I don't get romantic crushes on people before I know if it is possible for them to feel the same way. queerbychoice mentioned that this must make it practically impossible to connect if they're similar to me, and I just today realized how it still has managed to happen. I fall in love in a platonic way first, and then fall in romantic love because they usually interpret that as romantic love and 'reciprocate,' which to me initiates romantic love.
Falling in love in a platonic way looks like being fascinated with the person, enjoying everything I learn about them, craving to know more and be closer. Feeling adoring of their way of thinking and their idiosyncrasies. When I feel platonically in love, I want to celebrate their uniqueness, to brag about how amazing they are, to share my friends and my life, to give to them with my actions and (if they are someone I can predict) things I make or find that remind me of them.
I was feeling fatalistic about romantic potential before this realization, because of my need for mutuality. But I know of at least four people I could conceivably fall in platonic love with, and maybe they might fall romantically for me. I can't really imagine falling platonically in love with someone and them in romantic love for me and then me NOT falling romantically for them. I think the only thing between platonically in love and romantically in love is me deciding to add romance. Which I would only not do if they weren't into it or if it would hurt too much due to circumstances or if there was non-chosen power dynamic (if I was their boss or something like that).
I didn't realize it, but it has been bugging me for MONTHS that I didn't understand how falling in love worked for me, because this hasn't always been the case but looking back I just couldn't understand how I ended up falling for people.