As a neuroscientist, I am fascinated by infatuation; it's such a strong, mysterious phenomenon, yet is entirely scientifically-explainable.
1. She Is Interested In You But A Little Guarded
All of the behaviours that we are going to look at are pertinent in ascertaining whether a woman harbours romantic feelings towards you. Nonetheless, some are more revealing than others; I am starting this article with one that is a straight-up giveaway, yet missed by many people (or dismissed as inconclusive).
If a girl seems actively curious about you, your interests and your life, yet is also a little embarrassed when she does dare to convey this, I can almost guarantee you that she is taken by you. You see, this combination of intrigue and nervousness reveals that you are already a concept to her and are capable of inducing strong emotions in her.
This is very telling, because women are emotionally-intricate beings and experience sexuality in a very different way to men. They need to create and fall in love with their own internalized concept of you before they feel entirely attracted to you physically in real life. Of course, you may be a queer woman reading this rather than a heterosexual man, but you should be aware of this. After all, possessing a female brain yourself, unfortunately, does not automatically grant you with mastery of female psychology!
2. Mutual Magic When You're Together
While hanging out with a friend can be spontaneous and immensely fun, there is a clear difference between exploring the world with a friend and with someone you have a blossoming romantic connection with. If you and this girl regularly meet up for loosely-planned day adventures that effortlessly evolve into night-time walks and rounds of drinks, you two undeniably have a strong connection.
There are no ifs and buts to this, because the concept of 'blurred lines' does not really exist. Society perpetuates the limiting narrative that 'women are impossible to read' and that 'she probably only sees you as a friend', but if you two are truly connecting, spending sublime hours together and relating to each other in special ways, you are not platonic friends. Deep down, you know what energy the bond you have with her possesses, and you know whether she is interested in more. Trust your gut!
3. She Is Careful to Hide Her Own Enthusiasm
Remember, a woman who is infatuated with you will be trying to decipher how your mind works and (if you are male) will know that men typically want to chase a woman and occupy a role of dominance. In same-sex female relationships, there is also typically polarity.
Thus, if interested in dating you, a woman will try to reign in her interest a little despite her desire to talk to you non-stop and discover your deepest fears and fantasies. Aware she is in a vulnerable position when she harbours feelings, she will vacillate between a). wanting to risk everything and ask you everything about yourself and b). playing it cool and avoiding seem too curious.
Here are some examples of what this can look like:
- She may slip things into text conversations that she has felt too reserved to say in person, because she would've run the risk of looking too attentive. e.g. Imagine she sends you a photo of a strange breed of dog that you both came across while walking through the city together, and tells you that she used to have a dog like it as a child.
- The fact that she didn't mention this while you were together makes it obvious that she watches herself around you and is careful not to share too much. Despite filtering her communication with you, however, she pushes herself out of her comfort zone occasionally because she does not want you to get away. Sending you a deep, sentimental or flirty Facebook or WhatsApp message may be how she shows this. She wants you to sense that she is into you, but not know for sure, in case you lose interest.
- Does she seem to remember nearly every little detail you tell her, but occasionally 'forgets' some easier-to-remember things? If so, she is most likely feigning a bad memory because she's worried that remembering that your younger brother studies German will make her seem too keen, or that knowing the first and last names of all of your friends that she has stalked on Instagram will have her looking creepy.
Women are master modulators of their own emotions and never want to seem to keen (a self-protection tactic); however, if you are astute and open to learning more about how their brains tick, you will see that there is an enormous difference between a). a genuinely disinterested woman and b). one who is captivated by you but scared to show too much zeal and put you off.
4. She Uses Emojis Often and With Intention
Us humans love online communication; the instantaneity and unpredictability of it permit us massive surges of dopamine, and it is comforting to know that your friends and loved ones are a mere flick of the finger away. The issue is, real, face-to-face conversations cannot be replaced, and we end up craving higher degrees of self-expression, more interpersonal empathy and a better capacity to show off our personalities when talking to people whose opinions we truly care about.
This is where tools like audio messages and emojis come into play. Emojis allow us to convey subtle emotions in a richer, more evocative way than text. Naturally, most of us love them - everyone from your close friends to your mother will probably pepper their messages with the odd one to transmit joviality, joy, humour or sadness. Perhaps they use lots; we all have a friend who cannot tell us a comical anecdote without relying heavily on the 'laughing/crying face' icon.
