Walking back from the gym this afternoon, under the hot summer sun, I was a bit of a mess. My shirt was drenched in sweat; my arms were stiff and wooden; my hair was a little messy; and I was still breathing a little heavy.
I noticed a girl walking toward me, dressed in rather fancy garb, and as she saw me, she pulled her face into a mildly contorted look that spoke somewhat of disgust. But, at the same time, she also couldn't seem to take her eyes off of me, and I noticed those eyes scanning me up and down; she brushed her hair back, and as she walked toward me, she ever so slightly veered toward me.
I've met lots of girls like this before. Girls that, on first glance, might appear to be completely put off by you. But if you read between the lines, their more subtle actions tell a different story. In fact, I've taken some of these women who gazed upon me with what looked like disgust as lovers, oftentimes rather quickly.
What I want to get across here is, how to tell if a girl likes you -- or not -- isn't always as cut and dry a case as you might think.
Sometimes it can even be the opposite of what you initially thought -- and that holds for both the girls you think like you, and the girls you think don't.
The Masks We Wear
Sometimes, when I'm out and about, if I find myself sitting somewhere, I'll end up with women looking at me. And, when I catch them looking at me, I'll look dramatically off into the distance, sigh as if I'm incredibly bored, and keep an expression on my face (the bored look, to be precise) as if life is just completely unexciting. Then, after a protracted pause, I'll turn to the girl who was staring at me, and start talking to her in an overly-bored tone.
Some of the time this happens, women get quite nervous, thinking I legitimately am really bored and that they have to work hard to impress me and make me not bored. The rest of the time, they realize I'm just being dramatic, and they laugh a little, tease me a bit perhaps, and we get into a good conversation.
This is called "being dramatic," and it's something I do sometimes to women, and it's something that women do sometimes to men.
The reason I highlight it is because it's an instance of flirtation with an "unpleasant" expression.
You see, a lot of guys tend to only read a girl's basic facial expression. Meaning, they assume that:
- If she looks bored, she must be bored
- If she looks angry, she must be angry
- If she looks disgusted, she must be disgusted
And when you're a new guy starting out, this can be really tough. I remember how a girl looking bored or angry or disgusted used to instantly take all the wind right out of my sails some years back. If I caught a girl looking that way, I'd fold my hand and walk away from the table, every time.
But actually, as it turns out, much of this is for show. Some of it is even flirtation.
It's one of those weird things you kind of have to spend a long time attracting the opposite sex passively to understand, and since I spent most of my teenage years doing exactly that, allow me to explain it to you.
If you like someone and you want to get that person to notice you, one way to do that is by making a face. Even a look of disgust can get noticed and get you opened by confident men if you're an attractive girl. In fact, as such looks are often attempts to get noticed by women, many men already interpret them as flirtation (which they often are... not always, mind you, but certainly sometimes), and act accordingly.
Being a little dramatic yourself is an important part of being good at flirting with girls, and being able to recognize when women are being a little dramatic is an important part of not getting your steam lost when you catch a girl giving you a look that might otherwise be interpreted as unpleasant.
But there're two sides to every coin, and men also frequently misinterpret signs the other way, too:
- She's smiling, so she must like me
- She's talking to me, so she must be interested
- She's asking me questions, so she must want to get to know me more
Depending on the circumstance though, these interpretations might not be entirely on the mark either.
When Smiling Is "No" and Eye-Rolling Is "Yes"
A while back, I found myself at a nightclub talking to a girl. She was smiling, upbeat, and fun, and she asked me things about myself and made an effort to connect with me. But, I could tell she was being polite.
So, I told her to come sit with me, and she politely declined. I persisted, insisting that she join me; she said no, she wanted to stay where she was.
A little later, I spotted a pair of girls sitting at the bar together, looking particularly bored. One of them was pretty cute. I made my way over to the bar and sat down two seats down from the cute girl, and after a minute I leaned her way and began talking to her. She glanced at me, then rolled her eyes half the way and looked away. I sat there, calm, stared off into space looking bored for a moment, confident that she liked me, and then she turned back to me and asked me a question, still with a rather skeptical expression on her face. I started talking to her, and she gradually warmed up. Later, I told her to come to the dance floor with me, which, despite her sarcasm and eye-rolling, she did. I ended up grabbing her phone number, and proceeded to meet up with her a few weeks later, where we slept together not long into our first date.
Well, as discussed in the post on how to tell if a girl is horny, women will often be mean when they're feeling some pent-up sexual frustration, but that's not all.
Women will also be really nice and friendly to guys JUST BECAUSE.
Because they're nice people.
Because they find a guy interesting.
Because they want to make new friends.
A woman doesn't have to be interested in a guy romantically or sexually to be nice to him. She can have a whole host of other reasons why she's being that way.
I consider women like this "distractions" when I'm out actively trying to meet a girl. There are, basically, four categories you can place women into in terms of level of interest when you're out looking to meet your next consort:
- Uninterested: these are the ones who reject you straight up and simply aren't interested, for one reason or another. Mean as they might seem, they actually save the man on a mission a lot of time.
- Distractions: these are the gals who, because they're really nice to everyone, or because they think you might make a cool friend, will be nice and sociable with you. For guys less adept at teasing out a woman's intentions though, they can be huge distractions, as a man plows a lot of time into trying to get to know a girl like this, only to find that it's impossible for him to get anywhere with her.
