Real Live College Guy: What’s the Difference Between Friendly & Flirty?

We all need a little guidance now and then, so whether you’re stressed about a fling gone wrong, a recently wrecked relationship or how to handle a stage-five clinger, Real Live College Guy Dale is here to help you navigate the college dating scene.

I can't tell if I've been friend-zoned or not! I know what it's like when someone's trying to get with me, but I never get that vibe from this guy. The problem is, he's a REALLY nice guy, so half the time I think, "Maybe he wants to know me more before trying to get in my pants because he’s so nice," but other times I think, "He's only being nice, NOT flirty!" He has complimented me a couple times, and we talk every time we see each other and often eat meals together, but he has never asked me to hang out. But he also never eats alone with other girls besides me. Sometimes it's awkward, but I can't tell if it's because he wants me to go away or if he's just nervous. How can I get more of a reaction out of him? Should I give up, or should I initiate the next step and ask him to hang out? –Nice Guy at NYU


I’m glad that you suggested the option of initiating the next step rather than simply asking why he hasn’t done anything. Communication goes both ways. It’s hardly ever a one-person deal, and you’ve already taken a step in the right direction by even considering making the next move.

It’s also nice to see that women also suffer from the “is he/she being friendly or flirty” conundrum – not just guys. Personally, I know I experience this on a daily basis. It really is difficult to tell sometimes, and there are moments when you just have to give in to the possibility of something. It’s like bungee jumping: You’re taking a step off a ledge, and you’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen. Worst-case scenario, the cord snaps and you fall to your death (he’s not interested in you like that). Best case? The cord does its job and you live through the ordeal. While this metaphor isn’t perfect for your situation, it demonstrates a similar feeling – the thrill of taking a step into the unknown.

No, you shouldn’t give up. Yes, it’s entirely likely — probable, even — that he likes you and is just a little nervous about where to go next. Moreover, the fact that you’re willing to take matters into your own hands tells me that you think he’s worth the possibility of being shot down. That’s a rare quality these days, and you’ve got my full support.

There’s a thin line between friendliness and flirtation, and sometimes you just have to take a chance at crossing that line. You want more of a reaction? Ask him out. Take that shot. I’d almost guarantee that after his initial shock, you’d get a big smile out of him.  

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