I'm falling in love with my guy friend

Q: I’m falling in love with my guy friend. We always spend time together and talk about personal things, but I don’t know if he sees me as anything more than a friend. What can I do to find out if there’s a future for us? I don’t want to ruin our friendship. Please help.
- Hoping for More

A: You’ve fallen for your guy friend and you want to know how to proceed. You know he’s crazy about you – at least as a friend – and you’re aching to find out if there’s potential for romance. Here are three ways to find out if the feelings are mutual without risking your pride or your friendship.

1. Help him see you as a woman

At the moment you’re his gal pal, and that’s not who you want to be. You want to be seductive, alluring, and incredibly sexy. In short, you want him to want you. Since the two of you did not have instant chemistry, you will need to put effort into developing and nurturing this attraction. This will be a process, and it will require patience.

Are you ready?

To begin, you want to look beautiful and smell wonderful every time you see him. If you usually hang out with him in sweatpants, this is your chance to show him your feminine side. Try to look as put together as you would for a first date: think a fitted dress, perfume and light make-up. The trick is to transition into your new look without making him think that you’re trying to impress him. If he compliments you, simply smile, thank him, and move on.

Another way you can help your guy friend see you as an eligible, single woman is by telling him about the other guys who are interested in you. Men are naturally jealous creatures. They want the cave woman that the other cave men have their eyes on. You can increase your perceived value and sex appeal by letting him know that you are highly sought after. The next time a man hits on you, mention it to your guy friend. He’ll get the picture that you’re hot stuff, and that if he doesn’t snatch you up another guy will.

2. Flirt with him

Flirting is the best way to gauge his interest. To see if he’s open to the possibility of romance, find ways to touch him in conversation. The trick is to make the physical interactions quick and casual. We’re not talking about long, meaningful embraces. (That will come later.) Right now, it’s all about your hand brushing against his, or a quick hug to say hello. He shouldn’t be able to tell if you’re flirting with him or just being friendly.

If he moves closer to you or flirts back, that’s definitely a good sign that he is attracted to you. If he looks alarmed or pulls away, it means that he’s not ready (and may never be ready) for anything beyond friendship.

Here’s how to test the waters:

  • The next time he changes his appearance (new haircut, new clothing item), compliment him and see how to responds.
  • Give him a quick hug the next time you see him. Does he pull away immediately or hold on? Does he light up when he sees you?
  • Touch his arm when you’re talking about something funny and watch for his response. Does he ever find reasons to touch you in conversation?
  • Give him your full attention when he talks – no texting or changing the subject. Watch his body language for cues. Is he holding eye contact with you or is he distracted and checking his phone? If his pupils are dilated and he seems engaged with, there’s a chance he’s interested.
  • Ask for his help solving a problem or fixing something. Most people love giving advice and working on projects. If he agrees to help, it will give you a chance to spend more time together.

3. Don’t do anything that could turn him off

Chances are, if you’ve been close friends for a while, he’s seen you in your grungy tee-shirts, smelled your breath after eating garlic pizza, and heard you whine about your exes. All that stops now. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it on a hot first date, don’t do it around your guy. If you’re serious about catching his interest, you have to start treating him like a man, and not like a buddy.

After you are involved in a stable, long term relationship, you can reintegrate your grungy tee-shirts into your wardrobe. But right now, you’re a woman on a mission. Your goal is to show him that you are a better candidate than all of the other women he could be dating.

Once he is able to see you as more than a friend, he’ll start to wonder what it would be like to kiss you. Then, the ball’s in your court. He will pursue you, and the really beautiful part is that he’ll think the pursuit was his idea.

Of course, if you don’t want to go to the effort of reading his signals and building attraction, you could just tell him how you feel. This is a riskier approach, but it can work. A friend of mine told her guy friend that she loved him and that she thought they would be perfect together. He brushed her off and said he didn’t think they were a good match. She was devastated, but kept her cool, and they stayed close friends. After two years of dating other people, he came to her and told her that she had been right from the beginning. They started dating, and very soon after, he proposed to her. They are now one of the happiest married couples you will ever meet. Of course, if she had played the game differently and worked to catch his attention, they might have started dating two years sooner.

Whatever approach you use, you will soon know how your guy friend feels about you. If he reciprocates your feelings, you will find yourself at the start of an incredibly meaningful and exciting relationship. What could be better than dating your best friend? But if you don’t get the answer you hoped for, accept his response and hold your head high. Don’t say anything that you might regret later. Take some time for yourself. Go out with your girl friends. Meet a new man and fall in love. You can return to the friendship when you’re ready.