I have a crush on this guy I’m in a club with at school. My crush is so bad that it’s preventing me from concentrating on my schoolwork and other important things. So, I think I’m going to tell him I like him. I mean, it’s just a crush, right? No big deal? I just don’t know if it’ll be awkward for us afterwards or how bad the rejection is going to hurt (because he has a girlfriend now). So, should I tell him? I’m afraid of getting embarrassed. —Cessily, 16, New York City

I know how you feeeeelllllrrrrrfgh!!! Love is exhausting torture and also the greatest invention of all time. Let’s ruefully/swooningly lie down on the floor for a while before we continue.

Now, then. [Plucking cat hair off of my entire body] I like how, in your letter, you go from “THIS CRUSH IS AN INESCAPABLE MIND-CONTROL CONSPIRACY,” to “Eh! This verkakte crush! Whaddaya gonna do!” Both of these reactions are totally natural, in equal measure. This is “just a crush,” but it’s also clearly driving you up the goddamn wall.

When I’m nursing a nuclear-grade infatuation, which I pretty much always am, I’m a broadcaster: Everybody’s gotta know about it. “Breaking: My dumb old heart is exploding! More news at 11.” I tell my friends, and my long-suffering cat (whatever, fur-face, deal with it as I do your floor-hair), and, yes, sometimes even the object of my desirezzz. Even if I’m fairly certain nothing’s gonna come of my seeping emotion-ooze, I still want to make something happen with this something that keeps happening, day in and day out, to my love-mauled brain. I think, If this feeling is such a colossus inside of me, won’t it have some kind of impact on the world outside my head if I do something with it?

And, yo, yes. Telling your human obsession-figure will make stuff happen, but you have to make sure you’re aware of what these often-dicey consequences might be before you make any bold and potentially nuclear-grade moves, my girl.

Cess, what are you hoping will come of telling him, really? Do you think there’s a chance he might reciprocate your moony feelings? Or do you just want to yank a release valve on your steamed-up head? There are other outlets for the latter, you know. Friends exist! Diaries exist. Maybe test out those methods first?

But, yeah, I guess confiding in those outlets isn’t quite as earth-quaking as actually telling the person you care about that you like-like them. You want them to explode like you’re exploding and then gage the impact. I got it. Break that valve the fuck off if you have to. But it might not go as cleanly as you’re perhaps picturing it will. I would be way more encouraging about broadcasting your heart-news if you hadn’t said that this guy has a girlfriend. I’m all for going for it if that’s what you wanna do, but bear in mind that this seems like a situation where:

1. You are pretty much setting yourself up for rejection. If you think that’ll give you closure of some kind, or alleviate some of the heart-fog obscuring the rest of your life right now, OK, but I just want you to be prepared for potentially having your misted-up ticker hurt. If you are an overly sensitive type like me, make sure to take that idea into thoughtful consideration, won’t you?

2. Yer crush might feel really uncomfortable about your giving him the full LOVE REPORT, since you’re in the same club and will have to see each other all the time. Also, he has a girlfriend, who might not be too jazzed about this, and that could put him in a rough spot. I once told a high school friend who was in a relationship that I had a crush on him, and he definitely stopped wanting to hang out with me for a while. Out of respect for her, and for me (since my crush was quite unrequited), he didn’t wanna put anybody in a weird situation. Based on these facts, I think you can guess whether my ardorous tell-all cost me that friendship, Cesstaurant.

If you do choose to tell this dude you’re into him, be cautious about how you phrase it. Most important: Don’t pressure him to respond! Just say something like: “Hey, I know you’re involved with somebody else, so I want to be very clear about my expectations, which are zero. I just wanted to let you know that I have feelings for you. It’s been on my mind lately, and I don’t want to keep it in anymore because I’m looking to move on. You’re rad, and I hope we can be friends.” Then, be respectful about his response—if he doesn’t want to talk or hang out afterward, honor that. You’d want someone to do the same for you, right?

So here’s the main question that I have for you: Do you care if any of the not-fun outcomes listed above comes to pass? Or if, as you say, it’ll be awkward between you two, which it totally might? Or are you feeling more like “Nah, I still want to do it, and DURN THE CONSEQUENCES”? In the last case, fine, tell him. Who am I to stop you? This verkakte love-hypnosis, it does whatever it wants! Plus, none of this will matter much in the long run—you’ll have a new crush before you know it, Cessiotone, believe me. It’s just how the wonderful, torturous process of having a heart goes. Good luck! —Amy Rose