Do I Like Him Or The Attention? Ways To Determine Whether You're Really Interested
One of the most difficult aspects of the 2020 pandemic was social distancing and the lack of human connection. An October 2020 study by Harvard University found that during the pandemic, 36% of all Americans experienced “serious loneliness” – and it didn’t end with social distancing. Another study from May 2021 found that Americans are having fewer close friendships, talk to friends less often, and rely less on their friends for support. So when we find someone to spend time with, it often feels good – especially if you know they are also attracted to you. But, are you attracted to them too, or are you just enjoying their attention? And does it matter? In this article, we’ll look at the answer to these questions and more.
What Is Interest Versus Attention?
Sometimes it's just nice to have regular and reliable human interaction, especially when you are bored or lonely. It's nice to have someone to text back and forth with, or have someone to accompany you to the movies. But if that’s all you really like or feel about the person, you probably enjoy their attention. You have no real anchor to the person as an individual. And sometimes that’s ok.
When you have a genuine interest in someone, you care about their well-being, what they have to say, and everything else they bring to the table. When you are interested in a person, you feel connected to them. When someone who likes you texts you, it may spark butterflies and romance. You enjoy speaking with them and look forward to doing things with them.
When you’re interested in someone, it's not easy to switch them out for another person because it wouldn't be this person. If you are interested in them, you can imagine a real relationship with them and cannot easily picture yourself without them.
While this may seem simple, it can sometimes be difficult to set the two apart, especially since there may be some bleed over from attention to actual interest. Let's take a look at some ways you can start to figure out if it's them or their attention you're enjoying.
Are You Excited To Hear From Them?
When you first start talking to someone, there are many reasons to overthink what, how, and when you should get in touch with them . However, if you're not even slightly hesitant to send them to voicemail when you're not in the mood to talk to them, this may be a sign that you're not really into them. If you're excited by a simple morning text or hearing from them after a long shift at work, you're showing interest and actual feelings towards them.
There are definitely some cases where you may be interested in someone but not be in the mood to talk, and that's completely normal. But if you notice that you're only interested in communicating on your terms, when it's convenient for you, or you leave them hanging without a second thought, these are signs that you may just enjoy the attention but are not really enjoying a connection with them.
It's important to evaluate the way you feel and how you communicate with someone overall. Often, we don't realize that we may be using someone and stringing them along. It may be innocent on your end, especially since we all enjoy having someone to talk to and interact with. Still, you may not be with them for them, and you should potentially re-evaluate the relationship.
Is The Relationship Growing?
Relationship beginnings can be tricky, especially as you start to learn more about each other’s wants. Sometimes there appears to be an instant connection, which is great. You may have a lot in common with each other and you may start to grow some feelings.
In many cases, however, this seemingly growing relationship starts to become stale and begins to dissolve, becoming just a friendship or a casual hook-up. If you notice that you're starting to feel less like going out and more like just seeing them on your terms, you may not actually be interested in them as much as having someone to easily and comfortably kill time with. There is nothing wrong with a hanging-out or hooking-up relationship as long as both parties understand that there's no personal investment on either end.
Are You Getting To Know Them?
Getting to know a person goes hand in hand with showing interest in them. Can you honestly say that you're learning more about them, where they come from, who they are, where they’re going, and their personal life? If not, this is indicative of you enjoying the attention and not the actual person.. Spending more time talking about yourself and your interests and then not reciprocating shows that you may just be looking for a friend to listen to you, which is fine. We all enjoy being able to talk about ourselves and have someone else listen. However, if we aren't receptive to someone else's need to do the same or feel indifferent about it, that shows a lack of genuine care for that person.
Are You With Them Out Of Comfort?
Many of us are creatures of habit. We like what's familiar, safe, and certain. There's nothing wrong with that, except that you may be holding someone else back for your comfort. Just the thought of going on a slew of first dates again can be daunting. You never know how first dates will go, whether you'll have anything in common, or if you're going to hit it off at all. Sure, some elements of this may be exciting, but when you've been on first date busts, it becomes a bit of a drag.
Now ask yourself, are you with them because you actually like and want to be with them or because you want to avoid the mess of starting all over again? If you feel like you're seeing someone because you're comfortable and not ready or willing to try starting over and exploring other options, this is indicative that you're in it for the attention. The problem is that another person’s feelings are also involved, and it’s not fair to them to string them along – unless they feel the same way.
Do You Have Online Dating Apps On Your Mobile Device?
If you've found someone that you're really interested in and can see something growing with, would you need to have a safety net?
Having dating apps as a backup and especially opening them and checking them out from time to time are signs that you are looking for attention more than caring about the person you’re seeing. If you’ve nixed the dating apps and are focusing on them alone, you're showing true interest in developing something more.
What To Do If You Don’t Actually Like Them
Everyone deserves to be with someone that they are interested in and who is interested in them. You wouldn’t want to be with a person who is bored with you, so why should you waste your partner’s time? If you are not genuinely interested in the relationship, it may be time to consider a breakup.
