Dear Dr. Date,
I have this friend of mine, and we share a lot of the same friends. I’d like for her to be more than just a friend. We’ve been friends for about six months now, and I’m thinking she might be liking what I have to offer. I’m no doctor like you, but I’ve seen a fever before. Here’s the deal: How do I tell if she’s just being friendly, or more than friendly? Also, if I do extend my feelings how would I go about making it as graceful as possible while still being able to maintain our friendship if she doesn’t have the love bug?
—A Freelance Doctor
The professional here recommends that you do a little low-key sleuthing before you clumsily shove a mercury-filled thermometer into your sweet booty’d friend.
Casually observe how she acts around others: Is she really just a friendly person, or does she wink at you more than everyone else? (Tread the observation waters carefully. As we learned from Tom Sawyer’s inkpot braid-dipping, amorous feelings often manifest in unexpected ways.)
I sense from your letter that you’re something of a flirty bastard, so if she’s got any type of wherewithal, she probably already senses that you’re into her. But make absolutely certain she knows that you’re being especially warm to her — and that you’re not just being your regular affable self. Make small, special gestures. Pay attention to her. Be sincere. Chicks love that.
As for how to gracefully execute the transition from the smiley face to the kissy face, the Doc recommends a good old-fashioned study sesh. If she’s not into you, she can dismiss the anachronistic tryst as a meeting of the minds. If she is into you, she’ll be flattered and may get super into studying — your bod!
A little scholarly rendezvous is also the perfect opportunity to pass her a note:
“Do you think I’m cute? Please circle one:
I don’t even want to be friends anymore.”
Dear Dr. Date,
My boyfriend has suddenly started acting distant. We went from talking and texting every day to suddenly NOTHING this past week — two texts, one phone call (while I was in class — I called him back and got no response) — and we haven’t seen each other in over a week too.
How the heck do I approach this situation? I’ve been trying to give him his space, but the last time I asked him if everything is alright he said everything is fine. Obviously it isn’t. What do I do?
—Hot and Cold
Dear Ms. Perry,
Aren’t relationships puzzling? We hold our main squeezes so close to our hearts, and yet they can still be the most mysterious people in our lives. Relationships should be simpler — a little “I love you,” a little “You love me too” and a lot of “Hey, baby!” texts that give depth to our physical affections.
If we give your boo the credit I hope he deserves, we can make a few generous guesses: He might be going through something totally unrelated to you. Maybe he’s solving his own puzzle — something with his work, a friend, family or school. Who knows? Heaps can happen in one week.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re totes supportive, and he should feel like he can talk about anything with you. But he’s got an image to think about and a role to play, one that you probably have had a hand in defining. Chew on this: Your man might not want to get all soft in front of you.
That he’s dealing with a non-you thing is just one guess. Another very real possibility is that he’s acting distant because he’s preparing to ship you off on an all expenses paid cruise to Breakup Island.
In either case, you’re asking him the wrong question. When he hears “Is everything alright?” he hears that your only concern is his OK-ness — but it doesn’t show him that you’re genuinely interested in every nook and cranny of his emotional life.
Try to pin him down for an in-depth convo. Ask him caring, nonthreatening questions about his life — possible talking points are what he’s been up to lately, how his first week of classes was and what he’s looking forward to or dreading about his semester.
By asking the right questions, you’ll show him that you give a rat’s behind about more than whether or not he’s texting you. And you might unlock the psychological treasure chest of his (I’m sure) gold-filled head.
But yeah, who knows — he might dump you. In which case, cut him off before he can say the fateful words with a childish yelp of “You can’t fire me, I quit!”
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