You’ve exchanged fleeting, repeated and perhaps even smiling glances. The body language is good, and interest seems at healthy levels. Your romantic horizon looks promising — but there’s a problem. Has hasn’t asked you out yet, and you get the impression that perhaps he never will. What’s going on?
The answer may depend on your existing relationship. We’ll start with rock-bottom and work our way up.
We don’t know each other
If at most all you’ve ever managed to share is a brief, if intense and highly confusing, hello session, the playing field is still wide open. But fret not, for many this highly challenging and hazy moment is when attraction is strongest. If you’re stuck in a communication rut, where you’d love to take things a little deeper but have no idea how to set the stage, consider the following points.
- How approachable are you? We all react differently when interested in someone. The rosy, sparkling image that is often associated with infatuation can in reality manifest itself in the oddest ways. Sometimes we act in ways where our crush is getting the opposite message. Defensive body language mimics the body language of distrust. Now, when talking or within eye contact of someone you like you will be a little on the edge. But make an effort not to close your body language up in fear, or he might feel that you don’t like him at all.
- Are you sure he does like you? I’m trusting you on your instinct (it’s usually bang-on), but it helps to be objective about it. Ask your friends to notice if he looks in your direction, and get some external advice. Also consider that a lot of guys (and women too) are opportunists who lap up attention as an ego boost. If you’re worried this may be the case, judge him solely by his actions and not his words.
- Is he shy? Perhaps he feels you’re out of his league, or perhaps he’s fearful of rejection. Either way, don’t judge him based on how flamboyantly he acts with his friends. Relationships are an entirely different ball-game. He may have been dumped one too may times, or he may have some rejection fears. The only way to open him up is to either work on point (1) or turn the tables and ask him out yourself.
- Male and female body language is very different! Don’t jump to conclusions regarding how obvious the signals you’re sending are. In my experience women often use indirect signals, and men use direct signals. Resort to timeless classics that are ambivalent to men and women. Smile and lock-on eye contact (if he makes a point of out-scoring you in a staring contest you’ve got him).
We talk but aren’t close enough to be friends
Perhaps the most promising and tantalizing position to be in. You’ll want to steer clear of becoming fast-friends, however. In my opinion you’ll drastically increase romantic interest in him, and at the same time increase the likelihood in a dating proposal by adhering to the holy trinity of attraction.
- Don’t be too available. Make him wonder what you do in the time away from him. Create a sense of longing that only you can bridge and keep your conversations intense and brief. While you may want to spend time with him endlessly, remember that familiarity often breeds contempt. There’s time for that later. Demonstrate independence and value by having a life which he will want to be part of.
- Tease him. Flirting is what separates romantic interests from platonic friendships. Keep him on his toes, take the wind out of his sails and make him bellow with laughter.
- Make it easy for him. Tell him about the films you love, your hobbies and any kind of activity you can do together (without anyone else). Saying, “hey, let’s do that” is a lot easier than asking for a date out of the blue. Make it natural and he’ll cry tears of relief!
If your relationship has settled into an awkward friendship, the time to act is now. While the idea of a romantic “friend zone” is in my opinion a little overblown, the spiciness and attraction that mystery can add to a new relationship are rapidly diminishing. Leaving your cards off the table and playing along like a diligent friend will lead to a single conclusion. That’s exactly what you’ll end up being. And if you ever decide, out of frustration, to spill the beans, it may come as a kind of betrayal for him, because it will undoubtedly jeopardize the friendship he thought you had.
Steps to take (in any case)
- Ask him out. No really? Why not! Forget classic gender roles here and remember that waiting too long will end in one or both of you losing interest.
- Enroll your friends. Although this may sound a little childish, it works. Have a middleman spill the beans about your feelings, and have him do it in secret. The point is he needs to know you don’t know that he knows!
- Meet his friends. If his friends like you and notice that you’re looking at him often they will tell him, and ask him why he isn’t doing anything about it. They may just give him the strength he needs to man-up. Sneaky and subversive, but a workable solution.