Signs They Love You

…versus “like” you (versus only care about themselves)

Most of the things that are listed in these sorts of articles are not love. They are attachment, or infatuation, or flirtation — or something just being nice.

Here’s a breakdown of how it looks across a series of emotions, lukewarm to love.

Signs they’re just a decent human being

Here’s normal stuff that normal people do — and should do — even with strangers. It doesn’t even mean they necessarily like you as a person — they might just be polite. Especially in the south.

  • They make eye contact when you speak to them
  • They don’t interrupt when you speak to them
  • They might even smile or seem interested when you speak to them
  • They respond appropriately when you speak to them. (Like when they hear your great aunt died, they express sympathy.)
  • They hold the door instead of letting it hit you in the face
  • They offer to help carry something when your arms are full
  • They don’t do things to deliberately bring you down

None of these are signs of someone liking you. This is just normal human being stuff, guys.

Signs they like you — but just, like, as a fellow decent human being

Congrats, they socialize well and you probably do too.

  • They ask if you want anything when they run next door for coffee.
  • They may or may not even accept your money when you offer.
  • They return your phone calls in a timely manner.
  • They ask “how was your weekend?”
  • They ask if you want to hang out
  • They don’t blow you off
  • They make you laugh, or vice versa
  • They compliment you

Again, these aren’t love. Tiffany Sun just wrote a great post on this — “things I wish guys didn’t take as a mixed signal.”

Signs they *care* about you

But don’t necessarily love you.

  • They notice your food still hasn’t come and ask the server about it on your behalf.
  • They convince you the dead cat on the side of the road was a raccoon, because you’re a cat lover and they know the truth would ruin your day.
  • When they learn your great aunt died, they know if you need a hug, and then give you one if you do. Then they go with you to her funeral, or follow up afterwards to ask, sincerely: “how are you doing?”
  • They care enough to self-care, and their emotional state is never dependent on yours
  • They love enough to self-love, and never rely on you to fulfill self-esteem needs
  • They are invested in their own growth and development, and allow room for yours as well, free of inhibitions, resentments, or expectations.
  • They truly value you as your own person, regardless of the permanence of their role in your life, or vice versa
  • They respect you
  • They don’t dump their emotional needs on you, esp. by way of ambiguous request, resentment, contempt, passive aggressiveness, etc.
  • There are no strings attached

Signs they just like themselves

And not only not you, but often in a way that’s harmful to you, not genuine self-care.

i.e., things people do “for others” that are really for them.

  • Their affection for you is deficit-based (i.e., “you complete me” or “you mean everything to me”)
  • They are preoccupied with how you feel about them, and how to “improve” (read: manipulate) that
  • They compliment you only on things they benefit from; i.e., your beauty
  • They do nice things — but then get grabby with “appreciation,” i.e., not ever being appreciated “enough.”
  • They approach love with an overarching desire for security, comfort in sameness. There is minimal room for growth or change, which scares them.
  • They need continuous reassurance and proof of love
  • They discourage change, or encourage change in a way that suits their own image, expectations, or idea of what’s “right”

Signs they love themselves — in a healthy way

i.e., a prerequisite to being able to love someone else.

  • They don’t require constant reassurance or displays of love
  • They take care of their own emotional needs rather than relying on you for them
  • They understand that they are responsible for their own responses, feelings, and experiences
  • They build their own self-esteem intrinsically, rather than clawing at others for it
  • They are emotionally stable and mature
  • Their energy is not “needy,” “pawing” or “draining,” but rather expansive and overflowing.
  • They don’t love others as a cover-up (or negotiation tactic) for their lack of self-love.
  • They love others because their own love-cup overfloweth.

Signs they just DON’T love *you*

Regardless of any of the above.

Way too many people worry about being “friend-zoned.” This is a misplaced concern. It’s a lot easier to transition a friendship into romance than to wring romantic feelings out of not even liking each other as people.

The bigger concern — and what’s really happening for a lot of frustrated daters — is that they barely even like you as a person.

They don’t care about your goals, your values, your fears, or your love language.

The big one is if they have a checklist of qualities they wanted in a partner and you happen to hit them. Or they have a list of stuff they’ve always wanted to do with “someone,” and now you’re working your way through it together. When asked what they like about you, they list different things than how you value yourself (especially if the first one is superficial, like looks.)

They adapted very little to “accommodate” you into their lives, and if you disappeared tomorrow, they’d just go on living exactly the same way they always have.

They make you laugh only because they get off on “being funny.” They invite you on their trip because they just really want someone to travel with. They share books and music and film and restaurant suggestions because they just get off on sharing or being in the know — or they need for you to like the same things — not because they care about your opinion. Or they do nice gestures just because they have a deep need to feel “appreciated” and influence over your happiness.

Somehow nothing is ever for them to own — and they don’t want to. Their primary reaction is always to defend themselves, and they’re never to blame.

I don’t mean the occasional drifting. I mean a general, persistent feeling of “awayness.”

One day they’re whispering sweet nothings in your ear, and then they go missing for two weeks.

Like “beautiful.”

They still make long-term plans without discussing it with you. They still propose weekend plans by saying “that’s where I’ll be if you wanna come.”

Their ask about your day in a way that’s half-hearted. They barely care about your struggles, and rarely share your celebrations.

Signs they *love you*

They care about you and your wellbeing separate from themselves and their own.

Nobody can love without self-love. People without self-love will be seemingly “generous” and “self-less” but are actually using generosity to mask their deep-seated insecurity and need to build their self esteem around others emotional dependence on them.

They love you if they never check in on you loving them back. They love you if the energy is truly give, not give and “now-where’s-my-love-or-appreciation-back” take.

Without strings attached. When they’re invested in deeply understanding you. And they go out of their way to make you happy.

They rearrange their lives to fit you in.

People love themselves and their own lives, so if they start forgoing any of that to be with you, that’s a good sign.

It doesn’t have to be all their free time. It doesn’t even have to be every day. And it certainly doesn’t have to be as much as you want, if your idea of “enough time” is higher than theirs. But they do prioritize you.

When you’re together, you’re together. They aren’t zoning out or interrupting while you’re talking, or eager for a distraction. Their mind is on the moment.

They use words. It may not be the three words you want most to hear, but there will be communication.

They’re supportive of whatever is most important to you.

Especially their future plans.

Your pain is their pain. Your happiness is their happiness. Your day is their day. Your aspirations are theirs, too.

Theirs as well as your own.

Writer — reach me at krisgagemedium (at) gmail (dot) com

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