Relationships 101:
How to stalk without being creepy

by Bonnie Burton

Let me first start off by saying that I'm not endorsing the kind of stalking where you threaten or scare the object of your affections. That's illegal in most states, and basically downright creepy. These tips are for those of us who want to know everything about our crushes without them discovering our unhealthy obsession for them. Think of yourself more as a private investigator rather than a desperate love-crazed spaz.

Make a list.
When you first set out to stalk your crush think about what you want to learn. Do you want to know if he secretly videotapes episodes of the Power Puff Girls? Or that he takes tap dancing lessons? Perhaps you just want to know if he likes girls who read Hot Rod Monthly. Write a list of all the facts you want to uncover while stalking. This will make your research into his life more organized.

Get the basics.
It's pretty easy to learn a lot about a guy from simple information. When you know his birthday, you can look up his zodiac sign that should reveal a lot about the fella. Finding out little things like his middle name and birthplace will also give you a closer insight on his personality and background.

Do the legwork.
If he walks home from school, follow him. See where he goes. He might have an afternoon job at the local art supplies store. Or maybe he practices guitar in his best friend's garage. Either way, you'll be sure to learn something about him you didn't know before. Just don't duck behind trees when he looks over his shoulder at you. If you act like you're just doing your usual routine, he won't think he's being followed. If you take off running as soon as he turns around, he'll wonder why he's such a freak magnet.

Use your siblings.
If you have a younger brother or sister who is around the same age as your crush's siblings, you might have an extra in. By nature, little kids love to snoop and tattle, so all you have to do is tell them what you want to know about your crush and let them do all the spying. Think of them as your own personal winged-monkeys like in the Wizard of Oz. Just make sure they don't turn on you and rat you out to the crush. Nothing looks more pathetic than having little kids do your dirty work.

Be observant.
Many good detectives know that the secret to profiling a person isn't about stumbling upon clues, but paying attention to body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. You'll know if your crush is having a lousy day or is nervous about something just in the way he handles himself. The way he twirls his pen over and over in his hand during lectures may show that he's bored. Or his constant wisecracking in class may reveal that he is insecure around his classmates.

Don't be a weirdo.
No matter how tempting it is, do not rummage through his trash. You might discover he loves Hungry Man fried chicken TV dinners, but you won't learn much else. And if you get caught, his family may call the cops and your cover would be blown.

Hopefully these stalking tips will help you in your crush research. Just remember to act like a real person, and not a freak. Don't laugh at his jokes in class too hard. Don't pitch a tent outside his bedroom window. And don't steal his used tissues to add to your hidden shrine in your locker. Just be yourself, even if you're caught holding the binoculars.

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