and the ideal falls away.
“I can’t believe I felt he was so great! What was I thinking?”
However, this kind of crush does have one lasting value:
Having experienced an awakening of infatuated feelings, the adolescent has opened themselves up to the pleasure and possibility of romantic love.
Identity crushes often last longer than romantic crushes because the adolescent is focused not so much on pleasing the other person as on altering themselves, using the leader whom they admire as a model to shape their own growth.
So a shy seventh-grade kid gets a crush on a very popular classmate and wants to become highly social like them, hoping that regular association will rub off as they learn to become more outgoing.
It’s an unstated bargain.
They get acceptance and inclusion by the popular kid who gets to be looked up to in this admiring way.
Sometimes sexual feelings are aroused in an identity crush, or even acted on to express liking, but that does not usually signify that a romantic fascination has become established, only that the identity crush can have a sexual component.
Risks of Crushes
Of course, the risk with following an admired leader is that the young person with the identity crush may be led astray, which is what some parents fear.
“Our kid worships a classmate who rides their skateboard to school, stashes it in their locker, dresses like an outlaw, all in leather and black, and has this angry attitude toward authority. But if we say anything against them, our teen gets really angry, defending their romantic hero and criticizing us. What are we supposed to do?”
This is a hard situation, but in general parents need to respect the friendship.
They should get to know the friend, and if there are behaviors the friend is into that parents don’t want for their kid, they need to talk to them about not doing those activities.
Sometimes they discover that beneath the appearance they find alarming is a person they get to like.
Particularly during the middle-school years, teenage crushes can be of the attraction (romantic) kind and of the admiration (identity) kind.
In both cases growth is advanced by this influential experience, most often for the good, but sometimes not.
A hard part of crushes is when they are not returned, as is often the case.
The chosen person may not be aware of, interested in, or like being chosen.
“They don’t know I exist!”
“They don’t even notice me!”
These are just some of the feelings of rejection the person experiencing the crush might express
The disappointment is real.
This is why parents need to pay attention to the crush relationship, and not just discount it and look the other way.
Helping your teen cope with rejection
Rejection is inevitable, and it comes in many forms during the teen years but teens dealing with it for the first time can have trouble coping.
Here are some things that parents can do to help their teen deal with rejection, whether it be of the romantic kind or otherwise.
While dismissing or downplaying the rejection might feel right to a parent on a mission to protect a teen from emotional pain, it can actually intensify the pain.
Rejection feels isolating and lousy, and teens already know this.
What they need is empathy, understanding, and someone who will listen.
They don’t need to be told that their pain doesn’t really matter, when to them it feels like the only thing that matters.
You might be tempted to yell out all of the reasons why your teen’s ex is making a huge mistake by breaking up, but responding in anger will only intensify your teen’s negative emotional response.
Teens look to their parents for cues when they’re under stress.
It’s essential to remain calm and objective in the face of rejection to show your teen that your love is unconditional and this rejection won’t actually ruin their life.
Remember, your teen will pick up on the behavior that you demonstrate.
This is the time to convey empathy and understanding.
Admitting that you don’t know exactly how your teen is feeling right this very moment but that you do know what it feels like to face rejection opens the door to conversation.
Teens don’t necessarily want step-by-step instructions on ways to recover from a rejection, but they do want to connect and talk through it.
Examine the Thought Process
When teens are stuck in a negative thought cycle, they can develop negative core beliefs.
This can lead to decreased self-esteem and future risk aversion.
In essence, when teens feel like they can’t succeed, they avoid trying.
Explain to your teen that we all have a negative inner critic that drives our thoughts at times.
The inner critic isn’t the problem; it’s what we choose to do with those critical thoughts that matter.
Share a few thoughts that run through your mind when your inner critic is loud.
Talk about how you feel as a result of those thoughts.
Finally, share ways you reframe those negative thoughts to refocus on positive thinking.
Closing thoughts shoutouts
[OUTRO AND CREDITS]
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00:00:01:15 – 00:00:41:08
Insightful podcasts by informative host of insights into things, a podcast network welcome to Insights into Teens. A podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison. Well, as a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of.
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The teenage years.
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Welcome to Insights in the Teens. This is episode one. 44 Teen Crushes. I’m your host, Madison Moylan, and my co-host, Joseph Whalen.
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Hello, Matty. How you doing today?
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I’m doing all right. How about you?
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I’m doing okay. Kind of a rough end of the day at work today, but even now, I think I’m doing good. How about yourself?
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I’ve been doing fine so far today.
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Good week so far.
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Yeah, I have now. Gotten my other card certification.
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Just need to print it out.
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Just need a print that you know is legit when you got a print about yourself.
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Well, good for you. Good for you. Maybe we can get you a job this summer then.
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Hopefully. Well, yeah, well, the marching band might want to be careful, but, you know.
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Okay, well, maybe not this summer.
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Then we’ll figure it out.
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I’m sure we will. Anyway.
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That’s not what we’re talking about today.
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No, it’s not.
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So what are you going to be talking about? Teen crushes today?
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Yes, we are.
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So having crushes can be a wonderful, scary fun and heartbreaking experience. When you get your first crush, you may feel confused about what’s happening. You may have never had these feelings before. On today’s episode of Incidents in the teens, we’ll talk about what crushes are, the risks associated with them, the importance they play in adolescence. And adolescent development, and ultimately how to help your teen handle rejection associated with them.
