Not that it isn’t nice to find a great friend for good conversations and lots of laughter but if what you really want is a great lover to knock knees with, you should watch out for — and heed — these “friendly advances,” signals that they like you but not in that way.
And if you think it can’t happen to you (cue the chorus wailing: “Oh no no I can spot the signs”) think again. I know one person who makes a career out of serially misreading friendly advances. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
10. Let’s Do What You Like (Again)
In any caring relationship there exists a delicate balance. One day you go to John Cusack’s latest romantic comedy and in exchange the next time it’s the international bass fishing derby. If you find yourself always doing the things that they like there is no balance. Why? You’re not a lover, just a friend.
9. The Favor Game
Isn’t funny how every time they suggest you do something, it involves doing some favor? Whether it’s help moving, fixing their computer or keeping them company while they do laundry if they only call to ask for help, you’re probably solidly in the friend category.
8. If Only I Wasn’t So Busy
The flip side of the favor game, every time you call they’re strangely busy watching the game, entertaining their fifth cousin or building a model ship.
7. The Pity Vibe
If they treat you like dirt, while their friends take pains to be super nice (often with a wounded, pitying look in their eyes) you are on the amigo train. The friends, being nice and knowing that you don’t have a clue what’s going on, are trying to soften the impending blow they see you heading towards. They’re also likely telling your flame to stop leading you on but it’s something they’ll never come out and say, so pick up on the hint and get out with your pride intact.
6. The Touch-Flinch Reaction
When someone isn’t into you romantically there is an invisible barrier to certain kinds of touching. Try putting your arm around them as you walk down the street. If you feel an immediate stiffening, or even worse a flinch, you’ve overstepped the physical barrier that separates friendship from romance and they, sensing the inappropriate touch, are sending you a physical signal to that effect.
5. Avoiding Public Appearances
Even worse than the touch-flinch is the “never being seen in public together.” It’s kind of like that friend you had in grade school who hung out and played with you on the weekend, even walking with you to school, only ditch you for the “in” crowd once you got to school. If you suddenly become invisible in social situations — my friend, you’re a just friend.
4. Oh, They’re Sooo Hot
While noticing attractive people around is natural, gushing about them to you is definitely not. If they constantly talk about hotties at work, on television, or even at the next table, they definitely think of you in a friendly way. This may be unconscious behavior but if they sense that you have the wrong idea about your relationship, they could also be trying to send a hint.
3. I Should Introduce You To…
Once they start trying to set you up on dates with friends, coworkers, or the lazy-eyed variety-store employee down the street, the die has been cast. They realize you think of them as more than a friend and are searching for a way out without hurting your feelings. Either make a graceful exit or, even better, see if you CAN get a date with one of their friends.
2. The Third Wheel
So you’ve worn them down. They’re out of excuses. They agree to go on a date. But when you show up to the restaurant, they’ve brought along a friend for company. Once again, they want you to save face. Really, they can’t be more obvious without telling you outright.
1. The F-Word
If all of the ploys, excuses and hints in the world won’t work on you, they’ll resort to the equivalent of dropping a grand piano on top of you from a four-story window. What’s that, you ask? They’ll add the “friend” word liberally into your next conversation. “You’re such a good friend,” for example.
Or, “Why can’t all my friends be as great as you.” Ouch.
If you ignore this last desperate attempt to give you a graceful out, then you’ll give them no choice but to have the “friend talk.”