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

Jeff Daniels
Actor Jeff Daniels also knows his way around the blues guitar

The Edmonds Center for the Arts will present a streaming concert by Daniels on Jan. 15.

Freezer-to-table recipes — plus a little help from the kids — makes putting dinner on the table easy. (Jennifer Bardsley)
When families cook together, dinner is ready in a flash

Here’s how you, too, can assemble 14 freezer-to-table recipes in four hours for two weeks of easy meals.

Dr. Paul on making a habit of expressing your appreciation

It can be as easy as putting a sticky note out to remind yourself be on the lookout for a job well done.

Artists Amber and Alex Vincini sit by examples of their artwork outside their studio on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
CARES Act grant helps artists be creative — and pay the rent

The money allows Everett’s Schack Art Center to hire artists and art educators.

When harvesting an Asian pear, the best method is to taste. Asian pears will ripen on the tree. (Getty Images)
Fruit trees 101: A gardener’s CliffsNotes for growing them

If you have any interest in growing your own fruit, it’s prime time to pick up apples, plums, cherries and pears.

Scherenschnitte is a special type of German paper cutting art, and old and new examples are both seen at auctions. This modern example sold for just $40. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
G.B. French made this scherenschnitte in the 20th century

The Kovels were surprised French’s paper cutting art was at auction, when artwork from the 1800s is more popular.

"Diane" witch hazel produces dark copper-red flowers in winter, providing quite a show against its bare branches. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane,’ Diane witch hazel

“Diane” witch hazel produces dark copper-red flowers in winter, providing quite a show against its bare branches.

Shylah Hallam-Noel left, a worker at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle, receives the second shot of the Pfizer vaccination for COVID-19, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, from a Walgreens Pharmacist, right. The facility had an outbreak of COVID-19 in May of 2020 that resulted in more than 100 positive cases among staff and residents, including Allen, and the deaths of 20 residents and two staff members. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The tricky road to herd immunity, explained

Three researchers who study the spread of infectious disease offer a reality check on how far we’ve come — and how far we have to go.

Photo by Wes Anthony/Firehouse Creative
Lead actress Shannyn Sossamon talks with filmmakers Andrew Morehouse,center, and Nate
Bell while filming “The Hour After Westerly” at the Fort Casey Inn.
Watch film featuring Whidbey Island for free through Jan. 16

The “Twilight Zone”-esque “The Hour After Westerly” is based on a short story by Robert M. Coates.

Most Read