Could he possibly like me or just sees me as a friend?

Ok, we're in middle school. He's my crush. I'm not making a big deal out of this I just want to know. Ok, so me and my crush sit by each other in one of our classes and we talk a lot and he jokes around a lot too and makes me laugh. But I really don't know if he's trying to make me laugh or our friends because everytime he tell he's always looking at me and smiling and then he says something funny. Everytime I enter the lunch room where we sit at he always be staring at me and then when I get near the table where he sit by his friends at, his friends become silent then when I sit down they start talking again. He stares at me a lot at lunch and the classes we have too. I think he treats me a little different than others girls because he's super nice to me but to other girls he's playfully mean. I really don't know though because he's usually nice to every girl and that's where I get confused if he likes me or just sees me as a friend. One time I was looking at something then I heard my friend say to my crush "You just be staring at that girl" and he said "No I don't" and my friend said "Yes you do". I didn't look over there though when they said that. I know I should just ask him but sometimes I'm shy when it comes to boys that I like and I'm also scared of rejection. So, what do you guys think? Could he possibly like me or just see me as a friend? No inappropriate answers please.
Could he possibly like me or just sees me as a friend?
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