Are you unsure of how to tell if you like him or the attention? Here’s how to know where your interest is really stemming from.
People often ask
Folx frequently have some combination of the following questions at some point in romantic life:
- How do I know if I like someone or just the idea of them?
- What are signs that I like him?
- Do I like her or am I just bored?
If you don’t know where these strong feelings are coming from, and whether it’s a healthy attraction or not, rest assured that there are ways to find out.
According to dating coach, matchmaker, and founder of The Broom List Matchmaking Tennesha Wood, you might genuinely like them if you notice these signs:
- You’re curious about all parts of them and their day-to-day life.
- You want them to see all parts of you.
- You want to know about their job, friends and family, past relationships, and hopes for the future.
- Seeing them happy makes you happy, and you consistently try to make them smile.
- Your connection becomes stronger over time.
- You feel safe and secure with them because you trust them.
- You’re able to be your authentic self when you’re spending time together.
If you’re only talking to them for attention, Wood says you might notice the following red flags:
- You feel anxious without their time or attention.
- You’re emotionally unavailable, and you keep your guard up.
- You don’t know much about them beyond the surface (and you don’t care to).
- The qualities you like about them are mostly superficial.
- You don’t see or want a future with them.
If it’s none of the above, there are tons of other reasons why you might date someone aside from romance or future-minded growth with them.
Wood says it could be one or more of at least a dozen possibilities:
- You may identify as aromantic, where the desire for romance just isn’t part of your DNA, and that’s perfectly OK.
- An anxious attachment style can stem from fear of abandonment and result in a need for constant attention.
- You might not be ready to face your past trauma. And keeping someone around can be a welcome distraction.
- You may need to be praised. You like being admired, even if the feeling isn’t reciprocated.
- You could be a serial monogamist, or you don’t take the time to evaluate what you want and need in a partnership.
- You may have codependent tendencies, where your confidence and self-worth are tied to your relationship or partner.
- You might be love-sick and rebounding from a recent breakup.
- You could be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition:
- Or maybe you’re just bored or lonely and excited about a new relationship.
But if you find yourself asking “how do I know if I like them or not?” or “do I actually like them or the attention?” chances are you might not really be that into them.
It’s possible to build self-awareness and relationship skills so you can seek out the kind of partnership you desire with someone who you’re truly into.
“Spend time alone, and get to know and like who you are,” says Wood. “The way you see yourself informs how others will see and treat you. A confident person attracts a confident partner.”
Do a dating audit
Wood also recommends doing a dating audit. To do this, she suggests listing all of your past partners and outlining what you liked about and learned from each person and long-term relationship. Then you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there similarities between each person?
- Do I notice any patterns?
- Did I grow with each relationship?
“Understanding these patterns can help to stop the cycle of seeking unhealthy relationships,” she explains.
Therapy or life coaching
You can also begin or resume therapy to get to the root of why you enter certain relationships or seek out similar partners time and time again.
A life coach can help you discover what you really want in a partner, set relationship goals, and give you personalized relationship advice.
A lot of people enjoy getting attention from someone new and exciting, especially when they’re bored or lonely. But this isn’t the healthiest way to approach relationships. It can also lead to hurt feelings — either yours, theirs, or both.
If you just started talking to someone and you’re not sure if you’re in it for the same reasons, consider reflecting on the signs listed above.
Need more help figuring out why you’re attracted to people who may not be the best fit for you? Try doing a dating audit or speaking with a relationship coach or therapist.
Whatever you do, be gentle with yourself. Dating can be challenging, but with respect for yourself and the people you talk with, you can enter a healthy, real relationship at any point in life.