How to tell if she’s interested

Hello friends! So after unintentionally kind of walking away from this blog, I can confirm that I am not dead and that I haven’t quit either, but I have been taking my time getting back to it due to a whole heap of stuff that has been happening in my personal life.

So, with that awkward introduction out of the way, onto the topic of our first blog post back in over two years (woohoo!):

Not long ago I was having a conversation with two male friends about the current dating climate when one mentioned he could never seem to tell if a woman was interested in him or not.

This took me by surprise, as it’s been my experience that women are the opposite – we usually can tell if a guy is keen, and I’d always assumed this must be the case for both sexes.

Thinking he must be exaggerating I asked, “surely, it’s obvious sometimes?”

He looked at me deadpan and said, “no, it’s not. I can never tell.” The other man concurred emphatically.

“You’re saying that throughout your entire life you have never been able to tell if a girl is interested in you?” I challenged.

The first guy shrugged and said he’d only been able to guess but had never been really sure.

I couldn’t believe it. How can there be such a stark difference between men and women when it comes to something as commonplace as being able to tell if someone is interested in you?

After all, this ability to ‘tell,’ while not infallible, directly affects how women behave in most social situations.

Since that conversation, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this phenomenon, and thinking of the ways women try to signal their interest – or lack thereof – to the apparently oblivious men around them. I considered that men often do complain they find women notoriously difficult to understand (not without reason), so this would make sense. If a woman is already a mystery to a man, it follows that interpreting her words and behaviour when it comes to dating must also be confusing at times.

But for the gentlemen reading this, I have good news: there is actually an incredibly simple way to find out if a woman is interested in you or not.

If you would like to know what this is (and make it a less risky bargain when you’re considering asking a girl on a date) then read on!

To go back to the aforementioned discussion with my two gentlemen friends, we gradually began to debate the nature of attraction and how it presents in men compared to women. Let me give you a (paraphrased) breakdown of how this went:

Me: Since a woman can usually sense when a man is interested in her, and because she figures out pretty quickly whether she’s interested in him, men should assume that if, after a certain amount of time has passed she hasn’t encouraged him in any way, then she is most likely not attracted to him and has no interest in dating him. The longer a man tests this, the more certain that this will be the result. If he understands this, he will spare himself the pain of a potential rejection.

Male Friend: But that’s irrational. The longer you know someone, the more likely you should be to fall in love.

Me: It’s not irrational at all; it actually makes sense for the opposite to be true: the longer and better a man and woman know each other, the less likely they are to form a romantic relationship, because at some point one of them will figure out how the other one feels (whether implicitly or explicitly stated). If you know someone of the opposite sex well enough that you both consider yourselves friends and STILL nothing has happened between you, it’s almost certainly because either one or both of you has friend-zoned the other. And this only gets truer the longer the friendship lasts.

Let’s end the play-by-play there. I want to point out that in this exchange, I was initially discussing the subject of attraction, while my male friend brought up love. So before we go any further, let me define what I mean by ‘attraction’.

(If this seems off-topic or you’re starting to lose interest, trust me when I tell you this is all relevant and important context. Just bear with me through this next bit and I promise I’ll get to the point!)

By “being attracted to” I do not mean…

  1. having feelings for, or a crush on, someone
  2. sharing chemistry or “sparks”
  3. being in love

All of these can follow attraction – and often do – but if I were to define it in my own personal dictionary, here’s what I would say…

Attraction (noun) – finding the face, figure and/or personality of the person in question pleasing, compelling, and desirable, such that you would be open to getting to know him/her better, and may also desire his/her romantic interest in you.

You might call it immediate interest. It doesn’t mean you have feelings yet, it just means you are interested in getting to know this person better.

Now we’ve sorted that out, let’s move on.

Women tend to discover very early on, if not immediately, whether or not they are attracted (in the above sense) to men – with rare exceptions.

Now this attraction could be a powerful physical attraction, such that the mere sight of him makes her heart flutter, but it could also manifest in a passing semiconscious thought like “he has a nice smile”, or even that she funds his jokes funny.

However, for her to retain that attraction, and for it to develop into romantic feeling, the two must also share an emotional connection, which they can only discover by getting to know each other.

