Have you ever been interested in someone, but you’re not sure if they are interested back, and so you do absolutely NOTHING about it?
OR have you thought that you don’t stand a chance anyway, so you disqualify or friend-zone yourself before allowing yourself to hope for the possibility of something more?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I have done both those things.
Many, many times.
But you know what? It’s okay...!
Because even people who you’d think would have it all figured out (people like Nicole Kidman and Jimmy Fallon), don’t.
And then there’s the age-old dilemma of figuring out (once you’ve realized by some miracle that they are actually interested too) exactly how interested they are. Are they looking for a simple one-night stand, a short-term fling, or do they genuinely want to pursue relationship with you?
This is where we often get confused, fall short, make mistakes and ultimately get hurt; by misreading the signs and misinterpreting the intention of the other person. More often than not, we only see what we want to see – and usually what we want to see is clouded by our own intentions.
BUT THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE CASE!!! It is possible to figure out firstly if someone is initially interested in you, and secondly what kind of interested they are. You don’t have to be that person anymore: You don’t have to shove yourself into the friend-zone before anything more has the chance to begin, or miss the opportunity (like Jimmy Fallon did) because you missed the signs.
All you need to succeed is to know the initial signs, avoid the NUMBER ONE MISTAKE that people make, and assess what kind of interested the person is:
The initial ‘thing’ that catches someone’s special attention could be anything from physical attraction, personality, intelligence, ‘chemistry’ to just ‘something about you’. As people, we are all attracted to a variety of different people for a variety of different reasons. I have met many people who disqualify themselves in this initial stage because they do not think they are attractive enough. They assume that because they do not live up to their own preconceived ideas of ‘attractiveness’ that they will not live up to other peoples’ ideals either.
This means that many people either miss opportunities and ‘signals’ because they think they do not stand a chance, or they notice the signals and opportunities but are too afraid to do anything about it.
Body language experts have identified some key indications that express attraction. Some of them are:
1) Making and maintaining eye contact
3) Leaning forward or towards person of interest
4) Making unnecessary physical contact (like touching their arm or their back)
5) Dressing ‘up’ (thought goes into appearance)
Other obvious indicators of attraction would be initiating contact and regular contact, such as asking for someone’s number or finding them on social media, and then conversing with them regularly. And the most obvious indicator of all would be if someone had to ask you out….
HOWEVER: (Things to take into consideration)
These are all ideal situations. In an ideal world we would all make and maintain eye-contact, smile, be completely charming and look absolutely fabulous. However, in the real world it is not so straight-forward. People are all different: we all have different personalities, different upbringings, come from different cultures and have different levels of confidence.
People respond differently
In a survey I conducted online I asked over 100 participants how they feel when their interest is around. 65% said that they feel awkward, shy or insecure, only 23% indicated confidence, and the rest said that they feel ‘in awe’ or ‘nervously excited’.
Next, I asked them how they act. 63% indicated that they either talk way too much, say stupid things they wouldn’t normally say, become very quiet or act in some way different to how they would normally be. Only 16% said they would be charming or flirty, and 21% said they remain the same.
Furthermore, 74% said that when their interest is around they try their best to act ‘normal’ and not pay too much attention to the person, 10% indicated that they avoid the person completely but keep track of where they are in the room, and only 16% said that they would go up to the person and pay obvious attention to them.
Most people do nothing
I asked participants how long they would wait before contacting a new interest. 24% said they would contact them immediately, 17% said they would wait 1 day, 8% held to the ‘3-day rule’, 8% indicated about a week or longer, and a whopping 43% said that they would not contact their interest at all.
When I asked participants how often they would contact an interest, 11% said all day every day, 18% said they would initiate contact once a day, 20% said every second or third day, 9% indicated once a week or longer, and 42% said that they wait to be contacted.
Dating vs Friendship: A true indicator?
87% indicated that they would pursue friendship with the person they are interested in. Only 11% said that they would ask the person on a date, and only 2% said they would try make an advance.
As you can see, people are diverse and we don’t always do things according to how they ‘ideally’ should be done. Confidence is a big factor when it comes to actually showing interest. It is easy to be interested in someone, but showing it requires confidence and vulnerability.
The NUMBER ONE MISTAKE that people make:
The number one biggest and most common mistake people make in this stage is this: They assume that the other person doesn’t like them. CONFIDENCE is key in both creating attraction and recognizing it. People are attracted to people who appear confident. And on the flip side it’s difficult – almost impossible- to recognize someone showing an interest in you if you are consumed with your own insecurities.
If you consider the list above of the body language ‘signals’, you will notice that all of them require a level of confidence. Confidence to be able to convey attraction, and confidence to be able to receive it.
Genuine interest: Telling the difference
1) They ask questions and actively pursue getting to know you
A man or woman who is genuinely interested in you will want to get to know you. The real you. They will want to know about your likes, your dislikes, what you find funny and what you don’t, your beliefs, your views on the world, your past, your vision for your future and your family. This is the primary and most instinctive way that two people try to assess (both consciously and unconsciously) how compatible they are as a couple. If someone is not actively asking you questions about yourself or trying to get to know things about you, then there is a high possibility that they are NOT interested in you as a person – they are most likely just interested in your body or a short-term fling.
