By Emma McElhaney
It’s a common trope — the clueless guy who doesn’t take any of the hints an interested girl is sending him, even when they’re in capital neon letters. Before she made it clear she was into him, Emily Pinkston struggled to snag her current boyfriend’s attention.
“I sat behind him in class, and after I decided I was interested in him, I tried multiple times to walk with him after class,” said Pinkston, a University of Kansas senior.
He would either leave the room immediately, giving her no chance to show interest, or he would be engrossed in a conversation with someone else and she “would have looked dumb waiting for him,” she said.
“I would also try to talk to him before class about homework or other stuff, but it rarely extended beyond homework chat,” Pinkston said. “Finally, one day he turned to me and started talking to me after class to ask about my plans.”
For many guys, reading into a situation is risky — what if she’s just being friendly? But missing an opportunity could be equally as disappointing.
Doug Lawson*, a KU sophomore, said body language, such as a girl touching your shoulder or hands or giving you playful pushes, are good indicators of interest.
“If she feels comfortable enough with you to touch you, that’s a pretty good sign,” Lawson said. “If she hangs around — spends a longer amount of time with you specifically — or goes out of her way to continue a conversation with you, then she’s probably into you.”
It may be tempting to overanalyze all the signs, like body language or text messages, searching for a clear and obvious green light. However, Daniel Packard, professional love coach and touring speaker, said this isn’t a useful strategy.
“Nobody’s smart enough to think their way to love,” Packard said. “It’s too complicated; people are crazy.”
Sometimes life is uncomfortable, Packard said. You may be waiting around forever for an explicit, “Yes, I’m interested.”
“Things take courage, and people try to avoid courage, to try to skip that step and think their way through,” Packard said. “Even if you know what to say or not to say, if you walk up to her with the approach of, ‘I have to get this right,’ you’ve already lost the battle.”
Packard suggests focusing less on the outcome. Don’t be so caught up in whether they give you a yes or a no.
“Make your measurement of success be how you showed up. Were you courageous? Did you take a risk? Did you own what you want? These things make you proud of you. Then, no matter what they say, you walk away from the interaction feeling better about yourself,” Packard said.
Putting yourself out there can be scary, but through trial and error, Lawson said, you eventually figure it out. And sometimes it just takes courage.
“If you’re interested, ask her out,” Packard said. “People say no for a million reasons and none of them have anything to do with your worth. Just go for it.”
Edited by Hannah Swank