Is it a crush or just being nice?
October 27, 2010 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I think a friend of mine may have feelings for me, but I'm not sure how all that works nor what to do about it. Can you help a romantically clueless girl in the right direction? Details below.

I'm not very good at this boy+girl romance stuff. I never realize that a guy's into me until it's way too late, or he gets the nerve to explain his feelings in plain English, which obviously doesn't happen very often or much of AskMe wouldn't be here. I think it comes from my exceptionally awkward teen years. I'm in my late twenties and nothing like that goofy teen girl anymore, but I still don't even consider that boys might actually *gulp* like me.

So, it feels like I'm on shaky territory to say that I think a friend of mine may have a crush on me. He's been very attentive ever since my ex and I broke up last year. He does little things for me that he doesn't do for any of our other friends and without me even asking. Should I complain about anything - being cold or hungry or uncomfortable in some minor way - he immediately tries to make things better. He pretty much never leaves my side when we're all (we = our whole group of friends) out together, and I've noticed he keeps finding reasons to pull me away from the rest of group so that it's just the two of us. Not that he tries to make a move on me or anything - it's just the two of us hanging out without the others. There are also random little touches on the back or the arm while we're talking or he's trying not to lose me when we're navigating a crowded room or something, and when he compliments me on my appearance, it sounds like he really means it. Not just a polite, "Oh, hey, you look nice." We're not super close, but he remembers everything I say about everything as if it really matters to him. None of my past boyfriends have even paid that much attention, but that's probably not saying much.

My main question is: does it sound like I'm right in my theory? Or is it possible he's just a gentleman? As I'm writing this, I'm also realizing that all of our other friends are couples, so he may not be this way with them because he doesn't want to offend anyone's significant other.

I'm asking because all of these little gestures of his are totally working. I once thought he was just a nice guy, and now I feel all twitterpated when he's around. I'm now worried that my prior obliviousness may have given him the mistaken impression that I'm not interested. I don't know how to communicate that yes! I like you too! You make my face smile! Obviously I'd love to hear that he's way head-over-heels and it's sooooo obvious, but... I'm also nervous that I'm completely wrong about him and will make future outings with friends really awkward by pursuing something that's not actually there to be pursued. So, I guess that's the second part of my question. If it sounds like there's a possibility, what do I do about it, and how do I do it gracefully?

I realize you all can't tell me what's in his head, but I'm hoping some of you have more experience with this and can tell me how it turned out for you.

Throaway email if you have questions: cluelessromantic@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ask him to do something with you, just the two of you. It doesn't have to be anything super-romantic, maybe just lunch and a trip to a museum or something. You'll get clearer signals when it's just the two of you than when you're in a group.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:52 AM on October 27, 2010


I once thought he was just a nice guy, and now I feel all twitterpated when he's around. I'm now worried that my prior obliviousness may have given him the mistaken impression that I'm not interested. I don't know how to communicate that yes! I like you too! You make my face smile!

One of those times when it's just you two:

"You know, I like you. You make my face smile! I'm going to [THING WE LIKE TO DO] on [TIME PERIOD]. Would you come as my date?"
posted by canine epigram at 9:54 AM on October 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yep, it's very simple and very hard all at the same time. The simple part is, it doesn't matter if he has a crush on you. You seem to have one on him and that's reason enough to ask him on a date. That's the simple and hard part, scraping up the courage to ask him out on a date.
posted by advicepig at 9:56 AM on October 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


As a pretty universal rule, if a straight man is spending time with you, he wants to sleep with you to some degree.

This guy is also:
-- Always trying to be alone with you
-- Always complimenting you
-- Always trying to please you
-- Always trying to meet your needs
-- Always finding ways to touch you

I mean, spelled out like that... right? Right??

If he weren't interested in you, he would want to be very careful not to lead you on, either because he's a gentlemen, or just because he's afraid of an "entanglement."

And if he weren't interested in you, he'd be trying to be alone with other women. He'd be trying to lose you in a crowd so that he could go get on some other women.

When I've found myself in a situation with a guy who is pretty clearly interested but being weak about making his intentions known, I either teasingly or naively (depends on the guy and the relationship) ask him about his dealings with other women. "Oooh, she was really pretty, do you think you'll see her again?" or "Sorry, I didn't want to intrude, it seems like she really likes you." You just have to make sure that there is NOTHING bitter or sarcastic about it -- you are just totally asking like a friend who's interested. And either he'll say "Thanks, wing man!" or he'll realize that he's not being clear enough with you and he'll make a move. This has worked for me very often.
posted by thebazilist at 10:01 AM on October 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sounds like he might like you! You can probably easily suggest something very fun and laid-back to do with just the two of you. (Or dinner, if you're feeling a little bolder. I think dinner makes it clearer that it's a date. Up to you.)
Even just something as simple as, "Hey, I heard there's a new pizza place open around the corner! Want to check it out sometime?" will probably do the trick. Nothing dramatic or overwrought, just a natural extension of your budding friendship. And if he says, no, then that's that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
posted by bookgirl18 at 10:04 AM on October 27, 2010


My main question is: does it sound like I'm right in my theory?

