I Want Him to See Me as More Than a Friend

Dear Elana, 

I've known this friend for 13 years. He's two years older than me, and I know him because he's a family friend. We were always close, but I think (pretty sure) that I'm falling for him. How do I get him to see me as a potential partner? 

- Wanting And Needing To Make Our Romance Engage

Dear WANT MORE,

Before you make a move, you need to decide if it's worth risking your friendship – and creating awkwardness for your families. If you think there's potential for lasting love, then it's worth exploring. But just like dating a coworker or a neighbor, if you break up, you have to be prepared to keep seeing each other. 

Next, you need to clarify your feelings. You say that you are “pretty sure” that you are falling for him. Do you find yourself smiling when you think about him, or hear his name? When you see him, do you feel like you have butterflies in your stomach, or like your heart is bursting out of your chest? If you answered yes, then congratulations, you are officially smitten. 

If you decide to move forward after weighing the pros and cons, you need a plan to help him see you as a potential match. Show him that you’re not a goofy kid, but instead an alluring young woman. If he's used to seeing you in ratty t-shirts, try wearing something that shows your sense of style. Engage him in topics that matter to him, and demonstrate your shared interests. Adjust your posture when you're talking to him, and see if he mirrors your body language. 

Invite him to spend time with you outside of family holidays. After a Thanksgiving feast, ask him if he would like to join you outside for fresh air. If you find yourself laughing with him at inside jokes, tell him that you feel comfortable with him, and that you enjoy hanging out with him.

As your connection grows stronger, you can mention that you are interested in various activities like seeing an independent film or hiking in a local park. If he jumps at the chance to join you, there's a good chance that he sees you as more than a friend. But if he politely ignores your hints, take the cue to safeguard the friendship and set your sights elsewhere.