Signs They’re Attracted To You

And why we usually make mistakes in knowing

You’ve probably Googled it and if you haven’t Googled it, you’ve certainly still wondered it. Because we all have.

“Are they into me or not?”

But when we do, we run into a slew of problems, because:

Most information out there is really, really stupid.

Signs like: which direction their feet are pointing, whether or not they make eye contact or ask questions or giggle and twirl their hair or whatever.

The problem with “signs” comes down to these two errors:

1. False Positives

Also known as “type I” errors in statistical hypothesis, this is an error in which a result improperly indicates presence of a condition when in reality it is not present. In other words: a “false alarm,” or “boy who cried wolf.”

In the case of attraction, this means:

You think they’re into you, but they’re not.

False positives happens with:

  • Friendly or flirtatious people
  • People who may be attracted to you but (see below) don’t want to be, or don’t want to pursue anything
  • People who give mixed signals
  • When your one-way attraction to them overrides any sense or self-awareness you have about accurately reading their behavior
  • You get overly hopeful, grasping at things and making small signs indicative of something bigger
  • i.e., people who struggle (i.e., fail) to accurately read other people’s signs

2. False Negatives

Also known as “type II” errors in statistical hypothesis, this is an error in which a result improperly indicates presence of a condition when it is not actually present. For example: a medical condition that goes undetected, a guilty suspect acquitted of their crime, or the “silent but deadly” fart — you don’t think it’s there, but it is.

In the case of attraction, this means:

You think they’re NOT into you, but they are.

Happens with:

  • Shy people
  • Socially awkward people
  • People trying to hide that they’re into you, for whatever reason
  • People who give mixed signals
  • People who struggle (and fail) to accurately read other people’s signs

THE PROBLEMS:

1. Human Beings Are Messy

People are messy, imperfect human beings. We are often (though not always) simple but very rarely straightforward.

2. Attraction Is Not Black and White

This is a huge topic and I am amazed at how badly we butcher it.

“Attraction” is not binary. We cause ourselves a lot of pain by failing to realize this, and seek “advice” because someone does one thing that indicates attraction (“texting”) and another that doesn’t (“ignoring you for a week.”)

We would resolve so much of our own pain and confusion if we just realized: attraction is not binary.

3. Attraction Is Not Linear

People may feel superficially attracted to one another without there being any real intent behind it.

Here’s an example:
I am not into cake. Like, at all. But today we swung by a local, hipster bakery with these adorable, Instagram-ready cakes, and even though I do not like cake and do not want cake, even I could admit: “that’s a pretty cake.” But that doesn’t mean I want some. So much in life goes like this, and so much of our “confusion” hinges on not realizing it.

Unreliable signs of “attraction”

There are situations when these may indeed be accurate signs of attraction, but more often than not, these are not real.

“Eye contact”

According to posts online:

“We like to make tons of eye contact with people when we think they’re attractive.” — Bustle

“Eye contact is a universal symbol of human attraction… even infants maintain eye contact with people they’re interested in.”

This is probably one of the worst “signs.” Eye contact indicates attention, but it does not equate romantic attraction.

False negative: an individual may feel shy, avoiding eye contact.

False positive: the individual may be making eye contact because eye contact is widely regarded as normal social behavior.

“Pupil Dilation”

Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of Success Signals, A Guide to Reading Body Language, shared:

“Dilation is a brain response that occurs when you like and are attracted to something.”

Which is true — but we have to be careful with this “sign,” because pupils dilate in response to anything that demands increased levels of attention.

Poppy Crum, PhD, a neuroscientist and technologist, did a TedTalk on technology and micro-expressions, in which she shared,

“Your eye responds to how hard your brain is working… When your brain’s having to work harder, your autonomic nervous system drives your pupil to dilate. When it’s not, it contracts.”

Below is a test subject’s eye responding to two jumbled, overlapping voices (about 3:35 in the video if you want to watch) — not sexual attraction.

“Body language”

“Body language speaks a lot when it comes to knowing a guy that wants to date you.” — Dami Rhythms

It may — but it could also be very misleading.

Proximity or leaning towards the other

The “signs” say:

People who like you are “anticipating the opportunity to become closer to you.”

and

“They lean toward you… they just want to be close to you!” — Bustle

Which is true. But the problem with this is: sometimes people just like being close to others.

“Feet / Toes”

“The feet tend to point where the heart wants to go” — Wood

Please no more with the feet and toes.

Mirroring:

The “signs” say:

“If they mimic your gestures, odds are they like you.”

This is basic of rapport, observable even in job interviews. It doesn’t always mean it’s sexual.

Touching

The “signs” read:

“If there’s a lot of arm-touching or ‘accidental’… grazing, take heed: that probably wasn’t an accident.” — Bustle

“Touch is a key sign of interest that will help you develop a relationship and you can use touch.” — Dami Rhythms

“If the guy moves his head towards your direction or touches you back. That means he has interest in you.” — Dami Rhythms

“If they’re interested, they might brush against you, or won’t move away if you brush against them.”

