The dating game is tough, especially if you’re young or if you’re returning to it after a long-term relationship. Learning how to talk to potential dates can be hard, but you can master the skill through observation and practice.
Everyone is slightly different in the way they deal with potential romantic partners, but there are certain things to look for in conversations and interactions. Deciphering subtle cues from some women can be confusing, but there are many common ways women knowingly (and unknowingly) show interest in men.
Unless you have lots of experience with women (or study psychology), you’ll need a primer on how women flirt before you can adequately pick up on their cues, particularly the non-verbal ones.
Do Some Women Play Hard to Get When They Want You?
Some women like to play coy or hard to get with men they like. This method is still flirting – it’s something you’ll notice. “Playing hard to get” is different from out and out ignoring you, or treating you rudely.
They’ll always be some humor or playfulness if a woman uses the “playing hard to get” approach. You’ll need to learn how to read these signals well before asking a woman out – joke with her in a friendly inoffensive way and see if she responds or ignores you.
Some women are friendlier than others and greet everyone with a smile and a cheerful word. Don’t assume a woman is interested in you romantically because she talks to you or has a friendly attitude. Look for other signs of interest, such as:
- Body Language
- Eye Contact
- Tone of Voice
- Her Overall Demeanor
There are traditional flirts and playful flirts. Traditional flirts believe men should take the initiative while playful flirts think flirting is fun, and both men and women can flirt if they want a relationship. Women who take the initiative to talk to you in an upbeat way are playful flirts.
Be aware that some playful flirts may not be interested in you romantically. These types of flirts may want to get information from you or use you. You may want to think twice about a playful flirt if she’s being too strident, or asks questions about your finances or business connections.
The University of Kansas categorized flirting styles more fully, and determined there are three other ways a person can flirt, in addition to traditional and playful flirting.
Physical flirts touch your hands, arm, or shoulder when they’re listening to you or passing by you- they don’t necessarily have to say a word to let you know they’re interested.
Sincere flirts say nice things about your clothes, comment on the book you’re reading or the music you’re listening to, or make conversation based on something you’re doing. Sincere flirts are interested in finding a common bond and building the relationship from there. Only time will tell if these sincere encounters will blossom into a romance or a friendship.
Polite flirts are a quieter version of the sincere flirt. Sometimes, their method may be taken for work conversation or small talk, and you may not realize they’re flirting. Polite flirts can also be a little awkward.
Shy women fall under the polite category. Women who are quiet or shy may seem cold at first because they don’t talk much and may find it hard to look directly in your eyes. Don’t discount a shy or awkward woman who tries to initiate contact with you.
Asking for a date with a shy woman may take a bit longer than with an extroverted one, but if the woman has good qualities, be patient and go for it.
Even women who like men to flirt and take the initiative can exhibit subtle flirtation with their eye contact and body language. Women who like men to take the first step are more likely to have trouble communicating their feelings or understand when men are interested in them, however.
Ten Ways Women Show Interest in You
Women aren’t going to come right out tell you they like you – they’re not that bold or obvious. For that matter, neither are most men. Being too forthright can be misconstrued or sound creepy, so people use both verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate they’re interested in someone else romantically.
Here are the top 10 signs she wants you.
Check her body language and the way she looks at you. Does she make direct eye contact?
Do you turn around at your desk to find a paper and see that she’s looking or smiling at you?
See if she is guarded or protective of herself when she’s around you. If her arms are open, she’s interested in you, but if they’re folded across her chest, she’s preoccupied or trying to end the conversation. A woman leaning toward you during a conversation is engaged and interested in you and what you’re saying.
A woman who isn’t interested in you will avoid getting to close to you; a woman who likes you will get into a comfortable stance closer to you without being too obvious.
Guys need to improve their ability to read non-verbal clues from women. According to a 1985 study, there are 52 non-verbal flirting behaviors women use. Here are five of the most popular non-verbal clues women exhibit when they’re interested in a man:
Head-nodding- a woman will nod her head in agreement with you if she’s interested in you/what you’re saying
Tossing her head when listening to you – a woman will flip her head backward and lift her face for a few seconds.
Fixing her gaze- a woman looks at a man she’s interested in by making eye contact for more than three seconds.
Neck tilting- a woman will tilt her had to one side at about 45 degrees. This movement exposes the opposite side of her neck.
A woman will give you a sideways glance of two to three seconds if she’s interested in you.