If A Girl Likes You, She Will Take Advantage of Emojis as 'Tools'
Fascinatingly, analysing and understanding emoji use can shine an illuminating light on whether or not someone sees you romantically. This is particularly true if the person you are infatuated with is a woman, since, statistically speaking, females possess high emotional intelligence paired with an astute capacity for fluid self-expression. In other words, if she wants to test the waters with you and let you know that she is waiting for you to make a move, she'll be resourceful. If you chat online, she'll see emojis (and gifs) as a fantastic way to achieve this without being too dominant and risking a). looking silly or b). scaring you off in case you want to chase her.
Here is what to look for: if she uses emojis to reveal aspects of her personality and to be a little cheeky, it is very, very likely, if not guaranteed, that she is romantically and physically interested in you.
Of course, your male best friend might send you the odd 'wink face', but context is key; you'll know he's having a laugh and not trying to flirt. This special girl of yours will probably not send winks or super provocative emojis (unless she's particularly daring!), so expect to see intricate, carefully chosen symbols that reflect her femininity, her lust for life (and, hence, her lust for you), her interests, and her moods.
Is She Trying To Tease You By Revealing Hidden Facets of Her Personality?
If you see lots of sparkles, flying meteorites, vampires, impetuous moon faces, then try and take the connection further - she is sending huge hints your way that she does not want a simple friendship with you. She does not want to just talk about music, sports and alcohol.. or even just about books or academic matters, if you two are mentally aligned. No, she wants more than a close friendship, craving romance, emotional intimacy, and to reveal herself to you fully.
Remember, she will also want to make your experience messaging her as aesthetic and pleasant as possible, because you obviously mean a lot to her. Since you two aren't yet at the stage where physical intimacy, gift-buying or Spotify playlist-making is happening, her ingenious female nature has her reaching for other quirky, subtle ways to brighten up your day and provide you with a good experience.
P.S. Of course, not all women will not exhibit these identical behavioural repertoires such as sending you emojis, but we are considering what is probabilistically likely; from my experience as a neuroscientist, I would predict that 85% of females respond to the heady highs of a blooming new romance in this way. You see, when affected by the delicious neurochemicals of love, the female brain tends to lean towards this form of communication over brusque, curt replies. She feels feminine, enchanting and she wants to share this with you.
P.P.S. If she sends you emojis of attractive females or stereotypical female objects, e.g. a female vampire, a female mermaid, or even the bikini emoji next to a sun when talking about the beach, she is undeniably highly interested in you. Women are well aware that men get the wrong message sometimes, and no sane female would regularly send such content to a man they didn't see romantically in fear of leading him on.
5. She Is Happiest When Your Energy Is Directed Towards Her
While a girl who is falling for you may try and mix you with her friends to seem relaxed, she will only manage to sustain this illusion of 'not wanting you for herself' for a little while. Guys tend to show signs of attraction more easily and boldly than girls, but girls are easier to read than you think; there are many emotional, energetic giveaways that girls display when they are captivated by you romantically.
This is by virtue of the fact that women often pair-bond a little more intensely and sentimentally than men. Evolutionarily-speaking, it is advantageous for a woman to really fixate on a man who may impregnate her once he starts to show romantic interest, as her biology wants her to pass on her genes and have a man in her life who will treat her and her child attentively. Of course, men obsess over women too, but if this is apparent early-on, it typically manifests itself in jealousy and physical fixation, rather than rapid emotional dependency.
Thereby, regardless of how independent, intelligent and aloof she is, if she really likes you and you impact her, you will know. She will desperately want your attention, and not in a needy or burdensome way - rather, she will absolutely adore being around you, and her eagerness and receptive femininity will light up your life (because the fact that you have clicked on this article suggests that you are also interested!). Human beings just want to feel good, and a woman falling into a state of infatuation/crushing on a man (or, if she is queer, on another woman!) will float through life without a care in the world, as long as she gets her fix regularly.
