Reasons NOT to google the phrase “How to know if a guy likes you,” and thoughts on the distinction between attraction and intention.
“Dear Chrissa, after reading the comprehensive guide to texting men, I’ve been wondering…I’m texting and hanging out a lot with a guy who’s showing all the signs of attraction. How can I tell if he’s interested in more?” – Anonymous blog reader.
The Problem with Subtleties
Indeed, this reader is not the only girl who has tried to figure out the question of a guy’s signs of interest; in fact, it’s so common, that the google search “how to know if a guy likes you” will conjure up over 30 million results. Full of hints and clues, each one of the articles claims to hold hidden secrets to the male subconscious mind. Articles advise women to watch for signs like a 1 mm pupil dilation in the absence of light, a subtle posture shift, playful punches to the upper ⅓ quadrant of the left arm, intense eye contact, shifty eye contact, dry mouth, sweaty palms, or the way he acts differently in the presence of his friends and second cousins.
The checklists are overwhelming at best and neurotic at worst. While the suggestions may hold a few nuggets of truths, I remain doubtful that encouraging women to fixate their hope on subconscious unintentional subtleties will accomplish anything in the realm of relational health or mental well-being.
These articles are supposedly about men, but they were written for women, and by women, who most likely double majored in reverse psychology and irrelevant over analysis of men studies. As a result, a paranoid population of the females seeking advice, believe that they too must earn academic degrees in complex man code as a relational prerequisite.
Here’s what the online articles forget to mention: attraction and intention are two separate things.
Sadly, many women believe if they are single it is because they are not pretty enough. Seeking solutions at Sephora, they buy brighter bronzers and blacker mascaras with the assumption that a more attractive cheekbone structure will solve her “problem.”
Ladies, I sugar coat not, the odds are in your favor that others have long since noticed your beauty; however, your faulty reasoning perpetuates the destructive not enough lie. Also, there’s a much more prominent reason why your looks are probably not “the issue.”
Cupcakes and Salsa
See, it’s quite possible for attraction to exist without the intention of romantic pursuit; this is perfectly normal, and happens all the time. For example, when shopping at Safeway, I am attracted to the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes; I look at them with lust and longing every time I walk in. However, I have no intention of courting the cupcakes to the checkout stand. I fear the wheat gluten will reject me—because sometimes it does— and the thought of risking a sugar coma drama dynamic comes at too high a cost. On another note, keep in mind the possibility of the “salsa picante effect.” Salsa picante appears unapproachable because it sits on the top shelf as though it’s trying to play “hard to reach.” The Salsa feels unwanted or unattractive, but ironically, it’s just so hot, it’s intimidating.
Cake and salsa aside, all this serves to illustrate, that the quest for “knowledge of attraction” can waste time and mental energy. Even if someone does match all criteria of the top ten signs of attraction, this does not make them automatically interested, or for that matter obligated, to start a relationship with you.
Sure Signs of Interest
Alas, I can already hear the readers asking: “Is there ANY way at all, of knowing whether a guy is interested? Well, yes. After a bit of qualitative research of a circle of council much wiser than that google, the results are unanimous. Drum roll, please.
- He asks you out on a real date.
- He tells you he is interested.
If this is your case, congratulations! But if not—and if you prefer to let the guy be the pursuer—then relax, be patient, and relish in the freedom of playing the part of the pursuee. Make friends, listen to people’s stories, live life, and never again google how to tell if a guy likes you.