When you're starting to crush on someone, the natural thing to wonder is if they like you back. After all, making a move will be a lot less scary if you already knew they were into you too. If you're wondering if your interest is reciprocated, experts say there are both obvious and subtle signs of a mutual attraction that you can look out for.
A 2018 study published in the journal Psychological Bulletin found that people behave in certain ways when they're attracted to someone and/or interested in making a connection. Mimicking or mirroring the other person's behavior, initiating conversation, and wanting to be in close physical proximity were found to be the top signs to look for if you want to know if someone likes you.
These signs were followed by nonverbal cues such as making eye contact as as much as possible, nodding while the other person is talking, as well as smiling and laughing.
According to researchers, these behaviors not only indicate romantic interest, but they're also related to trust. If someone's initiating conversation with you or wanting to be physically close, they're also saying they trust you and are interested in making a connection.
There are many different things that can clue you in to how someone thinks or feels about you. Here are some signs of a mutual attraction, according to experts.
1. There's Reciprocity
"One of the biggest indicators that attraction is mutual between two people is reciprocity in interactions," Michelle Henderson, licensed mental health counselor who specializes in relationship issues, tells Bustle. For instance, this can look like you and the other person contributing equally to conversations. You're not the only one asking questions like you're interviewing them, and they're giving you responses that you can actually work with. You'll know if there's reciprocity in your situation just by how you feel.
"If you feel like you're receiving as much as you're giving when you're flirting with someone or trying to plan a date, then they likely are into you, too," Henderson says. There's an equal amount of excitement coming from both of you.
2. There's A Special Look In Their Eyes When You Make Eye Contact
As Julie Krafchick, dating expert and co-host of the Dateable podcast, tells Bustle, "You can generally tell there's attraction when two people have that 'look in their eyes' when they talk to one another." It's that look that says they're only interested in what's in front of them in that moment.
If someone's attracted to you, they're going to keep their eyes on you whether they're aware of it or not. If they're making eye contact with you, that's even better. "People who are attracted to each other tend to look at each other, look away, and look back at each other into each other’s eyes," Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist, owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. "The eye contact gets more sustained as the interaction goes on, not less." If they're also smiling, that's a really good sign.
3. You Like Their Smell And They Like Yours
"Believe it or not, if you're both attracted to the other person's smell this can indicate mutual interest," Henderson says. "We all release pheromones and they play a bigger role in attraction than we think." Some people aren't as quick to compliment others on the way they smell. But if someone you're into tells you that you smell nice, there's a good chance that they're attracted to you.
4. Your Hips Face Each Other When You Talk
When it comes to knowing if someone you're interested in likes you back, it's all in the body language. One thing you may want to pay attention to is the direction their hips are facing. According to Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, if both of you are standing with your hips facing each other, this is a strong sign that you have each other's undivided attention. It's also a really good sign if you find yourself leaning in and moving closer together.
5. They're Curious About You And Remember Random Details About Your Life
If someone likes you, they'll be curious about you. They'll want to talk to you and ask you questions in order to get to know you. If they remember random details about your life and bring it up again in a later conversation, that's a great sign. "Maybe they recall that you had a big meeting you were stressing about at work or that you hate olives," Krafchick says. "If they make an effort to bring up a minor detail or interaction you mentioned, it means they were paying attention and subconsciously investing in a future with you."
6. There's Color In Their Cheeks When You're Around
When you're looking for clues that someone's into you, it's important to pay attention to the little things. Look for small changes in their movements or behavior, like them fixing their posture when you come around. Another thing to look out for is physical clues that they have no control over. For instance, blushing is something that's out of someone's control. "People often blush when they're attracted to someone," Scott-Hudson says. "If the person you like has a lot of color in their cheeks, it's a good indicator that they're feeling something when they're near you."
7. They Find Small Ways To Make Physical Contact
"When they say actions are louder than words, this is definitely true when it comes to attraction," Jeannie Assimos, chief of advice for eharmony, tells Bustle. According to her, the biggest sign of mutual attraction is physical touch. If you have no problem grabbing their hand, or if they like touching your shoulder, you're both expressing your attraction to one another. These small touches tend to happen naturally when you're into someone and you want to get close.
"If you're newly dating someone, and you both are expressing attraction (whether it’s a casual touch, or even just sitting together closely), the best thing to do is to let things flow organically," Assimos says. "At the end of the date, if it feels right to share a kiss, go for it. Pay attention to your intuition."
Of course, the only way to know for sure if someone's interested in you is to hear them express it themselves. But if you happen to notice any of these things, take that as a really positive sign to make your move.
Montoya, R. M., Kershaw, C., & Prosser, J. L. (2018). A meta-analytic investigation of the relation between interpersonal attraction and enacted behavior. Psychological Bulletin, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29733622
Michelle Henderson, licensed mental health counselor, owner of Next Chapter Counseling
Julie Krafchick, co-host and producer of the Dateable podcast
Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist, owner of Create Your Life Studio
Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking
Jeannie Assimos, chief of advice for eharmony