Awesome! First off, I want to thank the brave young lady who wrote in with this question. You're 110% right that this is a common problem, and I'm so glad to address it here. If anyone else has any questions, please feel free to shoot them over to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see what we can do!
I'm sure that you're no stranger to hormones and the idea of romantic "chemistry". When you are attracted physically to someone, it can actually feel like there is heat & electricity zapping between the two of you! While there is so much more to crushes and relationships than physical attraction -- we'll go into all of that later in this post! -- it is important to remember that your hormonal chemistry can be a great way of gauging how into a person you are.
My first girlfriend and I had very little chemistry, and in a lot of ways our relationship was more like an intimate friendship. However, since I had always been with boys before, and since I wasn't attracted to them physically at all, I had never truly experienced what chemistry felt like when it went wildly right. Thus, I thought that our relationship was normal & romantic & physical. It wasn't until I got involved with another girl, one who made my whole body feel alive, that I realized what I had been missing. Zap. Boom. Wow.
That's physical attraction. To recap, if you don't feel those fireworks when you're sitting next to the girl in question, it's safe to say that you either want to be like her or be her friend. However, there's a lot more to liking someone in a romantic way than just being physically attracted to them. In fact, I would say that there are two other "tests" you can run to see if you want to be someone, be friends with someone, or be in a relationship with someone. These have more to do with how the person acts than how their body is put together.
To be blunt, being socially attracted to someone is incredibly important to forming a healthy relationship. Even if they're totally rad when the two of you are alone, relationships have to brave the outside world in order to grow & evolve healthily -- and if the way that they treat their friends or family makes you feel squicky, it's a good bet that you aren't into them as more than a friend. After all, love & lust & romance is about more than sex! Even if your body is attracted to them, your brain has to be equally engaged, right? Right!
Equally important is how mentally, emotionally, and intellectually you're attracted to them. This is how you feel when you're alone together. How do they act? How do you act? How do the two of you interact? If you don't click when you're solo, then it's hard to build a relationship.
To review, there are three main concepts to consider when you're trying to decide how you feel about someone. They are:
- Physical attraction
- Social attraction
- Mental, emotional, and intellectual attraction
It's worth noting that if you're simply trying to figure out if you like someone as more than a friend, physical attraction will probably tell you all you need to know. After all, it really is our bodies that determine what level of desire we feel for a person, and romantic relationships do require desire to function properly. However. If you're trying to figure out how to proceed in a situation, it's of paramount important to consider the other two areas of attraction. The bottom line is that building a relationship is about more than desire, even though that is a necessary element!
Also worth noting, when you're coming from a same-sex perspective, is that the orientation of the girl involved makes a huge difference. Chemistry, sad as it may be, can be one-sided. I've felt mad chemistry for straight girls before, only to find out that they felt nothing but friendship for me. Massive bummer, but it happens.
- If you want to be like a girl, you'll probably find yourself socially and/or mentally/emotionally/intellectually drawn to her, but you won't be physically attracted to her
- If you want to be friends with a girl, you'll probably find yourself socially and mentally/emotionally/intellectually drawn to her, but you won't be physically attracted to her
- If you want to be intimate with a girl, you'll find yourself physically drawn to her
- If you want to pursue a relationship with a girl, you'll find yourself physically and socially and mentally/emotionally/intellectually drawn to her
(The same goes for you young men out there too, by the way! I used the female pronouns through this article because of the wording from the original question, but the advice still stands regardless of gender.)
I hope that helped! If anyone has anything to add, the comment section is open for your thoughts and opinions, and we would love to hear from you. Also, as I said before, if you want to ask another question, email@example.com is your space, baby! Rock on.