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Joseph Duggar & Bringing Up Bates' Carlin Bates fuel dating rumors (PHOTO)

Leah Prinzivalli writes about pop culture, beauty and health and has interviewed some of your favorite reality stars. She has been published in VICE, Reductress, The Toast, The Frisky, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat, l...

Are Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates finally admitting to a courtship?

Are those Duggar-Bates wedding bells we hear in the distance?

Carlin Bates and Joseph Duggar have been inching closer and closer together in recent videos and photos of the two families.

If it's possible to get cozy in a large group Instagram shot, Joseph and Carlin are doing it in this photo from New Year's Day. The two and their friends visited Joe Donaldson, another friend of the family. Donaldson wrote, "Love this group of friends! And It’s been great having the Bates family here to hangout with us for New Years! Not only did they stop by to see me at work… but brought me a sweet tea!… True friends… For realz!" [sic]

More: The Duggars and Bringing Up Bates stars sing Xmas song together (VIDEO)

The Duggar-Bates clans are close friends, so it's possible that there's nothing between Carlin and Joseph. But since courtship rules won't allow for much more than light petting — Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald didn't even hold hands before their wedding — it's hard to tell what's friendly and what's more.

More: Jinger Duggar's recent trip refueled Lawson Bates dating rumors (PHOTOS)

In a recent interview with the International Business Times, Carlin's mother Kelly Jo hinted at the idea of a Bringing Up Bates romance in the next season of the family's reality series. She said, "With four married children and five other single children that will be 18 years or older, that leaves a whole lot of opportunity for change — whether by new romances, growing families, or other adventures!"

More: The Duggars' live-in tutor addresses rumors she's dating one of their sons

Are Joseph Duggar and Carlin Bates finally admitting to a courtship?
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