I don’t know about you, but my Facebook friends list is a lot like the back corners of my closet — I’m not altogether sure what’s in there, and TBH, I’m scared to take a look. I know things have piled up over time, and at this point, there could be almost anything lurking inside. OK, so I’m being a little dramatic here… but when I heard about Facebook’s new Secret Crush feature, my heart immediately skipped a beat with fear of what this might entail.
During the annual Facebook developer conference on Tuesday, April 30, the social media giant shared more details about its Facebook Dating platform, which is currently available in 19 countries and will come to the US later this year. The dating platform includes a feature called Secret Crush, where users can choose up to nine of their Facebook friends to list as “secret crushes.” That guy in high school you used to write love letters to? Check. That girl in your freshman dorm with the perfect smile? You know the one. You can now tell these people you’ve been crushing on them by sending them a Facebook notification.
Don’t worry, though — even though Facebook will notify the person that a friend has listed them as a “secret crush,” they won’t know your identity unless they name you as their crush, too. If two people list each other as crushes, the app reveals their identities to one another so they can start a conversation. The idea is to connect you with people you already know IRL, rather than the traditional dating app model of introducing you to strangers. If you’ve spent years too afraid to tell your childhood BFF you’re in love with them, this could be your chance to make a move.
Maybe it’s just my own personal stress about my Facebook friends list, but I find this concept to be both intriguing and totally anxiety-inducing. I mean, obviously I’d be super curious to know if anyone in my Facebook circle has a crush on me, but there are also plenty of people in my friends list I haven’t heard from in literal years. Since Facebook’s popularity has been mostly usurped by Instagram and Twitter (Facebook usage has declined by 15 million people since 2017, mostly among millennials and teens, according to a survey by Edison Research), most young people are paying a lot more attention to other platforms. I feel way more connected to my Instagram followers than to my Facebook friends — and I’m not super keen to reconnect with the Facebook friends I’ve had since I was 15. Even if I find out we have crushes on each other… what am I supposed to do with this information? Do I really want to know?
As for the rest of the Facebook Dating feature (also available in the US later this year), it steers clear of your friends list and only introduces you to people you don’t already know. It uses Groups and Events to connect you with people who might share your interests — and it’s separate from your main Facebook profile, meaning your friends and family won’t be able to tell that you’re using it. But this Secret Crush element is definitely personal. One might argue, too personal?
Regardless of my mixed feelings, I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to try this out. I’m scared of what might happen… but I’ve also waited years for the chance to tell my ninth grade love how I really feel about him. Even if he never reciprocates, my high school self would be proud of me for putting my emotions on the line. You could say it’s been a long time coming.