You’ve been friends with him forever. You finish each other’s sentences, stay up late talking, and have the same goofy sense of humor. Except… somewhere along the way, you caught feelings. What’s worse, he’s completely oblivious. How do you convince him that you’re more than just someone to grab late-night tacos with?
Make sure you actually like him and not just the idea of him. You might have heard about the Mermaid Effect, but if you haven’t, it’s basically the idea that if spend enough time with them, and you could fall for pretty much anybody. Are you SURE you’re really into him or are you just lonely and he’s just the most available man in your life? If you saw him on the street, would you do a double-take? Could you imagine being intimate with him not just physically but emotionally? Take a step back and evaluate whether he’s someone you’d actually enjoy dating.
Make a decision about your friendship regardless of how it turns out. Maybe you know you’ll want to stay friends, no matter what. Or, maybe it’s just going to hurt too much if he rejects you. Either way, figure out what’s going to happen to your friendship if this doesn’t turn out the way you want.
Turn up the heat. He’s used to seeing you in your rattiest sweatpants and unwashed hair, and that’s fine… if you want to stay his “bro.” If you want him to see you as a potential girlfriend, you have to look like one. Put a little more effort into your outfits and makeup, just like you would if you were first dating someone. At the very least, looking your hottest will boost your own self-confidence, and THAT’S the sexiest look of all.
Bring a little flirty touch into the equation. Sure, you love slapping high-fives, but if you want to move out of the friend-zone, you’re going to have to kick it up a notch. Find ways to subtly hint that you’re interested: lean into him when you’re watching TV, gently touch his forearm while talking, or replace your signature greeting handshake with a hug. Remember to pull back if he seems uncomfortable—consent always!—but getting a little more in his personal space might be just the encouragement he needs to lean in for a kiss.
Give him compliments. Newsflash: guys like being complimented too! Break up your friendly teasing with a genuine compliment: that shirt looks really great on him, you’re really proud of him for getting a promotion, or maybe you just want to thank him for being so kind when you were having a bad day. Show him that you’re not just his video game buddy: you appreciate and care about him.
Create a little mystery. If you’ve been friends with him for a while, chances are he knows a lot about you: your weird second toe, your favorite takeout place, and how grumpy you are when you’re on your period. Part of the excitement of a new relationship is finding out more about a person, so make yourself less predictable! Try taking up rock climbing, learning a language, or take a spontaneous road trip. Not only will he see new angles to your personality, but you’ll broaden your own interests!
Get your mutual friends to play wingman. This works especially well if you have a large common friend group: confess your feelings to someone and ask if they can bring up the topic to him. If he sees that other people think you two are compatible, he’s more likely to consider it himself. Plus, you’ll be slowly breaking the idea of y’all as a couple to your friend group, so it’s less out-of-the-blue if you do get together.
Be less available. We all know that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so give him a little time to miss you! Expand your circle, go out, and try new things, and for the love of all that is holy, STOP dropping everything to hang out with him! The less he sees you, the more likely he’ll realize how much you mean to him.
Show him he’s got competition. There’s nothing less attractive than desperation, and there’s no reason you should be desperate! Go on a few casual dates, flirt with the cute barista, and remind him AND yourself that you’re hot, smart, and one hell of a catch.
Be honest. If he STILL doesn’t make a move, you’re just going to have to suck it up and open up. Don’t settle for the ambiguity of “maybe he’ll like me one day.” Sit him down, tell him how you feel, and see how he reacts. Hopefully, he feels the same way—but if he doesn’t, it’s better to rip the band-aid off now. That way, you can start preparing for the guy who does appreciate how amazing you are and can’t wait to be with you.