Are you wondering if someone you know secretly likes or loves you? Or do you have a secret crush that you want to reveal, or keep hidden?
If so, read this article to find out some psychologically backed signs of hidden romantic desire.
Keep in mind that any one of these signs alone might not mean anything, but if you spot several of them, the chances are this person secretly wants to be with you.
1) They tease you a lot
Think back to the playground, school days, and even young adulthood, and that boy or girl who relentlessly teased you. Maybe they were just being mean but another interpretation is that they fancied you.
I went to school with a girl who would say mean things about me and my appearance. Years later, I bumped into her at university, and she revealed that she fancied me!
Given that we went to a Catholic school where being gay was considered tantamount to a crime(!), it makes sense that she channeled her feelings so negatively.
Teasing can be a sign of frustrated romance. And it can also be a way to create sexual tension, according to Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D., MPP.
Teasing can also allow for physical contact, such as playful prods and punches. And that connects us to our next sign:
2) They find reasons to touch you more
A great way to flirt with someone playfully is to touch them on the arm or hand briefly and occasionally.
But if someone is trying to keep their love a secret, they might do it more subtly, perhaps offering an arm to you if the ground is rocky or the path is a bit precarious.
They may also let their hand linger for just a split second longer when they take something from you, such as a pen. And they might hug you for a little bit more time than they hug other friends.
They might also apply this to themselves, for instance…
3) They stroke their body parts like their neck
Whether consciously or unconsciously, we are often drawn to touch ourselves more when we like other people.
Women especially, (but not always!) might touch their neck or play with their hair a little more or stroke their arm. It’s a kind of projection where their subconscious is imagining how it would be for you to touch them.
Some women may raise their arms above their heads in a subconscious signal of being ready for sexual intimacy.
Men, especially those in good shape, might find excuses to show their body to you, perhaps changing tops in front of you, or inviting you to go to the beach with them.
Both men and women may do either of these things, but hopefully, it’s clear that verbal consent is still necessary!
4) They mirror your body language
A famous dating body language tip is to mirror someone else’s body language if you are interested in them. (Just don’t overdo it or you’ll look a bit odd!)
And you can also watch to see if they mirror yours. Cross your legs or lean forwards.
Do they follow suit?
You can also check which way their body parts are leaning. Do they look closed off with crossed arms, or legs pointed away from you? Or are they leaning towards you?
According to the chameleon effect studied by Chartrand and Bargh in 1999, people unconsciously mimic the behaviors, speech patterns, and mannerisms of people they like.
There is a caveat though, sometimes people can feel nervous!
Recently, I met a guy that I got on great with. He complimented me a couple of times and seemed to really enjoy my company. But then I got mixed signals.
We ended up on a sunbed for two together, but he was half on and half off. I invited him to get comfortable and he put his body fully on the sunbed, but his body was pointed away from me and he looked awkward.
Eventually, I laughingly asked him if he was actually comfortable, noting that he looked uncomfortable, and if I was scaring him. (Since I had started to flirt with him by making more body contact).
He laughed too and said no, that he sometimes just gets randomly awkward. This broke the tension and I saw that he was just nervous, and waiting for me to make the first move. Which I did. And he responded positively. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!
So the lesson is here that if the verbal and body language don’t match, try to find out which one is the real one!
5) Their voice changes when speaking to you
And it’s not all about touch and body language.
A study by Dr. Marina Kalashnikova found vocal pitch and rate can change unconsciously when we are feeling positively about someone.
If you notice that someone’s voice seems to get more excited or changes tone when you come onto the scene, this can be a sign of deeper feelings or an excited nervousness that betrays a wish to get to know you better.
6) Their pupils dilate when they look at you
In a 2016 study in Evolution and Human Behavior, researchers discovered that pupil dilation is a sign of sexual interest.
This is no surprise since pupils dilate to see better. If someone is attracted to you, it makes sense that their pupils will grow bigger so that they can ‘drink you in’.
Another related sign is that due to a dopamine rise when spending time with you, you might notice that their eyebrows raise when they see you.
7) They talk about a future with you
So far, we’ve talked about a lot of signs that indicate romantic attraction, but not necessarily love.
What if you are in a relationship with someone, or just know them really well? You might not see some of those other signs (although it’s very possible that you do), so what else can you look out for?
Talking about a future with you is one way. Now if it’s your good friend it may or may not signal romantic love (see if you can spot any of the other signs as an indicator).
But essentially, it shows that people have imagined a future with you, and they won’t usually do that unless they are emotionally invested in you.
8) They remember little things about you
When people like you, they are more likely to remember personal details you told them, according to a study from the University of Liverpool and from neuroscience research. This shows they are paying close attention. Maybe they remember your birthday or star sign, or what you like to eat.
And they might also be more observant about physical changes, such as if you’ve done your hair in a new way.
It always amazed me how most of my friends wouldn’t notice when I’d changed my colored glasses to a different color, got a facial piercing or dyed my hair. When I would point it out they would say, “You’ve always looked like that!”.
But there was one friend who always noticed, and years later we ended up in a long-term relationship.
9) They make an effort to see you
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s important. In a book by Harold H Kelly called ‘Close Relationships’, he found that when someone goes out of their way to spend time with you, it often means they like you. Especially if they initiate contact and make plans with you.
They may use a pretext or just happen to be where you are. They may even fake an interest in a hobby of yours so that they can see you more often.
Conversely, it’s a handy dating tip to remember that if someone doesn’t seem bothered to see you, or tells you they are busy without offering an alternative date, there’s a good chance they aren’t that into you.
It should be obvious, but in case it’s not, always remember that consent is key.
People can be confusing and give off mixed signals. They may even like or love you but have their reasons to not want to pursue anything.
So take your time, pay attention to the signs, and when appropriate, check for consent before taking any of these signs as an invitation for intimate behavior!
Best of luck on your love and romance journey!