Besides, just being in a comfortable relationship can be damaging in the long run. For example, some people accept unhealthy patterns of behavior and red flags from their partner simply because it is easier to be with them than leave. Furthermore, even couples who don’t exhibit these behaviors can become resentful of one another as time goes on because they may feel robbed of a better life. Two people who stay together just because they are comfortable and like the attention often find themselves getting hurt or reaching the point where they have wasted much of their life.
How Regain Can Help
The world of dating can be difficult to navigate and often stressful. However, when you have a crush on someone, are dating someone, or are in a growing relationship with someone, it's important to occasionally evaluate what your feelings and actions mean.
Being comfortable with someone you like is essential to any successful relationship, but it's the type of comfort that matters. You should feel able to be yourself around them and not have to put your best foot forward at all times. On the other hand, you should also still show that you are actively interested in the relationship and not just complacent about having a partner that gives you regular attention.
Ending a relationship can be difficult and stressful, but it’s sometimes for the best. A mental health professional through Regain can help you work through your feelings, your relationships, and even your breakups. Even if you’re the one ending the relationship, you may still find yourself grieving. Studies have found that having a better understanding of the reasons behind a breakup – such as with the help of counseling – can lead to less internalizing of feelings and better relationship satisfaction in the future.
A mental health professional can help you figure out if you are just interested in the attention or if you genuinely desire a certain person. Sometimes, the confusion can come from subconscious thoughts and patterns, such as a fear of being alone. Sometimes when we carry that emotional pain, we like just the idea of being with anyone in order to feel less lonely.
A Regain mental health professional can provide medically-reviewed guidance and advice to work through these feelings. Some mental health professionals can also provide a medically-reviewed diagnosis of any mental health conditions that may be associated with these feelings.
Learn more from individuals who sought help for similar issues:
“Lakesha was absolutely amazing! She helped me find myself and realize my self worth in such a short period! I highly recommend her services she is FRESH and has amazing insight!”
“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether you really enjoy your relationship with someone or if you just enjoy the attention they give you. There’s nothing wrong with a casual relationship as long as both you and your partner are on the same page. But if they have feelings for you that aren’t reciprocated, it’s often best to be honest and move on. A professional Regain counselor can help you with this and other relationship concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I know if I like a guy?
If you’re interested in a guy, you may have a hard time talking around him or suddenly get shy. On the flip side, if you feel natural around him, you may become flirtatious. Some people start to develop strong feelings for their best friend. After a long time of having them as a part of your life, you may realize that you’re interested in him as more than just friends.
Do I like him, or is it a crush?
Sometimes it is hard to tell if you like someone or if you have a crush on them. If you think about what the person can offer in a long-term relationship and any deal-breakers, you most likely have a crush on them. The idea of being with the person is intriguing, but you know that you could never fall in love with every aspect of his or his lifestyle.
Can I tell a man I like him?
Some people want a particular person to like them because they feel an attraction. While you could play games and flirt with him or try to get his friends to help hook you up, the best way to enter a long-term relationship is to spend time with the person and muster the courage and confidence to communicate your feelings. So, yes, you can tell him that you like him. If he likes you back, it will be because you have interests that are intriguing to him. If he does not want to be anything more than friends, then you need to respect that. You would not want someone to force themselves on you; those moves are total deal-breakers. So it is not alright to do the same thing to them.
How do I let my crush know I like him?
If you have a crush on someone, you need to picture your future. If that image makes you feel natural and happy, then you should let your crush know. It would help if you always were upfront with people. If you want to get in a relationship, know that it does not necessarily mean that he does too. While the ideal outcome will be that you both live happily ever after, that does not always happen, especially with crushes.
Does he have a crush on me?
If you notice that he acts weird around you, has a hard time getting sentences out or talking to you, or acts differently when you are alone than when other people are around, these could be good indicators that he has a crush on you. Here are some other possible signs that a person has a crush on you:
- They treat you more affectionately than they treat others, or they seem particularly excited to see you.
- In addition to other signs that they like you, they reach out to you often.
- They look for other reasons to contact you, sending you funny videos, selfies, social media posts or memes, and so on.
Some people are more forward than others when they have a crush, so keep that in mind. Someone will have to make a move eventually. If you're interested, too, spend time with the person and get to know them more. If you don't want to go full-force yet as far as making a move goes, you might drop small hints or flirt subtly to test the waters. As you get closer, you'll be able to pick up on how they feel as well as how you're feeling in terms of if you'd be a good match or not.
How do you know if your crush likes you?
The most straightforward approach to finding out if your crush likes you back is to ask. You can play games and try to get information from those who know him better, but the best way to get an honest response is to ask the appropriate questions at the end of the day.
Do I tell him I miss him?
If you miss someone, it is not a bad thing to say. Some people appreciate being missed and cared about. However, if you have had a secret crush on him for years but never gave any indication of it, he may be a little surprised to hear that you felt a strong emotion about him. There is always a chance that he missed you too and will be happy that you spoke first.
