Notes for Girls: How can I tell if he’s interested in me?

This week’s featured question comes from one of our women readers and was answered by our ever-insightful Dave. She asks:

“How can a girl tell if a guy is interested in her?”

As is true with many of these posts, there is no definitive way to tell if a guy is interested in you.  It varies so much from one guy to the next that I couldn’t possibly give you a perfect system.  I can, however, tell you how you would know if I were interested.

Initial contact

Before you’ve gone on a date, if he’s interested in you, he will try to talk to you.

This is the most sure-fire way to tell if a guy is interested.  However, many guys are patient and a little hesitant when it comes to walking up to girls they don’t know and introducing themselves.  We guys are into playing it cool, so some guys wait for either the right opportunity (an introduction or any kind of ‘in’) or for you to talk to them.  I don’t think it’s too forward for a girl to start a first conversation with a guy—in fact I think most guys appreciate it.  Usually this conversation will be small talk to start to get to know a little about one another.

Personally, I usually won’t ask for your number at this stage, but this is going to vary a lot from guy to guy.  I will most often wait until another time to ask you out on a date.

There are a couple of lessons to take from this, one is that you shouldn’t decide a guy’s not interested because he doesn’t come right up and introduce himself.  Some guys will, but many of us are just not that bold.  Another is that you shouldn’t pay too much attention to how the conversation went (unless it was just awful), because both you and he may have been really nervous.  Also, just because he didn’t go for your number doesn’t mean that he’s not interested.  Remember, many guys are patient and are into playing it cool.

The Rule of Contact

Prior to the first conversation there are not too many sure-fire ways to tell if a guy is into you, but afterwards there are a few basic things to look for.  The first is the Rule of Contact.  Now that you’ve had a chance to talk once in the past, the next time he sees you he will do everything he can to come and talk to you.  Any excuse he can think of—even if it’s something as lame as talking about the weather or his favorite brand of ice cream.  This is the general rule: if he’s into you and you’ve already met, he will try to make contact.  Don’t give up if you see him at one place and he doesn’t make it over to talk to you.  But, if you see him at a few parties and he doesn’t attempt to talk to you, then he’s probably not interested.

The Rule of Flirting

At some point he is going to ask you out on a date.  There are so many complexities that play into how guys show whether they are interested on a date—it’s going to be different for every guy, but I can think of one clear way to tell that he is interested: flirting.  The Rule of Flirting is simple: if he flirts with you then he is probably into you.  Does he tease you (in a funny/nice way)?  Does he look for excuses to touch your arm?  Do the two of you laugh together when you’re out on a date?

The Rule of ‘We Should’

Next is the Rule of ‘We Should’.  This is where you’re on a date and he says something like, “You like to [insert activity]?  We should do it together sometime.”

This is him testing the waters and it is VERY important that you respond appropriately.  If he suggests that you play tennis together you should be enthusiastic and say: “I’d love to play with you sometime.”

If he suggests something you don’t feel comfortable with, you should throw out an alternative: “I’m not really sure about waterskiing behind your snowmobile, but I’d love to go longboarding sometime.”

If you’re not interested in going out again, be sure you don’t sound enthusiastic when he suggests doing something in the future, and definitely don’t suggest an alternative.

The Rule of Priority

After the date some guys like to make sure a girl knows that they had a good time by trying to stay in contact with her, but without being too blatant.  For example, if you text him that you had a good time after he drops you off he may text you back ‘thanks’ and something trying to confirm future plans or, at the very least, a ‘talk to you soon’.  Then he should try to contact you again sometime in the next couple of days either to just be in touch or to set up another date.

This is the Rule of Priority (it’s closely related to the Rule of Contact), which is that if a guy is into you then he will make contacting you a priority.  He should try his best to make sure you hear from him so that you know that you are officially a priority.

The Rule of It’s Not That Simple

This is the hardest part of the whole thing, it drives both guys and girls crazy sometimes.  This is the Rule of It’s Not That Simple.  It is that at any given time a guy probably has more than one girl he’s interested in until he’s in a relationship.

This makes things complicated sometimes but it is part of dating.  At some point the guy is going to have to decide to date only one of the girls he’s going out with.  If he has been taking out three girls simultaneously then this means that two of them will stop getting calls from him.  Personally, I try to do this gradually but occasionally it is abrupt.  And it happens both ways—I can think of times when I’ve been having a great time with a girl and I’ve thought that things were going well until she suddenly stops returning calls.  This is probably because she has been going out with a few different people and has decided to commit to one.

In my experience, the only remedy to this is to make sure that you always have more than one person you’re interested in until you’re in a relationship.  And if you don’t then you need to spend time with your friends and go to parties to meet new people.

Friends, hobbies, and other prospects are the best cure for the Rule of It’s Not That Simple.

A Brief Summary:

  1. The Rule of Contact: after the first contact has been made you can tell if a guy is interested in you by whether or not he initiates future contact and asks you out.
  2. The Rule of Flirting: every guy is different on dates but flirting is a pretty safe positive sign—if he flirts, he likes you.  Be sure to flirt back if you like him.
  3. The Rule of ‘We Should’: if a guy suggests you do something together then he is expressing interest.
  4. The Rule of Priority: a guy who is interested will make you a priority.  You can tell this by whether he calls or texts you.
  5. The Rule of It’s Not That Simple: the guy you are going on dates with is probably going out with other girls at the same time.  This is often the explanation behind why a guy you think is into you doesn’t call—he may have started dating someone else.  All sorts of erratic behavior can be explained by this rule.  Be sure that you are dating other people as long as he is.

Posted on July 16, 2011, in notes for girls, signals, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. #5 is awesome.

  2. Since you’ve all been such good sports about so many of my less helpful comments, I’ll add this suggestion: Ladies, read “He’s Just Not That Into You.” You don’t have to actually buy it. You don’t even have to actually read it carefully. Just skim it in a half-hour or so while sitting in your local bookstore.

  3. This is so true! I’ve actually read “He’s Just Not That Into You”. Between that book and this post, I guess the message is that if he’s into you, he’ll act like it. Which is sooooo hard to accept when it’s so much easier to make excuses for him because I want him to be into me so bad. I guess I just like to fool myself? Great site, guys!

  4. What should i do to make a guy to get mad when ever the guy sees me

  5. Of all the sites I’ve surfed, this is the clearest answer…clear because it rings true! thanks for your honesty.


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