Telling someone you’re interested in them can be super scary, but it's the only way to find out if your crush likes you back or not. Here’s how to make the first move, deal with rejection, and figure out if you’re in love.

How do I know if my crush likes me back?

Sometimes crushes feel so strong it's all you can think about. You obsess over everything they say or do, trying to figure out if they like you back. Having a crush can be exciting, fun, and frustrating, all at the same time.

Flirting and giving you compliments can be a sign someone's into you. They may also make an effort to talk to you or be near you a lot. But you won’t know for sure if your crush is crushing back unless you talk with them about it or ask them out.

How do I ask someone out?

Most people get nervous about asking out their crush. It definitely takes courage, but these tips can make it a little easier:

  • Calm your nerves — breathing, exercise, music, talking to a friend first — whatever makes you relax. Thinking about what you’re going to say ahead of time can also help.

  • Keep reminding yourself that you’re awesome, no matter how your crush reacts. Your crush may seem like the most important person in the world right now, but you’re just as great as they are — seriously.

  • Starting the conversation is usually the hardest part. But asking people about themselves is a good way to get the conversation going. Almost everyone likes to talk about their favorite hobbies, music, sports, movies, and food. And it can help you figure out what you have in common. Keep a few things you want to talk about in the back of your mind to help you avoid awkward silences.

  • It’ll probably make you both feel more comfortable if you talk when you have a little bit of privacy. Find some time where you can talk without distractions, either in person, on the phone or online. Some people feel better about calling, texting, or messaging online instead. Whatever works for you is totally ok.

  • If you and your crush are vibing, you could ask them to do something with you — like seeing a movie, studying together, going to a game or concert, etc. You can also try to go out with a group of friends, instead of a one-on-one date. That can take some of the pressure off and help you both feel more comfortable.

And for real: sometimes it feels like there are different rules for girls and guys when it comes to dating and asking people out, but that’s so not true. We’re not in the 1950s anymore — it’s 100% normal and okay for any gender to do the asking!

What do I do if I get rejected?

There’s no way around it — getting rejected sucks. But it happens to everyone at some point in their life (seriously, EVERYONE). And you’ll feel less crappy about it over time, promise.

Getting rejected doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you, it just means you weren’t a good match for that particular person. Sometimes getting rejected has nothing to do with you at all (like maybe your crush doesn’t want to date anybody right now). But don’t worry — you’ll be a good match for someone else. That saying “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” is true, and some of those fish are looking for someone exactly like you.

Give yourself serious credit for asking your crush out. And look on the bright side: now that you know what's up with them, you can move on and stop wondering/worrying about it. Right now you may feel like you’ll never like anybody else, but the reality is you’ll probably have lots of crushes in the future.

Even though rejection hurts, it’s important to respect your crush’s feelings, so don't try to change their mind or pressure them into going out with you. You can't make someone like you, and everyone has the right to say “no.” It might be tempting to get angry or tell them off — don’t. Insulting them definitely won’t make them like you, and it can be hurtful to the other person. Instead of getting angry at your crush, lean on your friends for support. They’ve probably been through this too, and know how it feels. They can also make you feel better and remind you how amazing you are.

How do I know if I’m in love?

Crushing on someone and being super attracted to them is intense. It can definitely feel like you're falling in love. But truly being in love goes deeper than being really attracted to someone and wanting to be around them all the time. Love means caring for someone deeply and wanting them to be happy. People show love by being there for each other, listening to each other, helping each other grow, doing things to make each other happy, and being patient and kind with each other.

Your parents and other adults you trust can help you figure out whether you're in love or not. They know how it feels to have a crush, to be attracted to someone, and what it's like to be in love.