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Why & How Not to Catch Feelings for Someone: 35 Ways to Do It Right

Keeping things platonic and called isn’t always easy. Learning how not to catch feelings for someone is an art-form but you can master it with practice. 

how to not catch feelings for someone

Love can be really difficult to understand. We can avoid falling for someone all we want and still end up liking them. But when you really don’t want to catch feelings for someone, you’ll need to know what to do when you start. Learning how not to catch feelings for someone is a skill and it’s not always easy, yet it’s possible.

The reason? Because you can’t control yourself.

No matter how many times you tell yourself you’ll never catch feelings for someone, you still might. And since you have very specific reasons for not wanting to like someone, it can be a bit of a hassle if you do end up liking them.

But, by keeping our advice in your mind, you stand a much better chance of keeping those pesky feelings far, far away.

[Read: How not to fall in love with someone – 20 strict steps to keep in mind]

Why you might not want to fall for someone

We all have our reasons for wanting to like someone and for wanting to avoid ever falling for them. You might know a bit more about their history than you’d like and it can put you off from dating them, even if you really like them.

You may also just want to avoid liking them so you don’t have to deal with a significant other. Maybe you’re not ready for that. Really, there are tons of different reasons you might want to stop yourself from falling for someone. [Read: How to stop liking someone you know you can never have]

What does it mean to catch feelings?

Catching feelings is often unexpected. You go on a first date maybe planning or hoping to catch feelings, but you don’t go into a job interview or dinner at your best friend’s house expecting feelings to arise. It’s fine when you want them, but when you don’t want feelings heading your way, it’s a major problem.

Having no anticipation for feelings to erupt is difficult. Without preparing, you are stuck in this danger zone of feelings.

Another thing about catching feelings is the vulnerability that comes with feeling something. You now risk being hurt. And a lot of people avoid hurt at all costs. [Read: How to respond to a rejection the right way, even when it hurts]

Why are we all so afraid of catching feelings?

Catching feelings when you don’t want them is like catching a cold. Something that sucks and something you can’t shake. But why is that?

Well, catching feelings is becoming attached when that isn’t your plan. You want to focus on work, but get distracted. You want casual sex, but get jealous when your partner rolls over to text someone else.

The fear of catching feelings is real because usually sharing those feelings is difficult if not impossible, and those feelings are often met with rejection. [Read: How to date casually without getting attached – 25 hurt-free rules you must follow]

The basic reason most people fear catching feelings is being hurt, but it goes beyond that and can be a lot more intricate. Once you realize why you’re afraid to catch feelings, you can face it.

You can begin to work through your fear of catching feelings and actually put effort into a relationship. Catching feelings very well may lead to heartache, but without those feelings, you don’t get the good feelings either.

So trying to discover why you’re afraid of catching feelings can help you face the fear and move forward. [Read: How to get through the most common commitment issues]

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons why you may be afraid to catch feelings for someone. Once you understand your core reasons behind the decision to not catch feelings, all you have to do next is stop the feeling from growing! *we’ll get to those steps below*

1. This isn’t someone you should have feelings for

If this is the reason why you don’t want to catch feelings for someone, it may be the most valid reason. Having feelings for someone else’s partner, someone you work with or a teacher can create a lot more problems than it is worth.

Of course, there are exceptions, but often this is the sort of crush to shut down before someone gets hurt more than emotionally, but also professionally. [Read: How to stop having feelings for a crush and get a hold of your heart again]

2. You’ve been hurt before

This is probably the most common reason to be afraid of catching feelings. And it is a tough one to face. If you have been hurt in the past, you fear giving in to your feelings again.

You expect to get hurt if you have feelings so you try to avoid said feelings.

So how do you stop this fear from controlling you? You just let it go and take the risk. Realize that without that faith in your feelings, you will never be able to be truly happy. Always wondering when you’ll be hurt again is no way to live. [Read: Pistanthrophobia and the reasons behind your fear of trusting someone]

3. You don’t like feeling vulnerable or weak

There is always a sense of vulnerability when you like someone. When feelings are involved, you give a bit of yourself to another person, and it makes you vulnerable.