False positives: we touch in many contexts. We touch family members, friends.

Nervousness:

The “signs” say:

“Unnecessary laughter, deep breaths, sweaty palms, fidgeting, looking away from you… [acting] anxious.” — Dami Rhythms

“If your crush appears to have butterflies when you’re around, they’re excited to be around you.”

Most people get nervous when giving presentations, or during interviews. This doesn’t equate sexual interest.

They’re sensitive

Sure. Or they’re just sensitive.

You seem to put a bounce in their step

“You can tell when someone is happy to see you. If seeing you seems to enliven them, you’re on the right track.”

Probably true. Or they’re just excitable.

Teasing

The “signs” say:

“If they tease you, it could signal interest. They do this to draw your attention towards them.”

People tease their friends. They tease their siblings. Teasing is a sign of rapport, but it’s not inherently sexual.

Complimenting

The “signs” say:

“Recognize any compliments… this is a good sign.”

People compliment each other all the time! Again, this is not an immediate sign of romantic attraction.

Asking questions

“We are very inquisitive when we’re around people who interest us. So if they’re asking tons of questions, they want to know more about you — and see more of you.” — Bustle

This is a normal person making conversation.

They don’t talk about other romantic conquests

Well, or they may be private.

They ask your opinion

This is 100% personality. Some people will ask everyone’s opinion of anything. Others won’t ask anybody, regardless. It’s not about attraction.

They listen

This is just common courtesy.

They tell you things about themselves

Again, this is personality. Some people like sharing. Others don’t.

Smiling

The “signs” say,

“They smile at you.”

“According to M.Farouk Radwan, MSc, an ‘extended smile,’ or one that doesn’t fade quickly, ‘for no obvious reason,’ is real, and shows interest.”

Smiling, again, is social.

They invite you to meet their friends

Sure, you passed a benchmark — but that doesn’t automatically mean anything else.

They are nice

“It doesn’t have to be grand gestures of affection, but do they bring you a coffee after work because they know how tired you are?… Little gestures go a long way.”

Some people are just nice.

Friends:

The “signs” say:

“If their friend knows that they have interest in you, they might tease them when you’re around.”

Oh, honey… Yeah, this might be true. Or they could be the sort of friends who are just giving him hell, or just wing-manning to get him laid when he’s not actually interested in much more — let alone you.

They are observant

The “signs” say:

“If you got a new haircut or changed your appearance in some way, they notice, because they’re paying attention to you.”

Please. None of my boyfriends ever consistently noticed when I got a haircut. I once dated a dude for six months without him realizing I was a vegetarian. Some people just aren’t that observant.

They engage with you on social media

Oh no.

First of all: tons of people who aren’t actually interested engage with people on social media. I mean, I myself follow and engage with tons of people I don’t want to sleep with (or date, whatever.) Get out more.

Second: there are people I am actually attracted to that I don’t engage with at all on social media. Namely: my boyfriend? I’ve never liked a single IG post.

They want your number

The other day my colleague asked for my number so we could carpool. Calm down.

They pick up the phone

“When it comes to plans, they just call you, instead of endlessly trying to figure things out via text.”

I’ve gone months without calling my mom. That doesn’t mean I don’t like her.

They don’t play games

“They think games are silly, and they want to be authentic with you.”

Lol, I 100% “play” with most of the people I like. You want to know the people I don’t “play” with? The ones I don’t like.

etc.

There are so many stupid signs.

The Signs That Matter

5. Staring (when you’re not speaking to each other)

“If they can’t stop staring… you’ve got your first clue.” — Bustle

This includes: glancing over, extending eye contact, flat-out staring, looking at you while they laugh, etc. This is especially true for dudes, and I’ve almost never found a scenario when this wasn’t true. Even when I assume the glance isn’t attraction, I very often later find out it was.

4. They want time with you

“They make plans… if they want to see you again sometime soon, they’re into you. No one wants to commit to something next Thursday unless they actually really want to spend time with you.” — Bustle

One big indicator (that you’ll likely not see, but is still there) is scheduling a party and inviting a bunch of people when you’re the only one they actually want to see. That is huge.

3. They want ALONE time — uninterrupted — with you

And “they minimize interruptions and distractions — putting their phone away, and resisting interruptions.”

If they are willing to spend along time with you, it’s probably a good sign. That being said, I have totally hung out with people one on one who didn’t make a move. So.

2. They treat you differently than anyone else

Especially if it seems positive.

1. They tell you.

Obviously, if someone comes right out and tells you, “Hey, I like you!” then they probably do. Even if someone says it as “a joke,” it probably isn’t. They’re just looking for a positive reaction but don’t have the guts to tell you in an obvious way.

Writer — www.krisgage.com reach me at krisgagemedium (at) gmail (dot) com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store