How to Recognize When Someone Likes You

The social cues and behaviors of others demonstrate whether someone cares.

Dec 21, 2019

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All of us can relate to that curiosity of if someone likes us or not. Whether that means during friendly interactions within a group, while on a first date, or even years into a long-term partnership, we all yearn for connection and to feel loved.

But sometimes it becomes difficult to decipher what other people think about us. We interpret things through our past experiences and insecurities which interfere with our ability to accurately gauge signs of attraction. 

Understanding social cues  nonverbal signals, amount of eye contact, vocal tonalities, level of attention and time invested  guides us in our interactions and builds stronger bonds with those around us.

Reading Social Cues in a Digital Age

Humans crave connection, and data suggests that social health has a profound impact on our physical and mental well-being. 

But in a digital age, people spend more time socializing through screens rather than in person. Even when we do meet, how often do people pull out their phones in the middle of an interaction?

MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle has spent the last 20 years studying the impact of technology on society. In her books, such as Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversation, Turkle discusses how portable communication tools interfere with our connections and intimacy.

She told UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, “Conversation is the most human and humanizing thing that we do. It’s where empathy is born, where intimacy is born — because of eye contact, because we can hear the tones of another person’s voice, sense their body movements, sense their presence. It’s where we learn about other people. But, without meaning to, without having made a plan, we’ve actually moved away from conversation in a way that my research was showing is hurting us.”

Spending so much time in front of screens, we spend less time engaging with people in face to face interactions. As a result, many people lack communication skills and the ability to read social cues. 

According to the Huffington Post, children growing up with these advancements have difficulty initiating conversations and engaging in small talk. Add to that: Even those who come from older generations, already found it hard to know whether or not someone likes them. 

No matter when you were born, it always helps to learn how to pick up on social cues. So check out some of the tell-tale signs to recognize when someone likes you.

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How to Tell If Someone Likes You

Body Language
During a conversation, we may think our voices do most of the talking, but actually, our bodies send nonverbal cues that reveal a whole lot about what we’re thinking. Some of the common signs that someone likes you include the person faces you with open body language rather than turning away or as the conversation warms up, the person becomes more animated and expressive with movements (versus uninterested or distracted). Another cue is that when the person becomes more comfortable, they will likely make more eye contact and pay attention to what you have to say.

Touch
When someone warms up to you, according to Psychology Today, they will likely show attraction through touch. A friendly handshake or high-five may evolve into an affectionate touch on the shoulder or a hug. You may also notice the person draw closer to you during an interaction. Keep in mind that appropriate touching varies from culture and culture or depending on how someone was raised. 

Investment
When someone likes you, they will show it by investing their time and attention. They will stand by commitments to see you, include you in their lives, and make an effort to maintain communication. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t respond very often or frequently fails to show up isn’t showing signs of care and investment.

Gratitude
Someone who really cares will show their appreciation for the investment you make into the relationship. People have different ways  for expressing gratitude. Perhaps that means a simple “thank you”. Maybe they buy you a gift. Others may show that they care by offering their service. 

Remember that, in life, not everyone will like you. And that’s okay! Rather than try to behave in a way that a person will like, instead, learn to express your authentic self. This will attract people on your wavelength who will give you the attention, gratitude, and affection that you deserve.

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.