Does she want more than friendship?

There is this very special woman I've known for three years, and every time I see her, I can't stop smiling. We don't work together, but we're in the same greater professional community. She is now going through a divorce, so my dilemma is compounded because she does not know how I feel about her. We text each other, and she recently said she wants to meet for coffee, but I know I shouldn't assume it's anything more than just coffee.

Every time we see each other, she gives me a hug that seems more than casual. The biggest problem is the age difference: She's about 40, and I'm about 60. I know she doesn't want children so that is not an issue. Am I just barking up the wrong tree or do you think there is a chance? How do you know whether someone is showing interest or just looking for friendship?

– Looking for advice

"How do you know whether someone is showing interest or just looking for friendship?"

Well, it helps to ask. You're allowed to inquire about the nature of the relationship. You can say, "Hey, I love spending time with you, but I want to make sure I understand what we're doing here." It might be an awkward conversation, but it beats trying to find meaning in hugs.

My one warning about having that talk right now is that if she's still in the middle of a divorce, she might not know what she wants from anyone. You might be better off having some coffee, listening, and then making choices about what you need to know and why.

As you spend time with her, think about what role you might play in her life. If it turns out that that she's not interested, would you want to be her friend? Don't sign up to be her confidant if you're going to spend all of your time together longing for more.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you know when someone is interested? What is a more-than-casual hug?