The whole process of dating is perhaps one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences (outside of, like, bluffing in a high stakes online poker game or something). At least with arraigned marriages of ye olde times, you got a cool castle out of it, if you were lucky. Nowadays, it’s all about slipping notes into backpacks and sending heart emojis.
However, one of the worst parts of crushing on someone and asking them out is the uncertainty. Does he like me? Will he reject me? I mean, they say that the worst thing he could say is “No”, but what if he tells all of his friends about it and then they tell all of their friends about it, and one of their parents hears about it talks about it with his coworkers and-
Overcoming uncertainty, taking risks is one of the most important skills in life. Not just taking the plunge, but also risk management. Diving off of a cliff isn’t so much dangerous as the rocks lying just under the surface of the water, which you might have known about if you had done some prep work.
So here are four tips that will help YOU know if HE’S interested!
1. He Talks to You
Okay, hear me out. Most guys, especially more introverted or shy guys, prefer to stick in their own smaller groups and fellow-minded male friends. So if such a guy sticks his head out and talks to, and he goes out of his way to do so, he might very well be interested in a relationship!
HOWEVER: Do not mistake this with, “Locked in a room with you and cannot avoid social interaction”. If you’re in school and have assigned seats, don’t assume that just because he talks to you in that scenario means that he is interested.
Look to see what he does when he’s allowed to choose. Does he include you in group projects? Does he sit near you when there isn’t assigned seating, like during lunch breaks? And if he doesn’t talk, is it because he’s shy and nervous, or because he’s genuinely disinterested (and believe me, it’s hard to find a shy, nervous guy that would be genuinely disinterested).
So if he goes out of his way to interact with you, in spite of his natural predilection, it may just be a sign that his heart’s beating as much as yours.
When a guy is around a girl he likes, he’ll oftentimes try to get closer to her. And I mean this quite literally. He’ll sit closer. He’ll lean in, just to be that much closer to you. Sometimes these subconscious actions can be very subtle, but they can also be very aggressive. If he’s in your space, the question becomes, do you want him to be there?
More examples of this can be touching. Not inappropriate touching, by any means, but touching arms, shoulders, legs, or feet. Maybe he even “accidentally” brushes your hand. If he orients himself in towards you while speaking, that’s a very good sign.
The inverse, however, is also true. Turning away, keeping his distance, means that he isn’t interested. The best-case scenario, if that happens, is that he’s terrified of you and is trying to avoid you out of fear of rejection. Worst case scenario is that he actively dislikes you. But that’s really a worst-case scenario.
So lookout for any kind of “barricading”. The torso is a vital area, and it’s instinctual to protect it around people we’re not comfortable with. Does he stand at an angle towards you, with his shoulder facing you? Does he hide himself behind his arms, or backpack, or whatever he’s holding? These are all signs that he’s at least uncomfortable, if not disinterested.
So you have got to use your best judgment. He may simply be nervous, and considering the anxiety-inducing nature of modern courtship, it’s hard to find a guy that wouldn’t be. Be rational, be focused, and take context into account, and you’ll do fine.
3. Offers to do Things for you
They say chivalry is dead, and maybe they’re right, but I think that’s a bit reductionistic. Guys will still go out of their way for women. Correction: For women, they like.
For instance, in a school environment, he might give you pencils, help you with homework, allow you to copy off his test, and such. These little things stand out in their minds, especially when girls turn around, whip out a dazzling smile, and say “Thank You.”
That makes a guy’s day.
So if you think a guy likes you, or you want to test if your crush likes you, ask him for a small favor and see how he responds. There’s a fascinating psychological trick where if you ask someone for something, and they give it, they end up liking you more.
This is called the “Ben Franklin Effect“, and the man it’s named after used this neat trick to increase his rapport with the other Founding Fathers in Pennsylvania. The story goes, he asked a rival legislator for a book that Franklin knew the man had in his library. After a week, Franklin returned it with a note thanking him for the favor. After that, the legislator became far friendlier with Franklin, and the two became friends.
However, we begin to walk a grey line if we’re not careful. If you ask for too many favors from a guy, and the guy starts to feel like he isn’t being reciprocated, he’ll start pulling away (and rightly so!). In other words, don’t treat guys like mules. The Franklin Effect is an exchange of favors to build a connection- no more, no less.
4. He’s Trying to be Funny
There is an entire field of study in psychology for understanding how men’s and women’s interactions with one another affect each other. One such study found that men’s entire personalities can change if he perceives that girls perceive him as attractive. It affects all sorts of systems in men’s brains, outside of the obvious ones. Self-esteem, self-worth, levels of neuroticism, how they hold themselves when they walk into a room, and even how guys dress will all change if he thinks that girls might like him.
It’s a kind of biological feedback loop, and it encourages guys to seek validation.
One of the ways that guys try to seek that validation is through humor. Cracking jokes is instantaneous feedback that doesn’t risk as much as asking a girl out would. The worst that can happen is that the joke falls flat. That’s okay. It’s better than being heartbroken.
So does the guy try to make you laugh? He just might be subconsciously gauging how much of a shot he has. So if you think your crush is doing that, be ready to laugh your butt off to encourage him. Don’t overdo it, though, or you might make him think you belong in a loony bin, and THAT would be disastrous.
Tips for Letting him know YOU’RE Interested!
Relationships are a two-way street. An exchange of skills to create a walloping powerhouse that can exceed what either could do alone. And that means that YOU need to do YOUR part. So here’s my number one tip for letting a guy know that you’re interested:
Guys can be very dense when it comes to the opposite sex. As much as you might find courtship panic-inducing, guys find it far, far worse. Shy guys, especially, might have little to no understanding of what to look for regarding “hints” and “signs”, so whatever you do might just go over his head.
I saw a post online from a girl who shared her own story about such an event. On a warm summer evening, she snuggled up against the guy she liked and murmured, “I’m cold.” The guy immediately got up and proceeded to spend the next hour building a fire. In July.
And hey, it’s the twenty-first century! Guys are terrified of girls, so don’t be afraid to make the first move. You know how many guys would gladly accept female propositions? A lot of ‘em- if not most of them.
Do not be afraid to be direct in how you feel and what you want. Don’t leave things to chance or misunderstandings. Be clear. Be precise. Be assertive. Guys love all of those things. Don’t let the patriarchy dictate your relationship! Take charge, and demand that HE go on a date with YOU!
How to Handle Rejection
Rejection is a very awkward scenario for everyone involved, and since it’s still the norm for the majority of guys to ask the girl out, guys have zero experience turning girls away. Many have zero tact. And yeah, that sucks, but don’t blow up at him about it.
Guys talk to each other. If you come across as an obsessed and petulant crazy woman, they’ll let their friends know. Guys don’t actively talk about their relationships with one another in quite the same way that women do, but all guys know the golden rule: You don’t stick your !@#$ in crazy.
It’s just not worth the risk for most guys when a bad relationship could mean two decades of child support, a loss of fifty percent of a guy’s assets, a child to take care of alone, or even jail time if she accuses him of rape.
So if a guy says no, for whatever reason, take the loss and move on as pleasantly as possible. It sucks. Your heart will ache. It’s not the end of the world, and while you’ll feel terrible now, the pain will go away quicker than you might expect.
So, not to end this on a sour note, let’s sum up everything so far. Guys are simple. Guys are direct and love it when girls are too. If they’re going out of their way to please you, chances are that they are interested. Go for the plunge, take the risk, and reap the rewards, ladies! Girl power! And all that.