If we accept this, then it follows that the better a woman knows a man, the more certain she will be of whether she is attracted to him and thus, whether she is then likely to develop feelings. In fact, because emotional connection is the first and most important thing a woman needs to establish before she can even consider dating someone, it is absolutely crucial for her to know him well enough to discover if they share a connection.

It goes a little something like this:

Now, this process can take place in the space of a single conversation. The stronger the connection, the quicker it will be revealed, assuming both parties are being genuine and open.

Have you ever heard a couple say they felt like they had “always known each other”? That’s evidence of a very strong emotional connection.

Another reliable indicator of a strong connection is sharing the same sense of humour.

The opposite is also true, of course. A woman may think the new guy at work or the stage techie who works at the theatre she’s performing in is “gorgeous”, and find herself instantly attracted to him. But after getting to know him and realising they have nothing in common, or their personalities clash, or whatever the reason for the lack of connection, her attraction will fade.*

I was once interested in a very handsome man who joined my choir – only to lose all attraction to him in the space of a single conversation! He didn’t say anything wrong or weird; it just became clear to me very quickly that our temperaments were not suited – meaning there was no emotional connection – and that he possessed none of the qualities I was looking for in a husband. When I realised this, his beautiful face soon meant nothing to me.

Now the obvious response to all this is something like, “sometimes it does take a while” or “my cousin didn’t start dating her husband until 10 years after they met”, etc, etc.

As I said, exceptions do happen. Exceptions are part of virtually any universal rule. However, the logic still applies.

Near the beginning of this article, I deliberately wrote the longer AND BETTER a man and woman know each other, the less likely they are to form a relationship.

A man and woman might be acquainted with each other for years and years before actually getting to know one another. One (or both) might already be in a relationship at the time and not pay much attention to the other. There could be a thousand reasons why some people will take years to start dating after meeting. The important factor is how well they know each other.

So, after that incredibly lengthy setup, let’s get back to the headline: how to tell if she’s interested?

The best and most reliable way to tell if a woman is interested in you lies in the answer to one very simple question: does she consistently linger in your company?

For example, when you engage her in conversation (which you will need to do), does she stay for a long time, or does she leave after a while?

This should be a fairly easy experiment to conduct. Identify your woman of interest and engage her in one-on-one conversation. This might mean joining a group conversation and either engaging her in a one-on-one within that circle (when it’s appropriate) or waiting until you two are the last ones left; you might need to bide your time and wait until she’s on her own, or even with maybe one friend before saying hello.

If she remains in your company chatting and doesn’t leave, that’s a good sign! If she says she needs to go to the bathroom, or talk to someone else, or any other excuse, and never comes back, that’s a bad sign.

This experiment is best conducted over at least two or three interactions. It helps if she goes to your church or some other place of interest you regularly frequent. If you begin to notice a pattern emerging – her staying and chatting all the time, or her leaving and not returning – you can be pretty near certain of the answer.

Of course, if you meet a woman at a party or a bar and you’re unsure if you’re likely to see her again, still try to engage her in conversation for as long as she’ll let you.

Asking for someone’s number, or their social media handle, is not treated as a big deal these days. So if you felt you had a good conversation (i.e. she didn’t leave after talking to you one-on-one for 15 minutes or so) and you believe she might be interested in seeing you again, by all means ask for her details and try contacting her the next day or two to ask her out for coffee.

The same standard applies. Does she stay or does she go? (I’ve clearly got Stranger Things on the brain, sorry!) That is the first and most important way to discern her interest.

The second way is by observing physical contact. Applying the same standard as before, try to interact with her over several occasions if you can, and notice if and how the physical contact changes.

If, as you’re getting to know each other, there is little or no change in the way she greets you (kiss on the cheek, hug, etc) or in any other potential contact, like brushing shoulders or hands while walking, that’s not a good sign. If the two of you accidentally brush shoulders and she apologises or acknowledges it in some way, that’s also not a good sign, as this is usually her way of telegraphing to you that she did not intend to touch you.

However, if you notice more contact in these casual ways, that’s usually a good sign.

If you’re still unsure, tell her you’ll be at an event (or even invite her to it) and see if she comes. If a girl is keen on you, she will brave hell or high water to be there.

