So you know that thing where you really like someone but it’s  early days and you don’t know how to handle it and sometimes you dream about them and when you wake up you think your dream was reality and you check your phone because you’re still half asleep but then you realise they haven’t actually sent you any messages and you feel a bit down but still really happy for the rest of the day because you keep forgetting that dream was just a dream?

Yeah, that’s a great time.  In some ways, it’s even better than when you finally get with that person, because it’s all still in your head and they haven’t had time to ruin it with their weird friends calling you “ball and chain” or their really terrible taste in rom-com’s.  So treasure the moments that exist solely in your mind.  Here’s a few of them you should look out for.

1. Hearsay

In your quest to marry the guy from the place that you only went once but you still see around all the time and always have incredible banter - seriously, incredible - you will probably resolve not to tell anyone that you like them, but then after about 30 seconds will have taken out a full page advert in ‘Chat Magazine’ (Life, Death, Prizes).  Rationally it may seem like a huge error, but actually it can be a one way love-ticket to heart-beating happiness.  One of your friends will mention it to one of their friends, who shares a friend with said crush, and then they’ll be all, “Hey you know that girl with the afro?”  (They’ll only say that if you’ve got an afro.  That’s not, like, slang for people who fancy other people) “Well I think she likes you”.  Then hopefully he’ll say something back to his friend and it will get passed down the grapevine of gossip until it reaches you.  Or when he’s out he’ll say something to one of your friends who knows you like him, “Hey who’s that girl with the afro?” and then she’ll run over all girly and go “Eeeek he was asking about you”.  And you’ll do a little scream that makes all the boys around you look at you like you’re the lamest thing since Gareth Gates,  but you won’t care and will spend the rest of the night ignoring your crush and laughing at loads of bad jokes told by guys you don’t fancy, safe in the knowledge that it’s driving him a little bit crazy.

That’s assuming the other person feels the same way  as you.  If they don’t then you’ll never hear anything, and whenever you bring him up in conversation your friends will look at each other awkwardly, until one day - probably when you’ve stopped caring about him anyway - one of your friends will take you to one side and tell you really patronisingly that he’s got a new girlfriend.  You’ll be more annoyed with her than you will with your crush, and the two of you won’t talk for at least 8 years.

2. The accidental casual bumping into each other.

Now I can say, hand on heart, that I’ve never done this.  It would involve far too much effort.  However I have a “friend”, lets call her Chantelle because I really like that name and have always wanted a friend called that, but all my friends have really boring names and I HATE IT.  So whenever Chantelle is chasing a guy, which is a lot (I imagine girls called Chantelle are really forward and say stuff like, “mmm-hmm sister, you go get yours” even if they’re from Burnley and learnt all their lingo off ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’) Chantelle will always make a point of finding out where these boys live and work.  Not by asking any of their best friends, that’s moving into mental territory, but by internet stalking.  Which is actually just as mental, but it’s secret and everyone does it, so that makes it OK.  Then she puts on some makeup, turns her phone on silent, and wanders around his area talking to a pretend friend with a boys name.  Then if she bumps into him she’ll do the, “Oh hi! (Whispering) I’m just on the phone hang on…Yep. Hahaa.   No way!  He didn’t say that! God OK, bit full on isn’t he? (Whispering) sorry…Look I’ve got to go, yeah see you later, bye”.  The trick is to always make the conversation long enough that the guy starts feeling a bit silly and awkward, but not long enough that he wanders off.  Works every time (apparently, although Chantelle has issues with looking vulnerable so it’s probably backfired on many occasions, she just doesn’t tell us).  The other, less insane option, is to go to places you know he’s gonna be at night.  Then he’ll be drunk and won’t think it’s weird that you’ve obviously just dragged your friend into some hardcore show simply because you saw on his facebook he was going.  You’re dressed completely inappropriately and have to stick your fingers in your ears, but at least you’re not pretending to be on the phone like that bloody mentalist Chantelle.  I don’t want to be friends with that psycho anymore.

