There are few things more frustrating than flirting with your crush, messaging them, Snapchatting them, flirting with them some more, and messaging them some more and flirting with them even more… Only to realize that they have no idea that you like them. You aren’t sure whether you are ready to come out and directly say that you like them, but at the same time, you wish they would get a clue already. How can they not know? Can they be that dense?
Yes, yes they can.
It’s happened so many times: a friend of mine starts crushing on one of their friends, and after months of buildup, finally has to come out and say “I’m into you,” simply to find that their crush had absolutely no idea. This is somewhat understandable; if a crush is an acquaintance then they might not know you well enough to pick up on your hints, and if a crush is someone you know already then they may be used to thinking of you as a platonic friend and it might not occur to them that you’d see them in that way.
Plus, some people are just slightly socially inept. I don’t know that a guy likes me until he literally says, “I have feelings for you.” I just assume that nobody is interested until somebody says that they are. I know boys who are equally as clueless, so this is applicable no matter which gender(s) you are attracted to.
Even so, there are some universal signals that may help your crush realize how you feel. Here are a couple of ways to get their attention if your previous tactics have been unsuccessful.
1. Don’t completely ignore them.
If you’ve been playing hard-to-get, make sure that you aren’t playing impossible-to-get. There’s a fine line between maintaining some mystery and giving off the impression that you are uninterested. If you get a text from your crush, actually respond to it… Even if you feel compelled to wait two hours first to make it look like you have a life and haven’t been sitting around waiting for that message all day.
Any healthy relationship requires effort from both parties involved, so while you may not want to appear clingy or desperate, it’s totally okay to text them first sometimes! If they are at all interested, they’ll appreciate that you thought of them.
2. Hang out one-on-one.
It may seem a little scary to invite your crush to hang out just the two of you if you aren’t already close friends, but it’s a great way to demonstrate your interest in that person according to matchmaker Stef Safran. You don’t even have to call it a date if the label makes you anxious; Safran says that “one-on-one time shows interest” and that should be enough to get your crush thinking. If your crush isn’t picking up on more subtle signals, this might push them in the direction of realizing how much you want to spend time with them.
3. Actions can speak louder than words.
We always get wrapped up in how a conversation is going to go or whether we’re going to say the right thing, but next time you’re with your crush, pay attention to your body language. Do you face them openly or have you inadvertently made yourself seem closed off? Do you smile and give them your undivided attention, or do you check your phone every five minutes? If you want someone to know that you are interested, your behavior should reflect that.
Matchmaker Brooke Wise says that “flirting, active listening… making eye contact, smiling, laughing, [and] making [them] laugh” are all good ways to show that you’re into someone. Safran even suggests that a light (consensual) touch is a great way to grab their attention. Gently touching someone’s hand or shoulder may increase the probability of your crush realizing that you like them.
4. Be a little extra nice.
There’s being a friend, and then there’s going above and beyond. You don’t need to knock yourself dead catering to their every whim–that would be absolutely insane–but if you can go a little bit more out of your way to help them out than usual, they might get the hint. Crushing on a cute waiter or barista? Give them a generous tip. They need a ride to the airport and you have a car? Offer to take them. Own a book or a movie that you think they might like? Lend them your copy. (And then they’ll have to see you again in order to return it. What a devious plan.)
5. Tell them how you’re feeling face-to-face.
If you’re really just at the point where you need to know where they are at, it’s okay to simply reveal your feelings and ask if they’re reciprocated. It’s kind of awkward, but at least you’ll get a pretty quick answer either way. Definitely make this conversation happen through an in-person meetup because things can be forgotten or misconstrued if you try to share your feelings in a text.
Good luck letting your crush know what’s up!