When you’re interested in someone, you might find yourself paying especially close attention to their behavior in hopes of spotting any signs that the feeling is mutual. Unless you ask directly, you will be playing a bit of a guessing game for a while, which can be a truly confusing and frustrating experience.
Your Spidey senses, however, might be particularly sensitive to feelings of rejection. As I’ve observed in my counseling clients in the past, one of our first instincts is to deny these observations in order to keep hope alive. Unfortunately, that tends to do more harm than good. If you are in this situation but feel too scared to ask outright, here are some signs that he just wants to be friends.
You always make the first move
You’ve gone to the movies, grabbed coffee, and even hit up an amusement park together. You had a fantastic time together and you can’t wait to do it again. That’s when you realize, though, that he’s never the one extending an invite.
If he’s never initiating contact with you, he might be trying to send a message that he’s not looking for a romantic relationship. He might be more than willing to tag along as a buddy, though!
Pro tip: Take a break from reaching out if you’re always the one making the first move. Either he will miss you and hit you up or your adventures will come to an end. It’s better to know, right?
He talks up his friends
When it’s time to meet up, you make a real effort to put your best foot forward. You’ve showered and feel confident, you’ve got great things to talk about, and you easily establish that you’re a pretty great catch.
Why, then, is he talking about his friends? If it feels like he’s playing matchmaker and suggests that you meet some of his boys, that’s really not a good sign.
Pro tip: Ask him to describe the kind of guy that he thinks is perfect for you. If it’s the opposite of who he is, you’ve got your answer.
You hang out in groups
You’ve been dreaming of a little one-on-one time with your crush. You can’t wait to have him alone so that you can build up the courage to tell him how you feel and see if there’s any hope for a future together.
The problem is, though, that every time you make plans, he brings an entourage! If he’s surrounded by a group of friends whenever you’re together, he might be putting you in the friend zone.
Pro tip: Invite him to do something that is clearly meant for two people and see what he says. If he balks or mentions how much better it would be if you went as a group, he probably doesn’t want to be alone with you.
You never do dinner (or anything at night)
Everyone knows that night time is the right time — for romance! That’s why we ask people out for dinner when we want to go out on a proper date. Part of this is that a wonderful evening can lead to an even better night.
I once had a male client explain to me that he loves having female friends but that he only does daytime coffee or lunch dates with them. When I thought about it, I definitely recognized patterns among my other clients and in my own person life. Interesting, right?
Pro tip: If your crush invites you out ANY time of day, go for it. If, however, it never seems like things are progressing, it’s completely acceptable to ask for clarification. It’s scary but it’s better to know where you stand!
Your relationship is text-based
Maybe you’re in a position where you wish you could actually see your crush under any circumstances — even if it’s with a group of 50 of your closest friends for breakfast. Wishing for a dinner invite is low on your priority list. You just want to see him!
When the guy you’re interested in is happy to communicate by text but always finds a way to get out of meeting in person, he might not want to take the relationship to the next level.
Pro tip: If he doesn’t have much of a social life at all, it could just be that this is a really busy time in his life. Let him know you’d love to hang out when he has the time. If he never makes time for you, move on.
He talks about other girls
It’s one thing if you talk about a variety of other people — including exes — during your conversation, but it’s another if the guy you like is constantly talking about women he finds attractive or interesting.
Pay attention to the tone of these interactions and take them at face value. If he is trying to build a relationship with you, he will focus on getting to know you better instead of wasting time talking about other women.
Pro tip: If he’s telling you about the dates he’s going on, he clearly wants you to know that he’s seeing other people.
Public places only
It’s great to get out and have a good time but there’s also something to be said for those intimate moments when you can have a private conversation and really get down to the nitty gritty, so to speak.
If the guy you like makes every attempt to avoid being alone with you, that’s a red flag. Sure, it could mean that he wants to take things slow, but he could be trying to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea about your relationship.
Pro tip: Find out what his favorite snacks and movies are and plan a film fest — at your place. If he doesn’t want to come over, despite your endearing efforts, you might want to throw in the towel.
He maintains personal space
Chances are, whenever you are around your crush you find a way to be as close to him as possible. It’s natural to want to enjoy a little physical proximity when you’re into someone.
If you go to the movies and he makes a point of leaning in the opposite direction and doesn’t seem to want to touch the shared armrest, he might be maintaining his personal space in an attempt to establish boundaries.
Pro tip: Make note if he seems reluctant to give you a hug or avoids sitting next to you. If he was interested, he’d probably find a way to inch closer to you instead of pulling away.
He doesn’t make an effort
When we like someone, we tend to go that extra mile to impress them. We might brush up on the things that they like, surprise them with their favorite meal, or even just put a little more effort into feeling and looking our best.
Does the guy you’re into look like he just rolled out of bed every time you see him? Does he forget your interests and let you make all of the plans? Do you feel unimportant? If so, you might want to find a new crush.
Pro tip: If you feel like this is a one-sided relationship, even as a friendship, you need to decide whether it’s truly worth your time.
He refers to you as a friend
One of the easiest ways to determine your status is to pay attention to how the guy you like introduces you to his friends. You should also take note of how they react to meeting you.
Consider it a positive sign if he uses your first name (bonus points if people seem to have heard of you!), but if he makes a point of referring to you as his “friend,” there’s a good chance that he doesn’t want you to become more than that.
Pro tip: If he puts extra emphasis on the fact that you are just friends in front of other women, take the hint.
He has a wandering eye
When two people are into each other, especially in the early days, their focus is rarely elsewhere. These people tend to truly have tunnel vision and, in all honesty, when you’re in it, it can feel pretty great.
If you are spending time with a guy and you can actually see him checking out other women, he probably isn’t that interested in having a relationship with you. Clearly, he’s still on the market and, maybe, thinks of you as a wingman.
Pro tip: The guy you like should be looking at you, not other women. If his eyes tend to stray, let them wander to your backside as you walk away — permanently.
Be open to friendship
While it might be disappointing to learn that your crush doesn’t share your romantic feelings, don’t shut down the possibility of a friendship. If you have things in common and enjoy spending time together, try to see if you can manage your expectations.
Of course, if it’s too difficult and you find yourself pining over him, you should probably keep your distance. Also, never enter a friendship with the goal of making someone fall for you.
Instead, be cool and let things unfold on their own. Besides, who knows who you might find in his circle of friends, right?