2) They spend time with you
Taking time to spend with you means sacrificing time spent elsewhere. If he or she is giving up time with friends, family, sport, hobbies, etc. to spend time with you (and not just for sex), that’s a pretty clear indicator that they are genuinely interested in you. Because, as one of the interviewees said: “We make time for what is important to us”. Another said; “Where you spend your time, that’s where your treasure is… that’s where your heart is.”
Spending time with you means more than text messaging. Someone who is genuinely interested in you is going to want to see you face-to-face and will move mountains to make that happen. And when they see you, it won’t just be about getting physical – it will be about engaging with you through conversation and doing things with you primarily outside of the bedroom.
Interestingly, the men also acknowledged that late night texting is pretty much code for ‘booty call’. If someone is only texting you when they are alone and feeling lonely, then be strong enough in yourself to see it for what it is and what it is not: It’s a booty call, not love.
3) They notice the little things
When your intentions toward someone are more than just physical, you tend to become more observant. You notice the little things like a change in their hairstyle, earrings or nails. You notice the freckles on their face or the scars on their hands. You notice when their mood has changed or when something has affected them.
If someone is truly intentional about getting to know you and pursue you, these are the things they will take note of, and most likely comment or pick-up on.
4) They respect your boundaries
This is a big one. It’s important because it speaks not only of their character, but also how they value you. If he or she doesn’t respect your physical boundaries, your time boundaries, or your emotional boundaries then they don’t respect you. It’s as simple as that.
Physical boundaries are the limits you set on physical interaction. You need to know your personal physical boundaries BEFORE you get into a relationship or start hanging out with your interest. If someone is pushing you for something you are not ready for, then you can be sure they are most probably more interested in their own satisfaction than in you.
Time boundaries can be anything from a respective curfew to limiting how much time you are willing to give up with other people/ doing other things in order to spend with a person of interest. However this also encompasses how they treat you and your time: Do they cancel a date just before you’re meant to go out? Do they keep messing you around time-wise by postponing/cancelling dates and hang-outs? Do they constantly ditch you for something better? Or do they spontaneously try to take up all your time ‘hanging out’ and disregard the fact that you have other things to do? If yes to any of these, then walk away. Walk away quickly. If they don’t respect your time now, they wont respect it in the future.
Emotional boundaries are more complex since they are more difficult to pick up on. But basically, if someone is trying to get you to go too deep too quickly and make you feel emotionally vulnerable around them before you are ready, it can lead to one or both of you getting very hurt. On the flip side, you opening up about deep issues in your life to someone who is not committed to you will most likely end with you feeling hurt and embarrassed. Accessing the deepest part of someone’s emotions and allowing them to do the same with you requires a great deal of vulnerability. It is beautiful in the context of a committed relationship. However, it can lead to manipulation if you allow yourself to open up to the wrong person, or a feeling that you have been ‘emotionally violated’ if it is outside of a safe and committed relationship. There is not enough emphasis placed on emotional boundaries in our society – but it is the reason most people (especially women) feel violated after the fling or ‘thing’ has ended. A lot of women (and some men too) open up to the person they are interested in prematurely, telling them their deepest secrets and hurts, hoping that their vulnerability will inspire the other person to step up and rescue them and/or comfort them. When the other person doesn’t respond in the expected or desired manner, then disappointment and confusion sets in and both parties usually end up parting ways – at least one of them feeling confused and hurt.
5) Where they look, and how they talk
“Your vision will determine your steps” – Coach Fredrick
Where their eyes go will give you an indicator of their intentions. If their eyes are primarily on your breasts, butt, body instead of your face, their intentions are clear.
If they communicate with you by using ‘cheap’ language (talking dirty, calling you names like ‘sexy’ instead of your name) then you can be pretty certain that their intentions are ‘cheap’ too. If someone treats you like you are cheap, it means that they are not willing to invest a great deal into you – they will only put in the minimal amount of effort to get what they want from you and then they will likely leave.
6) They tell their friends and family about you and seek their approval
This is perhaps the truest tell-tale sign of all. If someone is initially interested in you, they will get their friends approval – and usually to do with how you look. If they are genuinely interested in you, they will seek their friends approval on a different level by finding out what they think of you as a person and if you fit into the friend group dynamic as apposed to just how you look. Also, if their intention extends further than a short-term thing, they will most likely tell their family about you and ask their opinions of you.
Figuring out if someone is interested in you, and what their intentions are is not always easy. Even if they do show all the signs, they could still be just wanting friendship or leading you on (OH SO CONFUSING!!!). But using your intuition (yes, we all have it) and paying attention to your gut feeling goes a long way. If in doubt, initiate a conversation with the person and find out what their intentions are. It’s perfectly okay to do so if you do it in an honoring, casual (not too intense or you WILL scare them) and pleasant way.
One of the keys to relationships and potential relationships is the combination of confidence and vulnerability. On their own, each can be the cause of grief and misperceptions in a relationship – but together they are powerful. Be confident enough to go out and pursue what you see as worth pursuing, and be vulnerable enough to let the person see the real you and your true feelings.
Related: 10 signs a guy likes you
Also read: How to be Confident (Without Faking)