One of the toughest parts about dating is investing your time and energy into a building a relationship with someone who may not be as invested as you. It’s not always easy to tell if someone is sincere and has real feelings for you or if they’re just playing around. But according to experts, there are some things you can watch out for.
“Pay twice as much attention to how someone treats you than what they say,” Christine Scott-Hudson, psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. “Anybody can say they love you, but behavior doesn’t lie. If someone says they value you, but their actions indicate otherwise, trust their behavior.”
For instance, someone who is serious about you will always make time for you no matter what. As Kate O’Connor, professional matchmaker and dating expert with It’s Just Lunch D.C., tells Bustle, having a packed schedule and being busy is not really an excuse.
“They could be stringing you along while dating other people, or they’re simply not interested in making room for you in their life,” O’Connor says. “And don’t be fooled by someone who takes the time to send you a quick text or DM throughout the day. Those two seconds of flirting may seem sweet on the surface, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of real time spent together.”
It’s one thing to be with someone who’s into you, and it’s another to be with someone who actually has feelings for you. Here’s how to tell if it’s the latter, according to experts.
1. They Do Thoughtful Things For You Just Because
When someone is serious about you, they’ll display a level of selflessness that you won’t always get with someone who’s into you for more shallow reasons. For instance, they’ll do nice things for you because they know it’ll make you happy, not because they want something in return. “You might’ve said something about your dog being sick, and the next thing you know, they’ve bought chew toys, medication or even consulted their veterinarian pal for you,” Cherlyn Chong, breakup recovery and dating specialist, tells Bustle. “This is a person who doesn’t want credit or validation from you, they just want to make things better and see you smile again.”
2. They Care About What’s Going On In Your Life
“Being friendly is one thing, but consistently having tons of conversations is another,” Celia Schweyer, dating expert at Dating Scout, tells Bustle. A person who has real feelings for you will want to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your life. If you’re not in contact throughout the day, they’ll make it a point to check in just to see how you’re doing. They’re always there for you if you need to vent, and they’re more than happy to give advice if you ask. They’ll also find a way to turn simple small talk into a full-blown conversation. A person who makes this kind of effort not only likes you, but actually cares about you.
3. They Make You Feel Like What You Say Really Matters To Them
“You can tell that someone has real feelings for you if whenever you talk, you feel like they appreciate everything you say and do,” Celia Schweyer, dating expert at Dating Scout, tells Bustle. For instance, when you’re having a conversation face-to-face, they’ll try to make eye contact as much as possible. They’ll put any distractions away and keep their focus on you. When you talk about something, they’ll ask thoughtful follow-up questions or offer up comments that let you know they’re paying attention. “It might feel like they’re clinging on to every word you say,” Schweyer says. They just have a way of making you feel like everything you say is important.
4. They Remember The Details
Sometimes the signs of someone having real feelings for you can be subtle. According to Schweyer, someone who’s serious about you will remember the details. They’ll never forget basic things like your birthday or your favorite food. They’ll also make note of the small things you say in passing like wanting to check out the newest restaurant in town. You’ll know they’re really into you if they take it a step further and actually do something about the knowledge they have. For instance, if you did mention wanting to try out that new restaurant, they’ll make it happen on your next date night.
5. They’re Open And Honest With You
When someone is sincere about their feelings for you, they’ll have no problem sharing their life with you. They’ll open up about their insecurities, fears, and dreams for the future. “When someone opens up to you and you know it wasn’t easy for them to speak out, that’s a sign they have real feelings for you,” Schweyer says. “They want you to know that they trust you, and that you can trust them in return.” They’re allowing you to see their true self in hopes that you’ll accept them despite any flaws or shortcomings. This is how you build intimacy and connection.
6. They Respect Your Boundaries
In order to have a healthy relationship, it’s important to know that your partner respects you. As life and dating coach, Treva Brandon Scharf, tells Bustle, someone who truly has feelings for you will always take “no” for an answer without question. They’ll never try to push, force, manipulate, or pressure you in any way. “They’ll respect your decisions and your boundaries,” Scharf says. “If you say ‘no’ to something you’re not comfortable with, they honor it.” Your comfort and happiness means way more to them than whatever it is they want in the moment.
7. They’re Consistent And Follow Through On Their Word
“The best signs someone has real feelings for you are consistency and follow-through,” Elizabeth Stone, love coach and founder of Attract the One tells, Bustle. When someone wants you in their life, they’ll make you a priority. They’ll be consistent with their communication, and make plans with you and follow through. If they can’t make it for whatever reason, they’ll apologize and set a new date. “When people are truly interested, your time and communication with them begins to cut through the other noise in their life,” Stone says. “They want more of you — to know more, experience more and spend more of their resources (time, energy, etc.) on you.” You’ll never have to question their interest.
While it’s always nice to hear that someone likes you, actions do speak louder than words. If the person you’re with does any of these things, you can trust that their feelings for you are real.
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