Finding out that someone you're interested in likes you back can feel exciting. If the feeling is mutual, you may have the opportunity to pursue a relationship together. But what if you're not sure if your feelings are reciprocated, or you believe you’ve noticed a major red flag?
While direct communication is often a recommended foundation for short-term and long-term relationships, asking someone you're just getting to know whether he likes you may seem too direct. He may feel pressured or put on the spot. In other cases, he may appreciate your openness.
If you don't know someone well yet, you might want to start by observing the subtle signs that may or may not signal interest. That way, you can get an idea of the current relationship status and where to go from there.
Signs That A Guy May Not Be Interested In You
Although it can be hard to be objective when you feel a strong romantic attraction toward someone, it may make sense to pay equal attention to warning signs that indicate he might not want romantic involvement.
Just because a guy may like you as a person doesn't necessarily mean he wants to date you. You may also want to watch for mixed signals, as these can be difficult to interpret. Look out for the following signs that may tell you this person is not interested or has lost interest.
He Talks About Other Women (or Romantic Interests of Any Gender)
If someone wants you to know that they're romantically available, they might not openly discuss other people they're interested in with you. If they do, that may be an indicator that you have been placed in what some refer to as the “friend zone.”
If a male friend you like casually talks about someone else he's dating or his exploits in the dating world, it may be interpreted as a clear sign that he sees you only as a friend and confidante rather than a potential partner.
He's Hard To Reach
A study highlighting affiliation motivation notes that "the most prominent aspect of romantic attraction is obsessive thinking about the beloved."
If the guy you're genuinely interested in doesn't return your calls, takes days to text back, or frequently cancels plans you two had, it could mean he's not thinking of you in the way you're thinking of him. He may also be busy or avoidant; how a guy acts may give you insight into their personality and characteristics.
While "obsessive thinking" could be a strong way to put it, someone who likes you may often demonstrate an interest in spending time with you and communicating with you. It could be a very good sign that they're not interested or losing interest if it's difficult to get in touch or make plans with them. This may also indicate that your connection has the indicators of a one-sided relationship.
Signs He's Interested In You
Without asking directly, it may not be possible to know for sure how someone else feels about you. However, if you're just trying to gather a few clues before investing more time in a guy or asking him on a date, pay attention to some of these areas that could offer insight.
How He Communicates With You
A 2018 study by the University of Alberta identified a set of behaviors often associated with building trust between two people. They found that mimicking someone's movements, initiating conversation, and close physical contact or proximity can signal trustworthiness to another person.
While verbal communication and body language may indicate that someone may trust and like you, they may not necessarily convey romantic interest. However, they may be a sign that a guy could be open to spending more time together in some capacity.
In addition, if you've formed a relationship where you text, call, or spend time with this person already, how they handle these types of communications may also give you some indication of their feelings. You may also want to observe whether they talk about deeper subjects or keep the conversation superficial. The depth and frequency of your communication may be able to give you an idea of how they feel.
While someone interested in friendship may also behave this way, a person who wants to get to know you better may respond more quickly to your texts, return your calls, and make an effort to spend time with you.
How Much Interest He Shows In Your Life
According to psychologist Dr. Rachel Needle, falling in love is associated with "a narrowing in mental focus." While it may be too soon to think about strong feelings like love with the man you're getting to know, this observation could point to why a guy’s behavior manifests in a certain way when he's beginning to be interested in you.
The early stages of liking someone are often associated with getting to know them and a strong desire to learn even more. It may be a positive sign if the person you have your eye on seems interested in you, your personal life, your likes and dislikes, or your interests. This doesn’t mean you want a super possessive guy or someone who wants to monopolize your time, but rather someone who shows a healthy amount of interest.
They might remember little things you say or follow up on something you told them in the past. Likewise, it may be a positive indicator if a guy tells you details about their own lives, letting you into their world bit by bit.
How Much He Tries To Align With You
One study on romantic attraction noted that people romantically interested in someone often "become highly motivated to seek affiliation" with that person and show "goal-oriented behaviors" to do so.
For example, if a guy likes you they may try to emphasize the things you have in common, post pictures or send you messages relating to your interests on social media, or may be interested in your hobbies to learn more about you. If you notice him trying to relate to you, it could signify that he wants to get to know you better.
What To Do Next
Playing detective to pick up on signals that someone may or may not be interested in you may only lead so far. At some point, you may choose to take action if you want to find out for sure. While it can feel scary, you may tell the guy you like how you feel and ask if the interest is mutual.
Having your affection reciprocated can be an exciting experience. However, if the guy shows you he's not interested, you can still be proud of yourself for communicating how you felt and taking a risk. You might choose to see it as a learning experience that equips you with new skills for next time.
If telling someone you like how you feel makes you nervous, you're not alone. It can be common to feel shy or awkward when you open up to someone else, or a bit jealous if they pursue someone else. However, suppose it escalates to social anxiety, where you experience debilitating fear and physical symptoms when interacting with someone socially, is different than feeling uncomfortable. In that case, you may seek a mental health professional who can guide you through anxiety and help you create meaningful relationships. A professional may also be able to help you identify whether a signal is a red flag, and help you discern whether pursuing a specific relationship would be positive.
Speaking To A Counselor
Even if you don't experience clinical social anxiety but feel you could benefit from speaking with a therapist, there are often plenty of options for connecting with one. It can be difficult to deal with your emotions alone behind closed doors, and opening up to a therapist can help you improve your communication skills, build self-confidence, and identify healthy and unhealthy relationship patterns.
Online counseling can be a comfortable way to meet with a counselor. This therapy method often allows you to choose between a phone or video call or messaging your therapist.
Virtual therapy has become much more common recently, as many find it convenient and available. Additionally, research shows that online counseling offers similar benefits to in-person sessions. An online therapy platform like BetterHelp can match you with a therapist specializing in your area of concern.
Finding out whether someone feels the same way for you can sometimes feel scary or awkward. There may be a few signs that can clue you in on how a guy feels, but opening up and asking them how they feel is often the best way to check.
If you're struggling with fear, anxiety, or other distressing symptoms and want professional help, consider reaching out to a counselor to discuss it in more detail.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Know If He's Just Not Into You?
How Do You Tell If A Guy Is Trying Not To Like You?
How Do You Test If He Is Into Me?
How Do Guys Act When They're Not Interested?
How Do You Test If A Guy Likes You Back?
How Can You Tell If A Guy Doesn't Like You But Is Hiding It?
Do Guys Avoid Looking At You If They Like You?
How Do You Know If He Likes You But Doesn't Want A Relationship?
How Do You Know If He's Hiding His Feelings?
What Are The Signs Someone Doesn't Like You?
Is He Into Me Or Just Being Nice?
What To Do If He Shows Less Interest?
How Do I Know If I Like Him Or If I Just Like The Attention?
Am I Overthinking Or Has He Lost Interest?
How Do I Make Him Realize My Worth?
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