Mixing up signals can be the pitfall of cross-sex friendships. Women often fail to pick up that a guy is flirting and think he’s just being nice. Men can misread a woman’s friendliness as sexual interest. Even when both parties agree their friendship is platonic, there’s often room for feelings to change. If you simply want to keep your friendship with a male or female friend, avoid sending mixed messages. Be clear with them that your feelings are platonic from the moment you meet. Here are ways you can convey your intentions so that they know you are not looking for romance.
Mention Your Significant Other
Want to let them know you are out of bounds romantically? Drop the hint early on by mentioning your boyfriend or girlfriend sooner rather than later. That’s all many people need to hear. They will start thinking of you in the platonic friend category, and maybe they will even move on because they are looking for something more, so be understanding!
You can send this clear signal as soon as you meet someone new. That way there’s no murkiness and no misunderstandings that can lead to hurt feelings.
If You Aren’t Dating Anyone, Go Out with the Group
Hanging out with friends is not only fun but also an easy way to avoid situations that encourage romantic notions. Group hangs let you get to know someone in a relaxed setting and establish you are just friends. Once relationships are recognized as platonic, just the two of you can meet for drinks or dinner. But avoid anything that seems too date-like. If you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, spending time together alone can easily blur the lines.
Keep Your Hands Off
We all know that touch can be powerful and can be an intimate and exciting form of communication. Exercise caution in touching a male or female friend. This is one area where sending the wrong signal can be easy and what you intend as a friendly gesture can be misunderstood. You might want to reserve hands on contact for when your intentions are romantic.
Tell Them Straight Out
There may come a point in your friendship when you sense that they are attracted but are reluctant to say anything. Research shows that’s common in male-female relationships. People who are romantically interested in a friend are reluctant to say anything to avoid being hurt because they are unsure how their feelings will be received.
You may want to bring the unlikeliness of romance out in the open to prevent any awkwardness from developing. You can deliver the message without being harsh. Let them know they are a wonderful friend and you value their friendship. If they need to move on, be an understanding friend!