Tell if a Female Friend Wants a Romantic Relationship

It’s extremely common for friends to develop romantic feelings for each other. To make things more complicated, studies have shown that men find themselves attracted to their previously platonic friends more often than women do.[1] Romantic relationships that grow from friendships can be wonderful, but that awkward stretch of time between falling for a friend and figuring out if she reciprocates those feelings can be difficult.


Noticing Subtle Signs

  1. Pay more attention to her body language. This can be your biggest clue that she may have romantic intentions. When you hang out with her in a group of friends, does her body face yours more often? Does she tend to sit closer to you than anyone else? Does she touch you more often than her other friends? If the answer to these questions is yes, she may have more than platonic feelings.[2] Some other examples of body language that may indicate interest when she’s talking to you:
    • She touches her hair a lot.
    • She smiles more frequently.
    • She fiddles with random objects.
    • She sits or stands with her shoulders slightly back, accentuating her cleavage.
  2. Look for any changes in how she behaves towards you. If she has developed romantic feelings towards you, she may be a little more awkward around you. Conversely, she may also start hanging out with you more. She may start responding to your texts quicker or initiating contact more often. If you find she’s bringing up her family and background more often, she may be trying to get you to reciprocate. This may mean she’s feeling out issues of long-term compatibility and a possible future romantic relationship.[3][4]
    • This is the easiest sign to misread and can mean a number of things. If she wants to spend more time with you, don’t jump to conclusions! While this may mean she’s romantically interested, it’s just as likely that she simply wants to strengthen your friendship.
  3. Take notes on her eye contact. If she’s reluctant to share her feelings, she may start to avoid eye contact with you. Conversely, you may catch her staring a bit too long at you. If you notice her eyes are consistently dilated when she looks at you, there is a good chance attraction is there.[5]
  4. Pick up specific clues that she may be interested in a relationship with you. If she constantly compliments you or mentions wanting a serious relationship with “someone,” she may feel the same way you do and is just as nervous about making that first move. If she’s including you in important life events that she isn’t bringing her other guy friends to, this may be a big hint. These can be anything from a vacation to an office Christmas party to meeting members of her family.

Trying a More Active Approach

  1. Flirt with her a little and see how she responds. If she flirts back, especially if she escalates the flirtation, she may be interested in you. However, try to gauge if this is just an aspect of her personality. Some people are naturally playful and flirtatious. She may just respond that way to everyone! If she doesn’t flirt back at all, this is usually a good sign that she doesn’t feel that way about you and it’s best to back off.[6]
  2. Talk to some mutual friends. Be sure that, while they may be candid with you, they aren’t normally a gossip. Ask them if your female friend has expressed any romantic interest in you. This approach may take a lot of courage, but it’s often the best way to gather enough information before doing something serious.
  3. Ask her directly. This is the only way to really know how she feels. However, if she doesn’t reciprocate those feelings, things can get awkward for a while. Your platonic relationship could be severely damaged, so take this step either fairly early on in your friendship or if you’re reasonably sure she feels the same way. No matter what, it’s better to find out for sure rather than spending years wondering. Some approaches that you may take are:
    • Open the conversation by confessing that you need to get something off your chest. Tell her that you have developed romantic feelings for her and ask if she feels the same way. Apologize for the likely awkward moment and listen for her answer. A way of phrasing this could be: “Something has been bothering me lately. There’s no easy way to say this, but I’ve started having feelings for you. I’m sorry if I’ve put you on the spot, but I need to know. Do you feel the same way?”
    • Talk to her someplace where other people are nearby but unlikely to overhear your conversation. She will feel safer and less pressured to give you a positive answer that may not reflect her true feelings. Some examples include a park, a pier, or a cafe that is not too crowded.
    • Emphasize how much you value your friendship. If she broaches the subject, explain that your feelings began platonically but grew to something more. You want to reassure her that the platonic aspects of your relationship are genuine and not a manipulation tactic.


  • Even though she may be sexually attracted to you and thus display some of the "signs," she may not be interested in starting a relationship.
  • It’s pretty common for guys to mistake what women intend as friendliness for flirtation. Be careful not to confuse the two!
  • Guys are also more likely to overestimate the intensity of their relationships with the opposite sex.[7] Be careful you aren’t seeing signs that aren’t really there.
  • Use the ambiguity of flirting to your advantage. This is the best way to tease our possible romance without jeopardizing your friendship.[8]
  • Respect her as a person and avoid using manipulation tactics. Not only is a romantic relationship built in this way often doomed for failure, but it’s also a good way to ruin your friendship.
  • Try not to feel too bad if she doesn’t have romantic feelings for you. It’s a painful and awkward experience, but it’s one that happens to most people at some point in their lives

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Sources and Citations