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Dear Dr. Frankie,

Am I too cynical of relationships? When I meet new people I sometimes find someone I am attracted to, but most just become friends. The charming ones become more inviting which is then followed by the “hit it off” stage. I’m not sure if I get scared or I’m just more interested in cultivating a large group of friends right now? The moment we get close to getting close—I start to put on my running shoes—and I gain a new friend. Maybe it’s me—maybe it’s them, but I think it’s more me than them…What do you think is wrong with me—without knowing who or how I am?

Dear Forrest,

Honestly, without knowing more of your history it’s difficult for me to get into specifics. What I can say is that if you feel it’s more you than then, then you’re probably right. It sounds like there’s a recurring pattern where you meet someone charming and “hit it off,” but then somehow the person becomes yet another friend. Be aware of the nonverbal and verbal cues that you are sending. These cues, particularly nonverbal, are important to express when you’re interested in pursuing more than just friendship. If these forms of communication don’t happen one assumes there is a lack of interest and/or chemistry. My guess is that when you feel emotions that become overwhelming and scary, you quickly resort to communicating in a friendly and controlled way that conveys friendship rather than chemistry and romance.

Next time you find yourself attracted to someone where there’s a connection, slow things down and pay attention to the cues you’re giving her. If you’re interested touch her subtly in an appropriate but non-platonic way, hug her longer than you would hug a friend, communicate that you enjoy spending time with her and getting to know her. Use future statements such as “on our next date it would be fun to…” or “next time, if you decide to see me again, (jokingly) we should…” If you ask her out again make sure it’s clear it’s a date by going out on a Friday evening for a cocktail or romantic evening walk. If you enjoyed the date and want to see her again, text her and let her know you really enjoyed your time together. Tell her that you would like to get together again soon. Follow-up with an email or call and ask if she’s interested in getting together again and suggest a date. If as you’re reading this you’re becoming increasingly anxious it’s probably because you’re fearful of being vulnerable and possibly experiencing rejection. Keep in mind that life should be lived and lived fully. Feel all that life has to offer. Yes there will be pain but there will also be love; as long as you take risks! And here’s your chance to start practicing. Good Luck!

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