Can’t figure out if she’s interested in you? You’re not alone. In a perfect world, if a woman was interested she would express her interest. If she was not interested, she would make that clear as well.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Women are typically subtle in the way they express interest. Societal pressures have conditioned women to not display outward signs of interest in men, and only recently have those pressures been subsiding. Furthermore, just like men, women also fear rejection. Everyone wants the other side to be straight forward and take all the emotional risk, but is it really a surprise that this is neither sides’ preference?
Recognizing signs or indicators of interest requires playing detective: paying attention to subtle cues, small behavioral deviations from the norm, and seemingly innocuous actions that mean much more. What makes it even more difficult is that often times, women will be expressing their interest in such subtle ways that they themselves don’t even notice that they’re revealing their hand.
Learning to speak the language of interest fluently is one of those skills that takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master. Knowing what to look for is easy: we’re going to tell you what to look for in about a minute. It’s knowing how to calibrate what you’re seeing, hearing and feeling that requires practice: recognizing when a certain indicator of interest is incidental or meaningful, whether a behavior is a sign of interest or simply congruent with her personality, or whether an indicator of interest is actually a result of nervousness and anxiety. We’ll have pointers about those topics in later publications–first, you must know what to look for.
1. Eye Contact
Our eyes are our gatekeeper: our gaze is the first point of contact we make with one another. It’s our initial invitation to either get closer or get lost. Good eye contact accompanied with a smile? Roll out the red carpet. A nasty look and a scowl? Might want to turn your head. While many people make eye contact when communicating with each other, piercing eye contact in silence, whether from across a room or across a table, is a common sign that she’s interested, or at least intrigued. Calibration still comes into play: not everyone who makes eye contact with you is romantically interested in you. However, in a romantic setting, or a room full of strangers, eye contact is a sign to look for.
When we’re interested in someone, we almost always want to be close to them. Any chance we get to share space with them is a chance we don’t want to squander. In this regard, women are no different. If she’s interested she will want to be close to you. She will make an effort to be close to you. It might be subtle, walking unusually close to you on her way to the bathroom, leaning in while you talk to her, even if it’s loud, scooting closer to you at dinner, all are signs of interest.
Touch can be thought of as the third step of the ‘contact process’. Eye contact opens the door to potential contact, closeness makes contact possible, and finally, touch is contact. Touch is a very strong indicator of interest, even touch that might seem incidental. Does she touch you while talking to you for no particular reason? Does she put her hand on your shoulder while laughing? Did she reach across the table to touch your hand at dinner? All of these and more are strong indicators of interest you should not ignore.
If she’s actively touching you, there’s a good shot she’s interested. Naturally, there are no guarantees: some women are simply very touchy. However, more often than not, if the context makes sense, there’s interest.
The dreaded text message waiting game rarely happens if she’s really interested. But that’s not the only example of responsiveness. Responsiveness encompasses all forms of communication, from asynchronous forms of communication (texting, email, Instagram DMs) to in person conversation. The more responsive she is, the more likely she’s interested. Pay particular attention to changes in her behavior. Responding to a text in three hours is very responsive for someone who normally takes days, it’s unresponsive for someone who normally takes minutes. Talkative people also often come off as very responsive but that’s not necessarily a sign. How her interactions deviates from the norm around you is what will help you gauge her level of interest.
Responding to you is a sign she’s interested. Her initiating is an even clearer indication of interest. If you managed to get to the point where she is initiating conversation or plans; there’s a strong chance she’s interested. Granted, you always have to pay attention to the context: for example, initiating a meetup because you are both part of the same study group isn’t a sign she’s romantically interested. Furthermore, initiative doesn’t only refer to the obvious. If you’re chatting at the bar and she starts leading the conversation, that’s initiative, and that’s a sign of interest.
Eye contact, closeness and touch are not the only forms of body language that can help you gauge her interest. There are many others, including her smile. While everyone smiles from time to time, and just because someone smiles at you doesn’t mean she is interested in you, a smile is usually a good sign. In particular, a smile not attached to an obvious reason is something to pay special attention to. It’s no surprise she would smile if you told a funny joke, but all that really tells you is that your joke was funny. If she smiles after you first made eye contact, in silence, that’s a picture worth a thousand words.
Start by Paying Attention
Knowing if she’s interested in you is a difficult skill; it’s only easy in obvious situations. But now that you’re armed with a few signs to look for, start paying attention. You won’t read the situation perfectly at first, but as you have more social interactions and meet more women, you’ll gradually start to figure out when a smile is just a smile and when a smile means more. You’ll begin to understand how to detect changes in behavior, as opposed to just the behaviors themselves, interpret them, and respond appropriately. That’s the next step.