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Because we always assume crushes and the rejection right.
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I mean, yeah, but before but first, I’d like to invite our listening and viewing audience to subscribe to the podcast You can read an audio version of the podcast listed as Insights into teens. You can. You can also get both video and audio versions of the podcast listed as insights in the things we can be found on pretty much any podcast service like Apple Podcasts Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I already tune in and pretty much any other place.
00:03:01:27 – 00:03:07:17
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00:03:09:15 – 00:03:31:19
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00:03:32:05 – 00:04:06:07
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Are we ready?
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I think we are So what?
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Our teenage crushes and this comes to us from psychology, today.com, which I’m pretty sure reviews in the past. So teenage crushes have a significant role to play in the journey of adolescence. There are three types of crushes, two of which will look in further detail, which are identity crushes, romantic crushes and celebrity crushes. In the case of identity and romantic crushes, the teenager feels smitten.
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Smitten, smitten. Okay, you wrote it. You can’t pronounce it Yeah.
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The teenager feels smitten by a compelling person who captivates their attention for good and ill. The celebrity crush shapes, ideals and stirs fantasies. But there is no, usually no interpersonal contact to play them out. However, this is definitely where the market for celebrity posters comes in to decorate teenage bedroom walls. Ice In all three cases, the young person largely projects onto another person.
00:05:20:12 – 00:05:50:20
A person idealized attributes the admirer hardly values and wants to be associated with. They then they attach strong, positive feelings to the perfectly wonderful image that has been created Crushes have more to do with fantasy than with reality, and they tell much more about the admirer than the admired. This is because they usually prove unrealistic that in a relatively short time they soon wear off.
00:05:51:16 – 00:05:59:03
But it is because of the idealized situation that crushes have such a monumental terry power.
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Momentary power. This is why parents need to respect an adolescent crush and not dismiss, dismiss or put it down. After all, it is an early approximation of love. Well, while it lasts seriously. While it lasts, it is seriously held. So it should be seriously treated.
00:06:21:27 – 00:06:53:08
Boy, it’s like the Star Wars script Carrie Fisher had once remarked about the original Star Wars. Kid, you can write this stuff, but you can’t read it right So, okay, you did a fine job there. So, so crushes themselves. Are as I say here, their idealization. It’s really not a reality. And you’re kind of projecting on the person or the subject that you’re having a crush on.
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Have you ever had any crushes on anyone?
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I mean, I guess I’ll be completely honest. I haven’t had any reason crushes but yeah, there have been people I’ve had crushes on.
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Now, did you ever tell them you had a crush?
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Most of the time, no. It was only really two instances.
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Okay. Now, as a kid, there were three instances I could say that I had a crush and one it really wasn’t even a crush because it was like kindergarten. And it was one of those things where it was almost a peer pressure type thing, like, oh, you’re supposed to, you know, like this person or you’re supposed to do a certain thing.
00:07:36:02 – 00:08:22:17
And, you know, I kind of I liked this one girl in kindergarten, and her and I were remained friends all through school and we actually started dating in high school, but it wasn’t anything. I don’t think it fit into most of these categories here. I think most of my crushes wound up happening probably your age or a little bit older, somewhere in that 10th, 11th, 12th grade type range where it’s one of those things that there’s a certain amount of expectation of what you’re supposed to have as a relationship type thing.
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And a lot of it’s really kind of imposed on you by society or by your friends, you know? Have you ever felt pressured to have that kind of crush by you know, your friends at school or anything?
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I mean, kind of obviously not intentionally, but I definitely think I was kind of like looking back at the crushes I have now, I think a lot of it was I wasn’t really attracted to this person because looking back, at least two of the people I had crushes on, they weren’t really good people. And I didn’t really have good reasons for having crushes on them.
00:09:04:08 – 00:09:26:22
Again, dealing with more with fantasy as opposed to reality when it comes to crushes. Right. But I think it was a lot of the time I was kind of expected to have a crush. And I didn’t really realize that until I ended up not stop having it was like sixth grade. I had like my last crush. And like, I’m like, okay, you know what?
00:09:26:22 – 00:09:57:03
I’m not doing this. And then I started realizing that there was a lot of pressure. And I think being around certain friends who, I will be honest, are kind of boy crazy kind of made me think, am I bad for not really have it, like, kind of made me realize, like, there’s a lot of pressure on younger people to kind of have crushes because it’s kind of expected and it’s natural feelings and such.
00:09:57:04 – 00:10:27:27
Right. Yeah. And I can say that I’m probably the first real crush I had was in sixth grade and happened to be we had two different elementary schools that we we had my town and I was part of the safety patrol. And this other person that I didn’t even know existed went to the other school and we wound up all going to Washington, D.C. on a field trip for the safety patrol.
00:10:28:25 – 00:10:58:28
And it wasn’t until then that I even knew that these other kids from this other school even existed. Now, we kind of knew we’d be meeting new kids when we got to the junior high the next year. And this was kind of a chance for us to do a meet and greet. And I happened to develop a crush on this trip with her and wanted to get to know her more, but never had a chance to if she lived in a different town than I did.
00:10:58:28 – 00:11:22:01
We were bused to the school district, so I knew I was going to have a chance. And my only hope was that I’d have a chance in junior high. So in junior high, we had to take our first year of foreign language. And I didn’t know anything about foreign language, but I found out from a friend of mine at this particular girl was going to be in French class.
