The line between a platonic friendship and romantic relationship can sometimes be blurred. As friends spend more time together, one or both of you may develop feelings for one another. Being unsure of your friend's feelings can put a strain on the friendship. Pay attention to your friend's behaviors around you to decide how to proceed with your relationship. Although there is the risk that revealing your feelings to your friend may cause irreparable damage to your friendship, you also have the potential to connect with a romantic relationship.
Think about hanging out with your friend. Does your friend invite others along, or attempt to keep your gatherings between the two of you? Trying to spend time alone with you is one sign that your friend may have romantic feelings for you, while avoiding spending time alone with you may indicate romance isn't in the picture.
Pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues that your friend uses when interacting with you. Much of the way that humans communicate is subconscious, meaning that we make subtle gestures, almost unknowingly. Signs of attraction to look for can include obvious gestures, such as smiling, touching your hair, leaning in toward you and gentle pats on the back. Less-obvious non-verbal signs of attraction can include making eye-contact and actively listening to your thoughts, concerns and conversations.
Explore Your Feelings
When thinking about feelings in a relationship, it is important to separate thoughts from feelings. Although similar, thoughts include context, while feelings are raw emotions. Thoughts are often controlled both by feelings and outside factors such as social cues, peers and cultural norms. Because of that, you can think "I can't date my friend who is older than me," while still feeling happiness and joy when thinking about this person. What do you feel when you are around, or thinking about your friend? Feelings such as happiness, elation, joyfulness and nervousness are all indicators that your friendship may have romantic potential worth exploring.
When in Doubt, Ask.
It is impossible to truly know what someone else is thinking or feeling without asking. If you are unsure of where your relationship with your friend stands, asking will put all of the cards on the table and enable you to work out where the relationship will evolve from there. Regardless of the answer, talking to your friend about your feelings will let you know if the feelings are mutual, your friend is unsure or does not see you as a potential romantic partner.
After addressing how you feel with your friend, it is up to you both to decide how to move forward with your relationship. It's important to remember that although your friend may like you, it is also possible that your friend does not have -- or does not want to act on -- those feelings. It may take time to adjust to the new status, regardless of whether you decide to move forward as friends or more than friends.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Counseling Center: Experiencing and Expressing Emotions
- Human Communication: A Journal of the Pacific and Asianc Communication Associatio: Positive and Negative Nonverbal Behaviors in Relationships: A Study of Relationship Satisfaction and Longevity
- University of Northern Iowa: Business Communication: Interpersonal Communication
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