Eye Contact

Dear Reid,

Okay I know this guy. He’s been my friend for 2 or 3 years. During that time I have gotten to “like” him. He talks to me, picks on me (in a nice way), and lets me hang with him and his friends. Now, sometimes I get this feeling that he might like me, but I always think what if he doesn’t… So what are some things I could look for (clues) to show that he likes me or not?

Signed,
Damn You Scuba Steve

P.S. We have made eye-to-eye contact a few times.

I know how you feel. It’s a common question we get around here at the Dear Reid offices: “How can I tell if my friend wants to be more than a friend?” Otherwise worded as “How can I tell if a boy likes me?” Had you visited the archive before sending in your message, you might have found the wisdom you seek buried in scores of past columns. But, since you’ve come to me for help despite the warnings in the very header of this web page, far be it from me to turn my back.

A few things you should know about men: First, we’re stupid – paint-sniffingly, bone-headedly, mind-bendingly stupid. Second, we’re obvious – easy to read (this stems from the stupidity). Third, we’re terrible at games. Now, these three points do more to explain professional wrestling as a Nielsen juggernaut than they do to solve your problem, but they do share similar roots, I assure you. Let’s examine your specific situation.

First, you mentioned that you have known “this guy” – for these purposes I’ll assume he’s cool enough to be called Steve – for 2 or 3 years. That’s a long time, for someone as young as a junior high or high school student. For those of us with a little more life experience, it’s barely the blink of an eye. In fact, you’ve known this guy for less time than I’ve had my current cubicle-bound day job; a rather depressing thought, if you ask me. So, depending on how old you are, you’ve known him for a long time or a short while. Let’s assume it’s somewhere in the middle there, e.g. a significant amount of time.

In any case, 2 or 3 years should have been enough time to have made eye-to-eye contact more than just “a few” times. As the eye contact has been noticably sparse, I’d have to wonder where Steve’s eyes have been focused during all this time you’ve been friends. This could be the clue you’re searching for, as where his eyes drift will give you great insight into Steve’s true intentions.

Possibility #1: His eyes dart around the room during conversation with you, as if desperately searching for someone – anyone – else to talk to. If this is the case, I’m afraid you’re romantic feelings are doomed to be one-sided. In fact, you’d be better off leaving the friendship for dead as well.

Possibility #2: His eyes seem to focus above or just behind you, as if he wants you to think he’s interested in what you’re saying, although clearly he’s just feigning attention. This is pretty neutral – it could be that he genuinely enjoys being around you, but simply has poor depth perception. It could also mean that he doesn’t mind hanging around with you, but would prefer if you’d talk about something more interesting, such as the existential subtext underlying the failure of the WCW. Either way, it’s going to require further investigation on your part. You could always enlist one of his friends to do some espionage.

Possibility #3: His eyes tend to linger in general the area below your shoulders and above your knees, as he leers at the supple curve of your slender abdomen and stares wistfully on the swell of your firm, perky breasts. This is one of those obvious moments for Steve. You see, he’s thinking that he’s just taking a quick peek (if he’s thinking at all), while in reality his eyes spend more time gazing longingly at your midsection than we did at the exit sign during a screening of “ALI.”

As you’ve probably guessed, Possibility #3 the one that gets you the guy. While he may not have recognized it on an intellectual (hah!) level, Steve is clearly gaga for at least a portion of your anatomy. And, hey, that should be at least enough to start things moving in the direction you want to go, right?

Well, it’s been a couple of orbits around the sun since I actually received a letter around here, so I hope the response has been as unhelpful as usual. As always, I know how you feel – whether I care or not is another question.

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