What should you do when a certain female is attractive, witty and intelligent and you have loads in common, yet she's one of your very best friends.
And that is a problem, because turning best mates into bed mates is a tough ask. It's also fraught with danger. If she does accept your advances but you just don't click as a couple, your relationship may never be the same again. Read on and let Health & Wellbeing share some useful tips and advice.
Still, if you've slowly come to realise that the girl you've been hanging out with could be the woman of your dreams, there are ways to make her see you less as a boy friend and more as a boyfriend. Here are the basics.
First off, make sure there's at least half a chance your advance will be welcome. Kate Taylor, relationship expert at dating site match.com, says good signs are that "she looks like she's made an effort with her appearance every time you see her, and she's never liked any of your previous girlfriends."
Oh, and it will help if she's single, of course.
Take it slowly
OK, you could go out next Friday night, ply her with booze and then blurt out your true feelings, but we really wouldn't recommend it.
Firstly, she might assume you're drunk. And secondly, even if she doesn't, she's unlikely to reciprocate. The thing is, she still sees you as a friend, and even if she thinks you're great, funny and even kind of handsome, she still has a mental abyss to cross before she can seriously regard you as boyfriend material.
The path from mate to, um, mate (in the ooh la la sense) is a long one. If you dive in feet first, you might not get another chance. So take your time to get it right.
If you want her to see you as a boyfriend and not a friend, you have to be less of a buddy. Don't break off relations, but don't text her every night, and be unavailable more than you used to be (without making it too obvious). Go out with your mates or play football at times when you in the past you might have gone out with her instead.
When you're not around as much, she may even start to miss you, and that's an emotion you definitely want to encourage.
Make her want you
An obvious one, but look your best when you do meet up, whether alone or in a group. Let her know that you're out to attract women. Show her that you're an object of desire.
Show her that she is, too. Compliment her on a new skirt, or admire her new haircut. Take an interest. According to Sam Van Rood, author of Teach Yourself Flirting
, "this works because we are wired to be attracted to people who are attracted to us."
Make a date
Don't call it a date yet, but instead of just meeting her in the pub with the usual gang, ask her to an intimate evening in a restaurant with just you and another couple. Do it casually. You can even joke that it would look like a double date to anyone who doesn't know the real situation.
Or if she likes films, say you're off the booze this Saturday but you're going to the cinema if she wants to join you. Keep it purely as friends, but start subtly manoeuvring time alone together and planting the subconscious notion that you're a date as well as a mate.
Go for it
After softening her up for a few weeks, go in for the kill. "Invite her out for a meal. Over dinner, tell her that your feelings have changed and you find her attractive," says Kate Taylor.
"Don't expect an immediate 'Yes' play the long game. If she seems amused by the suggestion, don't be offended, it's just surprise. Seem calm and in control of your emotions but most importantly, don't let her talk you out of it, your consistency will be very attractive."
Take her home, but don't push to be let in. Remember, you're not after a one-night-stand. Leave her with a sweet, short goodnight kiss if you can, or at the very least an affectionate hand squeeze. In other words, leave her with a clear message that you're serious.
The longer term
If you don't get an answer on the first date, or even the next day, don't give up. "Continue to ask her out on dates," says Taylor. "Be sweet, attentive, and pick up the bill. Don't mention other women, even if she probes a bit of mystery will make you more appealing."
And if she's not your girlfriend a month after you first declared your feelings, it's time to lay it on the line. Disappear for a week first. When she contacts you, let one or two texts or voicemails go unanswered. "Make her worry that your offer's expired then she will seriously consider how she feels about you," says Taylor.
When you do meet up, let her start the conversation. Then be upfront and ask her what she wants, without repeating your feelings. Now's the time for a straight yes or no, and whatever it is, you can rest assured you gave it your very best shot.