The odds are in your favor if you’ve ever wondered if you should just ask someone out on a date, respectfully. A study conducted by Clark & Hatefield (1989) and replicated numerous times found that half of the people you ask out on a date will say yes. Most of the men I work with though feel they don’t have a chance, despite the odds, because they are afraid of rejection, and are waiting for sure-fire signs that someone is attracted to them.
Just like a close friend or family member can tell when something is wrong, attraction creates very distinct reactions in the body, but to the untrained eye they can be missed. Part of the reason why dating applications have become so successful is that you don’t need to figure out if someone likes you, “It’s a match” is a pretty obvious sign. There’s no guessing, and zero risk of instantly being rejected.
When you see someone in-person you don’t have an application to tell you if you matched or not, and if you rely on luck you risk rejection. The signs listed below are the dating app equivalent of a match, and if you notice any of them your chances of a date are a lot greater than 50 percent.
- Eye contact: Eye contact is usually a green light to approach. Are their eyes thinking about what they are going to eat for dinner tonight, or does it look like they want you for dinner?
- Positioning: If you notice someone that you’ve exchanged eye contact suddenly closer to you, it’s for a specific reason. Also, watch for people that stick around or hesitate near you, they are doing it to increase the chances you might say hi, so just say hi.
- Attempts to get your attention: Once someone is near you they will try and get your attention. If they didn’t want you to notice, they wouldn’t be noticeable.
- Prolonged conversation: They wouldn’t be talking to you if they were not interested. Watch for displaying attentiveness, asking questions, identifying with you, attempting to maintain the conversation, and mentioning places of interest or plans in the near future.
- Positive and intimate body language: During your conversation watch their body posture and positioning. As we start to trust and like someone our body responds automatically; such as displaying the side of her neck, uncrossing her arms, facing you directly, and touching.
- Nervousness/Excitement: Attraction creates excess energy and it can come out in conversation through “extra” movements, such as rubbing their hands, neck, touching a piece of jewelry, and even licking or biting their own lips.
- Displays jealously: This one seems a little counter intuitive but sometimes when people are attracted to you they may mention or interact with others of the opposite sex. Usually this is because they aren’t sure how you feel about them and want to see your reaction.
The first step in perceiving interest is to meet people and try to notice the indicators listed above. Statistically speaking, most people are just as disappointed as you are when you walk by without saying Hi, and those are odds you really shouldn’t pass up.
 Clark, R.D., & Hatfield, E. (1989). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 2, 39-55.
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