I’ve never liked dating. I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years (and this guy was one of a few who made it clear that they like me), but before then I dated a whole bunch between relationships. Like, compulsively. Because I was young and lonely and bored and sad and frustrated and insecure. I filled up my calendar with dates instead of time to write, or see friends or take a fucking dance class — or whatever. Not my finest moment.
Because I needed that black, empty void filled (in more ways then one? Ha). The reality is that I’d overthink the shit out of those experiences: The time he texted me, the amount he texted me, the grammar he used (or didn’t), the way he said my name, the way he talked to me in front of his friends, the way he responded to my shows of affection. You name it. And I’ve dated them all — Mr. Burning Man, Mr. Novelist, Mr. Comedy Writer, Mr. Banker, Mr. Teacher, Mr. Professor (yes, there’s a vast difference — oddly enough the college professor was way dumber), Mr. Religious Texan, Mr. Bipolar-Not Famous Guitarist, Mr. Sexual Deviant-Actually Famous Guitarist, Mr. Lawyer. Seriously, I’m coming at you with some very real information here.
And how did I know who liked me? How did I know — without ALL of that obsessing and horoscope reading and worrying and texting my friends — that they liked me? Here’s how:
They actually called you. On a telephone.
I know it might sound reductive, but I promise you that if a man picks up the damn phone and calls, he probably likes you. The ones who rarely text you or text you at night or text you every other day or once a week — they’re likely not that into you. It’s easy to say, “well, he’s busy.” It takes 40 seconds to touch base. If he likes you in a real way, he will.
In VERY few scenarios is there a valid reason beyond the fact that he just doesn’t like you that much. He might be into your boobs and even you late at night, but the next day feelings change, and guess what? That’s just that. There’s no deeper secret to it.
They text you back with times and dates.
Bad text: “We should hang out sometime again.” [Followed by noncommittal vague answer]
Good text: “Are you free this Friday after work?” [Followed by meeting up on Friday after work]
Bad text: [Followed by your text first]
“Yea it was cool/good/nice to see you too.” [Followed by silence]
Good text: “I had such a great time with you. And I checked out that book you recommended. Seems great. Drinks Thursday?”
See the difference there? I promise you that the “good” examples show initiative, interest, follow-up and kindness. The “bad” ones are common and sadly, show limited intent. You can do better.
And your friends will say things like, “It’s not that simple.” But they’re your friends. Of course they’ll say that. And yes, it really IS that simple.
They tell you how they feel.
It doesn’t have to be super dramatic. Figuring out if they like you shouldn’t — even with those sad, dreary artist-types like poets and musicians — be like decoding ancient glyphs. Men are fairly simple creatures, and I mean this with good intention and kindness. They will — in their actions and language — tell you if they like you, i.e., “I like you, Lisa. I’d like to see you again.” It’s very simple.
They care about you in bed.
This is the trickiest it’s gonna get, because sex is a strange monster with many faces. It can leave you feeling alive, like OMG STARS ARE LITERALLY SHOOTING INSIDE MY BODY, or it can leave you feeling bored, grossed out and depressed. Then there are all the other kinds of sex. So how can you tell what his body is saying?
Unless a guy is actually tremendously awful in bed, there is usually a) a show of genuine emotion that elevates the sexual experience, b) a wilted penis — AKA “I’m nervous because I like you too much to get a boner” and c) reciprocity and generosity and prayer-like worship. You will know when his body says, “I adore you.” Some people are naturally emotive sexually, so it can be easy to confuse lust and good performance for love. That’s where the other proof comes in.
Be good to yourself. Don’t wait for people who aren’t chasing you. And remember: it’s OK to not be chased. I learned this the hard way. Your worth is not found in dating or love. You are already worth it.