Can men and women really just be friends, or does it always lead to something more?
There is evidence to support both the for and against of opposite-sex friendships.
For example, in a 1997 study, more than 50% of participants reported feeling sexually attracted to their opposite-sex friends.
However, research also found that being friends with the opposite sex can have many benefits, including having a source of advice for attracting a partner.
Considering this, it’s no surprise that opposite-sex friendships often feel confusing.
If you only see the person as a friend, you’ll surely want to confirm they’re not romantically interested in you.
But if you secretly have the hots for a friend, you’ll be eager to learn if they feel the same way.
While the only way to know for sure is to ask them outright, there are many signs you can look out for that may indicate they want more than friendship with you…
1) They always initiate conversation
Who usually texts first and proposes to meet up?
If it’s always your friend, this is a big sign they want more than friendship.
Texting you out of the blue suggests that you are on this person’s mind. And wanting to spend regular time together shows they feel a connection.
Even more so, if they suggest one-on-one time rather than inviting you to group gatherings, they are likely looking to get to know you on a deeper level.
Sure, this alone doesn’t mean they are head over heels. But, if you notice this sign and several others from this list, it is a good indicator!
2) They go out of their way for you
As the theme tune of the “Friends” sitcom indicates, the point of friendship is to be there for each other.
This means supporting each other through the hard times and the good.
However, we typically don’t expect our friends to be there for us on the same level as a partner or parent.
For example, if you have to stay in the hospital, they might send flowers or pop by to visit, but they likely won’t spend all day sitting at your bedside.
So what if your friend goes out of their way for you, doing “partner things” like bringing you soup when you’re sick or giving you a lift home just because?
They likely do this because they want to be your partner.
Another way they may go above and beyond for you is by rearranging their schedule to help you out.
For example, if you’re moving into a new apartment and your friend cancels their plans or takes the day off work, this is a HUGE sign they’re into you.
3) They remember everything you tell them
In our tech-addicted world, getting someone’s full attention is difficult.
So often, when we tell someone something, they nod or mutter in agreement while still staring at their phone.
They say yes when we ask if they heard us, but we have an inkling they weren’t listening.
This is later confirmed when we ask again about that particular thing, and they give us a blank stare.
So, when someone not only remembers the important things you tell them, but all the little details too, this is incredibly refreshing.
Research also shows that men, in particular, are not good at remembering details as they listen with only the left side of their brain, whereas women listen with both sides.
If a friend (particularly a guy) remembers everything you say, this is a sign they have romantic feelings for you.
4) They notices small changes in you
Most people (although men more than women) are not very detail-oriented.
But when they’re romantically interested in someone, they become ultra-observant.
They notice things about that person that no one else does, such as a change in their mood or if they’re wearing a different shade of lipstick or a new top.
Not only will they notice this, but they will most likely comment on it and compliment you if the change is positive.
If your friend in question is always the first to notice when you get your haircut, know that they’re into you!
But why do people pay such close attention to someone they like?
It’s partly because they can’t take our eyes off them, which brings me to sign number five…
5) You’ve caught them looking at you on multiple occasions
Do you often notice your friend watching you when you enter the room? Do they maintain eye contact when you’re speaking to them?
Henk van Steenbergen, an associate professor specializing in Cognitive Psychology, studied how being in love changes our ability to focus.
He found that when we fall in love, it’s challenging to focus on anything other than our lover.
So, if your friend likes you romantically, you’re much more likely to steal their attention than the notifications on their phone.
6) Their body language mirrors yours
Mirroring is something we do around people we feel a connection with.
Copying a person’s body language makes us feel more comfortable and close to someone.
It also makes the other person feel like we “get them” or are “on the same vibration” as them.
As a result, this builds trust and connection.
Now, some people tactically use mirroring to get close to others.
But for most people, it is something we do subconsciously.
But what’s interesting is that we only do this around people we like.
For example, when someone we like crosses their legs, a set of nerve cells in our brain called mirror neurons get triggered, making us copy the movement.
So, pay attention to your friend’s body language.
Do they tend to imitate your gestures? Do they laugh when you laugh? Do they use the same words or phrases as you?
7) They try to make you laugh
Does your friend always send you silly memes? Do they playfully tease you? Or do they act goofy around you?
These are all signs that they see you as more than a friend, especially if they are male.
Men attempt to show their love interest that they have a sense of humor, believing this will increase their likeability and charm.
Research backs this up as Jeffrey Hall from the University of Kansas studied this topic. In his paper “Sexual Selection and Humor in Courtship,” he found that when two strangers meet if the man demonstrates humor, there is more likelihood of a romantic bond.
What’s more, when someone is romantically interested in you, they want to see you happy. So they often crack jokes or try to make you laugh just to see your beautiful smile.
8) They confide in you and value your opinion
Many human behavioral experts, including Jeff Polzer from Harvard, believe vulnerability fosters closeness and trust.
The people we choose to open up to are often the ones we:
- Feel most comfortable around
- Trust the most
So, if your friend confides in you and asks for your advice, he respects, values, and trusts you.
Plus, as trust is the basis of any successful relationship, if you also see this person as more than a friend, this is your green light to take it to the next level!
9) They seem a little jealous when you mention your dates
Of course, there is a HUGE difference between healthy and unhealthy jealousy.
If your friend starts arguments whenever you talk to another person of the opposite sex, this is a clear indicator you should NOT get into a romantic relationship with them.
If you sense a small presence of the green-eyed monster when you mention love interests, this is a clear sign your friend wishes it was them you are dating.
So, what are the signs of healthy jealousy?
- Asking lots of questions about the guy you’re dating
- Changing the subject when you mention a date
- Pointing out the flaws or bad qualities of your love interest or ex
Another sign is if you see a change in their face, such as their face drops, whenever you mention a date or ex. This shows they feel threatened that another person will swoop in and take you away.
10) They don’t talk about their love interests around you
Besides not wanting to discuss your love interests, someone who likes you more than a friend won’t mention their dates.
Well, most likely, they are not actively dating anyone, as you are the center of his attention.
But if someone chats them up or asks them out, they will probably feel uncomfortable telling you about it.
If they want to become your partner, they want to make it clear that they’re available to you.
However, if they only see you as a friend, they won’t have any problem telling you who they think is hot or what happened on their latest date.
Paying attention to the way your friend acts around you can be a good indicator of how they really feel about you.
If they always text first, try to make you laugh, go the extra mile, and open up to you, there is a good chance that they like you romantically!