You get on so well, but he sees you as just a pal. How do you get into girlfriend territory – without acting desperate?

  1. Don’t be a shoulder to cry on
    He’s been dumped and he needs to share his feelings – surely that means an opening for you? Not so fast. It may seem great he’s telling you all about it, but offering advice on his romance problems will make you feel more like a sister than a potential girlfriend. So sympathise for a bit, but then cut it off. If he keeps circling back to his last doomed romance, try changing the topic by saying something like “Yes… but what do you see in your future?”
  2. Flirt strategically
    In K-dramas, the hero is pumped up by competition from other guys. He fights them all off to rescue his princess with some romantic gesture. So it can be tempting to flirt with every guy in the room, in the hopes the guy you really like will march over claim you for his own. In real life, watching you flirt with every other guy is more likely to feed a guy’s insecurities. He’ll assume you either don’t find him hot or funny enough to notice. Or he’ll tell himself you’re more interested in playing the field than having a steady boyfriend like him. The trick is to balance your attention. Focus more on him and then briefly chat or flirt with a couple of other guys. He’ll see you have options, and you’re definitely not desperate, but you do prefer him. Once he’s worked that out he’s more likely to make his move.
  3. Get some alone time
    Group dates are fun, but if you are always meeting him as part of a group, there’s a real risk he will start to think of you as just “One of the gang”. To change his mind, you need some one-on-one time with him. So the next time you are all together, try to break him away from the others, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Even better if it’s something that involves adrenalin or showing off – because he’ll start to associate feeling excited with being around you. So challenge him to game of pool or ask for his help opening that tricky bottle of wine. Extra points if this activity letsyoustandascloseasthis as you do it.
  4. Maintain eye contact just a little longer
    How long do you usually hold eye contact with him? Try holding it just five beats longer. Then look down slowly. Then look back. And smile. Do this twice over the course of a night and it can be like plugging a guy into an electric socket. It’s because humans are hard-wired to find large eye pupils appealing (that’s the black part in the middle of your eye). You don’t have to stare at him like an axe-murderer about to strike, but a long stare and a smile tells him you find him VERY appealing.
  5. Use the word “you” – and his name
    So you’ve been friends a while and it feels weird to come out and say something romantic. What if he just stares at you? So instead of saying “That’s so funny” as usual, try saying “You are so funny, Jon” or “You tell the best stories”. Using his name or the word “you” seems a small thing, but it lets him know he is important to you. Suddenly you are not just a cool girl who likes a hilarious story – you’re THE cool girl who finds HIM hilarious. You GET him. Light bulb moment.

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  6. Less LINE, WhatsApp and text
    You get on so well that it’s tempting to WhatsApp or text him with every funny thing that happens during your day. But a long chain of texts is how everyone chats with their  friends – so you’re just making your relationship seem equally casual. So slow it down some. You don’t have to play games and wait x hours before you reply to his texts – just create a bit of hard-to-get mystery. Get on with your life, reply now and then and keep it fairly brief. You can even suggest you don’t have time to WhatsApp now, but maybe you can meet for a coffee later in the week, IRL?  Alone time, remember?
  7. Own your sexy self
    In college, I lived in a walkup apartment on the fifth floor. When I moved in, the cute guy who lived next door spent all day helping me carry all my stuff up flights of stairs, and then helped set up my TV and sound system. When I told my male colleague about my helpful neighbour he laughed and said, “He’s interested in you, can’t you tell?” Er… no. In me? Why? But guess what? He was. I had just been too self-conscious to see it. Lesson: Give yourself a little more credit. Why shouldn’t a hot guy like you? If your male friend goes out of his way to help you, or picks up snacks he knows you like, ask yourself if he wants to escape the friendzone too?

Images: Peter Bernik /, dotshock /
Text: Tara Barker