Love, Lindsay

'Should I Tell My Friend I Like Her? Does She Even Like Me?'

All your relationship questions answered — right here, right now.

Lindsay here, A Plus's resident relationship guru/columnist. While I may not know everything, I do know a lil something about love and our seemingly endless pursuit of it. Having written dozens of A Plus articles about dating, relationships, and sex, I'm ready and willing to investigate all of your romantically-inclined questions — because I've asked them myself. What I hope to bring to A Plus's readers is a sex-positive, body-positive, and most importantly, you-positive perspective on modern love. Consider Love, Lindsay your digital Cupid. 

Dear Lindsay, 

My name is Hunter and I'm desperate for advice! So I have this friend that I met in 12th grade, and we became good friends. But I've always had a crush on her, and I've been too shy to tell her. Recently I got the guts to ask if she wanted to hang out sometime, and she said sure, but she had to clean a barn first. So I offered my help and she said 'yes'. I went to her house and we worked all day but I was having so much fun, so it didn't really feel like work at all. By the end she actually invited me to her family reunion. I said 'yes, of course.' My questions are: Should I tell her I like her? Does she even like me? Or just give me any advice you're willing to give.

- Hunter

P.S. I'm very shy and awkward.

Hi Hunter, 

First things first, when it comes to cleaning a barn, I do have some pretty impressive experience, but that's another advice column for another day. 

At the core of your submission, you're looking for an answer to the age-old question: "Does the person I like also like me back?" This question has alluded humankind for millennia, and I think we can all agree we've finally come … nowhere close to answering it. I don't care how many other publications tell people to look for certain hints, signs, billboards, skywriting, etc. that someone likes you. Bottom line: You're never going to know if she likes you until you ask and/or she explicitly tells you.

As loath as I am to admit it, we can't all be Sally Field learning people like us, really like us, by winning an Academy Award. 

While it's certainly a good sign she invited you to her family reunion, that doesn't say anything romantically conclusive. All that means is that she likes you enough to have you meet her family members. Strictly speaking, that's still friend territory. 

Marni Kinrys of Marni's Wing Girl Method concurs, saying "I can't tell for certain, from this email, whether or not this girl is into you, but she definitely enjoys you, and she could be attracted to you." 

However, in order "to create and build attraction with her," she advises stepping it up. "First, you need to start flirting with her. Being playful, teasing, and challenging a girl will help her feel things for you that are different than friendship. I'm guessing that right now you aren't doing this with her ... " Kinrys continues. "If you step up the flirting ... it will help her feel more excitement towards you and possibly see you as an option." 

This may seem daunting if you're shy, but you just need to channel your inner Kim K and drop. those. hints. This can be especially useful if you're not yet comfortable directly communicating your feelings in a way that won't jeopardize the friendship if said feelings aren't reciprocated.

"What you want is to try taking the solid foundation you guys have to the next level and see if there is something there."  Kinrys says, "You're telling her that you see potential and want to explore it," not that you are "in love with her."  

This distinction is especially important in your case because, if anything, it seems like you don't want to lose her as a friend. 

Nonetheless, if you're willing to take a chance (and I absolutely think you should!) I suggest easing her into a romantic situation by asking her to dinner. This signals a date activity without having to ask explicitly, "Will you go on a date with me?" 

If she says, "No," that may not be the answer you want, but one you still need to respect. Just because she may not see you as a romantic partner doesn't mean she doesn't value you as a person, and you should respond in kind. And because you value her as a person, regardless of your relationship status with her, you can — and should — continue your friendship with her, as long as that's healthy for the both of you.  

Now, for the good stuff: If she says, "Yes," take her somewhere nice, but more importantly, somewhere you feel comfortable. Don't worry too much about impressing her because it's just a first date after all. It might not be perfect (and probably won't be because you'll both be nervous) but that's OK. 

Sit back, relax, and be the same old you she already knows and appreciates. 

If all goes well, you can try to initiate some light, romantic physical contact at the end of the date, simply to show that this is, indeed, a date. I suggest observing her body language and how receptive she seems to you before going in for a hug or maybe even a quick kiss on the cheek. These small actions will keep you both in your comfort zones, while still signaling your romantic intentions and future potential. 

Without making it a big, nerve-wracking declaration, simply end by saying: "I'd like to do this again sometime." Hopefully, she'll agree, and together, you can feel things out from there. The more time you spend with her, the easier it will be to share your feelings. 

I know this all sounds kind of corny, but hey, that's kind of why it works. 

Love, Lindsay 

If you thought all that was TL (too long) and DR (didn't read), check out my quick tip video:

Cover image via Everton Vila on Unsplash

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