Should I tell the guy I like that I like him?
If you feel natural talking to the guy you like, then being upfront and telling him how you feel is the best way to let him know you like him. While it is harder when you are shy, unless he likes you too, he may never know how he feels. He may be surprised that you are interested in him, thinking you are out of his league, and never get up the nerve to approach you himself.
How do I show a guy I like him without telling him?
Actions do sometimes speak louder than words, but not always. If you want to show a guy you like him without telling him, you could give him a gift with a card saying you were thinking about him or send him texts with different gifs and emojis.
How do I drop hints to my crush?
Your crush may be picking up on hints that you’ve been behaving differently around him. It is not unusual for our behavior to change when we get around our crush. If you are trying to drop hints to your crush that you like them, saying that “it would be nice if I had someone to hang out with this weekend, but I don’t,” or “it would be cool to not go to the party alone, but I have no one to take me,” are subtle hints to take you out. Just be mindful that hints do not always work, some people need more direct interactions, and if you’re upset that he did not ask you out, then maybe you need to be more matter-of-fact with him. Therefore, you may want to be direct and point out your feelings or ask him out yourself.
What are the signs that you like someone?
If you're wondering how to know if you like someone, here are some signs:
- You're interested in knowing more about them and always want to hear about their day.
- You can't stop thinking about them.
- You talk about them a lot.
- You light up when you tell your friends about them.
- You're making a notable effort to reach out to them, even when you're busy or don't have a real reason to. No matter what it's about, you want to talk to them!
If you have started to ignore the dating apps on your phone because you're busy thinking about them and talking to them, it's a sign that you're into them. If they feel like a top priority and you can't imagine your life without them, you probably like them a lot and have an inkling that that's the case at the very least. If you can't imagine your life without them, the chances are that this is a longer-standing crush and that you're already somewhat close. If you’re friends already, determining whether it’s a crush or whether it’s a matter of being comfortable with each other can be even more difficult. Ask yourself if you’re feeling lonely or if it’s genuine.
How will you know if you have a crush on someone?
Often, the best way to discover if you have a crush is to check in with yourself about how you feel. If you think about the person often, want to spend time with them, frequently wonder how they're doing, and are interested in knowing all of the details about this person and their life, it's likely a crush. If you're wondering how to know if you like someone, ask yourself if these things are true for you. If the answer is "yes," there's a high chance!
Why can't I tell if I like someone?
If you can't tell whether you like someone or not, there are a couple of potential reasons. It might be that this crush feels different than your previous crushes, or it could be that the person isn't typically your type. Maybe, they like you more than you like them, and you enjoy the attention, or perhaps, they're very different from you as a person, and it's hard for you to tell if you're interested. If it's the attention that pulls you in, but there's no real chance it'd work, be honest with yourself. While there's a possibility that it could be both - after all, when you're in a relationship with someone, you should give them attention and receive attention in return - there is a difference between liking someone and only liking the attention they give you. If you're not really into them at all, it's important not to lead them on.
However some people can’t understand their feelings due to mental health conditions. Others can’t tell if they like someone simply because they feel things differently than most people. If you believe one of these may be the case for you, then you should seek out a medical or mental health profession for help and guidance. A mental health professional can provide medically reviewed advice and guidance on exploring these feelings. Some professionals can also conduct an examination to diagnose particular concerns that may be affecting your feelings and emotions. If you are diagnosed, they will be able to provide medically reviewed treatment options to help.
Can you like someone without knowing it?
It is possible to like someone without knowing it. Again, it could be that this crush feels different to you than other crushes have in the past, or if you have a type, this person might be outside of it, but it could also be that you're attracted to the attention someone gives you rather than the person themselves. Look at their behavior, wants, and needs in life and relationships (if you've discussed them), and so on. Are you compatible, or is there a compatibility issue that you're ignoring? If you do like someone and there is a compatibility issue, it can cause internal conflict. To be honest with yourself, this is another thing, and it is a possible reason you might be unsure as to if you like someone.
What is your crush?
Your crush is a person you are interested in romantically but aren't yet dating. If you have a crush on someone, you may realize that you're thinking about them frequently, are looking at their pictures on social media, think about how to start a conversation with them to chat, and want to talk to them all of the time.
Do I like them platonically or romantically?
Sometimes, it can be difficult to discern whether you like someone platonically or romantically. However, here are a few helpful signs to help you out.
If you have a romantic interest in someone, you will:
- Experience sexual or romantic desire for them
- Imagine a future with them
- Have daydreams of romance and intimate moments
- Think about them all the time
- Want to spend a lot of time with them or develop some sort of commitment
However, if you just like them platonically, you will:
- Enjoy spending time with them, but do not want a future or commitment with them
- Act more as friends without any desire to change that
- Not have any sexual or romantic desire towards them
- Won’t have any hopes or dreams of romance or intimate moments
Still, some people struggle to discern their feelings for other people. If this is the case for you, it is recommended that you seek guidance from a mental health professional who can provide some medically reviewed advice, tips, and insight into the matter.
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