But with giving up control, you are actually stronger by having faith and taking a risk. It is totally understandable to be scared, but you are letting weakness take over if you deny yourself a relationship due to fear of being weak. [Read: Learn what it means to open up to people and what it means to be vulnerable]

4. You don’t want to depend on someone

For those who are independent or have been burned by their reliance on someone else, it can be terrifying to depend on someone. And whether financially or emotionally, loosening your control can cause a lot of anxieties.

Remember that no matter your feelings or relationship, you are your own person. And only you can decide how you feel about yourself.

5. You don’t want to stir up old feelings

Discovering you have feelings for someone new can bring up old heartbreak. In fact, crushing on someone new can put you right back in the headspace you were in with your last romance.

It makes sense that it would make you nervous to catch feelings. But realizing each person is different and every crush and relationship is different can help you shake old feelings. [Read: How to deal with guilt and drop the baggage weighing you down]

6. You don’t want things to get complicated

Complications are something a lot of people want to avoid. Feelings do indeed make things complicated. Maybe you wanted casual sex so you could focus 100% on work, but are now catching feelings. You may end things so they don’t get messy.

But sometimes life is supposed to be complicated. You can’t avoid confrontation and awkwardness forever. Relationships take work and effort and even drama at times. But all of that is worth it for a good and healthy relationship. Realize complications are only part of having feelings.

7. You’re afraid of change

For those who like the same restaurants, the same clothes, the same TV shows, it can be hard to break out of your comfort zone. And catching feelings is definitely out of a lot of people’s comfort zones.

But comfort zones are overrated. Sometimes stepping out of your norm or routine is exactly what you need to be truly happy. [Read: How to be emotionally available so you can actually feel love]

8. You don’t want to care more

People say that whoever cares less in a relationship has the power. Therefore, you don’t want to admit to your feelings because you may give up the power.

You risk more hurt if you care more. But that is what makes those who care so much stronger. A relationship is never 50/50. Somedays they are 90/10 or 70/30 or 55/45. Just giving into your feelings, no matter how strong, is what makes you feel your best.

9. You know it can’t last

Some of us just cannot wrap our heads around a lasting relationship. Maybe your parents divorced and you never saw a happy lasting couple. But that does not mean it doesn’t exist and that you shouldn’t try for it.

If you think, “why bother feeling something for someone when eventually it will end,” realize you can break the pattern. Just give in to your feelings. [Read: 20 practical thing to consider before you decide to give up on love]

10. Facing things you’ve avoided

When we go through a breakup or a big life change, we swallow down any bad feelings or feelings we haven’t dealt with. But when you catch feelings for someone, it lifts a lot of other feelings back up to the surface.

In order to face your romantic feelings, you often have to face other things you may have avoided. But it can make you so much stronger.

How not to catch feelings for someone

Now that you know the fears that bother you when you start to catch feelings for someone, let’s take at the different ways to stop that feeling and remove it from your system.

Learning how not to catch feelings for someone may work for you, it may not, but by committing yourself to the process, you’ll have a much better chance of success. [Read: Is dating really the best way to get over your ex?]

1. Be real with yourself

Are you an emotional person? Of course, you are. You’re human, but if you’re someone who catches feelings easily, hookups may not be the best option for you.

Be honest with yourself and know what you can handle and what is probably best left behind. [Read: 13 hookup and rebound sex questions to know if you’re ready for it]

2. Expect nothing

This is the problem with people who catch feelings. They say they expect nothing, but in reality, they went into the hookup hoping for a wedding ring and a lifelong commitment.

This is the problem. If you’re wondering how not to catch feelings, you should not expect anything, and we mean anything. It’s a hookup, remember? If you’re going into it with expectations, then don’t do it. [Read: 15 NSA rules you have to remember when you want a hookup]

3. Keep seeing other people

Don’t get attached to one person. Keep your options open. If not, you’ll start to feel settled with the person and that can only lead to disaster.