00:11:22:20 – 00:11:43:24
So I said, All right, well, I’ll take French class big. Everything that I heard about it was, well, like nobody ever takes French class. There’s only ever one class. Everyone takes Spanish or they take German, and there’s like three or four classes. It’s a great this is my chance to get to know her. I’ll be guaranteed to get her in one of my classes, so I’ll take French class that year.
00:11:44:00 – 00:12:20:18
A lot of people took French class and they split the class into two and she wasn’t in my class. So it never really worked out. But like in the next year or so, I wound up getting her. I think in my English class or something, and I became friends with her and we started to hang out. But just as friends and I had gone over to her house at one point in time and met her parents and everything and and it just turned out that we weren’t interested in each other from anything other than a friendship.
00:12:21:10 – 00:12:36:24
And it never went anywhere. But it was really funny how how big of a crush I had on her right up until the time I got to spend time with her and realized, okay, well, she’s not what I thought she was, but she’s a she’s a cool person. She’s fun to hang out with and that was about it.
00:12:37:23 – 00:12:58:29
So it was that projection, that ideal of what I wanted that person to be. And then when you’re finally exposed to them, that’s really not who they are now. So you say we’re going to talk about two different types of crushes. So we’re going to talk about romantic and identity crushes. But before we get to that, you also mentioned Celebrity Crush.
00:12:59:12 – 00:13:03:15
Have you ever had a celebrity crush? Oh.
00:13:05:02 – 00:13:11:08
To be fair, I probably did when I was younger, but I didn’t realize it. But currently, no.
00:13:11:12 – 00:13:29:06
Okay. So you and I never had a celebrity crush myself. Mommy will joke around that I have a crush on Nicole Brown, but that’s only because I think she’s, like, really cool. And she’s a very good person inside from her social media and appearances and stuff. But it’s not a crush.
00:13:29:15 – 00:13:29:26
00:13:30:20 – 00:13:56:19
All right. So no celebrity crushes. So let’s talk about romantic and identity. Crushes. Identity crushes are formed when your teen find someone they much admire, want to become like or treat as a leader or model, they are eager to imitate and follow. Romantic crushes are formed by finding someone whom they find powerfully attractive, who they feel excited to be around and with whom they want to spend a lot of time.
00:13:57:14 – 00:14:26:13
Kind of like how I feel about Mommy. Oh, and both stop just sighing. In both cases, the person with the crush gives enormous power of approval to the object of their crush. Like wanting to be liked by them or wanting to be like them, willing to do a lot digging in the other person’s good graces. They go out of their way to be around each attachment of this crush.
00:14:26:25 – 00:14:48:29
Now, when you had these crushes, did you do anything that you wouldn’t normally have done? If you didn’t have a crush? Did you try to be around the person? Did you try to be seen by the person? One of them. One of the things I think was kind of silly when I had my crushes was I always kind of wanted to be, you know, casually seen by the person.
00:14:48:29 – 00:15:06:29
So I’d find out from a friend where she’d be if she was going to be at the mall, the shopping center. And I would just sort of arrange to be there in this fictional hope that we’d bump into each other and you know, I’d get a reaction and we could talk and spend time or something like that. Did you ever do anything like that?
00:15:07:25 – 00:15:42:01
I mean, like, I guess some of the crushes I had, like, I had already kind of been friends with them. Well, the one instance I was friends with them. The other instance, I really don’t know. But like, they hung out with us. So I mean, like, I guess in the one instance I might have like tried to be like get them to talk more or there might have been certain instances.
00:15:42:01 – 00:16:03:13
I can’t entirely remember too much, but I can definitely see that I would have probably done things that if I didn’t have a crush on them, I probably wouldn’t have done. But that’s really the only case I can really think of because most of the time I didn’t really act upon the crushes or I didn’t really want to be around them because I got nervous around them, I think.
00:16:03:13 – 00:16:03:19
00:16:03:19 – 00:16:16:08
Know. Yeah. And I experience that too. Now, when you had these crushes did you happen to confess it to your friends or to a mutual friend or anything like that, or did you sort of keep it to yourself?
00:16:17:12 – 00:16:38:15
I would sometimes mention it to my friends if it was a serious enough crush in some instances. Like I kind of kept it like quiet because it really wasn’t like a big crush. Other times I have kind of told my friends and granted some of my friends have like done the whole teasing thing about it.
00:16:39:05 – 00:16:39:21
I do that.
00:16:42:11 – 00:16:53:06
And I mean, like, I mean, yeah, I kind of would tell my friends, but like I always said, I was never really serious too much except in the one instance. But, you.
00:16:53:06 – 00:17:24:06
Know, well, I was notoriously passive aggressive with my crushes. I never wanted to directly engage the person until I had some level of confirmation that they’d be receptive. I had this innate fear of rejection like a lot of people do. So I would go about it in different ways. I would have a mutual friend, I would let a mutual friend of ours know and kind of hint that I’d want them to drop hints to the other person and kind of feel them out.
00:17:25:08 – 00:17:50:07
In hindsight, it’s kind of cowardly to do that. And it never worked out. So it was one of those things where this indirect approach just was not a very effective way of trying to convey. It eventually came down to the fact that I had to go and ask this person out on a date. And it takes a lot of courage to muster up the the will to do that, you know?
