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Love Letters

They’re just friends, but he wants more

I’d like to lay out my feelings for her, but I don’t know how.

Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. Hey Meredith,

I have known this girl, a bartender at a place I frequent, for close to two years. Earlier this year, we started hanging out outside the bar. Instantly, I felt a chemistry between the two of us, and we have spent a good deal of time together since.

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I have not professed my romantic interest in her, as she had stated that she was not looking for a relationship. (This was not revealed as a response to me making a move on her, but rather in a casual conversation about one of her suitors.)

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Over time, I have noticed how she would stop correcting people when they would assume we were a couple. Instead, she would just smile. I had it in my mind that this pointed to a possible mutual romantic attraction.

The problem now is that I believe she has developed an interest in another man (this is speculation based on social media). My question: How do I approach her and have the conversation, where I can lay out my feelings for her without being too overwhelming? — #Justfriends?

A. You can tell her how you feel by repeating the things you said in this letter. You did a really good job of outlining what’s on your mind, so use your note to me as a guide.

To sum it up in one sentence: You like hanging out with her, you’ve avoided showing your romantic interest because she hasn’t wanted a relationship, but you’ve hit the point where you need to acknowledge your feelings, even if you’re still trying to figure out what they mean.

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I wouldn’t bring up this other man right now. Let her decide what parts of her life are relevant to the conversation. (Also know that social media can be very deceiving. She might not have anything to say about that guy.)

Prepare yourself for the possibility that the time you spend with her might be different. If she doesn’t reciprocate your feelings — or even if she does — she might need time to adjust to the change in your intentions. And that’s just one more reason to tell her. You shouldn’t let her believe that you’re just a friend if you’re trying to figure out ways to be more. — Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Do you think you get the girl by being underwhelming? EASTIEONE

Just ask her out on a proper date. MCDIMMERSON

I agree, but just a follow-up question for you: How does he make it clear that it’s a date, and not just spending more time together? Perhaps just say you want to go out on a real date. But, I also think she might start asking questions that could lead to him vomiting up all these feelings, anyway. TWO-SHEDS

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Sometimes people casually mention that they don’t want a relationship when they sense that someone is interested. It’s a way to subtly get the message across to avoid being asked out on a date. FREEADVICEFORYOU

I think the odds are 50/50 that this guy is her “best buddy.” FINNFANN

Your situation has nothing to do with her possible interest in another man. That’s completely irrelevant. EACB

Meredith Goldstein is in her ninth year writing Love Letters for The Boston Globe. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.