For many years, my best friend was a cute boy who grew into an even more attractive man. Did I notice? Absolutely! We were always purely platonic, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there was a hint it could develop into something more.
I was attracted to him, and I loved everything about him. The truth is that our timing was off. It never happened, but in another life, it could have.
Best friendships can blur the lines sometimes. We might think we just have normal friend feelings for them, but there are signs that we’re in love — or that our best friend is in love with us.
They can be subtle signs at times, but there are a few surefire ways to know that the person we call our best friend could be something more if we’re interested.
I might not have had the lovers-to-friends experience, but it happens more often than we might realize. In fact, ask any woman, and she’ll likely tell you about a time that she had a male best friend who was secretly in love with her.
It might not have ever been spoken aloud, but she always knew. Here are 8 signs your best friend is in love with you.
They Flirt with the Possibilities
A best friend who is secretly in love with you just might flirt with the possibilities. There was always an undercurrent of this with my former bestie.
We would joke about just marrying each other, and when people thought we were a couple, we would laugh but not correct them. My former best friend would even joke with my dad about being in-laws one day.
There are lines in friendships, but the best friend in love with you will flirt with them. They’ll be more flirty than friendly, and there’s always a running inside joke that the two of you should just quit dating other people and run away together — or something similar.
However, it should be noted that if one person has feelings and the other doesn’t, this line of joking will only ever be one-sided. The person without feelings will leap, dodge, and avoid these jokes whenever possible in order to make the boundary clear.
They Get Jealous of Your Dates
A best friend who is in love with you will get jealous of the people you date. They’ll rarely like that person and never think anyone is good enough for you. However, if you’re happy, they’re happy, so it can be a bit of a conundrum if they actually like the one you’re with and that person treats you well.
It’s normal for friends to occasionally get jealous that we’re spending more of our time with someone else. Yet, the best friend who’s secretly in love with you doesn’t care if you hang out with your platonic friends.
They only get their feathers ruffled when you’re out with a date. It’s not a subtle hint.
They Keep Their Own Dating Life Quiet
It’s common for a best friend to keep their dating life quiet when they are still hoping for a relationship with you to work out. They might not share as much as they used to because they don’t want you to see them as unavailable. The only time they’ll bring it up is to see if it makes you jealous at all.
I was once dating a man in love with his best friend. There were hints in the way he spoke about her. Apparently, telling her about our relationship was enough to light the spark he’d been waiting for. Instead of continuing to see me, he was finally able to make the relationship with her happen.
Although I was far from happy for them at the time, I can see how I would always have been his second choice. When the one he truly loved finally saw him in the same way he saw her, he had to take that chance — and it worked out.
They Prioritize Time with You
When your best friend is in love with you, you might notice that you are a main priority in their life. They’re never too tired or too busy for you. In fact, you seem to make their lives brighter just for being in it.
In a normal friendship where romance isn’t a factor, we’ll tell our friends when we’re too tired to hang out or just too busy to get together. However, when you add love into the mix, that person is more likely to move metaphorical mountains to make time.
This is one of the more subtle signs that a best friend is in love with you, but if you’re paying attention, you might notice that they don’t prioritize anyone else the way they do time with you.
They Miss You When You Aren’t Around
I was once in a long-distance relationship with someone who couldn’t articulate that he missed me. Yet, I look back on my best friendship and realize that there wasn’t a conversation when he didn’t tell me how much I was missed.
We could go months without speaking — since we didn’t live close anymore — and he would still make sure I knew just how important I was to him and how much I was missed.
Of course, we’re going to miss friends who aren’t around. But add this factor with the other signs, and it’s very possible that your best friend is in love with you. On its own, it might not be significant, but look at the bigger picture.
They Remember Small Details
The best friend who sees you as a potential romantic partner will often remember the small things. They listen when you talk, but they also file away the small but important things for later.
They’ll be the ones who remember the smallest detail about your favorite things and be able to do something to show they remembered. Don’t be surprised if they bring out your favorite snack and then pull up your favorite movie when you’re hanging out with them.
Sure, your best friend might be like this with everyone. They might just be a generous, thoughtful person. But if this sign is present with all or most of the others, it could mean that your best friend loves you.
They Lean In and Make Physical Contact Often
An interesting part of attraction is that it makes us lean in and be more likely to touch the other person often. While some people are always this touchy-feely, many people aren’t unless they feel physical attraction for someone. In my own situation, I was always physically close with my bestie.
We met when we were young, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to fall asleep side by side or spend hours talking together in a hammock.
Being close was such a natural part of our relationship that I never tried to add any distance. But the thing is, if I hadn’t been attracted to him and hadn’t considered the possibility of more, I probably would have put distance there.
I would have made space between us, leaned away, and made sure the boundaries were clear. The fact that I didn’t said a lot about how I felt even if it was never spoken.
They Seem Like They Have Something More to Say
People who have been in this situation will know exactly what I mean when I say that there are things often left obviously unsaid. We know there’s more to say, but we’re waiting for the other person to be the one to say it.
They are often waiting, too. No one wants to be the one to “ruin the friendship” and take that risk, but both people have thought about it and are hoping the other will be a little braver.
It is a risk. It’s possible that we could misread the signs if we really want to believe that person feels the same way about us. There’s always the risk that we got it all wrong. It’s why so many people hesitate to have this conversation.
But if you’re really best friends and have more-than-friends feelings, it’s going to come out eventually. A frank talk is better than a later ghosting, which is what happened in my best friendship.
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According to scientific research, not all friends-to-lovers relationships start out with romantic interest or attraction. Seventy percent of couples who started out as friends did not see the other person as a romantic possibility until later.
Another study showed that 42% of couples had a friends-with-benefits relationship first, but that was primarily with same-sex or queer relationships. Interestingly enough, many of the couples who were friends first are now married.
Sometimes, I think about what might have been. I’m sure that version of me would have been happy. But I look at what I would have missed out on, and I don’t have regrets.
I am where I am because of my choices, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the occasional moment where I look back at some of those choices and shake my head ruefully.
The signs that a best friend is in love with you aren’t really that subtle. Most women notice them immediately. I attribute the gender difference to the fact that most women sense underlying and ulterior motives because we’ve encountered them so many times in our platonic friendships.
But if you’re hoping to see the signs that your best friend loves you because you’re in love with your best friend, this might be the sign you need that it’s time to be brave, to speak up, and to live your life without having to look back and wonder what might have been.
Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement, and psychology. My work has been featured in large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, and Mamamia.