Friendly but no-nonsense relationship and dating advice for women in their 20s and 30s, from the guy perspective. Come back for biweekly posts and "tips of the week." Skip to the advice...
My guy friends complain a lot about how hard it is to read women and guage their level of interest. For a lot of us, it feels like our lopsided burden in the dating world: even though it's up to us to make the first move, we rarely get help from women in figuring out whether we'll be successful. But I've come to realize that a lot of women have the same issue with guys. Sure, it can be obvious when a guy's hitting on you. But if it's that obvious, chances are he's not going a good job of it, and you're probably not that interested in him. Instead, what about those situations where it's not obvious: where a guy might be hitting on you, but you're not sure? Or even more tricky, when you're already acquainted with a guy, but you can't figure out if he's interested in something more?
To keep it as simple as possible, here's a list of 5 signs that a guy is interested:
- Social proximity: If the same guy keeps bumping into you in social situations or appearing near you on the dance floor, it's a good sign he's interested. That doesn't necessarily mean he sees you as his future wife, but there's a reason why you keep encountering each other. This is especially true if a guy is choosing to be near you or talk to you instead of his friends. Guys tend to be pretty loyal to each other, and we're sensitive to the perception that we're putting a female ahead of our friends, even in social settings. So if we are, that should tell you something.
- Reaction checking: When you're in conversation with a guy, watch his face after he tells a story or a joke. Is he waiting for your reaction? Does he smile after you do, or go on to try to explain himself better if you don't get his point? A guy who looks distracted or is too wrapped up in himself to check your reaction might just be killing time by talking to you, but a guy who wants to know what you think of what he's saying is a guy who is interested.
- Making plans: This one may seem obvious, but a guy who suggests making any kind of plan for just the two of you is interested in you, period. In case there's any doubt about this one, put yourself in his shoes. Even though we as guys are generally expected to initiate this kind of plan-making, it still requires putting ourselves out on a limb, and no one wants to do that unless there's genuine interest behind it. So no matter how casual we might try to make it seem, the suggestion of any kind of shared plan is a definite sign of a guy's initial interest.
- Mister Intensity: Look for little signs that a guy is more intense with you than with others. This could take a lot of different forms: he could be more serious, talking about issues or ambitions that you don't hear him talking about with his friends. He could be more serious and quiet when you're around, or he could be louder and more of a show-off. If you have a chance to observe him with others and compare how he is with you -- or if you can ask a friend's perspective -- any kind of increased intensity is a likely sign of interest.
- Testing the waters: If you still can't figure out if a guy is interested, you can always test the waters yourself. Try a subtle technique for hitting on him, or even better, just let go a little more around him. If he responds with enthusiasm to your touch, your eye contact, or your excitement, it will tell you a lot. On the other hand, if he backs off, you'll know he's not interested and you can move on.
I may come up with something more to add to this list, and please feel free to ask specific questions of your own, too. In the end, us guys are pretty simple creatures, and the hardest thing about picking up on our interest is probably your own feelings. If you're already interested, you have an emotional investment in whether or not your interest is reciprocal, and this makes it harder to be objective. Think about it: it's so much easier to tell when someone's interested in a friend of yours, or even a stranger, than it is to tell when a guy you're interested in feels the same pull toward you. But if you can clearly identify one or more of the above signs, don't be afraid to get excited. He probably likes you, too.