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HOW TO: Stalk your crush

Published: Sunday, November 14, 2004

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Hi, my name is Christina, and I am a crushaholic. I'm infatuated with infatuation, the way a new object of affection makes my stomach flip. Don't misunderstand; I'm not talking about some desperate, obsessive, "I want to marry you and have your child" kind of love. I'm just an old-fashioned girl who loves the thrill of the chase.

"Crush stalking" is a term I was introduced to in high school, when my fellow classmates and I would flip through our Names and Faces student directories each fall, scouting out the choice post-graduates to swoon over. It was amateur investigation at best, learning where they were from and fantasizing about what sports they played, how old they really were, and, most importantly, if they had girlfriends.

College, on the other hand, is the major leagues of crush stalking. We have Agora, affectionately know to some as "Stalkernet," which provides us with all the requisite basics, including class year and school. We have away messages and profiles, dining halls for people watching, and friends to act as dormitory spies. With the advent of The Facebook, we can even discover their hobbies, friends, and most importantly, what kind of relationship they're looking for.

So, if you want to play the game, you need to learn the rules:

DOs

Make a list

If the purpose of stalking is essentially to gather information, then it's important to know what you want to find out. List all of the qualities you want to investigate, from how many siblings they have to where they spend Friday nights. Does she watch Laguna Beach? Is he an amazing poker player? Decide what's important for you to know about their personality and interests so you can judge them on something other than looks.

Be Resourceful

There are an overwhelming number of resources at your disposal, most of which are obvious. Google your crush to see what pops up; maybe he was a championship water polo player in high school, or she won an award for best science fair project.

Check their Facebook profiles and see where they went to high school, what classes they're taking and with whom, their favorite movie, or what clubs they belong to. Sort through their list of friends to find if you have any common acquaintances, or for that matter, if they hang out with a group you don't particularly care for. Also, use your friends and mutual acquaintances to get the real dirt; sometimes gossip can be a good thing.

Be Observant

Keep an eye out for them around campus. If you know he has class at 1:30 right across the hall from where you get out at 1:15, be sure to say hello. If you know she likes to have lunch in the Eagle's Nest, happen to walk through to check your mail every once and awhile. Don't memorize their schedule, but do make an effort to cross paths. Also, take note of their demeanor and body language, looking for character clues like whether she's easily stressed out or he's generally upbeat.

Put it to Use

After you've done all the reconnaissance, consider what you've discovered. While most of the fun is in the investigation, you should try to draw some conclusions at the end. A crush can only be a total failure or complete success. On the one hand, you may decide that the infatuation has worn off and you're ready to move on to your next target. On the other, you may decide this person is worth making friends with, or even better, worth asking out.

Find a way to introduce yourself, such as joining a club they're in or asking to sit at their table when it's crowded in Hillside. If you've made contact before and are comfortable initiating conversation, hint at some of the information you gathered to pique their interest. For example, if you found out they really enjoy rock climbing, mention that you've always wanted to learn. Be yourself and play it cool. You're an informed crusher now, so either step up to the plate, or let the next batter take a swing.

DON'Ts

Be Unreasonable

There's a fine line between fantasy and reality when it comes to crushing, so watch your toes. Adding him to your cell phone address book won't make him call any sooner, and staring intently at her from across the room will only scare her away.

Don't start crying if you see him show up at a party holding the hand of a gorgeous blonde or flip out when she doesn't immediately return your phone call. It's much easier to imagine the worst and read into meaningless situations, especially when you make yourself believe your crush is more than just a fad.

Be Excessive

Watch your back. Don't bring your crush up in every conversation you have with mutual acquaintances; someone might mention something to your beloved, making you look a little pathetic.

Additionally, it's all too easy to waste hours on your computer digging up random facts and memorizing the intimate details of your crush's life. Don't let what should be a fun pastime overtake your more important responsibilities, like doing schoolwork and spending time doing things that you enjoy.

Actually Stalk

Hiding behind bushes with a wide angle lens, hoping to snap shots of someone through their bedroom window, is just creepy. Let's try to avoid those restraining orders.

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