TikTok's 5 Crush Method May Unlock Your Dating Confidence

The old proverb "There are other fish in the sea" may be said with good intentions, but it's not so comforting when you're still reeling over your ex or feeling burned after being ghosted. When you've had your eyes set on one person for a while, it can be hard to see the other dating prospects out there. And when things don't work out with your crush, it can seem like the dating pool is all dried up.


But one viral TikTok method promises to boost your love life while opening your eyes to more potential matches. Madeleine Chalk, a content creator, made a series of videos about the dating hack, which she calls the "5 crush method." In the first video, she explains that the strategy is perfect for burned-out singles who have suffered through being love bombed, left on read, or stuck in dead-end situationships. The basic gist, she says, is to make sure you always have five crushes in mind when dating, no matter what your relationship goals are.

Here's why Chalk says the method works and how to apply it to your own dating adventures.

The basic rules of the 5 crush method

While most monogamy-minded folks only look for one love interest at a time when dating, TikToker Madeleine Chalk says this might be wrecking your dating confidence. In a clip, she explains that you should always have at least five crushes in mind, ranging from that cute barista who makes your cappuccino every morning to the guy you're in the talking stage with. This doesn't mean you must date them all at once — rather, it just means you have five people in mind that you could pursue if you wanted.


According to the theory, five seems to be the magic number for feeling just abundant enough in your love life without becoming overwhelmed. Chalk says your chosen crushes make up your "personal tidepool of five specific, high-quality fish," and when one person you've been into turns out to be a bad match, you still have other options to consider.

If you find yourself picking favorites, that's okay — there may be one or two people that you're especially into. But because dating can be so unpredictable (and, thanks to dating app culture, pretty ruthless), it won't sting as much if one of your top picks ghosts you or starts playing games.

Does it really work?

Madeleine Chalk swears by the 5 crush method, claiming that it has worked for her and her friends. In a follow-up video on the hack, she explains that the goal of the strategy is to "train yourself out of fearing rejection" by not zeroing in on only one person.


There may be some truth to the strategy. As Thema Bryant, the president of the American Psychological Association and a professor of psychology, told CNBC Make It, a scarcity mindset can make rejection harder to cope with. "That fear of there not being enough people or not enough love for me [...] There are lots of people who are looking for friends or looking for relationships," she noted. Putting all your eggs in one basket may leave you feeling empty-handed, whereas dividing up your attention can make it easier to bounce back when one prospect falls through.

However, some experts warn against jumping from one person to another so quickly. If one date rejects you, "There's a deep feeling of abandonment," Dr. Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist, shared with Good Housekeeping. "And sometimes, the [rejected] person might seek to fulfill that abandonment by immediately attaching to another love interest." Instead, Dr. Bahar suggests taking a beat to reflect on what went wrong and what you value. This can put rejection in perspective and help you make smarter dating choices later.