00:17:50:14 – 00:17:54:07
Yeah, the the person that you had a crush on, ever know that you had a crush on them?
00:17:56:21 – 00:18:22:04
Well, the one person. No, because there was a specific example of them clearly conveying they weren’t interested in me. To the point I didn’t do it with them all the time. I’d never really even talk to the person. And there were only two instances I technically confessed and only one of them ended up and the one ended up leading in to rejection.
00:18:22:04 – 00:18:30:25
And then the very next day, I think, like I was grouped up with them and like a project or a table or something, and I realized, oh, wow, they’re not really a nice person.
00:18:32:14 – 00:18:46:20
That’s a thing. And you run into the awkwardness situations where that information sort of gets out there. But I think once it’s out there, it makes it a lot easier to get to know the person who they are because we do project on them a lot.
00:18:47:05 – 00:18:47:21
00:18:48:16 – 00:18:58:12
So we’re going to take a quick break. We’re going to come back and we’ll talk a little bit more about romantic crushes. We’ll be right back. Do do.
00:18:58:29 – 00:18:59:17
00:19:08:10 – 00:19:38:15
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00:20:10:05 – 00:20:31:10
Welcome back to insiders and the teens today were talking about teen crushes And now we’re going to dove a bit more into romantic crushes. So there is a great outbreak government and crushes and gossip around them in middle school. But this time early early adolescence and the separation from childhood has caused young people to want to act more grown up.
00:20:31:21 – 00:20:56:11
And sexual maturity from puberty has motivated them to act more young, manly and young. More and more young, manly and young womanly ways. Since girls tend to enter puberty before boys, they are more likely to experience a wave of crushes first, more drawn to have crushes than boys are taking romantic healing seriously. That boys might treat lightly or even laughably.
00:20:56:29 – 00:21:07:22
However, the time for same age boys to become romantically smitten is not far off. And when it arrives a crush proves to be no laughing matter when they become smitten, too.
00:21:08:18 – 00:21:31:28
Because a romantic crush is a potent mix of idealization and infatuation It doesn’t require knowing the other person well at all. In some cases, a superficial impression can be a provocation, can be provocation. Enough things like I like how they’re so quiet and watchful and keep to themselves. It sounds kind of stalker. You say it like that.
00:21:31:28 – 00:21:32:22
I mean. Yeah.
00:21:33:09 – 00:21:59:20
Or things like I like how what others think doesn’t matter to them. As mentioned, although the crush appears to be about attraction to another person. It’s actually about projection of valued attributes onto another person or less a statement about what they find attractive. Crushes are very revealing. Teens often have crushes on other teens who seem the opposite of them.
00:22:00:11 – 00:22:11:21
A serious teen might have a crush on a more fun loving teen. Crushes are not the only. Not only the stuff that dreams are made of the signifiant lot about the dreamer.
00:22:13:10 – 00:22:40:24
So some risk of romantic crushes. Of course, romantic crushes can have a risky side. You don’t want a teenage crush to become a fixation on a young person unable to stop daydreaming and fantasizing about this person. For example, you don’t want the young person to act out under the influence of a crush and self endangering ways, soliciting or expressing inappropriate interest.
00:22:41:11 – 00:22:52:27
And you don’t want the crush to be exploited, to be exploited by the and you don’t want the crush to be exploited by the object of the crush, such as an older adolescent taking advantage of a romantically.
00:22:54:08 – 00:22:54:26
00:22:54:26 – 00:22:57:04
Besotted, younger adolescent, for example.
00:22:57:23 – 00:23:22:15
Feelings are always a difficult road for teens to navigate as teens grow and mature, they experience feelings and emotions they’ve never felt before. They don’t understand these feelings. Sometimes they can’t even identified. Describe the feelings that makes it difficult for them to cope with this new and confusing feeling. It also makes it difficult for them to seek out help and advice on how to deal with these things.
00:23:23:07 – 00:23:53:02
They often interpret these new feelings through examples that are exposed to. Those examples should be found at home through the guidance of the parents and their guardians. In the absence of that guidance, teens seek out other alternative examples, such as peers, the media and popular fiction like books, movies and television. These alternative sources, of example, aren’t always the healthiest depiction of how those emotions should be handled.
00:23:53:22 – 00:23:58:24
Thus, they can lead to more confusion, frustration and embarrassment for teens.
00:23:59:22 – 00:24:24:03
Because a romantic crush is so intensely felt. Parents must not take it lightly or make fun of it. An Awakening of romantic feelings. It provokes a lot of anxiety because there are many problematic questions for the young person to answer, like, What am I supposed to do with these feelings? Should they just be kept secret, thus increasing the risk of obsession and reoccupation?
00:24:24:28 – 00:24:46:21
What if I told close friends? Suppose I get talked about and teased, thus increasing the risk, the risk of embarrassment What if I have to be around other people who I don’t know how I who don’t know how I feel now being nervous? There is more. There is more risk of doing or saying something awkward. What do I tell this person about my crush?
00:24:47:03 – 00:24:53:11
To declare the crush to the person creates the risk of rejection. It is not easy managing a crush.
00:24:54:06 – 00:25:04:28
So you would talk about having crushes and at least in one of those instances, you did feel a certain experience of rejection. How did that feel? How did you cope with that?