Once A Woman Decides She Likes You, She Will Crave Your Presence
Before the relationship has advanced towards anything physical, this delicious dopamine 'buzz' that you provide her with will pertain to you asking her questions, you showing interest in getting to know her etc. You see, this psychological component is incredibly important to women, and crucial for them to fall in love. Here are some styles of communication with you that she will love and actively seek out:
- Talking to you and opening up emotionally, while you look into her eyes deeply and provide her with pure connection and recognition. The way to a woman's heart is to see her completely for who she is (i.e. to possess both emotional intelligence and enough interest in her to ask her the right questions), and to then let her know, subtly, that you accept and admire her true identity. If she seems to love it when conversations take a turn towards her hobbies, passions, desires, and her childhood etc., she desires you as a romantic partner.
- Discussing the future with you and getting your input. If you're the first person she goes to when she's at a crossroads in life, and she listens to all your advice intently and gratefully, this suggests that she adores being wrapped up in your dominant energy and does not see you as a friend.
- Some minor-scale flirting, e.g. you complimenting her hair or telling her she tans well when she comes back from holiday. If she sees you as a friend, a compliment will cause her to recoil her energy and set up a barrier - women are very much put off by men seeing them as objects of desire when they are not, themselves, interested. However, if she leans into the connection even more when you craftily throw a shred of romantic attention her way, she wants more from you.
Naturally, if she loves your focus being on her, she will not want her friends to get in the way of the connection. If you are a man, she will be particularly careful to not be too cuddly or emotional with her male friends when around you; she'll want to show you that she is an option, and not secretly in love with her childhood best friend called Jerry.
Closely Watch How She Behaves Towards You (Compared to With Others)
Does she invite you to barbecues with her pals, leaving you wondering whether a). she sees you as one of them or b). whether she is into you? Energy doesn't lie - consider how she treats you at these gatherings, especially if alcohol is consumed, and all will be obvious. Two people who are mutually interested in each other will gravitate towards each other like opposite poles of a battery. Regardless of how much they care for friends that they have also invited, those platonic connections will be firmly on the backburner.
If you regularly see her but she jumps from person to person, often leaving you alone in the group and while she enters deep conversations with other people, she most likely only views you as a friend. In contrast, if you and her always end up sitting together and talking about an infinite range of topics despite many of her favourite people also being on the premises, you occupy a special place in her heart. Unless she's totally emotionally-disordered and prone to leading people on without real interest (i.e. a severe case of a condition like Borderline Personality Disorder), she feels high on life when she's around you and she wants you to make a move!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Lucy
Lucy (author) from Leeds, UK on July 14, 2020:
This is very true - while I believe it is important to 'test the waters' if someone is giving you some signals and there is tangible chemistry (hence me writing this article), if you give them opportunities to open up and they don't, they aren't truly interested.
If you find yourself thinking "if only I'd shown X trait", "if only I'd acted less nervously during the meal", or even "if only I'd used more complex vocabulary to impress then", you need to remind yourself that this person HAS seen you and picked up on your aura. And, they've left the situation happy and impacted by you, sure, but not inundated with thoughts about you... not as captured by you as you are by them.
And, that has to be your answer - you don't represent to them as much as they represent to you, and aren't capable of inducing feelings of 'love' in them. After all, we cannot choose who we love - if we could, we'd all choose to fall for softer, kinder people than we sometimes do... but the truth is that those people do not always capture our attention.
Since you've tried and been authentic, you have nothing to regret.
If you do, however, find yourself stuck in this state of unrequited love, you are looking at the condition limerence. People prone to this form of obsessive infatuation that extends beyond its logical endpoint (when closure is received) must treat this tendency like a pathology, in order to reach emotional freedom.
Anyone reading this who relates to being limerence-prone, check out my website content (linked in my profile).
Thanks, DashingScorpio, for bringing up this crucial point.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on July 14, 2020:
Generally speaking I tell people if you have to "figure out" if someone is "into you" odds are high that they're not!
The only exceptions might be if you're in grade school or dealing with someone who is an introvert or lacks dating and relationship experience.
When two people are on the same page and want the same things they usually make it happen. It's not exactly rocket science.
The problem a lot of folks have is they are constantly looking for ways to entice others or find ways to get someone to notice/like them who clearly isn't showing them any interest.
This causes anxiety, frustration, and fear of rejection.
In a world with over 7 Billion people rejection just means: Next!
"Go where you're appreciated and not tolerated" - Anonymous
"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."
- Oscar Wilde