How Celebrity Crushes Are Different From IRL Crushes, According to an Expert

If you're currently crushing hard on a celebrity, you've probably realized that your feelings are a little bit different than the ones you have for a crush you know IRL. But why?

We recently chatted with biological anthropologist and crush authority Dr. Helen Fisher, and we learned a thing or two about celebrity crushes and what makes them tick. Keep reading to learn more about how celebrity crushes work and what makes them so fun to explore.

Sweety High: Do our brains differentiate much between celebrity crushes and crushes we have on the people in our lives?

Helen Fisher: Regardless of whether you're experiencing a crush on someone you know in real life or a celebrity, the same parts of your brain—which pertain to romantic love—are triggered. But when you have a celebrity crush, you by and large know that you're never actually going to be with them. They're never going to ask you out. You know it's just preliminary or temporary.

 A celebrity crush is quite safe. You get to experience infatuation without the pressure of getting that person to like you back. You're not expecting a text back, and there's freedom in that.


(via Unsplash)


SH: In what ways can a celebrity crush feel "safer" than a crush on someone you know in real life?

HF: If you have a crush on someone in your French class, you know that person. You're going to see them every day, and maybe you'll feel the need to wear certain clothes in order to impress them, and act a certain way to find yourself in situations where you can talk to them, and then you worry about whether you're flirting with them successfully. It becomes a project that takes a lot of thought and energy. It's fun, but it's also work.

So if you're suddenly crazy about Justin Bieber, you understand that he's not going to return those feelings. You can practice at love without stressing over issues of how you communicate, whether he'll like what you wear, or how you need to act the next time you see him, because chances are that's not going to happen. You can feel all of the pleasure of a crush without any of the effort or the pain of rejection.


SH: Are there other aspects of celebrity crushes that differentiate them from real-life ones?

HF: Often, there's a social aspect to celebrity crushes, too. People have crushes on celebrities in groups, and it brings them together. When your friends have the same crush, you get to talk about love and relationship topics with your friends, and put posters up in your room, while you make this connection with someone who is completely safe.


(Bob's Burgers via Fox)


SH: Do you think we understand this element of safety when we have celebrity crushes?

HF: Well, unless you're a complete dreamer, you've got to realize this person is never going to call you. I don't know if people truly recognize that feeling of security when they're experiencing a celebrity crush, but it's there. I think at some level you understand that you can like someone without any repercussions. A lot of the time, it's just about having fun.


Need more expert crush content? Click HERE for Dr. Helen Fisher's scientific explanation of why we get crushes in the first place.