- Prospects: these women aren't completely sure that you're what they're looking for, but they're willing to give you a shot. You'll usually end up grabbing a phone number from a girl like this and planning to meet up with her later (once she's had a little time to realize you're actually a pretty awesome guy), but if you're doing very well or you're reasonably experienced in this scenario you can often transform these "warm" opportunities into "hot" ones.
- Sure-Things: these are the girls you meet, and it feels like there's a spark, or that it's "on" from the moment you first lock eyes. They're the ones you can say with confidence are definitely into you right off the bat. You've usually only got a limited escalation window in which to make things happen with a girl who feels that magic attraction for you, lest she start thinking that maybe she thought wrong and you weren't the guy she thought you were. Make sure you move fast with her.
Those are our interest categories, anyway. But how do you tell who's who?
The easiest, simplest, most straightforward and deadly accurate way to tell where a girl falls on this chart is to ask her to move with you.
If she flat out says, "No," she's uninterested or she's a distraction. If she wavers back and forth on the fence, giving you a "maybe" or "well, I don't know..." or something equivalent to that, she's a prospect -- she might be interested, but she isn't sure; she still needs some convincing. If she says, "Okay," and willingly follows you, she's almost certainly a sure-thing.
The thing is, you will almost assuredly never realize these differentiations exist until you start pushing to move girls early on (e.g., less than ten minutes into meeting them... optimally, less than five).
It's only once you start asking women to move with you that you start realizing the distinctions between women with different levels of interest in you.
"That's weird," you'll say once you start seeing this stuff, "Estelle was being so nice and I really thought she liked me, but she wouldn't go anywhere with me."
Another time, you'll find yourself saying, "Hey, wait a minute... I thought Olivia didn't like me at all, but then I asked her to go with me somewhere, and she kind of acted like it was a huge pain, but then she followed pretty easily and we ended up making out a few minutes later. How'd that happen?"
Ways to Tell If a Girl Likes You For Real
I may be biased, but I tend to consider the, "I like him as a friend," sentiment to be a fake kind of liking.
Reason being, a man a woman likes as a partner or a prospect gets so much more respect than a man who's only her friend (and unworthy of her partnership) that it's not even funny. Try putting a girl's lifelong platonic guy pal up against her lover of two months for whom she has super intense feelings and let me know whose side she's going to take. Right -- it's the guy she's going to bed with. At best, she's going to tell her paramour not to hurt her guy pal -- because she's going to consider her lover strong, and her guy friend weak.
If you want to know if a girl likes you for real -- if you want to know if she likes you and respects you in a romantic and sexual way -- that takes a little reading between the lines.
There's something I call "walls," and I look for these with every woman I talk to. Reason why is, women who like you put their walls down, while women who don't or who are trying to stop themselves from having something happen keep their walls up.
What I mean by "walls" is this: when a woman creates visible, perceptible distance between the two of you, she's created a wall.
Examples of behavior women display when they've built a wall:
- They cross their arms or legs
- They turn their bodies away from you
- They seem vaguely uncomfortable or ill-at-ease
- They refuse compliance and often won't move with you
- They break rapport (disagree with you) rather than focusing on building it
- They avoid strong, intense eye contact
- They confound your efforts to deep dive and get to know them better
The four chief reasons why women build walls:
- They want to use you as a friend (e.g., you have some valuable skill they'd like access to, or can help their career in some way, or can invite them to parties or bring them into a network they value, etc.) and are afraid of losing that opportunity should things get out of hand
- They can tell you're sexual and they want to "protect" themselves from getting too close to you (maybe they have a boyfriend; maybe they have intimacy issues)
- They value you as boyfriend material and are afraid of rushing too quickly to bed with you
- They realize they don't like you and are afraid of giving you the wrong signals
You'll notice the common theme among those first three reasons is fear of the consequences of intimacy with a man: women afraid of becoming intimate with you for one reason or another will defend themselves with social / psychological "walls." Women a man's managed to alienate or send into auto-rejection will as well construct walls, though this is because they afraid of him thinking they like him rather than because they're afraid of ending up liking him.
You might even go so far as to say that one part of being good with women is about not flipping the triggers that activate women's walls, but that's for another post.
For now, suffice it to say that if you want to be able to tell if a girl likes you, look for whether her walls or up or her walls are down.
So how do you know if a woman's walls are down? Well, it's not her playing with her hair, and it's not her laughing at your jokes -- those are reactions. Those can be faked, and women who've trained themselves as flirts fake those all the time.
You tell if a girl likes you and if her walls are down by looking for behavior like this:
- Her arms and legs are uncrossed
- Her body's turned towards you, or she's leaning into you
- She seems quite comfortable around you -- maybe even excited
- She willingly offers compliance and goes with you when you ask
- She focuses on building rapport and finding commonalities with you
- She returns and maintains strong eye contact with you (or shy, flirty eye contact)
- She goes along easily with your deep dives and efforts to get to know her
If you pay attention to these things, you'll get a much better read on whether a girl likes you than all those confusing mixed signals most guys hang their hats on.
That girl I saw walking toward me today who looked a little disgusted at me but then couldn't stop looking at me and veered towards me I could tell had her walls down with me, and that's why I felt she was interested.
That girl I talked to who was friendly but wouldn't go with me I knew was being polite because I could feel her walls, and that girl who rolled her eyes at me I knew liked me because I could sense her walls weren't up for me.
Check girls' walls. The easiest test again is asking a gal to move with you, but there are lots of little ways -- pointed out just above -- that you can use to find how open and available to you a girl is.
And of course, once you know she likes you, well, it's on!