Unless you’ve got some superhuman powers, it’s impossible to know what another person is thinking. And usually, we’re totally OK with that. But if you’re trying to decipher whether a guy has feelings for you or not, it can be incredibly frustrating—especially if you’re crushing hard. Fortunately, there are some expert-backed signs for how to tell if a guy likes you. So whether you’re flirting with a coworker, wondering whether a fling is turning into the real thing, or thinking of adding some benefits to an existing friendship, take a look at these signs from relationship experts for how to tell if a guy likes you.
He asks you questions to see if you’re available.
Is a guy in your life asking a few personal questions? He might be interested, says relationship expert Justine Mfulama. “When a guy likes you, he will try to find out if you are seeing someone,” she says. “He will ask subtle questions about your life that tell him whether you are available or not. This helps him to decide whether he can make his move.” Questions about your family, whether you have any roommates, or what your plans are for the weekend could all indicate that you have a potential crush on your hands.
He makes lots of eye contact when you speak.
It’s not just a stereotype, it’s science: Eye contact is one of the most consistent signs of attraction scientists have found. For example, one study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that when men were romantically interested in someone, they tended to look more at the person’s head or chest, whereas when they were simply interested in friendship, they were more likely to look at the person’s legs or feet. The study, which used an eye-tracking device to monitor eye movement, also found a clear relationship between eye gaze and romantic interest.
He slows his walking pace to meet yours.
All right, this one might be difficult to pick up on if you don’t have a guy’s typical walking pace memorized—but it’s still worth mentioning. One study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that when men are walking with a woman they’re attracted to, they’ll slow their roll to match her pace. On the flip side, the study found that when men walk with platonic female friends, both the man and the woman adjust their speed to meet at a pace in the middle; when they walk with platonic male friends, each friend speeds up and the pair moves faster than they would on their own.
He’s always telling you jokes.
Both men and women find humor an attractive trait, which is why it’s no surprise that a man who can’t stop making jokes around you is probably trying to make a good impression. “Humor is one of the many ways people flirt,” says Mfulama. “A guy who likes you will try to be funny and engage in playful teasing. He will do that in order to convince you that he is funny and attractive.”
One study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that both men and women are more likely to initiate humor with a person they’re attracted to than a person they aren’t. The researchers also found that men are more likely to laugh at a joke from a woman they’re attracted to than a woman they aren’t (although this correlation was stronger when the situation was flipped and it was a man making the joke.)
He offers to help you out.
Particularly if you don’t know a guy too well, an offer to help you out with something you need might be his subtle way of signaling his interest in you. Moving and need a bit of muscle to help you pack? Hoping for a study buddy and get an offer from a kind acquaintance? An act of service is a reliable indicator for how to tell if a guy likes you.
He turns his body toward you.
It’s human nature for us to want to turn our bodies toward the people we’re interested in. That means if you’re in a group and notice that your crush is pivoting his toes toward you (and not just turning his head when you talk) or that he crosses his legs in your direction when you sit side by side, he may very well be interested.
His friends try to leave the two of you alone.
Sometimes, the clue to your guy’s heart can be through his friends, says Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio. “Another clue a guy likes you comes from social psychology,” she says. “His friends try to leave you alone with him. If you are hanging out in a group and his buddies suddenly get up and leave you two together, they may have more information about his crush on you than you do!”
He picks up on the smallest details of your appearance.
If a guy notices a small change in your appearance or a seemingly insignificant aspect of your outfit, he’s probably totally smitten. It means he’s taking account, not just of the big picture, but of the little things about you that most people might not notice. If he notices your shoes, haircut, or new glasses, he just might be interested (and a keeper, to boot!)
He finds a reason to touch you—even if it’s ever-so slightly.
Touch makes an enormous difference in our mutual attraction. A simple brush of the hand or a gentle touch on the shoulder can bridge the gap between friend and flirt. One study published in the journal Social Influence even found that women were more likely to give men their numbers if those men combined their flirting game with a light touch on her forearm for one to two seconds.
“A guy who holds your hand or puts his arm around you is showing interest,” says therapist and social worker Alisha Powell, PhD. “We don’t tend to touch people we don’t like, so touch can be an indication of attraction.”
He remembers every detail you tell him.
Is there a man in your life who remembers that you majored in literature in undergrad and that your dream job was to be a veterinarian when you were a kid? He just might be interested in you, suggests Powell. “A guy who takes the time to notice small details or things that you’ve told him in passing is a sign that he’s interested,” she says. “Details matter, and when he makes an effort to remember, he is showing that he is prioritizing you.”
Marriage and family therapist Allison D. Osburn-Corcoran agrees. “A simple sign would be if he remembers little things about you—like your order at Starbucks,” she says. “It shows that you are taking up cognitive space in his mind and that he is interested in learning about you.
He uses your name often in conversation.
“A subtle sign a guy likes you is that he uses your name often,” says Scott-Hudson. “It is also useful to pay attention to how he says your name. A terrific sign he is interested in you is that he smiles a lot when saying your name. Think about those junior high school days when you would write your crush’s name over and over. We still give off subtle clues to how we feel about people when we speak their name.”
He’s made a few noticeable efforts to try to impress you.
Expect a confident man to do some preening around you. “There are two ends of the spectrum for men: confident ones and those who are lacking in self-belief,” says Robert Kandell, a growth expert and the author of unHIDDEN: A Book for Men and Those Confused by Them. “The prior will show interest by trying to impress you” and “being loud and attracting your attention (also known as ‘peacocking’).”
That doesn’t mean you should tolerate any obnoxiousness, but if he’s excited about showing off a bit (whether that’s in a game of darts or his personal finance chops), you’re probably the object of some major affection.
He takes initiative when it comes to getting in touch.
If you’re wondering how to tell if a guy likes you, it’s a great sign if you’re not always the only one initiation contact. “A guy who takes the initiative in making a phone call or texting first is showing that you’re on his mind,” says Powell. “He wants to talk to you and is making an effort to do so.” Guys don’t often waste their time chit-chatting, so if you’re talking frequently, it’s often for a romantic reason.
He wants to see you during the day.
When it comes to sussing out how to tell if a guy likes you and what his intentions are, the time of day matters, says April Beyer, a dating expert and the founder and CEO of private matchmaking service LEVEL Connections. “Guys who are interested don’t just want the Friday night sexy date with you,” she says. “They want to also see you for a hike, daytime coffee, or going for a drive on the weekend. In other words, your company is appealing to him and your personality matters.”