I need a word for a person is, or the act of being, incapable of distinguishing between romantic partners and friends. Or someone who feels the same about friends as they do about romantic partners. I read an article or something a while back about words for things that you have trouble explaining and I can't remember what this word was, and now I can't find it anywhere. :0

Any suggestions? Thanks


Specifically, a person who experiences romantic attraction to their friends. (Although I don't know if this would be part of the definition, or my interpretation of the definition.)

Also, it may be helpful to note that by "romantic attraction", I do not mean "sexual attraction". I intend to imply the idea of platonic romance, although I doubt the idea would expressly exclude cases in which sexual attraction are present.

  • 1
    Is this a pathological inability to tell the difference or someone who tends to develop romantic feelings for any friend of the appropriate gender?
    – Avon
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 18:58
  • I've never heard a specific word for this, although romantically clueless would be a reasonable description.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 19:08
  • Hi @LexiQuest404 is sexual attraction /behaviour included as part of a romantic attraction, or are individuals primarily asexual? Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 19:21
  • 1
    Hey guys, the question has been edited to address confusions. Thanks everyone! Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 20:03
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    Does it have to be "one word"? The concept is complex, perhaps an idiom, a proverb, or an expression will express better than an obscure word or a neologism would.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:48

5 Answers 5


The person ...

tends to get the wrong idea.

is tone-deaf in relationships.

is not good at picking up social cues.

confuses friendship with romantic intentions.

always assumes you want more.

turns everything into a date (works best if the person is female).

is a little creepy (works best if the person is male).

is too touchy feely (works best if the person is a male).

is over-familiar.


This is a coinage but seems to fit:


which can be defined in parts as "all; of all things ; in all ways or places + intimate". The word "intimate" stands for the core feelings of romance and romantic bonding, according to the way you have characterized it. "Omni-" also implies that nothing or no one is excluded, i.e. open equally in all directions.

  • That's your definition of the word, but would everyone else understand it without an accompanied explanation? :) Where's the suggestion that the person has difficulty distinguishing a friend from a potential romantic partner?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:49
  • @Mari-LouA Like I said, I coined the word. Like you said, it doesn't convey everything, including possible confusion on the part of the person who is prone to omni-intimacy. I was focusing on this in the question: "...a person who experiences romantic attraction to their friends..." and "...feels the same about friends as they do about romantic partners." Those two phrases focus on the merger of the two types of relationship, not on possible confusion or difficulty in distinguishing. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:57
  • If I heard that word, I'd interpret it as meaning that they're attracted to anything and anyone. I might use it to describe a dog that wants to hump everyone's leg.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 21:53

Patroclization-or maybe Patroclean (adj.)-Describes ambiguity of friendship and romantic relationship with one person. Derived from Achilles ambiguous relationship with Patroclus whose death in the Trojan War brings Achilles back to the battle for revenge. I've seen this word 'Patroclization' used in newspaper headlines, but not in any dictionary.

  • I can't find any usage online that means "ambiguity of friendship and romantic relationship". All 14 hits on a Google search for the word are for the Patroclization of Pat Tillman which assumes its meaning to be the appropriation of/struggle over a person's body/memory. Can you find an example of it used in the way you say?
    – Avon
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 13:52
  • Calling Avon--Patroclization sounds like a coinage. So who is going to stop me from coining Patroclean?
    – user3847
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 17:05
  • Patroclean has been used and generally, of course, to mean of, pertaining to or named in honor of Patroclus. If you choose to use it to mean ambiguity of friendship and romance I can't imagine anyone trying to stop you (it would be futile) but I doubt anyone would understand it to mean that without you explaining it.
    – Avon
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 18:07

In asexual communities, people who cannot tell the difference between feelings of romance and friendship are described as WTFromantic. The term was originally coined in jest, but has since gained traction and earned an entry on the AVEN wiki.

So I threw my hands up, said, “ ... I’m WTFromantic” more or less as a combination joke and snide remark. And to my surprise people seemed to like the word and people started using it. I can’t speak to where it’s gone from there, but when I came up with it I intended to imply a frustration and a confusion with the essential concept of romantic orientation.

Sciatrix, Writing From Factor X

Less vulgar alternatives include whatromantic, or quoiromantic (quoi, French for what).


I think the phrase you're looking for is that this person experiences alterous attraction. Alterous attraction is generally when someone is okay with being friends with another person but completely wouldn't mind starting a romantic relationship either. It can cause a lot of confusion over whether one is experiencing platonic or romantic attraction, when in reality the person is experiencing both simultaneously.

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    – livresque
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 0:41

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