The subtle smile playing on their lips, the soft brush of their hand against yours, the furtive glances they send your way — a lot of us find ourselves wondering what it might all mean. Though many might say that these are all obvious signs someone has a crush on you, there’s no way to know for sure if someone likes you unless they come out and say it. After all, we don’t want to humiliate ourselves by jumping to conclusions and misinterpreting their actions.
Navigating our own feelings is already hard enough — how much more trying to figure out how someone else feels about us! Fortunately though, psychology says that no matter how hard others may try to conceal their affections, there are still plenty of tell-tale indications of attraction we can look out for.
With that said, here are 8 subtle signs that someone secretly has a crush on you:
1. They act differently around you.
Does this person act differently around you compared to how they usually are with other people? Do you notice a change in their personality whenever you’re around? Perhaps they become more cheerful and talkative, or maybe more quiet and reserved. Whatever that change may be, if someone acts differently around you even when you’re already close, one of the most likely reasons why is that they have a crush on you. They’re attracted to you and it’s making them feel flustered and uncertain about how to act around you (Harrison & Shortall, 2011). So the next time you see this person, pay close attention to how they usually act and compare it to how they are when they’re with you.
2. They try to get close to you.
Another definite sign that someone may be harboring a secret crush on you is if they always try to get close to you. After all, it’s only natural to want to be around the person we like. Even if we don’t have anything to say to them, we just like having them in close proximity and watching them from the corner of our eye. A lot of us even go out of our way sometimes just to see them or pretend to run into them, hoping to catch their attention and strike up a conversation with them. This is especially true if the person who has feelings for you is shy and soft-spoken (Fehr, 2013).
3. They always initiate contact.
Has this person ever asked for your number or followed you on one of your social media accounts? Do they usually text you or call you up first, even if they don’t really have anything important to say to you? Then that’s a clear sign that they’re interested in you! By reaching out to you and initiating contact, they are voicing a desire to communicate and keep in touch with you. They want to get closer to you and spend more time with you, even when you’re not together, because they like you and they find you fun and interesting to talk to (Riela, et al., 2010).
4. You catch them staring at you.
The way a person makes eye contact with you can be very telling of the feelings that they have for you. Not being able to hold your gaze and quickly looking away while you’re talking to them may indicate a hidden attraction, as well as letting their eyes linger and staring at you when they think you’re not looking (Pines, 2001). This shows that they have a crush on you but may be too nervous or embarrassed to let you know.
5. They smile at you a lot.
Another tell-tale sign someone likes you is if you notice them smiling at you a lot more than they do around other people. It could be a bashful little smile, showing that they are nervous but happy to see you, or a wide, ear-to-ear grin that conveys their excitement being around you. Whichever it may be, pay attention to whether or not they smile this way only when they see you, talk to you, or talk about you because it definitely means that they feel attracted towards you (Fisher, 2004).
6. They compliment you a lot.
While compliments may seem like an obvious sign that someone is seriously crushing on you, many of us tend to chalk it up to friendliness instead of romantic interest and try not to read into it too much, especially if it’s coming from a friend. But the mere fact that they pay such close attention to you in the first place just goes to show how much they like you (Shulman & Scharf, 2000). And of course, when we have a crush on someone we can’t help but be easily impressed by them and admire every little thing they do.
7. They keep the conversation going.
Here’s another trick you can use to try to see if someone is secretly crushing on you: when you’re talking to them, disengage from the conversation. You can do it subtly (by letting your eyes glaze over, looking somewhere else, or responding more curtly) or you can act distracted and do something else (like writing, packing, or talking to someone else). Either way, see if they keep the conversation going. While most people will leave politely almost right away, someone who has a crush on you will likely keep trying to talk to you still. They want to spend as much time with you as they can and are eager to start up the conversation again when you’re interrupted or you have to leave.
8. They make themselves available for you.
Finally but perhaps most importantly, making time for someone and prioritizing them in your life is the kind of thing that we only do for the people we really like and care about. So if this person makes themselves available for you all the time, take it as a sign that they definitely have feelings for you. Do they say yes to everything you invite them to? Or ask you to spend time with them often? Do they cancel or reschedule appointments just to be with you? That means that you’re really important to them and they would rather spend time with you than do anything else.
So, have you noticed someone showing these signs lately? Do you think someone in your life may be secretly crushing on you? Think about how you feel about them first before you broach the topic with them. If you find that you don’t feel the same way, try to let them down as easy as you can. But if you’re lucky enough to have your crush return your feelings, then you should count yourselr lucky! Talk to them about it, and if they still can’t seem to pluck up the courage to confess to you, then consider being the one to make the first move instead.
- Harrison, M. A., & Shortall, J. C. (2011). Women and men in love: Who really feels it and says it first?. The Journal of social psychology, 151(6), 727-736.
- Fehr, B. (2013). The social psychology of love. The Oxford handbook of close relationships, 201-233.
- Riela, S., Rodriguez, G., Aron, A., Xu, X., & Acevedo, B. P. (2010). Experiences of falling in love: Investigating culture, ethnicity, gender, and speed. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(4), 473-493.
- Pines, A. (2001). The role of gender and culture in romantic attraction. European Psychologist, 6(2), 96.
- Fisher, H. (2004). Why we love: The nature and chemistry of romantic love. Macmillan.
- Shulman, S., & Scharf, M. (2000). Adolescent romantic behaviors and perceptions: Age-and gender-related differences, and links with family and peer relationships. Journal of research on adolescence, 10(1), 99-118.