How Do You Know If You Like Someone Or It’s Something Else?

By Danni Peck

Updated December 10, 2018

Reviewer Christy B.

Romantic feelings are difficult to explore. Sometimes you just aren't sure if you're interested in another person. How can you tell? What should you be feeling? How do you know if you like someone? For some of us, it takes a few attempts at relationships before we figure out exactly what we are looking for. But you can save yourself part of the confusion by taking advice from those who have been through it already.


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How do you know if you like someone or just the attention?

For some people, a relationship is more about their own feelings than the other person. For these people, getting into a relationship can be an escape for loneliness or feeling uncomfortable being alone. But that spells trouble for long-term relationship stability.

If you choose to be in a relationship with someone only because they like you, but you have not explored your feelings about them, you will likely end up with a resentful partner down the road. Or with regrets about lost opportunities for a more fitting match. Yes, having a partner's attention is a wonderful feeling. That being said, you really need to ask yourself if you actually like the person, or you are just enjoying the feeling of them liking you.

Consider whether you display any of these signs that you're just in it for the attention and not the person:

  • You never initiate conversations or texts, and they are always the one to contact you.
  • They always make plans for the two of you; you don't.
  • You rarely think of them when they aren't around.


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On the other hand, if you're displaying the opposite of these behaviors, then it's a good sign that you are infatuated. You probably like someone if you think of them all the time, even when they aren't around, you ask them to do things on the weekend, and you initiate conversations because you are thinking about them.

How do you know if you like someone or the idea of them?

Occasionally we project our desires onto other people. And this can happen in relationships too. We meet someone who we are initially attracted to, and we want them to be the person who fulfills all our desires. So, we ignore the fact that they are not. We don't get to know who they actually are. And this is a sure way to relationship disaster.

They say love is blind, but that doesn't mean you should actively blind yourself to what kind of a person they truly are. Maybe they are kind and generous and funny, but not right for you. That's okay, and the best thing is to admit that to yourself and to them. This can be hard in the beginning of a new relationship when you aren't really sure what the other person's true self is like. To prevent yourself from ending up in a situation both of you regrets, follow these tips:

  • Actively listen when the other person talks about their life and interests.
  • Don't stop being open to learning about them after the few initial conversations.
  • Pay attention to what they're not saying. A lot of communication is in tone and body language, and if they say a song sounds all right but they avoid eye contact and their tone isn't into it, then they're probably just trying to avoid a conflict about music taste.


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People, including yourself, can be drawn in by the idea of being in love. And when that happens they try to make a relationship work with someone they don't fit with. If you find yourself acting outside of your usual behaviors or trying to pick up a new hobby that you don't really enjoy to impress them, then you're probably hanging on to hope for a relationship, and not actually hope for a relationship with this particular person.

Self-esteem issues can make it difficult for you to wait for the right person. Instead, you may throw yourself at the first person to give you any attention at all. The attention may feel good at first, but it's also a good way to find yourself in a really bad relationship where you receive no respect. Learn to find your self-worth and have patience for finding a compatible partner with the help of a professional therapist.


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