How do you know that a garden variety friendship has turned into something romantic? What are the signs that you're more than friends? It can be hard to tell — one minute you're dishing with your BFF about spin class and your love of frozen yogurt, the next minute you're wondering if your pal is about to lean across the couch and kiss you. But before, after and in between those two moments, there can be lots of signals that your friend has a crush on you — or that you have a crush on them, or that you are both super hung up on each other and it's only a matter of time before you start making out.
This limbo space can be really confusing, because friends are already really chummy and loving and can be touchy-feely and amazing listeners and supportive AF — in other words, the sorts of characteristics that people in a romantic relationship usually exhibit. No matter what the circumstances or the situation, whether you're the one with the secret crush, you suspect your friend likes you, or it's a mix of the two, make sure that no matter what the circumstances are, you make sure to respect your friend's space and their feelings. To help give you a sense of whether to broach the topic — and how to make sure you're doing it sensitively and carefully for both of your sakes — here are some reliable flags to tell if your friendship is becoming something more.
1. You Daydream About Them
Crush alert! If you're sitting around zoning out about your friend in class or at work, you have feelings for them. "Romantic fantasies when you are apart" are a huge giveaway, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With A Narcissist, tells Bustle. And when you're together, sparks fly. "Your heart beats faster when you see them, know you are going to see them, or hear from them," she says. Basically, if you can't stop thinking about them — particularly when you're apart from them, or doing something that has nothing to do with them at all — it means you've got it bad for them.
2. You're Mad Jealous
When you have "jealous feelings" about a friend, you may be crushing, relationship coach Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can't Leave Bad Relationships, tells Bustle. These can often strike especially hard when you find out your friend is in a relationship, or if they get into something new as your friendship unfolds. Here's how the scenario goes: "You thought he or she was just your friend, and you loved talking with this person and hanging out with him or her, but then you find out he or she is in a relationship, and all of a sudden, you start feeling jealous," Sansone-Braff says.
Carlyle Jansen, author of Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms , further emphasizes this phenomenon. "When you feel jealous of the other person's time away, other interests, or even love interests, that is the time to reflect on what this person means to you," Jansen tells Bustle. "You secretly find yourself wishing that they would break up."
You might even go as far as negatively impacting their relationship. "You start sabotaging their relationship in subtle and not subtle ways," Jansen tells Bustle. This can manifest itself in ways you may not even realize, like planting ideas of their partner's motives based on your own feelings about them, or as blatant as occupying their time so they don't have as much to spend with their partner, creating a rift. Whether this is unintentional or, worse, becomes intentional behavior, it's best to recognize it for what it is, and put an end to it.
"At this point, you need to come forward and admit your true feelings for this person, even if it means losing the friendship, or you need to back off from this person altogether," Sansone-Braff tells Bustle.
3. They Look At You Funny
"This can be a fine line, but often you can tell in the way that they look at you," Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author of Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin, tells Bustle. "Strong eye contact that results in a vibe that feels almost palpable, even if you're not reciprocating" can mean that your BFF wants to become a BF or GF. "They go out of their way for you more than necessary and there's a thoughtfulness that almost feels surprising," she says. "They listen and remember things that you have said that even you yourself have forgotten." After all, this is someone who is already loyal, who will already support and love you through good times and bad. If there's a certain glint in their eye, this may mean they're into you. Pay attention.
4. You Can't Wait To See Them
And vice versa. If you're dying to see your friend at all hours of the day (and secretly perhaps they feel the same) — beyond the usual excitement and anticipation you feel when you're about to see a good friend — it could be a sign you want something more. "The biggest sign for me was when me and my now-wife were dating, I couldn't wait to see her," Rob Alex, who created Sexy Challenges and Mission Date Night with his wife, tells Bustle. "I have had lots of great friends, but there is a magic in the air when that friendship moves to something stronger." Though you might not be sure at first, when you know, you know. "You will start making up excuses to go see that special friend, you start remembering tiny details of when you are together, and when you look at each other there is more of a deep soul connection that just a passing glance," Alex says. And the rest is history, if his marriage is any indication. If you feel something that magnetizing, it may be a nudge from the universe that it's a topic you want to explore.
5. You Want To Make Out
No, not everyone wants to make out with their friends. If you're feeling lusty, that is a sign, New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "When you want to make out with and sleep with a friend, that’s no longer a friend."
That line is crossed not when you act on your feelings, but when you simply feel them. Watch out, though: "Those feelings of lust create dishonesty — you start criticizing your friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend, sometimes without even realizing, because you want to be that person, and you’re jealous of that relationship," Masini says. "The minute you’ve got sexual feelings towards a friend is the minute they’re more than just that." 'Fess up or give the friendship some time to chill — otherwise you'll probably just wind up acting out of character.
6. You Want To Be Intimate With Them
You might be so far gone on this person that making out isn't even the thing you think about, says Sansone-Braff. When it gets to this point, it has definitely escalated to a place where you need to check in with yourself on how to proceed. "Here's where you have to figure out if this person could turn out to be a friend with benefits, or if this could turn into a real relationship," she tells Bustle. Or, of course, there's the third option — your friend might want to just be a friend, in which case a heavy dose of acceptance needs to come into play.
"Being honest about your feelings is necessary in all relationships, but in this instance, truth telling is paramount, or you can find yourselves giving each other a lot of mixed messages that could ruin your friendship and your chances for a real relationship in the future," she says. Again, coming clean may be the best solution in terms of knowing whether or not the feeling is mutual — but if you know there's no chance of romance, you have to respect the other person's feelings and space, and know better than to bring it up if it's only going to put undue pressure on the friendship.
