I’ve had a pretty bad track record of singlehood the last (nearly) two years.
My friend and I used to always joke that nothing could ever be too bad because “at least we learned something from it.” And I guess I have learned a thing or two from this time on my own in the dating world.
Recently, I’ve met someone. I’m trying not to get too excited about it because, based on said bad track record, I know that things can take a sudden turn downhill at seemingly any moment. But there’s one thing I’ve really appreciated about this new guy:
I’m not left questioning how he feels.
Over the last few months, I’ve made so many excuses for people.
Takes three days to text back? Oh he just doesn’t like to use his phone!
Only wants to meet up on nights out? We’re just taking things slow!
Shuts down when things get tough? He’s had a tough childhood and hasn’t learned how to communicate!
While it’s important to acknowledge that people do have their own traumas and scars, we also have to remember that it’s not our responsibility to fix them. This is when I also started to understand the importance of boundaries and knowing where we draw the line to maintain our own emotional well-being.
In the spirit of things looking a little bit upward romantically, here are five ways to know if they are into you:
They’ll tell you. Hello, direct communication! When someone is excited about you, they’ll make it clear. They’ll let you know where you stand as soon as they’re sure of it themselves.
Hint: you can tell them too. If I’m interested I’m someone, I like to also try to make them feel emotionally comfortable. I’ll send a simple text after a few dates that says, I’ve had a really good time so far, you’re pretty great. Everyone appreciates a little validation.
There’s a difference between being too forward and between letting someone know where you stand. A little bit of suspense and “healthy anxiety” is good at the start, but you can keep things novel while also being clear that you’re interested.
They’ll make plans. I was seeing a guy before who said he “just wasn’t someone who made plans.” And his way of arranging to see me was a text at 3 p.m. that day asking what I was up to that night. His intent might not have been malicious, but it didn’t make me feel good. I found that kind of plan-making disrespectful of my time, and it doesn’t send the message that they’ve been thinking about me in advance.
When someone is into you, they’ll be asking you pretty soon after a date when they can see you next. They’ll want to plan ahead because they want to snatch you up before you get busy. To me, that’s a clear sign of interest.
They’ll ask questions. When you’re excited about someone new, you want to know everything about them. Even something small like “send me a photo of your room,” because they want to get a sense of your environment, is a subtle way of showing interest. If they’re not asking anything about your life or what you’re up to, it’s likely they’re just not really thinking about you.
They’ll tell other people about you. If they say that their mom knows about you, I think it’s a pretty clear sign they’re interested. If they’re keeping you secret or haven’t mentioned anyone else in their life is aware of your existence, there’s likely a chance they’re not really into it.
They’re thinking ahead. If they’ve mentioned upcoming events or ideas for weekend getaways, they envision you in their life at least for some time. They’re excited about you and are thinking about a potential future with you in it. If they’re only ever planning for in the moment (i.e., a midnight, hey babe wanna come over text), they likely aren’t into it for the long haul.
It’s hard not to make excuses for people. Because, so often, it’s not that those people aren’t interested at all, but it’s that they might be emotionally unavailable in some respect. It’s pretty rare that someone is straight-up a narcissistic a**hole (it happens, but it is rare), and it’s more likely they’re just not able to give us what we’re looking for right now.
I remember someone saying to me once that a partner is supposed to be a positive thing—they add something to your life that should actually make it better or easier (you know, in a non-codependent way). And I was so shocked because most of my romantic situations had caused me mostly stress.
In the early stages especially, it should be fun and exciting. It’s not to say that relationships don’t take work, but if I’m spending most of my time questioning, then it’s probably a sign there’s something missing.