You’ve probably heard me say this before: Dating is a SKILL, and like all skills, you get better at it with study (e.g. reading blogs like this one) and practice (getting out there and trying). One of the most fundamental skills you can learn is how to recognize when a man is interested in you. Learning to detect interest greatly increases your chances of getting dates, prevents you from wasting your time on guys who aren’t that interested, and prevents rejection. Yes, rejection is an unavoidable part of dating, but with skill you can reduce your rate of rejection to manageable levels.
When to Look for Signs of Interest
There are three key times when you want to assess a man’s interest:
1) Before you meet him. As I discuss in It’s Not Him, It’s YOU, initiating is important if you want to get dates. Often, you’ll need to break the ice so a man doesn’t feel like he’s hitting on an uninterested woman. You’ll find this much less intimidating if you learn to recognize the signs of interest.
2) After you meet him. If you meet a guy and actually get to talk to him, you can look for another set of signs here to assess whether you’re likely to get a date or if you’re wasting your time.
3) Once you start dating. Once you’ve gone out with a guy, whether it’s one date or several, you want to be on the lookout for signs of interest from him. I see more women struggle at this stage far more than the other two combined, and then continue to waste their time with the wrong guys. This struggle makes sense – the more emotionally involved you become in a potential relationship, the harder it is to be objective. I will cover this topic later because it’s big enough to warrant its own page.
Signs He’s Interested
If you see a Hottie at a party, at your gym, in class, or anywhere else, look for these signs:
- Looking: You’ll catch him checking you out, either directly or on the sly when he thinks you don’t know. Sometimes you’ll feel him looking at you, but when you look his way, he turns away. One look is a potential sign of interest. Two or more is a definite sign.
- Eye contact: I discuss eye contact at length in my book. If you can only take one message from today’s blog, take this one: eye contact tells all. Eye contact is intense and makes people uncomfortable – think of yourself in an elevator with other people, and how much you avoid each other’s eyes. Because of this, people keep eye contact brief. If it lasts longer than normal – say, 2+ seconds – PAY ATTENTION. People look at what interests them. Likewise, they don’t look at what doesn’t interest them, and an uninterested man will make only brief eye contact with you, if any.
- Proximity: If you suddenly start seeing a guy around more often, he may be interested. He might start showing up to your Starbucks in the morning because he saw you there, or might pass by you often if at a bar or the gym. He’s hoping to find a way to meet you.
If you see these signs, you probably have a live one and he’s waiting for permission to talk to you. Give it to him. Smile. Say hello. If you’re daring, wink.
Okay, so say you got him talking. Congrats! Breaking the ice is the toughest step! Now, look for these signs:
- Wanting to talk. If he’s interested in you, he’ll genuinely want to talk. He’ll turn toward you, listen intently, ask you about yourself, and tell you about himself. His expression will look interested, and he may raise his eyebrows or even smile. Likewise, uninterested man will seem bored, have less to say, look around the room more, turn his body away from you (like he’s looking to leave), and/or will have a flat expression like he’s only listening to be polite.
- Preening. Some men will brush lint off their shirt, run hands through their hair, adjust their tie. They’re unconsciously trying to look good.
- Nervousness. Look for fidgeting, stuttering, clearing his throat, or blushing. These are obvious signs, but with skill you’ll learn more subtle signs he’s nervous. Men are usually nervous on some level when talking to a woman they like, even if they’re good at hiding it. We’re all nervous when we feel attraction, and if a guy seems too smooth, he’s probably not the kind of guy you want.
The trick with these signs, as with all body language, isn’t to fixate on any one sign. Look for patterns, and listen to your instincts. If you sense interest, it’s probably there. You may be wrong from time to time, but with practice your man-reading skills can become almost ironclad. Overall, if you see the signs, act on them if you’re interested. If you don’t see them, move on.