Advice for a minor with a crush on a 22-year-old

Don’t act on these feelings, which themselves are normal and OK.

  • Saturday, October 12, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hello Carolyn:

I’m a 16-year-old who works at a coffee shop in a small town. Lately I’ve been working with the same guy a lot and I’ve started to notice my heartbeat rising before I walk in the door. He and I get along very well and have very similar ideologies. We like the same shows, games and have similar hobbies. We end up closing a lot later than normal lately because we talk so much.

The problem is that he’s 22. Normally I wouldn’t be OK with such an age difference, but for some reason I really just want to ignore it. I’m really falling in love with him and I’m not so sure what to do anymore.


Your “normally” impulse is the right one please don’t ignore this age difference.

I should say specifically, don’t act on these feelings, which themselves are normal and OK.

It’s just that acting on them, and getting involved with Mr. 22 while you’re still a minor, could land him in a statutory hellscape that no compatible tastes in shows and games could ever justify.

As the adult in this budding attraction, he is supposed to know this and keep the necessary distance, but humans being humans means it’s better if both of you are respecting the invisible guardrail between you.

Bonus old-lady observations: (1) The heart palpitations and like-mindedness on shows and ideas create one of the best feelings in the whole world.

(2) These great feelings when it’s just a passing crush are virtually indistinguishable from these great feelings when you’re falling in real love. At least they are at first and for a long time, so you typically have no idea which one they’re pointing to until you’re months in and they start to either deepen or vanish so fast you can find yourself on a date with your once-overwhelming crush suddenly wondering what in dog’s name you’re doing there with this person.

(3) If there’s already a good reason not to be with someone and you have a great one then just write the attraction off as a crush and starve it of all attention, hopes and wishful thinking.

Enjoying a crush and the happy mood and the getting-dressed-with-a-little-extra-care moments are not illegal.

But, reminder, being stupid often is, often for someone else but not for you. So don’t be. Please. If he’s the guy for you, then he will still be right in a couple of years.

Re: Coffee crush:

There is no way to say this without sounding creepy, but the relatively close age difference makes things worse for him: old enough to know it’s wrong but young enough that he’s still making poor judgments and could probably justify the relationship in his head, getting him into a lot of trouble.

I was a student teacher when I was 21 and was propositioned a couple of times. I never acted on it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted. Looking back, it’s scary what could have happened. Statutory hellscape is right.

A Guy

Talk to us

More in Life

Why a happy belly is a key to having a happy life

Most of the serotonin in our bodies (our main “good mood” hormone) is made in our gut. So a digestive problem can be a real drag.

When is the best time of day to take probiotics?

The exact time you take a probiotic is not as important as other considerations, such as why are you’re taking it.

How should we feed our baby when we’re running low on money?

Some formula companies have patient assistance programs that your pediatrician can help you find.

The Port of Everett is adjusting its summer outdoor movie series, Sail-In Cinema, to meet public health guidelines this year. It'll be a drive-in theater. (Port of Everett)
Outdoor movies on the waterfront: Drive in or lawn seating

A six-movie lineup by the Port of Everett features action, cartoons and rom-com.

Willem Wolters, 9, is half way through reading "Space Case" by Stuart Gibbs. Wolters was given the title of the nation's highest point earner in the Accelerated Reader program on Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Bothell, Washington. Willem is a fourth grader at Cedar Wood Elementary School in Bothell. The new national record is 2,145 points. That is over 14 million words read and 377 books. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
This Bothell boy read 380 books to beat last year’s national record

Willem Wolters, 9, earned more than 2,000 Accelerated Reader points, but mostly he just loves to read.

pizza with cheese. vector illustration on white background
You voted: The best pizza in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites

Photo courtesy Laura Thompson 

Madison Thompson and her dog Stella.
Whidbey teen, golden retriever make top 8 in NY kennel show

Madison Thompson was one of the youngest competitors in her division of 80 kids.

Chris Stack and Samantha Soule film a scene of their movie, "Midday Black, Midnight Blue," on the Coupeville wharf June 14. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Indie film crew: Whidbey residents are ‘generous and welcoming’

The movie makers are shooting scenes for a full-length feature at various sites around the island.

Max Djenohan climbed Alaska's Denali in early June to snowboard off the summit. (Submitted photo)
From steamy ‘Naked and Afraid’ to snowboarding down Denali

Max Djenohan spent the pandemic pursuing outdoor adventures, clothed and in the buff.

Most Read