Like family and free time, friendship is one of the most important and joyful parts of life on earth. When you spend a lot of time with your friend, getting to know each other and having a grand time, it sometimes feels like the stage is set for romance, even if that wasn’t the original intention.
It’s totally normal (and wonderful) to forge close bonds with your friends and spend a ton of time with them. But it can also occasionally create confusion between the ties of friendship and the beginnings of romance. To help you delineate between the possibilities, here are some signs of “friendly” behavior that might not just be friendly.
1. Weirdly Romantic Bonding Ideas
Maybe your friend has started saying things along the lines of “I hope we get stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel together,” or making other flirty propositions. Or maybe your pal is DM’ing you cute pics of couples underwear sets. Is that really just to be funny?
2. Invitations to Hang Out One-on-One
Feeling close enough with your friends to go shopping, get something to eat, or watch a movie together is a valuable gift, and oftentimes not a sign of romance. But a friend of yours who’s caught feelings might try extra hard to spend time with you alone by sticking around at the end of a group hangout or party to talk to you, or inviting you on outings when they don’t invite your other friends. If this happens repeatedly, it might be worth asking your friend (and yourself, if you haven’t already) about what direction your relationship is taking.
3. Extra-Thoughtful Favors
Another possible sign of feelings is if your friend is going out of their way for you in ways they don’t for other people. Maybe your friend gives you a ride home even though you live on the opposite side of town, or brings you small, thoughtful treats or gifts when you see each other. One Reddit user pointed out that spontaneous food presents tend to be a sign of a crush — if you mentioned one time that you love gummy bears and your friend shows up to your next hangout with a bag of them, maybe you’re on their mind as more than a friend.
4. Fidgety Body Language
Body language can be as clear of a communicator as speaking. Consistent eye contact and uncrossed arms are probably typical for anyone who’s comfortable around you, but if one of your friends is blushing when you talk, fidgeting nervously, or finding moments to make physical contact, like hugs, holding hands, or touching your arm, they might be trying to let you know they’re attracted to you.
5. Poorly Concealed Envy
Ideally, you can turn to your friends for gossip and advice about your dating lives, but if one of them has caught feelings for you, that might not be the case anymore. If your pal gets irritable, unusually nosy, or suddenly withdrawn when you bring up your dating life, it could be a sign that they want to be a participant in that part of your life, not just a friend watching from the sidelines.
Of course, the people you’re friends with should pay attention to you, invite you to fun outings, and show consideration for your thoughts and feelings, even if they don’t have romantic feelings for you. But it’s not uncommon that friendly behavior can slowly, subtly turn into romantic behavior (after all, you’re gorgeous and charming), and if that starts to happen, the only way to find out what’s going on is to ask.