00:25:08:11 – 00:25:25:19
To be fair, I somewhat expected it at that point when I actually confessed I basically just said, Hey, I like you right before I was supposed to leave. I basically, like, just went up saying that I liked them and then I basically just ran out the door.
00:25:25:25 – 00:25:27:12
00:25:27:16 – 00:25:40:07
So and like, again, I really hadn’t talked to the person before, so I highly doubt that they actually liked me. So I really wasn’t going to be all too surprised in that instance.
00:25:40:07 – 00:25:59:09
Right now, I have to tell you this, this whole thing that you’ve had crushes kind of comes as a surprise. To me. No, not a complete surprise. I mean, it’s a normal thing. It’s just it’s something that we’ve never talked about as a family. Is there any particular reason we didn’t? Did you not feel comfortable talking about it?
00:25:59:10 – 00:26:16:06
Is it something you didn’t feel you needed to talk about? Why am I hearing about this sort of thing now? If I’m judging I’m just curious if it was something was it the way that mommy and daddy were behaving that you didn’t think it was you were comfortable talking to us? Well.
00:26:16:22 – 00:26:45:14
I think part of the reason was because I didn’t really none of them really went anywhere. And I didn’t really think it was important to mention And in another case, I guess I was kind of nervous to talk to you about it because the whole thing of, oh, I don’t want my little girl to be with a guy because I know the guys are dumb and starts and, you know.
00:26:46:14 – 00:26:48:07
I see. So it was all my fault.
00:26:48:08 – 00:26:59:26
I mean, okay, Mommy technically knew more about it. Okay. I kind of told Mommy because I thought she’d I’d relate to her more or she’d relate to me more than you would.
00:27:00:00 – 00:27:03:02
So you say you were okay talking to Mommy, at least mostly.
00:27:03:02 – 00:27:03:17
00:27:03:17 – 00:27:28:28
I can understand that. I mean, I tend to have a very vocal stance on on how protective I am of you, so I can totally understand you not feeling entirely comfortable I hope by now that’s subsided a bit and were a little bit I’m a little bit more levelheaded about it. But I’m glad you were able to at least talk to Mommy about it.
00:27:30:02 – 00:27:58:19
So there are a few things to know about romantic crushes One way to manage the feelings is by telling the object of the crush the language used. How, however, is very important within temptation, because the romanticized feelings are so intense is to express the feelings with the word love. It’s probably best that you stay away from such a strong and emotionally charged term, such as love.
00:27:59:08 – 00:28:13:17
That’s not to say that crushes can’t lead to love at some point in time. They certainly can. But love is a much more complex expression of feeling than what you’re probably initially feeling in a crush.
00:28:13:18 – 00:28:42:15
Yeah, and I feel like now this doesn’t go for everyone. But I feel like most teens have a heart and don’t really understand that love is kind of a really large emotion. That they probably aren’t. Like you said, they probably aren’t feeling at that moment. Love is kind of something a little more long term as opposed to just Oh, I really think that person’s cool.
00:28:42:21 – 00:28:46:06
You know? It wouldn’t really mean you love that person. It just means you like them.
00:28:46:08 – 00:29:11:03
Right. And that’s a very good point. And, you know, it’s best to talk about feelings like this in the terms of liking. Kind of like either when you told the person that you like them, it reduces the pressure on everybody. You drop the word love and all of a sudden everyone takes a deep breath and starts to panic and thinks, you know, either you’re a stalker or something worse or something like that.
00:29:11:27 – 00:29:25:29
So when you say things like, I like talking with you or I like hanging out with you, that expresses the the fondness and the admiration without dropping some big, giant hand grenade into the conversation about love.
00:29:26:05 – 00:29:26:18
00:29:27:00 – 00:29:50:19
You know, keep it simple to the point and see how the other party reacts. It’s perfectly innocent to tell someone. You know, I really enjoy it when we play this game together. I really enjoy watching movies with you or having conversations with you. It’s a way of expressing your appreciation for their time and attention. And it’s also a way for for you to feel out whether or not that feeling is mutual.
00:29:50:19 – 00:30:12:03
And if it is, then you can pursue it further from there. So by not overwhelming or committing overcommitting to the other person, it gives you an opportunity to determine their feelings and if it’s a mutual feeling between the two of you. It also helps to shelter you from flat out rejection if you come on too strong and maybe scare the other person off.
00:30:12:26 – 00:30:18:07
So stay away from love. Stick with like and see how things go from there.
00:30:18:20 – 00:30:49:14
Yep. So most again, most romantic crushes don’t last very long because once the object of the crush becomes better known, the magic of the other person’s soon wears off and the ideal falls away. I can’t believe I felt he was so great. What was I thinking? However, this kind of crush does have one lasting value. Having experienced an awakening of infatuated feelings, the adolescent has opened themselves up to the pleasure and possibility of romantic love.
00:30:50:08 – 00:31:14:15
And I’ll be the first one to tell you. You know, romantic love is a wonderful thing. It can. It can lift you up and it can do all kinds of things. It can make you more. More of a person than you are by yourself when you have the right partner. But there’s risks involved in that. And it’s a very tricky and often difficult thing to go down.
00:31:14:16 – 00:31:39:09
It requires you to expose yourself to vulnerability So when you go that route, ease into it. You know, you don’t want to jump right in and and jump into the deep end. If you don’t know how to swim, you start hanging out with the person, start liking the person. This this one person that I have the crush on from from kindergarten.
