|>>|| No. 26976
It's probably a crush. Just don't mention it or make a big deal of it, jokes might give him hope, but it might be worth having a chat about boundaries going forward so >>26974 doesn't happen. The kind of frindship you seem to have sounds similar to my own with women. I am gay, but have had lots of women fall for me because of how I treat them compared to straight men, which is probably a similar situation to you having this lad develop a crush on you.
We are wired to become attracted to anyone who we consider a compatible mate, even if we are only aware of that attraction subconsciously, so it's nothing you're doing per se it's just that you have qualities as a friend they would also seek in a partner.
I've never developed a crush on a straight make friend, but my mates are all arseholes I'd never date. I've had confusing thoughts about certain women I've grown close too, but they were all tomboys who were a right good laff.
To put it perspective, you're probably just a nice person to be around m8.