Date other people in the meantime, you don’t need to promise commitment. You need to have backups ready and waiting for you.

4. Don’t start texting each other

Unless it’s about sex. If it’s about sex, then yes. If it’s not about sex, then don’t text each other. There’s no need to have in-depth conversations, you’re not together.

Once you start to open up to someone, feelings come into play. If possible, don’t be friends on Facebook, don’t follow each other on Instagram. Nothing.

5. Limit your time together

This isn’t your romantic partner, this is just someone you have casual sex with. Refrain from spending all your time with them.

Only see them when you’re wanting sex. It’s the best way to keep your feelings at bay. If not, you’ll start to feel like it’s a relationship. [Read: Dating material vs hookup – how to know who fits in each]

6. Put yourself first

Once you start to put their needs over your needs, they need to go. Casual sex is about your needs being fulfilled, not waiting hand and foot on them. But once catch feelings for someone and you start doing things only to make them happy, well, you’re slipping into heartbreak territory. You’re not trying to impress them, your goal is to feel satisfied.

7. Create boundaries

Sit down with them and tell them what you’re looking for and what the rules are. Yes, you need to establish rules, you’re not special and it’s the best way to avoid catching feelings.

No sleepovers, multiple partners, no daytime dates, these types of rules. Though they sound like a buzzkill, so is having your heart broken. [Read: Casual relationship – What it is, why people like it and 20 firm boundaries you must draw]

8. Invest very little into the “relationship”

You cannot expect anything nor should you go above and beyond for this person. It’s a hookup, so you have no obligation to them.

Of course, basic respect is a must, but other than that, you don’t need to do favors for them or cancel plans to see them. Live your life and squeeze them into your schedule when you can.

9. No gifts

No. No. No. Did we say no? No! No gifts. You aren’t dating. This isn’t a serious relationship. Gifts mean there’s an emotional connection, and it’s crossing the line.

Your gift to them is letting them have sex with you. It’s more than enough. If they give you a gift, give it back. [Read: 15 signs you’re more than friends with benefits and getting attached]

10. Always ask yourself one question

Have my feelings changed for them? This is something you should be asking yourself constantly.

You need to always check in with yourself and reflect on your feelings. If not, you may be blindly walking into a trap you could have avoided.

11. No PDAs

Again, you’re not in a relationship with this person. If you want to know how not to catch feelings for someone, completely avoid any kind of public display of affection. No hand holding, no kisses, nothing.

If they start touching you in public, this will certainly make you start second-guessing their actions and have you questioning your own feelings. This is where things get messy. Don’t touch each other unless it’s in the bedroom. [Read: What is PDA in a relationship? PDA etiquette and 26 must-knows]

12. Don’t introduce them to your friends

Yeah, they may get along with the people you hang with, but they don’t need to meet your friends. It’s a bad idea. If you have feelings for someone, then you can introduce them to your friends.

This is a step that should only be made if you want it to become a serious relationship. And if that’s the case, they wouldn’t be someone you’re just hooking up with. [Read: 15 easy ways to ask a guy to be your friend with benefits]

13. Make sure you don’t already like them

If you have a crush on this person and you want to hook up, expect to catch feelings. This isn’t rocket science.

You like the person and now you’re going to sleep with them. This, usually, only makes the feelings stronger. Unless the sex isn’t good. If you already like them, don’t hook up with them.

14. Don’t talk daily

There’s no need to talk with them every day. You won’t be seeing them every day. So, only talk to them when you want to arrange to see them.

If you start to talk every day, you’ll catch feelings quickly. Keep the talking to a minimum. [Read: The must-know steps for the perfect Tinder hookup]

15. End it when you feel the feels

If you’re starting to have feelings for them, you need to cut it. We know it sounds harsh, but it’ll save you from heartbreak. There’s a high chance you will catch feelings, but the important part is to stop hooking up with them when you feel it.

