Looking for love on NU Crushes


Photo courtesy Kris Brethower

Facebook group NU Crushes, which currently has over 6,600 members, allows Northeastern students to anonymously post about their secret crushes.

Savannah Miller, news correspondent

Wherefore art thou girl on the ISEC bridge? You can find out by joining the Facebook group NU Crushes, a blossoming hub for students seeking to anonymously share which strangers or friends they’re crushing on.

The group was created April 30, 2018 and has recently gained a lot of attention, with more than 6,600 members and over 500 posts made in the last 30 days. There are a variety of posts, from wholesome moments shared with friends, to secret admirers admitting a crush on a person in one of their classes to appreciation posts about a cute person seen around campus. Scrolling through the group, you might catch someone calling out your name and complimenting you or describing you by the outfit you wore last night in Curry — and an anonymous love story is born. 

The creator and administrator of the group, Kris Brethower, is a fifth-year computer science and linguistics combined major. He said his initial purpose for creating the group was to help people find missed connections or to confess feelings that they might not feel comfortable expressing to someone in person. 

“I wasn’t really thinking about how big or not the group would get when I originally created it,” he said. “To be honest I’m not surprised that it’s gained a lot of traction since people have a desire to share their feelings anonymously — think about Whisper or YikYak.” 

Some posts refer to the crush by name and mention a defining feature about them, receiving comments tagging the subject of the post. Others are more playful, such as “My crush is whoever changed the Marino playlist to classic rock,” or “I have a crush on anybody who takes their laundry out of the dryer in a timely fashion.”

The confessions are usually well received by their objects of admiration, even if romance isn’t achieved. Jacob Barrett, a second-year business administration and communication studies combined major, was the subject of an anonymous post identifying him by name as well as the possible subject of multiple posts about various people named Jacob. 

The first impression that I had was that it was fun,” Barrett said. “It’s like a puzzle that’s being put together, with all these people leaving hints for one another and it’s all kind of coming together in these really, really funny ways.” 

However, Barrett finds it unlikely that an actual date would transpire.

“It’d have to be a really special person, because it’s hard to gauge someone’s personality based solely on the impression they leave on you in an anonymous group,” he said. “If I get a post on that group, it’s more so I’m entertained by the fact that I got a mention on it.” 

Jeremy Lalicon, a first-year mechanical engineering major who has visited the group’s page, expressed a similar sentiment.

“If someone were to post about me I’d feel honored, honestly. I’d feel subconsciously better,” Lalicon said.  “You could probably find a date, but it’s probably mostly just to have fun.”

Other students are less enthusiastic about the idea of a group meant for anonymous posting. 

It seems a little bit invasive,” said Faith Occhipinti, a first-year computer science major. “If you get to be anonymous but your crush does not get to be anonymous, that’s you putting them on display for the rest of the world.” 

She also wasn’t convinced of how effectively the group connected a crush or missed connection. 

“Saying it online, especially if it’s anonymous, it isn’t going to get you anywhere,” she said.

With dozens of daily submissions, some posts are bound to incite a negative reaction. 

“Sometimes something gets posted that I didn’t realize would upset someone,” Brethower said. “More often it’s because someone submits something that looks legitimate but is really an inside joke roasting one of their friends or bullying someone they don’t know. There’s no way to know beforehand because they look the same as all other posts.”

Brethower manages the influx of posts to the thriving group by reviewing all confessions before posting them and taking down any that receive complaints. 

“Not all submissions are posted, but the vast majority of them are,” he said.

Lalicon said he approves of the admin’s treatment of the posts. 

This is people’s personal feelings and involves people anonymously listing people as well as different qualities about that person on the group, so I feel it should be moderated in some sense,” he said.

On the other hand, Barrett said the delay in posts causes confusion. 

“There’s been a lot of confusion going back and forth because the main flaw with the group is there’s a delay on when you submit a post,” he said. “I submitted a post two days ago asking for clarity, and it’s still yet to be posted.” 

He said it’s hard to follow a thread of posts when some might be posted days after they were submitted, so it’s difficult to discern what they’re referring to. 

Despite some drawbacks, NU Crushes has attracted thousands of students to share experiences and connect with one another. 

“I love the interaction between people and I feel like it’s a great online community,” Barrett said. “I’m really excited to see where it goes in the future because it’s really fun to check my phone at the end of the day and see what kind of stuff has been put on there.”