I'm a Midwesterner with a background in writing and media. My articles are mainly about relationships, dating, and heartbreak.
As far back as we can go in human history, men have been trying to figure out what signs a woman gives to let you know there's interest. Studies show that we as humans communicate through our bodies and not just our voices. Think of the movie The Little Mermaid. Ariel loses her voice and has to convince a prince that he is in love using only her body language. Of course, an evil sea witch steps in and screws things up for the mermaid, but would Ariel have even taken this ludicrous challenge if it wasn't possible to win someone over this way?
Our bodies—from our heads to our toes—have their own ways of signaling what we're thinking. You can read body language cues not only to detect romantic interest, but also to see if someone is disloyal, annoyed, or not feeling well.
Clues That She Really Likes You
Whether subconsciously or intentionally, women will drop hints that they like someone. If you’re unsure what to do when she’s signaling interest, ask yourself first if you want to play along in her game. There is one simple thing you can do to reciprocate her flirtations: mirror her. Psychologists, for the most part, find that mirroring is positively received. If she leans in for a cup of water, do it too; if she laughs, you should laugh too; if she gives hugs . . . you should too.
Some women are much more modest than others. Don’t panic if she isn’t giving you lots of body language and touch cues. Some people take their time warming up to others. If you enjoy spending time with her, then continue to do so regardless of what other dating advice, social cues, or monk mantra you’ve learned. There are only two real reasons you should stop pursuing someone: (1) she asks you to stop; (2) she’s already in a committed relationship with someone else.
Take a deep breath before reading the rest of this and remember: stay cool, calm, and collected. Be secure in yourself, and you’ll succeed in love. Don’t lash out just because someone decides you’re not their cup of tea. There are billions of people on this planet. There are numerous ways that your romantic life could play out.
Flirtatious Body Language
Dr. Albert Scheflen, an authority on verbal and non-verbal communication, wrote that “when a person meets someone they are interested in, certain physiological changes take place. The muscle tone increases, body sagging disappears, the body assumes erect posture, and the person appears younger and more attractive. A man will stand taller, expand his chest and look more powerful and dominant, while the woman will tilt her head, and touch her hair while exposing her wrists. Body language reveals how available, attractive, enthusiastic, or even how desperate we are.”
When it comes to romance, you want to mainly watch the following:
- Eyes: Where exactly are they directing their attention? Pupils tend to dilate or get bigger when someone we like enters a room.
- Lips: Are they smiling or frowning?
- Feet: Where are they pointed?
- Hands: What are they touching, holding, and do they seem jittery?
- Blushing or Sweating: Check for sudden redness in the face and neck. Blushing, perspiration, and sweaty palms are good indications they might like you.
- Breathing: Sometimes out of nervousness, we may become short of breath. Other times, someone may relax and take slower breaths when they’re near the one they love.
Always consider the context and whether the attention you are receiving is different from the attention paid to others in the room. How consistent is this person’s behavior? Also, consider extenuating circumstances: have they been drinking, or are they just acting a certain way for a performance?
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Remember, not everyone is the same. This just serves as a guide to help you crack the code on whether she likes you or not.
20 Signs She's Into You
Fellas, women’s body language is harder to read than yours because women are generally more discrete. As a woman, I’ll share some insider information to help you figure out whether she likes you or not.
- She preens her hair. Women tend to have their hands in their hair more when they like someone; it might be the shift in pheromones or just nervous energy, but it’s a common sign of interest.
- She attempts to sit by you or get close to you. If she makes a point of sitting next to you or touching you, that may be a sign.
- She laughs at the smallest, goofiest, strangest things you do. She may laugh explosively or try to cover it up.
- She dresses better to attract your attention. She may wear nicer clothes, do her hair, or pay extra attention to her makeup. She’ll keep adding something new to make herself sparkle and make you wonder, is she really getting prettier?
- If she suspects that someone else is after you, her eyes may subtly reveal that she is jealous. She may look away or narrow her eyes if you mention someone else or if another female is near.
