Most times it is easy to read people; their body language and expressions reveal feelings for us to decode and respond to. However things become a little muddy when it comes to matters of the heart, many of us shy away from wearing our heart on our sleeve and try to conceal our true emotions. So how can you tell if someone likes you, are they just being friendly? Is their aloof attitude stemming from a genuine lack of interest or a hesitancy to acknowledge their feelings? It is tough to call and even tougher if you call it wrong and suffer rejection.
This article from Psychology Today attempts to arm us with the tools to decipher the tell tale signs of romantic interest. It discusses Error Management Theory which is a little technical (we’re not all science buffs) but describes how fundamentally men and women approach dating from different vantage points
“men are often best served by not missing easy sexual opportunities and have evolved biases to perceive female desire—even when none exists. Women, however, are best served by avoiding men who will not invest in them further and have evolved biases to discount men’s signs of commitment—even when men are sincere.”
In short men think you like them even if you don’t, women will disregard your advances even if you are blatantly communicating your interest. SO THAT’S BLOOMIN’ GREAT NEWS!
But there is hope, author Jeremy Nicholson outlines the key areas that will give away your potential match’s worst kept secret:
1. Body Language: Two words: Open and forward, well that’s really three but you get me. Take note of how close they are to you, do they lean in to the conversation or become animated when chatting? Two more words: eye contact.
2. Touch: Do they initiate touching, and no we don’t mean a formal handshake. Think hugging, rubbing shoulders, arms or back, kisses on the cheek. Are they receptive to your touch in return? It is important to be aware of a persons personal space, never place someone in an uncomfortable position, take note of the signs and respect whether they are welcoming or rebuffing you.
3. Investment: This applies more-so to relationships that are already romantically established. A persons interest can be gauged by their level of personal investment, do they introduce you to family or friends, invite you out with their inner circle, do they value your needs and desires as highly as their own and prioritize your happiness? In this case you really do know when you know, if you don’t know then it’s probably time to let it go.
4. Gratitude: This should ideally take the form of a verbal thank you as well as a tangible show of appreciation, be it a thoughtful gift or gesture. *Thoughtful does not equate expensive*. Often the small, mundane things people do for us are what really reveal the depth of their affection like turning on the electric blanket to preheat your side of the bed or arriving home with a treat for after dinner.
It is important to consider our own behaviour as much as try to understand other people’s. Are our actions sending out the right signals? You never know, maybe Cupid is struggling to figure you out too!