The study also noted that men approached and talked to women who exhibited these flirting behaviors regardless of their perceived traditional beauty.
Look for the non-verbal cues above when you see a woman at work, in a bar, or in your neighborhood. Approach her and say hi or start a conversation. If she smiles at you and makes eye contact. If she also touches your hand or shoulder, you may want to ask her out on a date.
She Stops What She’s Doing to Talk to You
Does the woman stop what she’s doing when you enter her space and look at or talk to you? A woman who looks up from her phone or computer when you walk in the room has more than a passing interest in you. She likes you if she stands up and approaches you to engage you in conversation.
If a woman is conversing with several people and tries to include you in the conversation, she may merely be friendly, or she may be doing it to show she wants to know you. A woman who includes you in conversations and activities repeatedly wants to know you better and may want a relationship.
A woman who’s interested in you may stop a conversation she’s having and gravitate to you. (Hopefully, she won’t be too abrupt in ending the previous conversation. Your friends or co-workers may scold you if they notice this type of maneuver.)
A woman who stops to chat with you even when she’s busy at work or running errands may want to date you or certainly wants to know you better.
A woman who’s friendly with everyone will say hi or engage in pleasantries and be on her way. A woman who’s genuinely interested will talk to you a bit longer and ask specific questions about what you’re doing.
Listen to her tone of voice when she talks to you. Is she upbeat, or neutral? She really into you if there’s a “smile” in her voice throughout the conversation.
She Asks Your Friends About You
Occasionally, some women, especially shy ones, will ask your friends about you before they approach you. Your friends may or may not tell you about it. Ask any friend who tells you that a woman has talked to him about you if she brought up your name on her own, and if she asked about your dating status.
A woman who mentions you out of the blue-in a positive way- to your friends is probably interested in dating you.
She Asks Lot of Questions
Asking questions is one of the top 10 signs she wants you. A woman who wants to date, you will ask specific questions about your life and your interests. Her desire to know that you will extend beyond small talk.
One of your answers may lead to another question as she shows curiosity about your opinions and experiences. Answer her questions with open-ended replies. Avoid simple yes and no answers. She may take this as a sign that you’re not interested and want to end the conversation.
Let her know if you truly are too busy to continue the conversation at the moment, but call or text her as soon as you get the chance.
Asking personal questions (as long as they’re not too intrusive!) during a conversation is an attempt to take a budding friendship to the relationship level.
She wants to know more about you so she can determine conclusively if she wants to date you. She likes you, but she wants to be sure you have enough in common to continue to the dating level.
A woman who exclusively asked you questions about work or a project you’re working on together without asking questions about your outside interests is probably just a friend or agreeable co-worker. However, as time passes, she may start asking personal questions. Don’t be overanxious; let the conversations flow naturally.
She Tries to Bond over Common Interests
A woman who wants to know you better will try to find common ground with you during your conversations.
You may bond over similar interests in music, books, sports, or movies. You may find you have
Body language, as we’ve discussed before, is important, too. A woman nods or leans forward while asking you personal questions is definitely interested in you. Nodding, smiling and laughing during a conversation shows that’s she likes what you’re saying.
She may even connect with you by relating something similar to the stories you’ve told.
Shared interests are the starting point of all relationships. She may mention she likes the same sports team you do when you talk about last night’s game with friends in a group conversation. The more excited she is about a subject you mention, the more likely you’ll bond over it and begin dating.
You may find out she grew up in the same neighborhood you did or went to the same college. Every conversation you have with her will reveal more mutual interests. A man and woman with enough mutual interests usually end up being a couple, or at least dating.
She may even give you small gifts related to common interests. For example, she may give you a keychain with the logo of your favorite sports team.
She Mentions Events She Wants to Attend
A woman who mentions events she wants to attend, such as a concert, will offer you a great way to ask her out without feeling too awkward. You can casually mention that you are interested in the concert or event, and suggest going together or meeting up at the event.
A woman in a one-on-one conversation with you who mentions she wants to go to an event but doesn’t want to go alone is practically telling you to ask her out on a date. You can feel confident she’ll say yes if you ask to go with her – especially if she’s shown interest in you in previous conversations.
Also, when a woman includes you in discussions and chooses you as part of group outings, she’s indicating that she likes you – and probably wants a date. She’s letting you know she feels comfortable around you and wants to know you better.
Engage her and ask her more about herself. Trust your intuition if she responds favorably to your words and asks her out on a date.
