Every Valentine's Day, we ask kids about LO-V-E. More than 4,300 of you responded to our survey this year and one thing was clear: Liking someone — or having someone like you — can be soooooooo embarrassing. How embarrassing? Enough to make kids blush, hide in the restroom at school, or even feel like throwing up. Nothing romantic about that!
Here are some situations that make kids uncomfortable:
Getting a phone call, email, or note from someone who likes you.
Admitting that you like someone and finding out he or she only likes you as a friend.
Getting turned down after asking someone to dance.
Talking on the phone to someone you like and having your mom pick up the phone!
Hearing false rumors that you like someone or when people talk about how you like a certain person.
Most Kids Say They Have a Crush
About 80% of kids say they have a crush on someone. A lot of boys and girls feel private about their crushes, with 40% saying they keep their feelings quiet. But 60% said they talk to others about the people they like. This can lead to problems.
Nick, 10, said he felt embarrassed and angry when people started talking about how he has a crush on a certain girl. Brandon, 10, said he was embarrassed when a girl made fun of him and how much he liked her in front of the whole class.
It made Katherine want to cry when her best friend yelled out that she liked Ray. "I don't think anybody heard. She's still my best friend," said Katherine, 12.
Clare, 11, knew there was trouble the day she saw a group of cool boys whispering and pointing at her. Later that day, she found out one of them started rumors that he and Clare were "deeply in love."
"I was so embarrassed that I hid in the washroom for most of the day!" she said.
Passing notes also seems to lead to a lot of embarrassment. Emily 12, got a love note from a boy, responded that she liked him too, but then the teacher caught the note and read it aloud! Emily said she was embarrassed, but couldn't help finding it a little funny.
"I went bright red and so did he," she said.
Sanela, 10, has had two embarrassing moments. One, when someone left a love note on her desk. Everyone was looking at her and she was so nervous she dropped all her art supplies on the floor. Another time, a boy gave her a rose at a New Year's Eve party.
"He wouldn't take it back...In fact, that was my most embarrassing moment ever!" Sanela said.
And you can imagine how Diana, 12, felt when a boy sent her a note that said, "I love you, Honeybee."
Based on our survey, here are some tips for avoiding embarrassment and helping other people do the same:
Try not to make fun of others or spread rumors about who likes whom. (It's tough to avoid, but remember how it feels when it happens to you.)
If someone says they like you, but you don't like them, try to tell them in a kind way.
If you like someone, consider that person's feelings. It's great if the person likes you back. But if your attention makes the person feel uncomfortable or angry, try to back off.
Talk to a parent or a trusted adult if you need help or advice.
When a boy likes her and she doesn't like him, Stephanie, 12, tries to handle it in a nice way.
"I will still talk to him...Normally, people avoid them," she said.
It's perfectly normal for boys and girls to start liking each other during the preteen years. It's very new, so it might feel awkward or strange. It's also fine if kids feel too young to get involved in this lovey-dovey stuff. The good news is that almost all kids think girls and boys can be friends.
Among boys who took our survey, 85% say they have friends who are girls. And among girls, 90% say they have friends who are boys. That's a great way to get to know each other and for girls to start understanding boys and boys to start understanding girls.
Legend, a 12-year-old girl, put it this way: "With guys, you mostly play games more, and joke around way more. For example, if you put two girls (who are friends) together alone in a room, they might start talking and chatting. If you put a guy and girl (who are friends) in a room, the guy'd probably want to play basketball with a paper ball or something."
A girl and a guy just hanging out playing trashcan basketball? That sounds like a slam-dunking friendship to us. Happy Valentine's Day!