00:31:40:05 – 00:32:08:20
We got along great in school. We like the same subject. We excelled at the same subjects. You know, we would play the same games on the playground and stuff like that. And when we started dating, she had completely different interests than I did. She didn’t like the things I like. I didn’t like the things that she liked. We would have phone calls and sit on the phone and not say anything because we really had nothing in common.
00:32:09:08 – 00:32:27:08
And we kind of tried to make it work because it seemed like it was the thing to do because we had been close friends for so long. And it just turned out, you know what? We’re good friends, and that’s probably as far as we’re going to go with it. And that’s kind of what we wound up going with.
00:32:28:09 – 00:32:33:16
So when you get to know that person that crushed content to wear off.
00:32:35:19 – 00:32:51:07
And I should probably mention this now, I’ve actually had a similar experience in one instance where I actually confessed my crush that ended up leaning into a relationship with the person.
00:32:51:15 – 00:32:55:24
Okay. And then that’s news to me.
00:32:55:28 – 00:33:20:18
I know I never told you this. I told Mommy she knows about it, but I never told you. But I will say looking back at it now, it really wasn’t anything romantic. There were like very small moments, but we had been good friends, and one day we just said that we liked each other. I don’t know why I liked him.
00:33:20:19 – 00:33:26:18
I guess it was just I don’t know if you.
00:33:26:28 – 00:33:32:11
Okay, when you say it like that, you kind of come across kind of hard. Like, I don’t know why I like to say okay.
00:33:32:11 – 00:33:32:25
00:33:32:25 – 00:33:33:14
00:33:33:16 – 00:34:01:13
I oh, no, no, no, no. I don’t know why I liked him romantically. I guess it was the whole thing. I guess another thing, it was kind of like that pressure. Yeah. That society kind of apart. And, like, he kind of was one of my, like, first male friends, and I kind of thought that, well, society kind of made me think that maybe there was something that needed to happen.
00:34:01:27 – 00:34:29:02
And then I kind of realized that even in the relationship, we really just did friendly gestures. We never really did anything romantic. Even the small things we had a romantic seemed like the most friendly things I could imagine. And looking back at it now, I really was never romantically attracted to them. And it was really just a friend thing.
00:34:29:25 – 00:34:51:23
And that was kind of what I have with this this one particular girl. And every time we would try to take it beyond that sort of friendship type thing, we would run into a roadblock. Like it just it didn’t work. It was like trying to cram a round peg into a square hole or just, you know, everything else worked fine.
00:34:51:23 – 00:35:05:22
As long as we didn’t try to get to that romantic level. And we finally just said, look, this isn’t us for just good friends and let’s keep it at that. And, you know, we’ve remained friends through high school.
00:35:06:23 – 00:35:07:04
00:35:07:13 – 00:35:22:24
So anyway, we’re going to take our last break here, and then we’re going to come back and we’re going to talk a little bit more about identity crushes. We’ll get off the romantic crushes for a bit here. All right. I could see this is making some uncomfortable conversation here.
00:35:23:00 – 00:35:23:14
00:35:24:26 – 00:35:25:21
We’ll be right back.
00:35:34:04 – 00:35:39:28
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00:35:42:05 – 00:35:49:27
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00:35:52:07 – 00:36:28:14
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00:36:36:06 – 00:36:58:15
Welcome back to Insights on Teens. Today, we’re talking about teen crushes And now we’re going to delve more into identity crushes. So identity crushes often last longer than romantic crushes because the adolescence is focused not so much on pleasing the other person as on altering themselves, using the leader whom they admire as a model to shape their own growth.
00:36:59:06 – 00:37:21:23
So a shy seventh grade kid has a crush on a very popular classmate and wants to become highly social like them, hoping that regular association will rub off as they learn it to become more outgoing. It’s an unstated bargain. They get acceptance and inclusion by the popular kid who gets to be locked up, too, in this admiring way.
00:37:22:14 – 00:37:36:28
Sometimes sexual feelings are aroused and an identity crush or even acted on to express liking. But that does not usually signify that a romantic fascination has become established, only that the identity crush can have a sexual component.
00:37:37:23 – 00:37:47:19
So with that said, have you ever had an identity crush like that on someone else? Maybe someone it was older, kind of a mentor role or something like that.
00:37:50:05 – 00:38:12:08
I think there have been instances where, like, I’ve found a person who had a really good quality and I kind of wanted to be more associated with some to maybe like learn more about how to get that quality Trying to think of a specific example, one that when it came to that.
00:38:14:29 – 00:38:39:19
Because I’ve had this happen to me actually when I was when I was younger, I used to I was one of those kids that hung around RadioShack a lot because I loved technology, love computers, and so forth. And I happened upon this one manager at the local Radio Shack who was a very friendly guy. You know, he was him and a couple of his employees that were his friends that were very accepting.
00:38:39:19 – 00:38:58:22
Most of most people tried to maintain a professional atmosphere. They didn’t want kids hanging around or anything like that. And when he saw that, I was interested in the technology, the computers he kind of wanted to take the time to teach me how to use it. He was really the person who got me into computers to begin with.
00:38:59:12 – 00:39:19:17
And I became very good friends with him. Him and the assistant manager of the store. And the one summer I spent the entire summer pretty much hanging out at RadioShack. And I learned so much about it that by the time I was ready to go back to school, people would come in and they would be asking about computers.
