Even if you're the most loquacious and confident person in the world, a crush can make the best of us clam up. It's happened to most of us: All is going well until a crush appears on the scene, leaving you completely tongue-tied and unable to formulate a complete sentence, much less express anything of real value. And there's the question of how can you get your crush to like you? Be Funny? Friendly? Put-together? An effortless mix of casual-cool?
The best advice anyone could ever give about how to act around a crush? Be yourself. But that's definitely easier said than done. When a case of speechlessness strikes, it's tempting to GTFO of whatever situation you find yourself and skip any discussion with your crush altogether. But that's a terrible idea, because you'll never know whether you would have made an ass of yourself or not if you don't at least try to have a conversation. Plus, what about if you have an actual date scheduled with the object of your affection? Not to worry. If being yourself seems like a pretty tall order in a case like this, there are plenty of tricks to shortcut your way over to acting like a normal person, and letting your personality shine through in the process. Think of them as self-hacks.
1. Talk about what makes you passionate
If you know nothing about basketball, best to not lead with that. Instead, talk about your passions. If you could discuss Einstein's Theory of Relativity all day or give deep discourse on the pluses and minuses of soaking versus misting air plants, by all means, go for it. If there's something a little more mainstream that also makes you happy, perhaps lead with that. Regardless, if you're amped about something, talk about it. There will be no awkward silences and you'll get a chance to be you.
2. Tell stories
We all have great stories. If you find yourself at a birthday party, give an account of the time your grandfather fell asleep on his 80th birthday cake or the time your brother ran his car into your mom's prize azalea bush on his 21st birthday. Or, if you come from a family more like mine, the time your sister ruined Christmas by staying out all night drinking tequila and skipped her birthday party altogether. It doesn't have to be pretty. Try not to give too much away, but a few peppery stories never hurt anyone, and might encourage your crush to tell a tale or two of their own.
3. Ask questions
We all love talking about ourselves. This is a surefire way to deflect attention from yourself and learn about this person whom you are so into. Win-win, and perhaps they'll say something that will trigger another story you can tell, which might get them talking about a similar situation they've experienced. And that, folks, is conversation.
4. Be a good listener
Follow up with more questions, and listen to what your crush has to say. That way, later in the conversation (and there will be a later, because things are already going so well) when that story they told about the time an entire pie went missing comes up again, you can remember it was about their best friend who lives in Portland and not about, like, their childhood dog.
5. Mention a TV show, book or movie
Maybe don't lead with the fact that you binge-watched something super embarrassing, but if there's a great book you read recently or a TV show you've been following with zeal, no time like the present to bring it up. Or ask what they've been reading or watching. If you can find something in common, you can bond over how much you hated the ending of Mad Men or whatever. And perhaps you can gather a few recommendations while you're at it.
6. Talk about something you have in common
It doesn't have to be a favorite film, though there's a distinct possibility that you have some overlap. If you work together, talk about work. Same with school. Or maybe you heard a great podcast or read an interesting article lately, and it turns out they heard the same one or read the same thing. Really: You can't go wrong in the fertile territory of commonalities.
7. Be well-read
If you're a bookworm, now is your time in the sun. Talk about books and magazines and articles you read online. Talk about the weird facts and fascinating stories you've learned therein. If you've been following a story in the news, talk about it. Maybe it'll turn out your crush has been reading the same things, which'll be another chance for bonding. If not, you'll appear super smart and informed, and nobody can argue with that.
8. Don't second-guess yourself
If you said something that two seconds later you perceive to be mega dumb, just roll with it. We all appraise ourselves after the fact, but you might as well just embrace whatever it was that came out of your mouth and move on. What's said is said. You're being you. If this person isn't down, they're not down. Don't try to be someone or something you're not, because eventually the true goofy you will emerge, and it's best to be upfront about who you are now. Especially because silliness is charming, and if you're dealing with someone who is judgmental about that kind of thing, perhaps they are not worthy of being crushed on.
9. Be honest
Don't embellish your stories or act like someone else. As difficult as it can be to be honest in the early days of dating, and in the earliest days of pre-dating, honesty is by far the best policy. It's refreshing, and it requires no nimble mind games or delicate backtracking.
10. Be humble
Try to avoid false pride. Don't try to build yourself up in an attempt to appear cooler, smarter, more interesting or all-around "better" than you are. Not cute, and totally see-through. Don't brag. Just be you.
Images: Chris Ford/Flickr; Giphy