Just the Tip: How Will I Know?

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Carin Huber, Copy Editor

Meeting new people can be awkward, and never more so than when you’re trying to figure out whether that cute guy or gal is interested in you. Chances are they’re already telling you, whether they know it or not.

Body language developed before sign or speech. Philosophers and psychologists have studied it since the 17th century.

Here are a few tips from the experts on how to read these unconscious signals.

Your eyes meet across a crowded library reading room, but he quickly looks away. That’s not necessarily a bad sign. Check again a few times. If you keep catching him looking away, that means he can’t keep his eyes off of you, and you should flash him a smile.  If, however, you find his nose buried firmly in his book or, worse he’s turned his chair away, he isn’t interested and it’s time to let it go.

You ask her to pass the sugar at the coffee kiosk and she offers a dazzling smile along with the sugar. As if that weren’t enough, she tucks the sugar packets in your hand, taking the opportunity to make physical contact. That’s a clear sign she’s interested. If, on the other hand, she drops the sugar on the counter next to you, she’s already thinking about her next class.

You are paired up on a class assignment and you’re working well together. During a break you get to talking about other things. Check out how he’s sitting. Is his upper body facing you? What about his feet? If so, his focus is entirely on you right now. What is he doing with his hands? Does he repeat your motions seconds later? This is called “mirroring,” and it’s a sign he likes you. If he seems distracted, turning a shoulder toward you, feet pointed away, he’s likely not into the conversation or you.

A friend sets you up on a blind date, and you’re working through agonizing small talk. You’re nervous and so is she, but there may still be signs of interest. Does she play with her hair or touch her lips? Does she look alert with wide open eyes? Does she lean toward you and rest her hands on the table within easy reach? If she crosses her legs, are the toes of her dangling foot pointed toward you, or does she let the heel of her shoe hang loose? These point to interest and positive feelings. Crossed arms or keeping her hands in her lap, hunched shoulders, sitting stiffly or leaning away and tucking her feet together under her chair are all signs that things aren’t going so well, and it may be best not to ask for her phone number.

Do you have a question about sex, sexuality or relationships? Email [email protected] and we may answer your question in the next Just the Tip.