00:39:19:17 – 00:39:44:04
I would be playing games on the computer or whatever, and they would start asking me, and I’m 16 years old at the time that this happens, and I start answering questions for them that they didn’t expect the 16 year old to have answers to. And I actually wound up getting several sales for the guys just by being thereand and showing them how to use it.
00:39:44:04 – 00:40:04:11
And I was sixth because most people at the time, when they bought computers, it was to go do accounting or something like that. Nobody had really home computers at the time for anything other than that in games, and they thought, 16 year olds are just going to play games on here. And I showed them all the different applications you could have, and I was basically a live demo in the store there.
00:40:05:11 – 00:40:26:06
So I attribute a lot of where I am today in my career to this gentleman named, ironically, Sam, who was the manager at RadioShack. And I can look back now. I never knew what an identity crush was, but I can look back now. So yeah, that was probably an identity crush that I had there because I really admired this guy.
00:40:26:06 – 00:40:46:23
He was smart. He was successful at what he was doing. He was compassionate. And he really taught me a lot about computers that set me on my way. So that was kind of the first instance I think I ever had of this type of thing. And and it was definitely as described in here, kind of an identity crunch.
00:40:47:23 – 00:41:15:06
So but, you know, even with identity crashes, there are risks. You know, of course, the risk with following and admired leaders that the young person with the identity crush may be led astray which is what some parents fear, myself included. Our kid worships a classmate who rides their skateboard to school, stashes it in their locker dresses like an outlaw, all in leather and black, and has this angry attitude toward authority.
00:41:15:27 – 00:41:37:05
But if we say anything against them, our team gets really angry defending their romantic hero and criticizing us. What are we supposed to do? Well, nothing. You know, it’s it’s one of those things that they’ll get over it. That’s who they are, then. That’s who they are. You know, it’s a hard situation, but in general, parents need to respect the friendship.
00:41:38:08 – 00:42:02:26
They should get to know the friend. And if their behaviors a friend is into the parents don’t want for their kid. They need to talk to him about not doing those activities. Sometimes they discover that beneath the appearance they find alarming as a person, they actually get the like. Or maybe you could even find it that that those behaviors are there for a reason and it’s a justifiable reason.
00:42:02:27 – 00:42:16:04
Or maybe, you know, your kid turns out to have a positive influence on that person in reverse and you don’t even realize it. So there’s a there’s a lot of back and forth that can happen with that. What else do we have?
00:42:16:25 – 00:42:45:08
So particularly do during the middle school years, teenage crushes can be the attraction or romantic kind and the admiration identity kind. In both case, it in both cases, growth is advanced by this influential experience, most often for a good but sometimes not a hard part of crushes is when they’re not returned. As as is often the case, the chosen person may not be aware, interested in or like being chosen.
00:42:45:24 – 00:43:02:02
They don’t know I exist they don’t even notice me. These are just some of the feelings of rejection. The person experiencing the crush might express the disappointment as weak as real. This is why parents need to pay attention to the crush relationship and not just as countered and look the other way.
00:43:02:24 – 00:43:32:11
And I think we’ve had this discussion in the past where rejection is a very difficult thing to deal with, whether it’s rejection, because you didn’t make the team a rejection because you didn’t get accepted to a school or because your friends don’t want to be around you anymore. You can’t be any kind of rejection. But I think romantic rejection probably cuts a little bit deeper than most others because of this expectation that you have this idealized vision that you have.
00:43:33:00 – 00:44:06:16
And the probably the biggest example I have of that was this one girl that I was, you know, had a crush on, but I was infatuated with and she was going through a difficult relationship. And I was kind of there during that time period and kind of consoled her. And, you know, I had this I was notorious for having this knight in shining armor mentality that, you know, I find I find a girl who who has a problem and I rush into to solve that problem.
00:44:06:16 – 00:44:31:00
And and it very rarely works out quite like that. And I became very close to this person. I had developed feelings for and she was in a very difficult situation at school. And she dealt with it by because her parents were divorced and their father lived in a different town. She dealt with it by moving away and going to live with her or her father.
00:44:31:25 – 00:44:55:07
And that she never knew how I felt because I never had the courage to tell her. I just kind of was there consoling her as a friend. So she didn’t find out until years later. How I felt. But her moving away was a it was an act of rejection on her part because she didn’t know about my feelings.
00:44:55:22 – 00:45:20:25
But it was probably one of the worst senses of rejection that I think I had in my entire life. And it did just devastated me. And I was I was miserable for months after that. So, you know, you have to learn how to deal with the rejection you know? And so we have a couple of hints here on how to cope, help your teen cope with rejection.
00:45:21:13 – 00:45:42:13
This comes to us from side calm met sounds like a government conspiracy. Rejection is inevitable and it comes in many forms during the teen years. But teens dealing with it for the first time can have trouble coping. Here are some things that parents can do to help the teen deal with rejection, whether it be the romantic or otherwise.
00:45:43:01 – 00:46:10:05
The first thing is to acknowledge it with them by dismissing or downplaying the rejection while dismissing or downplaying the rejection might feel right to a parent on a mission to protect the teen from emotional pain, it can actually intensify that pain. Rejection feels isolating and lousy, and teens already know this. What they need is empathy, understanding, and someone who will listen.
