Human relationships are the mirror image of our complexity as beings. Of the many questions that I have received over the course of my time as a therapist, the one question that I get most frequently from friends and clients alike is one that is related to the title of this blog post. It usually goes a little something like this: “How do I know if he is in to me?” or “Does she really like me, or is this just a thing?” While there are countless movies and articles on the subject already, many still ask the question. So how do you really know if someone is into you? The general question I pose is simply this: Does your significant other treat you like someone significant? I propose 5 questions to help you explore for sure just how interested your beau or belle may be.
1) Have your verbalizations or efforts towards expressing your desired treatment gone ignored? Usually when a person is into you, they take your perspective on important matters seriously. There is nothing more serious than having a serious conversation with someone about your expectations within the relationship. This includes family members. Individuals who value your opinion and appreciate you as a person will make no qualms about hearing you out. More importantly, those individual will show how much they value you by modifying their behavior. Especially when you have voiced that their behavior is off-putting or offensive. If that individual puts forth an effort at fixing the situation that at least shows that they are trying to improve the relationship.
2) Do you find yourself expelling a lot of energy and effort at maintaining reasonably frequent communication with your significant other? There is nothing more time consuming and energy draining than unrequited affection and interest. Reasonable and frequent communication simply means that it’s okay to expect for someone to portray their interest through efforts at communication. It’s important for you to recognize however, that your communication preference (i.e. text, voice, etc) may influence the frequency of your communication. This could pose a hindrance to the process of relating with your companion of interest. Especially when the two of you are not on the same page about what acceptable communication looks like. On the other hand, interest in your belle or beau does not constitute a right to exorbitant demands on their availability. In other words, you should not expect for your significant other to be available and at your disposal 24-7. Yes. It’s probably a bad idea to send more than two text messages (or direct messages on social media) without a return contact. On the other hand, it’s definitely not a good look if your belle or beau disappears weeks and days on end and/or may only contact you during specific times of the day (with the exception of certain occupations).
3) Does your significant other avoid introducing you to the 3Fs? Friends, family, and fun. Usually, interested parties almost always introduce at least two of the aforementioned elements at some point in time with intention. Maybe not during week 1, but definitely by month 6. I’m not talking about incidentally “running into” friends and family while at the grocery store or at one of your hookup spots. I’m talking about a “hey my family/friend is having a get together and I wanted to know if you would be available to come” type deal. As it pertains to fun, I’m simply referring to an act that involves a planned outing in the public sphere (a.k.a. “date.”) It would be even nicer if that planned, public outing involved friends or family at some point in your relationship.
4) Does your significant other intentionally avoid labels? You know exactly what I am talking about and there is no need to be embarrassed!! Maybe you’ve asked, “So what is this?” or “Where do you see us going?” You’ve probably convinced yourself that it’s too soon, or that maybe this person just does not know how to express themselves. Ehh…wrong!!!! What about you? Why is it up to the other person to define and decide what happens in the relationship? This is definitely a problem if you have been dating someone for 6 months and that individual can’t provide you with an answer to those questions. It’s even more troublesome if your belle or beau describes the relationship in colloquial phrases such as “just chilling,” ” we’re cool,” or “we’re just doing us.” This is a sure give-away to your relationship’s destination– a one-way trip to Nowheresville, USA.
5) Is your significant other disrespectful of your time? I was always told that if a person respects your time, they respect you. I know the relationship between the two terms isn’t perfectly linear, but humor me for a second. When a person values your time, they place value on the life space you have created for them and will honor you by creating that same space for you in their lives. Including you in their life space is not another “to do” list item, nor should it be cumbersome. Interested parties will be intentional about the time they spend with you (i.e. planning dates, weekend getaways, etc) and will be the least bit inconvenienced by the idea of having to be intentional about their time with you. Be cautious of individuals who either a) work all the time and never seem to have free time b) are always on the “go” and only stop by for minutes at a time c) do not engage in actions (key word here is action) that rectify time issues or d) deny that time issues exist altogether.
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions posed, it’s likely that you are dealing with someone who may not be as into you as you would hope. Hopefully, you will take these pointers along with your personal experience to help you make the right decision about your relationship.
* Disclaimer: This post may be a little more heteronormative than what may be preferred however, the experiences of this writer with this particular topic has been limited to heterosexual individuals and is not intended to bring offense to others who subscribe to other orientations.