It’s hard, we know, but it’s what needs to be done. Unless… you want something serious with them. Then, you’ll need to confront them about it.

What to do when you catch feelings for the wrong person

Truth be told, you may end up in a situation where you’ve fallen for someone even though you didn’t want to.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make that a bit easier. Here are all the things you can do when you realize you’ve caught feelings for someone you tried to stop yourself from liking. [Read: 9 reasons why you’re staying with the wrong partner]

1. Don’t live in denial

If you sit and deny your feelings, they’ll only grow stronger. You have to acknowledge them. Once you realize that you do actually like that person as more than just a friend, you can deal with it appropriately.

However, if you keep denying that you like them, it’ll become an issue. This way, you’ll be aware of the feelings so you can act in a way that doesn’t suggest you’ve fallen for them. [Read: 15 weird, unlikely signs to know if you’re slowly falling for someone]

2. Get away from them

You really can’t be around someone when you catch feelings for them. You’ll want to be, but you can’t. If you’re around them too much those feelings will just deepen and you’ll basically just fall in love with them.

When you get some distance, you’re able to think a little clearer and it can help you gain perspective. Plus, your feelings will fade the less you’re around them.

3. Limit or stop your communication

Just like you can’t be around them all the time, you need to stop talking to them, too. And yes, that means you need to stop texting and snapchatting them.

The more you talk to them, the stronger your feelings will get. If you take a break, it’ll allow you to forget about those feelings, and eventually, they’ll disappear. [Read: How to stop thinking about someone you still like]

4. Think about their flaws

When you focus on someone’s flaws, it can often put you off from liking them. Usually, even the people you like have something that makes you question your feelings. However, if you want to date them, you usually ignore those things.

Instead of doing that, focus on it. Remember those flaws every time you start thinking about how much you like them. That flaw is the one thing that can stop you from trying to be with them when you know you can’t.

5. Ask your friends for help

Your friends should be there for your support. If you’re having a tough time, talk to them. They can often run interference when you’re forced to be around them and they can also help remind you why you can’t be together.

Your friends will also point out flaws that you might even be blind to, which can help you forget about your feelings for them. [Read: How to handle the pain of liking someone you can’t have]

6. Find someone else to catch feelings for

The best thing for you to do when you catch feelings for someone you don’t want is to find someone else. Replace them. Even if you don’t want to date anyone at all, just find another person to crush on.

Having feelings for that new person will help eclipse your feelings for the other. You may even forget about liking them all together and could potentially have something great with that new person.

7. Focus on yourself

Be selfish. If you really want to get rid of those feelings, just turn the focus to yourself. Get a gym membership, pick up a new hobby, and do whatever you can to better your own life. Over time, you’ll stop liking them and all will be right again. [Read: 34 life-changing steps to fall in love with yourself more than anyone else]

8. Make some personal goals and work toward them

Nothing can help you forget about catching feelings for someone quite like being busy. So be really, really busy.

Make a bunch of new goals and start working toward them. This is a perfect way to make your life better while also forgetting about that person you don’t want to like.

9. Remember why you can’t be together

You may just need a refresher. Why is it that you two can’t be together? There has to be a good reason if you’re going through all this trouble to stop liking them.

Reminding yourself of that thing daily can help you get rid of those feelings. When you’re constantly thinking about the consequences, it’ll be easier to get rid of those intense feelings for them. [Read: 16 types of guys you need to avoid dating]

10. Ignore the feelings completely

You can’t always decide if you fall for someone or not, but you can decide what to do about those feelings. In this case, ignore them. Push those feelings aside and never act on any of your impulses – and there will be a lot of them.

When you like someone, you always want to be closer to them. You need to consciously decide to ignore all of those urges. When you do this enough, it’ll be as though you never caught feelings for them in the first place.

[Read: 33 important steps to stop thinking about someone you like but can’t have]

Learning how not to catch feelings for someone you really don’t want to like can be difficult. You basically have to go against your instincts but ultimately, it’s for the best.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...