A woman who brings you a soda or sandwich at lunch without you asking her wants to know you better. She may save a seat for you at a meeting, or bookmark a website about a subject you like on her computer.
Some women do kind things like this for lots of people, while others only exhibit the behavior of this nature for potential love interests or friends. Observe her behavior around others.
She Talks about Personal Things, Not Just Work or Small Talk
A woman who’s interested in you wants to know if you’re interested in her, so she’ll talk about her personal life and hobbies. She may add details to an answer to one of your questions that reveal more about her life or tell anecdotes about her family, friends, or past experiences.
A woman might add a personal story that relates to a topic you’re discussing. By talking about her personal life, she’s showing you that the relationship can move beyond work.
Any woman who talks about what she likes in a guy and ends up mentioning qualities and interests you have is a definite potential date. A woman who mentions she’s single even if you don’t ask her is signaling that she’s available for a date.
She Touches Your Shoulder or Offers Other Contact
Another of the top 10 signs she wants you involves physical contact. She’ll touch your shoulder or hand, or take a pen from your fingers to write something on a piece of paper. These actions show that she feels comfortable with you beyond a working relationship.
A woman may touch her lips, twirl her hair, or touch her neck while talking to you. This is a subconscious indication that she’s attracted to you and feels comfortable around you.
Some studies show the flirting styles couples use during courtship predict how stable and long-lasting the relationship will be.
Her Friends Drop Hints that She Likes You
Women tell their friends when they’re interested in a guy, so some of the hints that she likes you will come from her girlfriends, and not directly from her. A woman’s friends love to play matchmaker and will be willing intermediaries, especially if the woman is quiet or shy.
Sometimes a woman will ask what you think of her friend or drop hints to see if you’ve noticed her and report back to the friend. When a woman’s friends keep mentioning her in front of you, they are probably trying to see if you like her and want to date her.
Her friends may also ask you questions about your marital or dating status, what you like in a woman, or what you like to do. When a married or taken asks about your marital status, she’s probably asking for a friend. A single woman is probably asking for herself and flirting with you.
She Calls, Texts or Comments on Your Social Media Posts
Any woman who sends you friendly or flirtatious email mail messages, texts, or who posts on your social media accounts often is interested in you. It’s important to differentiate a friendly email/post from a flirtatious one, so ask a straight-talking friend (or two) to interpret the message intended for you.
You can always send a friendly email or text to the woman in question to follow through and see if she wants more than a friend-zone acquaintance.
More about Reading Cues
A study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that guys have a harder time distinguishing woman’s non-verbal communication styles. Men consistently categorized images of friendly women as flirtatious, and images of flirtatious women as friendly.
Women were more likely to identify the gestures in the images correctly.
Overall, women categorized more images correctly than men did. When it came to friendly gestures, men were more likely than women to interpret these to mean sexual interest. Men also were less likely to tell the difference between images of sadness and rejection.
However, men can learn to read verbal and non-verbal cues better by being more aware of a woman’s tone of voice and gestures.
Here are some signs that a woman is flirting with you instead of merely being friendly:
She sends you selfies, especially sexy or funny ones.
She makes lots of eye contact and touches your hand or shoulder as she talks to you.
She may also play with her hair or touch her arm, chest, or the side of her leg as she talks to you.
She’s always available to talk to you, text you, or see you, although she’s not available for other guy friends in the same way.
A woman won’t talk about other men-even guy friends-in your presence, and she won’t talk about her exes, either. She’ll only want to learn more about you and impress you.
Be attentive and learn all you can about flirting techniques women use. You don’t need to become an expert, but be aware of the subtle differences between friendliness and flirting.
The best way to tell if a woman likes you as a potential suitor is to observe how she acts with other guys-or people in general. Study the top 10 signs she wants you and recognize them in your daily interactions.
A woman who talks to you and treats you the same as she treats other people in your office or social surface probably has a friendly, upbeat personality. Any woman who pays more attention to you than others in your group probably likes you as a friend and may want much more.
Always be friendly and upbeat with a woman who exhibits the verbal and non-verbal flirting techniques we’ve described here, but don’t assume she’ll accept your offer of a date or a dinner. Give it your best shot and ask her out, but be confident, not arrogant. Women like self-assured men.
As you meet more women and ask more potential paramours out on dates, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Every woman and every situation brings new opportunities to find a great partner.