Pursue a Friend Crush
Apparently, dudes aren't familiar with the concept of the friend crush.
Granted, my sample size is pretty small. My boyfriend was unaware of the term. When I asked him how he would befriend someone he didn't know very well, he said, "I'd play basketball with him, and we'd be friends."
At five foot eleven, this is not the first time I've found myself thinking that playing basketball probably would have been a good life choice.
My dad didn't know what a friend crush was, per se, but he did ask, "Is that like a man crush? Like in I Love You Man?" So I counted that for a win.
But talk to a girl about a friend crush, and there's no explanation needed. The term really resonates with women; all seem, at some point, to have pined after a platonic friendship with someone slightly unattainable. A friend of a friend, a fellow cubicle-dweller, the friendly neighbor who lives downstairs-we've friend crushed them all.
Why do we do it? As much as we discuss romantic relationships, women seem to crave female friendship-the more, the merrier. And if you've recently moved to a new city, have lost a roommate to a new job or a new relationship, or are recovering from a breakup, you might be particularly prone to the pangs of the friend crush.
But unlike in the dating world, there are very few "rules" when it comes to pursuing said crush. How, exactly, do you tell someone you'd like to hang out with her more often-without totally creeping her out?
Try to Make it Organic
Some friendships tumble together seamlessly: You live with a roommate in college and immediately know way too much about each other. Friends. You share an office with someone at work and speak to her literally all day. Friends. There is only one other girl on your after-hours dodgeball team. Friends!
But it's harder to secure the friendship of someone more removed-someone who seems cool but works in a different department is harder to hang out with organically. Your brother's friend's girlfriend was super funny at trivia, but you don't exactly see her on a regular basis.
If you have some kind of real connection, though-you work at the same company, you have a mutual friend-you can leverage that common ground to pursue a friendship without being creepy. Tell your mutual friend you're in the market for some new buddies and ask for an invite the next time she's hanging out with your prospective pal. Volunteer to join a cross-departmental project at work. Put yourself in situations that facilitate the flourishing of a more organic friendship, and go from there.
Go For It
On the other hand, if you're not easily connected to your prospective friend organically, then you've just got to go for it. Capitalize on a shared experience instead: Send a funny note at the end of an email to the woman who works at a partner company and see if she responds. Next time you're at yoga, ask your friend crush if she's tried the cute new coffee place next door. Strike up conversation about the annoying new management in the laundry room with the cool girl who lives down the hall.
Something else to consider: Out yourself. Tell your prospective friend point-blank that you have a friend crush on her. Don't wax poetic-just make a quick joke about wanting more cool people to hang out with, then ask if she'd like to grab coffee or a drink. If this girl's actually going to be a good friend, she'll probably get it-and she'll probably be flattered. And she might even have had a stealth friend-crush on you!
Don't worry that you're overstepping your bounds, or that she won't want to hang out with you. In inviting her to do something, you're being friendly and nice, not creepy or desperate. Really, everyone likes being included!
Don't Be a Creep
The Needy Creep: Just because you've had one conversation or coffee date doesn't mean you're automatic besties. Don't get ahead of yourself and ask her to hang out every night this weekend.
The Social Stalker Creep: Don't find her on Facebook and comb through all of her photos before you've hung out once. (Or, if you do, at least don't bring it up in conversation.)
The Sad Creep: Don't vent to her relentlessly about your struggles making friends or the perils of living in a new city. No one wants to hang out with Debbie Downer.
I'm not sure why the concept of the friend crush is endemic to women, whether it originates from fears of being left alone in the cafeteria or from a biological need to nurture. But if you've got one, don't be afraid to make the first move. A moment of uncertainty just might lead to a great friendship.
This article was originally published on The Daily Muse. For more on networking and making friends, check out:
- Blind Friend Date? Make it Fun, Not Awkward
- The Difference Between Networking and Making Friends
- Be My Friend? Socializing in a New City
Molly Donovan is The Daily Muse's resident bookworm. She currently works in communications and is begrudgingly learning to be a grownup. Please help her be a better Tweeter @MHDonovan.