That laugh was a bit loud for your feeble joke, wasn’t it? That gaze was quite prolonged. Why do they keep touching their hair? Is their hand shaking? Why have they bought you a gift?
So. You think someone might be limerent for you. What can you do?
Here is a step by step guide for how to cope.
1) Are you limerent for them?
If no – oh dear. You are going to cause someone pain. Sorry. Keep reading to find out how to minimise it.
2) Have you ever experienced limerence?
If yes – you know what they are going through. Show empathy. Go to 3.
If no – believe me when I tell you that your intuition is probably not going to be a good guide on how to handle this. Go immediately to 3.
3) Are you in a professional or educational relationship with them, that has a power imbalance?
If yes – Stop talking about personal stuff. Do not spend unnecessary time with them outside of the professional needs of the job. Go to 4.
If no – Phew. That makes things simpler. Go to 4.
4) Have they disclosed their feelings to you?
If yes – Communicate to them in clear terms that you do not reciprocate their feelings. Do not try to spare their feelings by giving vague or non-committal responses. You are not lessening their pain by “letting them down gently”, you are prolonging their limerence through ambiguity. Go to 6.
If no – Consider asking them directly how they feel about you. Radical honesty can be surprisingly effective in resolving life difficulties. High risk, though. If you don’t fancy it, go to 5.
5) Are you enjoying the attention?
If yes – well, I suppose that’s natural. It would be quite flattering. Don’t milk it though. No need to be a greedy narc. Go to 6.
If no – avoid their company. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings; they already hurt like mad, and you’re making it easier for them to get over you. Go to 7.
6) Do you want them to remain limerent for you?
If yes – you’re a narcissist. Go and take a look in the mirror and repeat the mantra “I suck. Every day I will strive to be less selfish.”
If no – Good for you. Go to 7.
7) Is it possible for you to go completely “no contact” with the limerent?
If yes – do so. Your problem is over. Congratulations!
If no – I’m afraid you’ll just have to weather this one. Their limerence will fade eventually. Until then, don’t give any mixed messages or try to be their friend. They won’t be able to manage it, and you’ll have to put up with their weirdness for longer.
As a limerent, I would like to thank all those non-limerents out there who already follow these rules of thumb. You’re doing a solid job of being a thoughtful human. Cheers.