Everyone knows what it’s like to obsess about that one girl or boy who floats your boat like no other. To carry their books to class or drive them to the movies to hang with their cooler friends on Saturday nights. And then drive them home. You watch their every move with wide-eyed admiration and the hope that one day she’ll invite you along. Meanwhile, your friends watch you with horror knowing all along what you will only realize too many years too late: she just really isn’t into you.

You may never want to hear those words and you may never want to hear the advice that follows. Move on. She’s embarrassing you. There are plenty more fish in the sea. That Pawlenty kid is so nice and he actually likes you. But sometimes you need to hear it—especially when you’re devoting serious newsroom resources to your obsession.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.