“Sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave.” Remember He’s Just Not That Into You? I do, because I’m a cross between Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Mary (Drew Barrymore). All my life I’ve struggled with determining whether or not a guy I like is into me (it’s always much easier to tell when you’re so not into him, but he’s totally into you). Very rarely – by that I mean like twice – have I been able to successfully tell when a guy I’m interested in is interested in me, too. The other times? Epic freaking failures.
In college and high school, guys seemed to be so much more obvious when they were interested. I’m not sure if it was more confidence or just the raging hormones, but you always knew whether he liked you or not. Actually, come to think of it, it’s because you’d hear it through the grapevine. People were so much more gossipy then.
As we enter adulthood and throughout our twenties, we don’t typically date guys in the same environment as us (that whole “don’t dip your pen in company ink” thing is totally a valid social rule). Therefore, we don’t get the rumor mill and the grapevine sources of information. We are left out in the cold trying to determine if that guy who’s been supposedly flirting with you (or is he just being nice?) is actually interested in a date or maybe even a relationship. We have to find those signs, those undertones in their voices, and decode cryptic text messages – or so we think. We tend to forget that guys aren’t as confusing or enigmatic as we can be.
So many times I’ve mistaken genuine good manners and friendliness for flirting. In this day and age of self-absorption, you can’t really blame us for doing that. Example: I used to work in a counter-style food service joint in the same town where my brother works. A new guy starts working with my brother, and said brother wants to hook us up. Cool. I tell the bro to make him come in for lunch. To my surprise, this guy comes in. But not just once; no, he comes in every day for an entire month. And flirts/was nice to me each of those days. I decide to be brave and bold for once in my life: I wrote my number on a piece of paper with a note that said simply “Call me?” and tucked into his sandwich wrapper. Cheesy, right? But I thought it would work. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Three days later, I get a text saying, “you’re really nice and everything, but I just started seeing someone else.” POP! There goes the ego. The lesson here: just because he’s polite, does NOT mean he’s into you.
Most of the time, I do this. I mistake this kindness for flirting and interest. “OMG he liked everything I posted on social media last week – he’s totally into me” Um, WRONG, Samantha. He does that to everyone, probably. Another favorite: “He likes all of my selfies. He must think I’m attractive because no other guys do that to me.” Wrong again. Noticing you is totally different than being into you. All of these incidents merely show that he is aware of your existence, and that’s it.
You’re probably waiting for that grand moment when I reveal the secret of knowing when a guy is into you, right? Like a big surprise where I unveil all of the secrets of the dating universe. Well here it is. Are you ready? I don’t think you are, because it really is the simplest answer you’ll ever learn. Okay here it goes.
IF A GUY IS TRULY INTO YOU, AND HE THINKS YOU’RE INTO HIM, HE’S GOING TO TELL YOU THAT HE’S INTO YOU. If he likes you, he’s going to be obvious about it. You won’t have to pick apart every word in his texts. You won’t have to cryptically ask him when you’re together. You won’t have to make excuses for why he didn’t call or stood you up or ignored you at Starbucks. Again, guys aren’t like us. Generally, when they want something, they go after it.
That’s it. It’s that simple. If he doesn’t do this, then one of two things are happening. Either you’re being cryptic about your intentions, or he’s really not that into you. Now, I’m not talking about those scum bags at the club who make creepy eyes at you and then sneak up on you when you’re not looking. Those guys are looking for a little something to last a few hours, tops. I’m talking about those guys that you meet and have an actual conversation with, possibly exchange numbers, and then you don’t know what happens from there. The only time that I’ve been correct in my assumption of a guy being into me, he told me point blank: “I like you. I think we should go on a date.” All those other times where I try to decode every little thing a guy says, I’ve been dead wrong about their feelings.