Many men struggle when it comes to determining whether their female friends are hoping for a romantic connection. Behavioral scientist Christie Hartman suggests this is because women tend to drop more confusing hints than men do when signaling attraction. The only way to know for sure if your female friend has developed stronger feelings for you is to ask her. Until you work up the courage for that, there are several strategies you can use to gauge her interest.

Watch Her Body Language

Even when she's not talking, body language can reveal plenty about a female's attraction to you. If your female friend is interested in you, she may toss her hair or caress her own arm or neck, says Hartman. She might also attempt to make casual physical contact with you. For example, she might nudge you after a joke or tug on your arm playfully to lead you in a certain direction.

Follow Her Line of Sight

A female friend who is interested in you will give you her full attention, suggests David Givens, director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies. In a crowded room, keep track of where her focus falls. Assess whether her eyes wander around the room, or whether they stay focused on you, despite all the potential distractions in the area. If she seems to be looking everywhere except at you, she might only be interested in friendship, but if she gazes into your eyes for long periods of time, she is probably attracted to you.

Listen to Her Words

An interested female friend will have plenty of questions for you, suggests licensed clinical psychologist Sandor Gardos in the Men's Health article "6 Signs She's Interested in You." For example, she might ask you about your dating life or hobbies. Of course, it's possible she's simply curious about you without having romantic intentions. Try throwing a random subject into the conversation, suggests Gardos. Ask her about favorite animal or her parents' career paths. If she guides the focus of this random subject back to something about you, this could be a strong sign of interest.

Listen for Laughter

When a woman likes you, she will laugh more openly than usual, says associate professor of psychology Norman Li in an article for Psychology Today. Assess how much she laughs at the jokes other people throw out, and then compare that to her reactions to your jokes. In this way, humor can serve as a interest indicator. If she gives a hearty laugh at even your lamest jokes, she might be interested in more than friendship.