Dating would be so much easier if everyone was more open and honest with their feelings from the very beginning. Realistically, that never really happens. Unless you're super intuitive or just have special mind reading abilities,
how to know if someone likes you and sees a potential future with you is no easy task. But according to dating and relationship experts, there are certain signs you can look out for.
"After spending time with someone, even just for five minutes or an hour, a connection or
spark is usually lit when making eye contact or conversation," relationship expert and marriage attorney, Vikki Ziegler, tells Bustle. "Sometimes one person may notice a special or unique quality and acknowledge it with a, ‘Wow, that's awesome,’ or ‘I like what you’re saying.’ Other times, a person may give other compliments — anything from ‘You have a really great smile’ to ‘I like your take on life.’"
According to Ziegler, these are just some of the more obvious signs that someone notices special qualities in you. Everyone has special traits that differentiate them from everyone else. So when someone takes notice of yours, they may be
interested in you.
So how do you know if someone sees you as someone special when you first meet? Here are some signs experts say to look out for.
They Try To Keep Eye Contact
You can tell by their eyes. "When you're introduced, they'll look directly into your eyes with a level of intensity that makes your heart aware," relationship expert and author,
Cindee Bartholomew, tells Bustle. "They will often continue to stare at you even after you look away and when you look again at them they will smile again."
People tend to look at things that interest them, whether they're aware of it or not. When it comes to
first dates, a 2017 eye tracking study by Function found that people who felt a spark with their date locked eyes with them 11 percent of the time. Those who felt no spark only made eye contact with their date seven percent of the time. So if you notice that they're constantly trying to keep your gaze, that's a really good sign they're really into you.
They Pay Attention And Remember Things You've Said Before
A person who is interested in you from the get-go will be motivated to learn more about you. As Celia Schweyer, dating expert at
DatingScout.com, tells Bustle, it all starts with your name. "If a person forgets your name after the first introduction, it means they are not interested," she says. A person who sees you as something special will make it a point to remember your name even after a quick introduction.
If the person remembers things you've said earlier on (or even before) and is able to reference them as the conversation progresses, Coree Schmitz, professional matchmaker at
Tawkify, tells Bustle it's another huge indicator of interest.
"In today's society where
being present in a conversation is one of the hardest things to do, giving a new person full attention during [a conversation] is one of the highest compliments," Schmitz says. "To me that says, of all the 1000 things I could be thinking about right now, I prefer to genuinely hear and think about what you have to say."
They "Mirror" Your Actions
You may have heard before that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. According to Alyssa Bunn, professional matchmaker at Tawkify, that rings true for first dates and with people you're attracted to after meeting for the first time.
"You may notice your date 'mirroring' or subconsciously
copying your body language, gestures, speech patterns, or attitude," Bunn says. "If your date is interested, you'll get the energy you're giving off. So it's important to keep your verbal and nonverbal body language in check. If you're closed off, negative, or not fully present, you may squash the romantic spark before it even has a chance to emerge." So be super aware of the energy you're putting out, especially if you think they're someone special too.
They Show Their Curiosity
Think "wide eyes, bright smiles," Kimia Mansoor, professional matchmaker at Tawkify, tells Bustle. If someone thinks you're someone special, they'll be curious about you. "They'll ... [observe] you carefully to try to learn as much as possible," Mansoor says. "They'll want to know more about you." Even if someone seems quiet, shy, or reserved, they'll still be listening and paying attention to all the little details.
According to Stephanie Churma, spiritual relationship coach and owner of
The Good Love Company, there's a look people get in their eyes when they're completely captivated by someone. "You'll best spot it when you're knee-deep in a story about anything that lights you up," Churma says. People who are attracted to you will nod and smile. But the one who sees you as something special will watch and listen intently "with actual awestruck."
They Notice Your Similarities And Make Connections
We all want to
feel understood, especially in romantic partnerships. "If someone thinks you're special, they'll want to showcase how similar they are to you or how they can empathize with you," Samantha Campbell, professional matchmaker at Tawkify, tells Bustle.
For instance, if you're sharing a story about your cousin who's about to
have a baby, they might share how they just went to their first ever baby shower. Or maybe if you complain about how your favorite snack from Trader Joe's is no longer being produced, they might joke they're still grieving over the closing of their favorite restaurant. Whatever it is, they'll try to make connections between what you say and their own experience. "Whether it's conscious or not, they're trying to say, 'Hey, I get you,' and hoping that you feel the connection, too," she says.
They Laugh At Your Jokes
Laughter has been
known to improve relationships. But everyone has their own idea of what's funny and not. So as marriage therapist, Kimberly Hershenson, tells Bustle, "If [they] already find you funny early on, they likely think you’re special." In fact, a 2015 University of Kansas study put this idea to the test. Researchers put together 51 pairs of college students who didn't know each other and identified as heterosexual. Each pair was told to sit together in a room alone to talk for about ten minutes. They were then given a survey to fill out after. As it was found, people who shared more laughs together were more likely to say they were romantically interested in each other. If someone's laughing at your jokes when you first meet, it's a really good thing.
They Make You Feel Like You're The Only One Around
A really good sign that someone thinks your special is the amount of focus and attention they put on you and only you. "They don't want to talk to anyone else," Hershenson says. "If they were around you the entire time and didn’t bother to meet other people or strike up a conversation with anyone else, it's a sign they think you’re special." When someone is completely focused on you, they'll stay engaged in the conversation. They won't be checking their phone or responding to their friend's text even for just a moment. In fact, their phone will be kept away entirely because they'll be so intent on listening to you.
They Want To Prolong The Time They Spend With You
"One good sign that someone thinks you are special early on is if you're with them and it seems like time flies," Rori Sassoon, relationship expert and co-owner of matchmaking agency
Platinum Poire, tells Bustle. The conversation is flowing, you're sharing a lot of laughs, and next thing you know, it's been hours since you started talking.
If someone's interested in you, it doesn't matter how long you've already been talking. They'll still want more.
"Anyone who's genuinely smitten with you will want to extend your time together," Churma says. So if they're asking you to grab coffee after dinner or just take a walk to talk more, it's a good sign.
"When someone thinks you're special, they strike while the iron is hot," Sophy Singer, professional matchmaker at Tawkify, tells Bustle. "Before the date (or random social encounter) is over, they're already testing the waters by making future plans." While Singer says they might not ask you right then and there, they will make a mention of something fun that the two of you might enjoy together in the future.
Although it's kind of hard to tell what someone really thinks of you when you first meet, experts say these signs can clue you in. But overall, if you leave that first meeting feeling special, that's super telling in and of itself.
This post was originally published on January 25, 2018 . It was updated on June 6, 2019.