How to Recognize Whether He Is Interested in You
by Kathy Batesel
You know you want him, but aren’t sure how much he wants you. Is he interested? Is he being friendly? Does he just want you to be a convenient booty-call? How should you act around him? Sometimes it can seem like you have more questions than answers about the new guy who has stepped into your life. Friends offer well-intended advice, but it conflicts with what other friends tell you.
Before you resort to asking your pets for guidance, learn these signals that will clue you in about his real interest level.
Does Having a Date Mean He's Interested? Not Necessarily
Basic Mistakes People Make in Judging Body Language
Interested people act interested.
They don't just talk it.
How much interest are you seeing?
Stage 1: Attraction
Prolonged eye contact, frequent smiles, and joking are all signs of attraction, but some people have personalities that include these traits instinctively. They’re a great indication of initial interest, but be prepared to dig deeper.
If his horsing around means he's gently teasing you, he’s showing that he’s willing to breach social boundaries to get to know you more. He’s likely to ask for your number soon, but you can look for other signs, such as gently touching your elbow or back to steer you as you’re walking or standing a bit closer than other people do. He may find reason to place himself where he is likely to run into you, such as taking the long route from the soda machine to his workstation if it means passing by your desk. He may say, “We should hang out sometime,” without a definite plan.
When he shows numerous signs of interest but hasn’t asked you out, consider whether he may have a girlfriend (or wife!) already. Although everyone dislikes rejection, most men have learned how to brace themselves for it when it comes to asking a woman for her number or inviting her on a date. If he’s showing signs of interest, but not acting on them, there’s a reason. Yes, he might be shy, but he may not be as interested as you think for another reason. He may be conflicted about dating coworkers. He may be taken. He may not be over his ex. He may not like blonde hair. And he might simply be being friendly.
If you’ve ruled out another woman and you’re certain he’s available, you can encourage him to invite you on a date. How bold are you? You can be direct and say, “Would you like to go on a date sometime?” and offer him your phone number. If you’re not quite that courageous, you can mentioning a future event you’d like to go to, then add, “But I’m not dating anyone and I’d hate to go alone.” If he doesn’t jump on the opportunity, either he’s not ready to date you or he doesn’t want to, because if he’s interested, he’ll already be sensitive to your every nuance, and this one won’t be lost on him.
So you're not bold enough to ask, but feel like you'd like to do whatever it takes to get to know him? Have a great assortment of Xbox 360 games and invite him over for a little friendly competition. (Better yet, have some good eats and drinks on hand, too.) You may still get dumped in the friend-zone, but it might give him a chance to see a new side of you that wakes him up. At worst, you'll figure out that he's simply not interested after all.
Stage 2: Getting to Know Each Other
Some men are interested in scoring with you, but nothing more. To determine whether he’s in it for you or for your physical attributes, give some thought to how much preparation he puts into your dates. If the prelude to most of your encounters is “Hey, wanna hang out tonight after work?” it’s a clear signal that you’re convenient when he has no other plans. When a man is smitten by his lady, he’ll dress nicer, plan to do things he thinks she’ll enjoy, and will generally expect to pay for the date even if it means walking in the park because he’s too broke to afford dinner out.
An interested man wants to do nice things for the woman who has caught his fancy. He may surprise her with a small gift that reminded him of her. He’ll fix that problem with her front door. He’ll call her to hear her voice because text messaging doesn’t let him feel like he’s really connecting. He wants you to meet his friends and family. He loves to touch you, even if it’s not a prelude to sex. Someone who is being friendly may help with things here and there, and may invite you to join his friends, but he won’t do all these things.
A dead giveaway about his interest level can be found in his words. Listen carefully when he talks about the two of you to others. Does he tell them about “us” and use the word “we” frequently, or does he refer to you by your name or a pronoun? Men who are highly interested and see you as part of their life for the indefinite future will subconsciously reveal it in their words. Does he see you as two individuals connected by the word “and” or as a single unit described as “we?”
When getting to know each other, it's important to give as much as you get without overdoing it if you want to keep his interest going. (If he drops hints that he feels unappreciated, be ready to step up your game and start showing him why you're a keeper.)
Stage 3: The Long Term Relationship
After weeks or months of dating, it might seem natural when these things fade. Routine may feel like it’s setting in. It may feel satisfying and reassuring in some ways, but unsettling in other ways. You may have period of anxiety or uncertainty about each other. Worse, you may start having power struggles that provoke arguments and resentments. He still talks about things you’ll do together someday, but he’s less available than he used to be.
Interest can fade when compatibility issues start to appear, and no amount of attention will fix an incompatible relationship. To determine if his interest level is waning, take a look at your disagreements. If they’re about sexual issues, finances, or if one of you feels frequently criticized, your relationship may be headed for its natural end. It can take months or years to get there, but these are signs of incompatibility. If there are no disagreements and you’ve started going in different directions, it’s also a signal of possible incompatibility, though there may be other causes that can be fixed if you pay attention and reconnect.
At Every Stage, Laughter
Reader's Digest has been claiming "Laughter is the Best Medicine" since before most of us could read, a claim that has been bolstered by various studies over recent decades. It turns out that laughter does more than improve health, though: It may be an important indication of interest.
After all, who doesn't have "sense of humor" on their mental list of desirable traits they want in a partner?
Researcher Norman Li and his associates discovered that a shared sense of humor is a powerful indicator of interest both at the beginning stages of a relationship and in established ones, too. When someone stops laughing at your corny jokes or social faux pas, it's a strong clue that they're turning their attention elsewhere for entertainment.
Li suggests that if you want to know if someone genuinely likes you, try to make them laugh. People who enjoy your company will laugh at things that weren't that funny, while people who don't care for you will remain stoic even if your pals are gut-busting on the floor.
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