Friends becoming lovers is nothing new.
In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 68 percent of romantic relationships start from friendships.
But navigating that confusing space between just friends and becoming a couple can be anything but straightforward.
So how do you tell if you’re just friends or more?
This article will help you.
Here are some clear signs you and your friend are “more than just friends”.
1) You feel a vibe
Intuition can undoubtably be tricky, but it shouldn’t be dismissed.
The danger is that gut feelings can be driven by wishful thinking.
We may be guilty of projecting our desires onto someone else and seeing what we want to see. Then we’re in danger of reading into things that aren’t there.
So, that’s the disclaimer.
BUT, and it’s a big but, feelings are so often hard to pin down into words or anything concrete. We rely on simply sensing them.
In many instances, your first strong clue that you are becoming more than just friends is a gut feeling.
You can sense a special energy.
What you are feeling is the charge of romantic tension and potentially sexual chemistry.
It’s those feel-good hormones that have kicked in and that create a vibe between you that isn’t there with other people.
2) Intimacy is growing
There is a palpable closeness between you too.
- Opening up
- Being vulnerable
- Confiding more in one another
- Feeling really understood
- Giving each other your undivided attention when you’re together (not being on your phones or looking around the room!)
Later we’ll discuss some signs of growing physical intimacy. But aside from attraction, you also sense a deeper mental and emotional bond between you.
In practical ways, that tends to show itself as a stronger investment in time and energy, as we’ll see next.
3) You’re both investing more time, energy, and effort than normal
That may show up as:
- Talking more
- Hanging out more
- Texting more
In fact, it’s like you just can’t get enough of one another these days.
Communication has ramped up and you’re checking in several times a day. Although that’s on those rare occasions when you’re not with each other in person, as these days you’re fairly glued to the hip.
Either you are total besties or there is another reason why you are giving each other a precedence that other friends aren’t receiving.
Doing more things together and going out of your way for one another in ways you never did points to an important shift:
You are clearly making each other top priorities.
4) You’re touchy-feely
On its own, getting on incredibly well isn’t enough to signal a friendship is anything more. Because platonic connections can run deep too.
So what gives a connection that edge, is the spark.
When attraction exists, you may find it difficult to keep your hands off each other.
It may feel overt, but it could be far more subtle.
It may be that you both find excuses to touch one another.
Whether that’s gentle touches on the arm, jestful playfighting together, or reaching out to “fix” their hair, etc.
If you’re really pushing boundaries, things may have gotten even more physical with cuddles on the couch, hand-holding, or even sexual acts.
It’s safe to say if any of the latter is going on, then lines have most definitely been blurred!
5) You hold each other’s gaze for too long
They call it the look of love for good reason.
Eye contact is a powerful signal we use to communicate unspoken messages to one another. And research has shown that one of those messages conveys attraction.
When we stare into someone’s eyes it releases phenylethylamine, a chemical responsible for feelings of attraction.
We may give it very little thought, but there are unwritten social rules around eye contact.
Hold eye contact for too long, and people will most likely (and rightly) read something into it.
As self-help author and blogger Mark Manson highlights, gazing into your eyes is a clear sign of interest:
“ This is when someone looks at you and just keeps looking at you past the normal “look away” moment. This is a solid 2-3 seconds of eye contact without them breaking it. When undesired, this becomes the infamous “creep stare.” But in the cases of desirable people looking at you, this is extremely good news.”
6) Things have gotten flirty
When attraction exists, it’s common for us to test the water. And the best way to do that is through flirting.
It’s a great way to ramp things up without laying all your cards on the table.
That way, if they reciprocate — great. But if they don’t then you can always brush it off or deny it.
All the usual signs of flirting apply. That can include:
- Showing off
- Trying to make you laugh
- Teasing you in a playful way
- Offering compliments
Meanwhile, some flirtatious signals may not even be conscious and can simply be given away through bodylanguage.
Watch out for them:
- Raising their eyebrows when they see you
- Pointing their hips towards you
- Pointing their feet towards you
- Dilated pupils
- Grooming behaviors like playing with their hair
7) You never discuss dates or romantic interests with each other
Forget trying to make someone jealous.
The reality is that when we’re interested in someone but don’t know where we stand, we don’t do things we fear may put them off.
That means discussing any current crushes, dates, or other romantic interests who may be on the scene.
So if your friend keeps telling you about their love life, it’s unlikely they see you as more than a friend.
Doing so only gives off “unavailable” cues.
Are you both keeping your lips sealed when it comes to chatting about romance with each other?
Perhaps it’s because the crush they cannot talk about is you!
8) You’ve started to get a bit awkward around each other
That may not sound like the best sign at first, but it sort of is, and here’s why:
The less we care, the more at ease we are.
When we like someone romantically, we often find it harder to relax and just be ourselves.
We’re so concerned with making the best impression that it can create nerves and butterflies.
We’re mindful of being on our best behavior. But that can tinge your friendship with a slight awkwardness that leaves you feeling more embarrassed around one another than normal.
Suddenly, you’re both more mindful of what you say and do. You’re hyper-aware of how you are coming across.
You may even be tempted to show off a little.
The reality is that we’re more likely to act weird around someone we are attracted to.
9) You have deep conversations and talk about everything and anything
You stay up late into the night chatting about this and that.
You ask deep probing questions of one another. You quiz each other on your likes, dislikes, passions, beliefs, and ideas.
This shows that you have a strong interest in what makes each other tick.
It’s equal parts about wanting to scratch below the surface and also just keeping the dialogue going.
It’s not that friends don’t care about these things, but they are less likely to be carried away by them.
They don’t frequently find they’ve stayed up into the wee small hours lost in conversation.
It’s yet another sign of investment in someone. An investment we’re not usually willing to make for someone who is “just a friend”.
10) Other people have picked up on it
The way you are with each other hasn’t escaped other people’s notice.
You are now fielding frequent questions from mutual pals and acquaintances about what’s going on between you two.
Even if you still protest that you’re “just friends” (perhaps because you’re still unsure yourself) they’re not buying it.
You’re met with raised eyebrows and knowing smirks that suggest plenty of other people are picking up on the chemistry between you two too.
This confirms that it is not just your imagination.
Being “friend-zoned” isn’t as bad as you might think!
We often dread falling into the so-called “friend zone”. But not only is there a way out of it, it seems that the majority of relationships blossom from this place.
As we heard in the intro, research points out that over two-thirds of couples were friends first, and perhaps for longer than you may imagine.
The average friendship was 22 months before it turned romantic. Moreover, half of people say this friend-first approach is the best way to get into a relationship.
My boyfriend and I were friends for several months before we became lovers, and I do think it helped us to build stronger relationship foundations.
The truth is that at any point, two people can cross a line and their connection evolves.
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