3. Mixtapes and Love Letters

You have to be so careful with this stuff.  When you’re making a mixtape (can we still call them that?) don’t think you’re being clever by sending them a hidden message of “I like you”.  They know you like them - the very fact you’re bothering to collate some music and slide it on over means that you’re into them.  Unless you’re one of those people who does this for everyone, which makes you a really bad person because sending out loads of mixtapes is way worse than cheating.  Mixtapes are a weapon that should only be used with great care and respect, they are the five-fingered dragon-smack of love.  Or whatever that move is in ‘Kill Bill’.  The theme of the mixtape should never be ‘Love’, but instead based around something you’ve already talked about, like film scores or dead bunnies.  Always make sure you put some really unemotional, or even better, violently aggressive tracks on there too.  So then they’ll play it with their friends, saying, “You know that Chantelle girl with the afro?  She made me this mix all about how much she loves me” and when that one comes on their friend will go, “Wow she fucking HATES you” and it will make them all confused and a bit nervous.  Then you can be all cool and laid back when they ask about it later.  Love letters should only be done with loads of irony.  Write “I hate you” on the back of a snotty tissue and they’ll be yours forever.

4. Text analysis.

In the world of girls, this is perhaps the worst thing our sex do.  Come on.  The number of kisses?  You really think there is hidden meaning in that?  Whether or not they ask you a question?  That dictates your reply?  The number of hours it takes them to reply?  You really think that’s relative to the amount they like you?!

Well yes, it probably is.  Boys have cottoned on to the fact we’re really all basically insane, and that rather  than wondering whether or not we like them (despite their complete lack of social graces and tiny feet), we spend hours discussing and drafting text messages.  Perfecting how aloof we sound, quizzing our friends over whether or not we should wait a bit longer before sending it, turning our phone off if they haven’t texted back for a while so we stop looking at it obsessively.  This used to not matter but now the male sex has realised that we do all this stuff and probably use it against us, which just adds another level of paranoia.  However, as horrible and pathetic as it makes us feel, the relief when we finally do get a message WITH THREE KISSES OH MY GOD makes it all worthwhile.  Cherish this time.  Especially because as soon as you start going out you’ll realise your crush just re-uses all the same jokes you used to think were really funny, and that all his special stories he used to tell you are actually just the ones he tells everyone.  Pretty soon he’ll be telling you about stuff that happened to him while you were actually by his side, and you’ll be all, “Why am I going out with this boring douche?” And will stop texting him completely.

5. The date.

Saying date in the UK is the stupidest thing in the whole world.  I think there should be a law where if you want to say the word “date” then you have to wear white bobby socks, only talk about Elvis, and put on an American accent the whole way through your chilli dog and fries.  Complete with phrases like, “Gee whiz” and “You betcha bottom dollar”.  However we don’t have a parallel word for date, and it takes ages to write ‘when you finally reach the point where you and the man you are courting arrange to meet up in the same place at the same time and engage in social activity with each other’, so date it is.  The date is the best it’s ever going to get.  Or rather the time before the date is.  The planning of where you are gonna go, what you’re gonna talk about, and how you should dress, is obviously a bit nerve-wracking, but it’s the greatest type of nerve-wracking there is.  It’s like, “oooh shall I have the big bag of money or the gleaming square of gold? Man, I just can’t decide!”  You know it’s going to be fine.

Sitcoms always like to make a big drama of the first date and suggest that it always leads to really embarrassing situations where you can’t get your leather pants back on, or you eat all their food by accident, or your Mum turns up and starts wiping her spit on your cheek, “Oh you’re just wearing too much blusher that’s all.  Sorry darling”.  Well that never happens.  If anything it’s the time when you’re both on your best behaviour so you’re laughing off any cute flaws, which will probably be the things that break you up in 2 months, and the adrenaline’s really high so you’re over-excited and therefore amazing at conversation.

In other news, did anyone used to watch ‘Saved By The Bell’?  I found this today and it made me really sad: