The Question You Have To Ask If You’re Truly Into Someone

You meet someone at the gym, or in class, or on Tinder and decide to meet up at a local café. Over steaming hot cups of coffee (or over a Frappuccino, in my case), you feel the energy between yourself and your date. The spark is there. You are drawn into the conversation and they seem really into it, too. Before you know it, you’ve hung out a bunch of times. There have been drinks after work, dinners at your favorite pizza place, and Netflix binge-watching sessions. You get to know this person better and you begin to feel that odd but heartwarming combination of excitement and comfort every time that their name pops up on your phone. After a time, you realize that you want this to turn really turn into something–an actual established thing with monogamy and feelings and titles rather than, “Oh, I’m kind of seeing someone, but I’m still single, technically… I think.”

I am no stranger to the fact that relationships are tricky to navigate, and it isn’t always clear where the other person is at, even if they continue to spend time with you and enjoy doing so. I was once asked out to dinner by a new friend that I found attractive and going into that evening, I had no clue whether it was going to be a date or he was just trying to be nice. After having dinner (and hanging out for hours and sleeping over, but not “sleeping together”–just having a literal sleepover), I still didn’t know whether I’d just been on a date. “I have no idea what he wants,” I told my friends, “but he spent 16.5 consecutive hours with me, so at the very least he must enjoy my company, right?”

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of seeing someone, having a really good time, and assuming that things will naturally take their course. Most of my friends told me not to bring up the feelings I’d developed and told me to just “see what happens.” I am very bad at just “seeing what happens.” I like to have answers. I like everyone to be on the same page. I like to know whether I stand a chance. It can be really difficult to discern whether someone is interested in something beyond hooking up, hanging out, or some combination of the two. So how are you supposed to figure it out?

The answer is simpler than you think: just ask them what they’re looking for.

dating

Maybe you cringed upon reading that. Asking a person that you’re really into what they’re looking for can be incredibly intimidating. It’s awkward at best and humiliating at worst. Nobody wants to be the one to bring up any serious conversation. Once you get past the uncomfortableness of it all, though, bringing up this question will do you a lot of favors in the long run; if this person is into you then you might get something more out of the relationship, and if they aren’t looking for anything serious then at least you have your answer and are free to go find someone more compatible.

Blinded by your own feelings and desires, it’s easy to assume that someone is maintaining exclusivity with you, because that’s what you want–or conversely, insecurity can push you into thinking that this person who you really enjoy spending time with is way too good for you and would never date you, because they could do better. (This is totally untrue, by the way. You rock and don’t ever forget it.)

If you’re at the point where you are becoming emotionally invested in someone, you owe it to yourself to get an honest answer instead of wracking your brain with questions about whether they feel the same way. Asking what they are looking for will be a brief moment of pain that leads to long-term pleasure. Getting a concrete answer and going from there is, from my experience, much less painful than torturing yourself with the “do-they-like-me-or-not” internal dialogue.

So next time you begin to develop feelings for someone, this is a crucial question that you need to bring up before moving forward. You don’t need to confess your love or even say that you want to date them and only them if you aren’t quite there yet. Simply ask, “What are you looking for?” and feel out the answer. Maybe this person really likes you, too. Maybe neither of you are entirely sure what you want yet but you’re open to possibilities, which you can then explore together. Or maybe this person only wants something 100% casual, in which case you can move on from them without having invested too much time.

It sounds scary, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run for bringing it up. Best of luck in the crazy dating world!


5 Ways To Make Sure Your Crush Picks Up On Your Signals
5 Ways To Make Sure Your Crush Picks Up On Your Signals
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