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"In private he's cuddly, in public he's mean!"

I am falling for, or I guess I have fallen for, one of my best friends. Right now things are ok, I mean, he comes over and we cuddle, and when we go places, we hold hands and stuff. He doesn't think anything of it and he has no idea that I like him. He is really sweet when it is just the two of us, but if we are around people, he acts like a jerk. He will say something mean and then say "I'm just kidding!" when I get angry. First of all, I really want to be more than just friends with him, but I am afraid that if I tell him, he will be freaked out and he won't even want to cuddle or hold hands anymore. And the other thing is that I really want to know if he likes me, because sometimes, it seems like he might but other times, it seems like he doesn't. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

8 Feb 2005
Name: Karen
Age: 17

Dear Karen,

Let me get this straight. You cuddle and you hold hands in public? In my opinion, this is way beyond the realm of “best friendship.”

And the way he acts towards you when he’s in front of his friends makes me think he likes you even more. I know it doesn’t seem normal that a guy who likes you would tease you or say unkind things to you in public, but as far your crush goes, in private he feels as comfortable as can be being all flirty and cuddly with you, but in public, he gets nervous and doesn’t know how to act.

The good news is he’s not a lost cause. He’s got the ‘behind closed doors’ affection down pat. The key now is making that behavior public. If you’re as good of friends as you say you are, than I would talk to him about your feelings. Or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, why not ask him out on an actual date? And make it clear to him that it’s not a ‘friends-only’ thing, it’s a real, romantic, I-want-to-kiss-you, date!

These things take time, so just work on getting your guy used to seeing and accepting you as more than his friend and everything else will fall into place. And pretty soon they only harassing he’ll be doing to you in public will be in the forms of hugging and kissing!

Good luck!

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