Yes. The things you describe him doing are some of the same things I do when I have a crush on someone, and the situation is not already clearly a date.
posted by FishBike at 10:04 AM on October 27, 2010


When I've found myself in a situation with a guy who is pretty clearly interested but being weak about making his intentions known, I either teasingly or naively (depends on the guy and the relationship) ask him about his dealings with other women. "Oooh, she was really pretty, do you think you'll see her again?" or "Sorry, I didn't want to intrude, it seems like she really likes you." You just have to make sure that there is NOTHING bitter or sarcastic about it -- you are just totally asking like a friend who's interested. And either he'll say "Thanks, wing man!" or he'll realize that he's not being clear enough with you and he'll make a move.

I think middle school game playing is not a good way to go about handling things at all. To run a trick play just to see if he can keep up could work out poorly for you, and you'd never know if it was your actions that shut down his movement toward you. To spark or maintain interest, one should show interest. Be clear!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:09 AM on October 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


As a pretty universal rule, if a straight man is spending time with you, he wants to sleep with you to some degree.

I guess I must be something other than the straight man I've always thought myself to be.

OP, it sounds like you're right that he's into you. Personally, if I were into someone, I think those are the sorts of things I would be doing. I think now the onus is on you, as you've correctly guessed, because a lot longer in the current situation and he might think you're not interested.

Why don't you try asking him out - "Would you like to go out with me for a drink/coffee?" - phrasing is really important, as we've seen in other questions. Let him realize it's you and him together, alone.

From how he reacts to that, you should be able to tell a lot. From there on, it gets pretty dynamic and would be hard to prescribe a course of action. Maybe you can update us sometime (or a new, happy question).
posted by althanis at 10:32 AM on October 27, 2010


Guessing is no good. Neither is assuming. I agree with those who suggest you ask him to do something fun, just with you. It doesn't have to be symbolic or romantic -- just something you both would enjoy. Don't look for clues or give any... just spend a little time together. If you feel comfortable, mention some other fun activity and ask if he'd like to join you in that sometime.

I think it's especially appropriate to move forward in a casual, friendly, and gradual way, because you didn't even mention how you feel about him. I'm guessing it's a good idea to get to know him. It'll work out fine, even if one or both of you don't feel a spark.
posted by wryly at 10:35 AM on October 27, 2010


I don't think any of us can say with any GIANT degree of certainty what his actions mean.

However, I can tell you that I am a guy, and a lot of his behaviors sound an awful lot like how I behave when I am crushing on someone. If I were a betting man, I'd definitely be willing to put a bet on the notion that this guy DOES have a crush.
posted by Richat at 11:17 AM on October 27, 2010


From how my boyfriend treated me when we first met, and how he treats me still, all I can do is read your question and reply with, "Awww, go for it, sistah!"
posted by DisreputableDog at 11:29 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


He hasn't done anything in a year. If he is the one with the crush, it's his job to do something about it. The fact that he hasn't may mean he's not interested (enough), or it may mean he expects you to take the risk. Of these two choices, the latter is not a good sign in my experience.

However, you have a crush. You know this much. Since you know you have a crush, it is your job to act on it. And if he's not been interested (enough), giving him some hope may pump up his feelings.

Please make your sign subtle, but make it definite. Something that would be hard to interpret in any other way. For example, if you were to yawn and stretch and announce to no-one in particular "WELL I GUESS I'LL START DATING $RANDOM_GUY_WHO'S_NOT_YOU, THEN, AS I HAVEN'T HAD INTEREST FROM ANYONE ELSE" that would be interpreted by 99% of MeFites as "boo hoo! sob! she's not interested! how fortunate that I managed to hold my tongue for an entire year, lest irreparable damage be caused!" So whatever gesture you make, make it distinctly romantic.
posted by tel3path at 11:37 AM on October 27, 2010


If it was me acting this way (back when I was single), it would definitely be a sign that I was romantically interested in you.
posted by tdismukes at 11:40 AM on October 27, 2010


I'm asking because all of these little gestures of his are totally working. I once thought he was just a nice guy, and now I feel all twitterpated when he's around.

1. eye contact
2. smile
3. compliment
4. repeat, beginning with #1, above.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:07 PM on October 27, 2010


Or you could just ask him out and avoid the drama.
posted by Justinian at 12:43 PM on October 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


By the time I was halfway through your second paragraph, I was pretty sure he liked you. The direct approach people are suggesting is great, but if you prefer something subtler, you can always touch him back, lean into his touch, or take his hand. Things will escalate. Either way, it sounds like you'll probably be dating soon. Have fun!
posted by xenophile at 1:28 PM on October 27, 2010


If only there were some way you could communicate this question to him so that he, the only person in all the world with the answer, could provide the accurate answer. Here is how you tell if someone is interested in you. Yes he is interested in you. Go be a courageous person now.
posted by nanojath at 3:34 PM on October 27, 2010


From the OP:
Thank you all for your advice and the little confidence boost at the same time. I did it!!!! I gave him a call. It went... well, awesomely. Even a little chick-flick-esque. Basically, all signs are good at this point, and my face is smiling so hard I think it's going to crack. This was hugely scary for me because I'm so very shy, but your suggestions helped, and it's turning out well. :)
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:10 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older Lyrics of Gesualdo's "Tenebrae"?   |   Resentment in the workplace Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.