7. You Have Butterflies
You got those butterflies! That feeling you get when you're around them is a dead giveaway, Kia Grant, Lovapp's relationship correspondent, tells Bustle. Not only do you feel all tingly every time you see them, Grant says, there are other factors at play too. "You want to spend as much time with them, of course," she says. Also on the agenda? Echoing other experts, Grant points to "physical attraction" and "jealousy." When you find yourself getting territorial, give some serious thought to your feelings for this person.
8. You Think And Feel About Them Differently
Somewhere along the line, the way you think and feel about this person changed. "You enjoy being around them in a way that is different from how you are with your other friends," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "You see qualities in them others don't, and when something happens, good or bad, you automatically want to tell that person about it." They're the first one you want to talk to in the morning and the last you want to speak with at night. "They are the first one that comes to mind that you want to share with," Martinez says.
9. The Way You Touch Changes
Though you haven't made an actual move, and neither have they, if you're analyzing the way you physically interact with your pal, something is afoot. "Your physical habits, even if not sexual, are changing," Armstrong says. "You have moved from quick hugs to kisses on the cheek, hugging for longer periods of time to flirtatious touching," he says. Not only that, but if it feels natural, get ready. When this type of more intimate touching happens on both sides and is "prevalent, natural and reciprocated," your friend likely feels the same, he says.
10. It's Never Enough
Maybe you used to have a routine friend dinner once or twice a week, but nowadays waiting for Tuesday nights feels like torrrrrturrrre. If that's the case, take a look at yourself, Sansone-Braff says. "You used to be happy talking to this person once or twice a week, but now you find that he or she is your go-to person and you want to talk everyday." Whatever the case may be, speak up. If they feel the same way, awesome. If not, think about next steps. "You can still choose to be friends, if you can handle it, or you might choose to separate before you get your heart ripped out when this person falls in love with someone else, and you have to bear witness to this," she says.
11. You're Constantly "Accidentally" Touching
Maybe you don't mean to do so, but do you find your hand brushing your friend's arm … a lot? "The strongest relationships usually start as friendships, so the lines can get a bit blurred at times," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "However, proximity is the great indicator." So if you're touching a lot, take note. "Walking in the mall or down a street," he says, "[if] your movements always seem to bring you into just barely noticeable contact with one another, [it's] a proof-positive sign of 'more than friends.'" O-o-o-o-h!
12. You're Texting Up A Storm
"You are texting more frequently, and at all hours of the night," Armstrong says. Maybe you used to check in with your pal every few days, but now you're sending "good morning" and "night-night" texts. "Who we think about is who we connect with when we are alone," Armstrong says. If they're reciprocating, there's a good chance that something is going on.
13. Your Friendship Changes In Subtle Ways
"The two of you wind up talking a lot and ignoring anyone else around," Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences , tells Bustle. "You start touching each other in a new way: He puts his hand on your shoulder, you touch his arm." Or maybe you're interacting in other ways — they check in with you to see if you're going somewhere, Tessina says. Regardless of whether this guy or gal has expressly divulged feelings for you, there's a strong possibility that they exist.
14. You Talk About Them, Like, All The Time
In addition to the fact that you daydream about them, you don't cringe at the thought of being intimate, and you prefer to be with them than to be alone when you're in a bad mood, as other experts have said, the biggest sign you're sweating your pal is that you are a total motormouth about them when they are not around. If you're constantly finding ways to work them into conversations with other friends, life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle, the romance bug has bitten.
15. They Call You Something Sweet
This one applies more to a situation where you've started dating a friend but you're not sure where things stand between the two of you. "A great sign to watch for is how the person refers to you," Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, tells Bustle. "If he or she calls you their girlfriend straight out, then it’s obvious. However, if they use a pet name that has a romantic significance, like 'my baby,' 'baby,' 'my sweetheart,' 'my babe,' — that is a good indicator," she says. That said, if you're being introduced to your maybe-new-partner's friends as something nebulous, it might be time for a heart-to-heart. "If the pet name is 'my buddy,' 'my bestie,' 'my number 1,' — that is more of a sign that you are still in the friend zone," Daniels says.
When All Else Fails, Speak Up
"Having open communication is important when it comes to dating status," relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle. "If you don’t know if you’re dating someone, you’re not." So if you've been pals for a while, and you made out the other night, and now you're wondering if you're more than friends, assume nothing and speak up. "Someone who is interested in dating will make his or her intentions very clear and follow through consistently with actions," she says. "Friends, or even friends with benefits, can also flirt and go out to dinner every so often."
Remember That Anything Is Possible
Before you get super bummed about the fact that you're in love with your best friend, remember this: "I actually feel that many relationships that are platonic and have some longevity and depth could be a deeper romantic relationship," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "My feelings are that vulnerability, passion and respect are the trifecta of romance, so if those are in place, it is possible that the relationship could easily move from friend-zone to lovers." So don't fret! And speak up.
Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D, Author and Psychologist, http://www.doctor-ramani.com/about-dr-ramani/.
Cindi Sansone-Braff, Author and Relationship Coach, http://www.grantmeahigherlove.com/.
Carlyle Jansen, Author and Sex Therapist, http://www.carlylejansen.com/.
Danielle Sepulveres, Author and Sex Educator, http://daniellesepulveres.com/.
Rob Alex, Ph.D, Author and Sex & Relationships Expert, http://missiondatenight.com/about/.