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Best friend or Boyfriend?

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Relationship advice Hi so I'm a 17 year old girl and I really like this guy I know and am friends with him (he is also 17 and we have known each other for about a year and a half). I'm not really good at the whole "knowing if someone likes me" as I have never liked anyone up until this guy and I'm not sure if he likes me as a friend or something more, he has just been sending a bunch of mixed signals. So to start with the detail of why I'm confused; so this guy has asked me to hang out with him 40+ times in the last about 8 months or so and almost always excepts when I ask him and if he can't he tries to re schedule, he has asked me to do things go for coffee, ice cream, lunch, to movies, skating, on walks and to summer fairs (he hardly ever pays for me (I don't mind though)he has bought me ice cream and coffee before though) when I told him I liked him he just said "I like you as a really good friend and I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings but you are a really fun caring and loving person and are lot of fun to hang out with I just don't want to date in high school" this was about a year ago or so but since then 4 other girls have told them that they like him and he always says he doesn't like them back and stops talking to them altogether, I'm the only one he still talks to and hangs out with. He also gives me other signals like he asks to be my group partner instead of asking his friends, he'll put his hand on my arm/shoulder or he'll bump my leg with his or poke me or bump me with his arm. Always moves his chair so he can sit beside me and is constantly talking to me sometimes even about the randomest things. He always compliments me and looks out for me as well as makes fun of me about my height and stuff and when he compliments me it's about my intellect or how responsible and caring I am and so on he even once said I would make a great wife and whoever gets to marry me would be one lucky man. Lately though he as been acting even more as if he likes me, my "best friend" and her boyfriend have been relentlessly bullying me over the last few months and he always stands up to them and "protects" me from it for example they had vandalized my car several times and he goes out about every hour to check to make sure nothing has happened even though it is almost 10 minutes out of his way, then the other day we were sitting together talking and my "friend" and her boyfriend came over and sat near us and started talking about us and I said to him "why are you so nice to me all I'm doing is dragging you down with my sinking ship and now they are starting to talk about you too" and he said "I don't care what they say about me as long as the leave you alone besides I was being an *** towards you before, why don't we go walk around you don't need to hear what kind of **** they are saying about you" so as we were walking around he kept looking around making sure they weren't following me then we passed these pictures on the wall some were of hearts and he pointed at the hearts looked at me, smiled and said "these ones or my favorite, they are relatable to life". Also yesturday I was talking to him and was smiling and he said "it us so nice to see you smile it has been along time since I have seen you smile, genuinely atleast and you have such a pretty smile". Then today I was talking to the school counselor about being bullied and he walked with me there, sat down and waited for over an hour well I was talking then when I came out of the office I was crying and he looked at me then hugged me and said "I should have gone in there with you, it isn't fair for you to have to deal with this by yourself" then after I finished crying I said "I would have liked you there but it isn't you battle to fight and last thing I need is for them to bug you too" and he just said "can I just beat them up already I hate seeing what they have done to you it isn't fair to you". He also came over to my house today to watch a movie abd where we were watching the movie we have two couches so we were both sitting on different couches anyway I got up to stir a pot of soup and asked if he wanted a drink and he said yeah so I grabbed him one sat down again then about 10 minutes later he asked if he could have another drink and I said yeah he could and I could grab it for him and he said no he could grab it so after he grabbed it he came and sat down beside me and kept bumping my leg with his hand and smiling. Then when he left I was cleaning up and picked up the first can of pop I had given him... It still had pop in it, he got up to get "another drink" just so he had a reason to sit beside me. The whole school and all the teachers seem to like me and a few weeks ago someone asked if he was going to ask me to grad and he turned away all shy and red and said "nevermind" then looked down. I also know he just doesn't want to date in high school. Does he like me as more than a friend and is just waiting till after school or am I just a friend?

Best friend or Boyfriend?

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It seems that he does like you. So just keep spending time with him and see where this develops.

RE: the bulling issue. Work with adults to get this settled. Stand up for yourself and insist that school officials act on your behalf. What about your parents?

It's nice that he shows he cares, but this issue must NOT become the basis of him spending time with you or showing that he cares about you because you need him. (You don't want to come off as requiring a knight in shining armor to rescue you) Because when it gets resolved, you two will still need something to keep you together. A strong, confident girl is very attractive to some guys.

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