Do I Like Him Or The Attention? Ways To Determine Whether You're Really Interested

Updated March 22, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

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.

Are You Really Interested In Them, Or Do You Just Like Their Attention?

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.

Are You Really Interested In Them, Or Do You Just Like Their Attention?

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.”

Takeaway

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. 

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.