Another sign, though of less importance, is how quickly she responds to your messages. Again, this needs to be observed as a pattern, and not in isolation. If she consistently responds to your messages quickly, that – in addition to all the other examples above – is generally a good sign. It may be that the woman in question prefers not to respond immediately, as she may not want to come across as desperate. However, her messages will generally be detailed and often long, perhaps even attempting to continue a conversation you shared in person.

The opposite is similarly true. The less quickly she responds (on a consistent basis), the worse the sign, especially if her messages are short, clipped, and lacking in detail and emotion.

At this point, you may feel like exclaiming in frustration, as one of my friends did, why don’t women just tell you if they’re interested??

My answer: because women sense intuitively that it would be unromantic and unfeminine. Women want to be pursued – it’s in our nature. We don’t want to hang ourselves out on display with no subtlety or mystery.

Plus, women also fear rejection. No woman wants to put herself out there – which she also senses is the man’s role – and not only be rejected, but rejected for behaving in a masculine way. Bleuchh!

So I’m sorry, but no. Women are not going to come right out and tell you, “I like you. Ask me out.” (And privately, I don’t think men would like it if they did, as it would be emasculating.) Women will instead drop certain hints to let you know whether they like you or not.

If a woman is interested, she will try to communicate that to you by the following:

Good Signs:

  1. lingering in your company as long as you’ll let her, especially on a consistent basis
  2. engaging you in conversation (if she’s bold) or not leaving if you’re the one who initiates the conversation
  3. allowing herself to accidentally-on-purpose touch you casually more and more often
  4. consistently showing up to events you said you’d be going to
  5. consistently responding to your messages promptly, especially if the messages are long, detailed and even continuing on a previous conversation

By the same token, she will try to make it clear to you when she’s not interested, especially if she senses that you are keen, by doing the opposite of the above:

Bad Signs:

  1. consistently not lingering in your company one-on-one
  2. leaving a conversation with you and not returning
  3. trying to avoid any accidental touching, or verbally acknowledging it if it happens
  4. not coming to events you told her you’d be attending, particularly if she gives no explanation
  5. inconsistently responding to your messages, or consistently responding only after several hours or even days, especially in short, clipped and emotionless messages

If you’re wondering, well if a woman is displaying some or all of the Bad Signs, then how do I make her interested in me? here is the answer:

You cannot make a woman interested in you.

That’s all there is to it. You cannot make a woman want to date you because you cannot make a woman attracted to you (using the definition above) – just like you cannot force yourself to be attracted to someone who turns you off.

After a certain point, you cannot change a woman’s mind or do anything to impress her or woo her because – as we’ve already established – women tend to discover whether they’re attracted to men very quickly. And the longer and better you know each other, the less likely this is to change.

If a woman knows she is not attracted to a man, or she realises they do not share an emotional connection (both of which she needs to want to date him), then she has already rejected him. And at that point, nothing can change her mind because once she has rejected him, she continues to reject him with every fibre of her being.

And if he continues to try to woo her after she has given him one or more of the Bad Signs, she will start to get irritated with him. She might even lash out and say something hurtful. Because to her mind, he is blatantly ignoring the ‘clear signals’ she’s sending.

Everyone knows what this is like: when someone you categorically do not find attractive continues to try to flirt with you, it’s annoying and uncomfortable as hell.

So to sum this all up, think of the girl you desire and try to honestly and objectively apply the above signs to her. If you’re unsure, try to spend time with her, conduct your experiments, and see how she responds.

It’s worth a try.

* Just as a caveat, I’m not saying it’s impossible to mistake sharing an emotional connection, or that there aren’t women who find certain men so physically attractive they imagine the two of them share a stronger connection than actually exists. Of course these kinds of people are out there – in both sexes. However, I would argue that if these situations develop into anything at all, the lack of connection ultimately reveals itself and the relationship usually doesn’t last long.

3 thoughts on “How to tell if she’s interested

  1. Trent Horn says that he thinks men have the responsibility to make the first move and women have the responsibility to make the first signal.


  2. Pursuing might be more trouble than it’s worth. You’ll end up like Moe Szyslak. whom the ladies like to call “Hey you behind the bushes.”

    Trying is the first step toward failure.


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