- She places her feet close to you or points them toward you. People are generally unconscious of their feet. Look at her feet to see if she is closer to you than you think.
- She touches you. If she touches you on your arms or shoulders — anywhere, for any length of time — it might be a sign.
- She gets nervous. She may turn red or do something clumsy like drop things, trip on herself, or crash into a wall.
- She hovers nearby. You keep turning around and finding her close by. At a dance, she looms nearby in the hopes that you’ll join her or ask her to dance with you.
- You see her everywhere. She may follow you and appear at the most perfect times. Either she knows your schedule, or there is magic involved!
- She unconsciously mimics your actions. Picking up a glass of water at the same time, repeating things you say, or crossing her arms the same time you do.
- She may create opportunities for hugging. She may say goodbye, hello, or loom around a place in the hopes that you’ll hug her.
- She pouts her lips to make a sad face and brings out her extra big eyes. This is an attempt to make herself look more attractive.
- She gives a coy half-smile. Almost as though half of her mouth grins to her ear while the other half stays still. This can also be a sign of contempt; she might think she knows something better than you do.
- She twirls her hair in her fingers or braids her hair excessively. She needs to put her nervous energy somewhere.
- She may get creative. She does something you’ll remember her by, like drawing a bunch of weird pictures on a magazine that you don’t care about.
- Suddenly, she is wearing makeup. If she normally doesn’t wear makeup and suddenly starts wearing it, she could be trying to appear more attractive to someone.
- For no apparent reason, she randomly sings or whistles and occasionally laughs or blushes. If she has a pretty voice, she might want you to hear it. This could also be a trick to get you to like her personality.
- She makes time to hang out with you. She pursues common interests.
- She holds your hand. Women normally don’t hold random people’s hands.
29 More Signs She's Into You
- She drops her head onto your shoulder. Extra points if she makes random noises when she does this. Our heads are incredibly vulnerable. Consider it a compliment if someone lays their head on you.
- During lunch, she’ll play footsie while you wait for the meal. Though . . . admittedly, I don’t think many women are that into footsie.
- She leaves behind jewelry at your place. It’s really hard to tell if someone is doing this intentionally. You can ask to see if she’s leaving behind reminders of herself.
- When she’s upset about something, she’ll confide in you and let you see her cry. This is a vulnerable side to her. Granted, some women cry a whole lot more than others… so don’t get too excited if she has a soft heart.
- She’ll gladly take your jacket if you offer it to her when she’s cold. Bonus points if she compliments the smell of the jacket.
- Pay attention to her eyes. Often when people like someone, their eyes get super shiny. See if their pupils dilate. Also, consider if the lighting might be extreme in the room and if there’s a lot of reflection.
- She unconsciously licks her lips. Caution: Sometimes, people just have chapped lips.
- She may groom herself out of nervousness. Fiddling with buttons or brushing hairs off her coat could be indications that she likes someone. Again, if she is playing with her hair, that’s a big sign something is up.
- She avoids crossing her arms over her chest. Why? Because that makes her come off like a Negative Nancy.
- If she smiles more than frowns in your presence, this is an overall good sign. Whether romantic or not.
- She may seem relaxed around you . . . or she may seem nervous around you. Not all women are the same.
- She may massage or touch your back. If she’s ballsy, yes.
- She tries to get on the same team, group, or whatever as you. See if this happens consistently. If she isn’t trying at all to be on the same team as you, then she probably isn’t that interested.
- She has a marker or pen in her hand and for whatever reason offers to draw on you. It doesn’t matter whether she’s trying to make the Mona Lisa on your arm or if it’s just a mad bunch of scribbles.
- She sits on your lap. Yeah, that’s forward.
- She runs her fingers through your hair or beard. Only someone who likes someone would do this.
- She tries to put makeup on you just for fun. Or she tries to get you in a dress. (More research needs to be done to figure out this playful nature.)