00:46:10:27 – 00:46:16:23
They don’t need to be told that their pain doesn’t really matter when to them, it feels like it’s the only thing that matters.
00:46:17:10 – 00:46:41:29
You should also remain objective. You might be tempted to yell out all of the reasons why your teen’s ex is making a huge mistake by breaking up, but responding in anger only intensify your teen’s negative emotional response. Teens look to their parents for cues when they’re under stress. It’s essential to remain common objective in the face of rejection, to show your teen that your love is unconditional.
00:46:42:04 – 00:47:04:28
And this rejection won’t actually ruin their life. Remember, your teen will pick up the behavior that you demonstrate. You should also connect with them. This is the time to convey empathy and understanding. Admitting that you don’t know exactly how your teen is feeling right this very moment, but that you do know what it feels like to face rejection opens the door to conversation.
00:47:05:15 – 00:47:13:04
Teens don’t necessarily want step by step instructions on ways to recover from a rejection, but they do want to connect and talk through it.
00:47:13:27 – 00:47:41:08
And I think the most important thing is probably examine the overall thought process. When teens are stuck in a negative thought cycle, they can develop negative core beliefs. This can lead to decreased self-esteem and future risk aversion. In essence, when the teen feels like they can’t succeed, they’ll avoid trying. Explain to your teen that we all have a negative inner critic that drives our thoughts at times.
00:47:41:21 – 00:48:17:20
The inner critic isn’t the problem. It’s what we choose to do with those critical thoughts that matter. Share a few thoughts that run through your mind when your inner critic is loud. Talk about how you feel as a result of those thoughts. And finally, share ways to reframe those negative thoughts, to refocus on positive thinking. And I think that’s really, honestly, that’s really what we try to do with the podcast in general, is, you know, everybody goes through these things everyone has crushes and gets rejected from time to time and a lot of it.
00:48:17:21 – 00:48:41:11
It’s all part of the growth experience. It’s all part of being a teen you know, it it kind of stinks that you have to go through these things. Like, I hate to see my kids go through any kind of pain or hurt or anguish but that’s kind of what defines who we are in adulthood. And how we deal with those things is really what makes us the people that we are later in life.
00:48:42:09 – 00:49:06:24
And as a parent, it’s kind of it’s our job to make sure that you get the guidance that you need to get there. And, you know, rejection from crushes is is no different than that. And crushes themselves are no different. It’s a learning experience that everybody goes through. And, you know, I don’t want to seem cliché, but it’s like riding a bike.
00:49:07:00 – 00:49:29:09
You know, you get on that bike and you’re going to fall a couple of times and you’re going to scrape your knee and you got to get back on that bike and keep trying. And eventually you’ll learn to ride the bike. Eventually after a couple of, you know, experiences you’re going to learn how to navigate those choppy waters of relationships and you’re going to start down that path of where you want to be as a person.
00:49:30:01 – 00:49:53:24
Sometimes those relationships aren’t romantic. Sometimes those relationships really are just friends. But even those friendship relationships should be based on identity crushes. But relationships in general are complicated, and they take a lot of work. If you want them to succeed anyway. So we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll come back and we’ll get your final thoughts, honey.
00:49:53:29 – 00:49:54:19
00:50:00:24 – 00:50:28:16
All right. So to everyone out there, I just wanted to say that crushes are certainly something that a lot of people experience. And I do also want to point out that if you don’t really have crushes specifically romantic, that it’s perfectly adjustable on why you don’t and it’s fine if you don’t. But there are plenty of people. But if you do experience them, again, it’s kind of a natural thing.
00:50:29:22 – 00:50:54:24
And it’s definitely good to have that experience. And learn how to deal with those emotions in order to kind of navigate the waters like you had mentioned before. And again, it’s fine also to not really have romantic crushes and then just have identity crushes or to not have any crushes at all. You know, it’s all your own personal journey.
00:50:54:28 – 00:50:58:08
That’s right. You can always just stick to your orange crush that works too, right?
00:50:58:14 – 00:50:59:00
00:50:59:14 – 00:51:27:00
You drink. Yeah, the drink. Anyway, I think that’s all we had for today, I think was a good show. Before we do go, I want to once again reach out to our listening and viewing audience and invite you to subscribe to the podcast you can find audio versions of this podcast listed as insights in the teens. You can find video and audio versions of all of our podcast listeners insights and the things you can find us on.
00:51:27:00 – 00:51:52:22
Apple Podcasts, Pandora, Castro, Stitcher, Pod Bean, Buzz Sprout, anyplace you get a podcast. I would also invite you to reach out, give us your feedback, tell us what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong. Give us your suggestions for our show topics. You can email us at comments and insights into things dot com. We’re on Twitter and Twitter dot com slash insights underscore things.
00:51:53:12 – 00:52:12:07
We’re also on Facebook at Facebook, dot com slash insights and the things podcast. You can find us on Instagram at Instagram.com Slash Insights into things or you can get those links and much more on our official website and insights into things dot com and you.
00:52:12:18 – 00:52:21:15
And don’t forget to check out our other two podcasts, insights and entertainment hosted by you in Miami and in Sandton tomorrow, our monthly podcast hosted by you and my brother Sam.
00:52:21:26 – 00:52:23:07
That’s it. Another one in the books.
00:52:23:09 – 00:52:23:28
00:52:23:29 – 00:52:28:16