A reader recently reached out for advice on an interesting situation. She's been hanging out with this guy, doing all sorts of things: grabbing dinner on the spur of the moment, spending time at one another's places, etc. She's trying to figure out if he's interested in her as more than a friend, or if the relationship will ever get to that next level.
Usually there's a watershed moment that reveals that the relationship is moving to a romantic level. It could be a conversation, a first kiss, a touch, a look, or a memorable date that confirms you're crazy about one another. But sometimes it takes a while, and the relationship flat-lines: you are hanging out but it's not going anywhere.
Relationships are difficult when they hit the flat-line stage. One or both of you wonder if the other is interested in more than a friendship. The flat-line stage is a crossroads as well. The relationship might continue as a friendship, move to a romantic relationship, or it could get awkward if only one of you wants more, and it might damage the friendship.
It's fun for a while not knowing what will happen. But when things hit that stagnant stage, you want answers. The reader who shared her story asked what she should do to figure out if her guy is into her as more than a friend.
Here are three approaches I told her to consider:
This is the simplest and most direct way to figure out if someone is into you as more than a friend. Unfortunately, this approach tends to be all or nothing. If you confront someone to ask if they have feelings for you, you'll get: a huge relief as you both admit your feelings, or a letdown when they tell you that they only like you as a friend.
Of course, if you get the answer you want, it leads to the bliss of a blossoming relationship. But if someone says they only like seeing you as a friend, then you're left to continue hanging out with them as a friend, despite your feelings...if you're even capable of doing that.
A key component to this strategy is timing. If you ask them too early or even too late, you might not get the answer you want. And, once you've admitted your feelings, there might be no going back, so this is a risky maneuver.
Ignore Them to Force the Action
The reader's girlfriends suggested this strategy. They told her to back off for a bit, disappear. They theorized that the guy would miss her and come back to her and be more aggressive if he was into her. If not, he'd just let it go and she'd have her answer.
This move puts you in control, which usually makes you feel more comfortable. However, it is a bit of a game, and some people don't go for games.
Imagine if you were moving along with a friend who might be a romantic interest, and they suddenly pulled the plug on everything. You'd be confused, probably annoyed, and you'd figure something was wrong with them because of this erratic behavior. And, this move goes against what you want to do, which is see this person.
Hang Out Alone as Often as You Can
I recommend this strategy. It's the most natural, honest, and safest way for you to approach things. If you want to know if the relationship is going to go to the next level, give it opportunities to do so. This means more "dates" without your friends — just the two of you.
You'll have more time to get to know one another, and there will be chances for that moment of clarity, whether it's the first kiss, a telling glance, or a memorable moment that you connected on another level.
Eventually, you're either going to connect, or that person you're interested in will avoid seeing you as much as you'd like. Once that happens, you'll know they are not interested in dating as much as you are.
Another reader reached out about New Year's Resolutions, and she mentioned a resolution that I really liked: Be more patient. It's tough to remain patient when you're waiting for things to move out of the flat line, but it might just save you in the end. Give yourself opportunities to figure things out while spending time together, and time will tell.
Have you ever hit the flat-line moment in a friendship with someone? How do you figure out if someone's into you as more than a friend, and what are your opinions on my thoughts above?