- She sits with good posture. Okay, maybe she is just really intentional about her posture, but maybe she is doing this to impress you.
- She greets you with a hug or a big smile. She’s excited to see you! If you don’t show enthusiasm back, she may tone it down.
- She may become tongue-tied and at a loss for words. Example: “For like say what words and I? I mean . . . Hi . . . you are how?”
- She may tease you. She may poke you. She may throw snowballs at you. Also, girls don’t tease as much as guys. Guys are more likely to tease.
- She may offer you random things like gum, mints, or coffee. She may just be nice and not know what to say, so she starts offering you things.
- She acts particularly goofy around you. I mean, she turns into a class act goofball.
- She does something playful like tying your shoes together. Granted, this seems like a really young thing to do.
- She dances around you in hopes that you’ll dance with her. Classic sign of interest, really.
- You might catch her glancing your way and often. She may do this sneakily or without shame. But if she is doing this with shame, you should really give her some ice cream or cheer her up, you know? (Don’t leave her hanging.)
- If you are sick or hurt, she tries to comfort you to the best of her abilities. Like bringing you soup, blankets, medicine, her favorite movies, puppets, nachos, sports-related things, video games, beer, or a number of things.
- She might get sad or withdrawn if you start talking to a new girl. She’s mad jealous, yo.
- She challenges you to a thumb war or an arm wrestle. Because . . . she’s without any clue about what to do. Help a girl out.
What Do Hugs Mean?
- The longer a hug, the better. Each added second means she likes you more.
- A pat on the back or shoulder during a hug means “You’re clinging to me! It needs to end, please.”
- A good hug will feel strong. Like a handshake, weak ones are no good. Hugs are the handshake of friendships and beyond.
- Talking during a hug is a good sign. Just don’t recite your favorite manifesto about capitalism. If you don’t have your favorite manifesto, get to cracking . . . you only have so many more days to live!
- A hug from behind shows intimacy. Also, a lot of girls don’t like that. It can be creepy, unless she knows you pretty well.
- Hands that venture during a hug . . . a very forward move.
- Smelling nice will make for a good hug. I mean, general hygiene is an A+ idea.
- You know you’ve found the right person when you actually get vibes off them during a hug. Like your skin is resonating with baby angels from on high. Ah.
- Hugs can be better than kisses. (Although, you should work on both to make sure they’re both pleasant.)
- In Japan, a hug means more than a kiss because you’re using your whole body.
- A side hug isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may have been the easiest movement to avoid awkwardness or to add additional awkwardness.
Physical Signs She Wants a Relationship
*WARNING: The amount of touching and what it means is not universal. Different cultures have different standards.
- She may hold off physically, so you won’t only think of her as a booty call. Also, she may hold back because she’s worried that if she’s too flirtatious, you’ll run away. She may genuinely struggle to know how much physical contact to give.
- Women start to hunt for hugs when they want a relationship. They’ll position themselves in ways that you’ll hug them goodbye, hug them hello, etc. A lot of hugs can be friendly, but a lot of women do that so you’ll remember them. And give the chance for a goodnight kiss or two.
- If she constantly sits next to you, she’s claiming you. Women are also territorial but in different ways. She wants the space next to you so that other competitors can’t get to you. And being closer to you has its advantages.
- Holding hands. It’s cute, innocent, and definitely signals interest.
- She runs her fingers through your hair, pats you on the back, and other constant affirmative touches followed by encouraging words or compliments out of nowhere.
- She dresses up the way she thinks someone would in a relationship. She isn’t going to dress like she would at a club, but a little more classy. She wants you to feel secure around her.
Questions & Answers
Question: What does it mean if a girl keeps touching you?
Answer: This is all about context. What time of day is she touching you, where, and does she show other signs of interest? Some girls are much more comfortable dishing out hugs than other girls. If you notice she keeps giving you attention, she is probably hinting that she is interested. Is she trying to hold your hand or does she simply give you high fives?
© 2014 Andrea Lawrence