Let’s be real here: texting with someone you like can sometimes feel like you’re deciphering a code. It’s easy to get hung up on the choice of words your crush uses or their use of emojis (or lack thereof). You may even find yourself worrying about trivial things like their punctuation, and we've all been there.
We're all out here watching seemingly all of our friends get cuffed and trying to manifest love of our own. Though, as much as the buzz of your phone and the image of their name popping up on your screen makes your heart skip a beat, it can also cause a ton of anxiety. Are they interested in you? What exactly does this text mean? Do they like you, too, or are you projecting?
To ease your worries, we spoke with Dr. Patrick Wanis, a human behavior and relationship expert, about the texting behaviors that might indicate a person's interest. So if you're stuck wondering just what your most recent text thread might mean, look no further. With this info in mind, a person's texts will seem a lot less like code and more like a well-thought diagram to whether or not you have a chance. So if you need that cipher, here are six things to consider when texting your crush.
1. They want to learn more about you as a person.
The initial “talking stage” that occurs before most relationships begin can be a fun, exciting time for both people to learn more about each other. According to Dr. Wanis, men and women tend to be the complete opposite when it comes to texting: guys generally don’t enjoy talking too much over text, while women usually do. So, if you're a woman talking to a man who is making that extra effort, take notice of it.
"Men get very frustrated when they have to text too much, so they don't enjoy texting as much as women do,” Dr. Wanis tells Her Campus. But this will usually change when you first begin talking if they're interested in pursuing something with you. If you notice that they're attempting to make conversation and learn more about you, this may indicate that they like you.
"If they're asking things to learn about you, if they're asking questions that tell them more about who you are, then they're interested in knowing you,” says Dr. Wanis.
For example, is this person asking about your hobbies or the classes you’re taking this semester? Have they dived a little deeper and asked you about your family or your career aspirations? Either way, it’s important to note whether they’re putting in the effort to learn more about you as a person rather than letting you lead the entire chat.
2. They Take An interest in Your Life.
Sure, it’s easy to casually send a “What’s up?” type of text. But according to Dr. Wanis, if they’re interested in you, they’re not only interested in learning about you as a person but what you’re up to – and when you can get together.
"Guys tend to be more direct, so if they're interested in you, they'll be thinking of when they're going to see you,” says Dr. Wanis. “They won't just be saying, 'Hey, what's up?' which might be their initial way of contacting or connecting with you — they're going to go one step further and say, 'What are you doing? What are you doing tomorrow? What are you doing Saturday?'"
Since guys tend to be more direct and girls tend to be more subtle, don’t be afraid to show interest in their plans! Everyone appreciates direct answers, and it helps to match your interest with theirs if it’s there.
3. They respond in a timely manner.
If Dr. Wanis teaches you one thing, let it be that you shouldn't play games. In the initial stages of talking, both people are often guilty of waiting a couple of hours or even days (see: ghosting) to respond. This could be for various reasons. You don’t want to come off as eager, or you have nothing better to do, but these are huge no-nos!
In reality, someone interested will want to respond as soon as possible. If they’re busy with friends, studying, or at work, they'll let you know and provide a reasonable explanation. And, in return, they’ll want to talk to someone who will respond right away as well.
"I teach [to] never play games because [otherwise] you're starting the relationship off with deceit,” says Dr. Wanis. “So, don't play games, don't be deceitful. If you're able to respond, respond! If you're not able to respond at that moment because you're studying, busy, or working, then you write back later and say, "'Hey, I got your text earlier today; this is the first chance I've had to respond.’”
4. They look for more opportunities to see you.
By now, you’ve got a groove going. You’ve been exchanging texts for a little while. You have learned more about each other. They’ve shown apparent interest in what you’re up to and what your plans are. So, what else can indicate interest?
“If he's interested, he then asks you out on a date,” says Dr. Wanis. “He becomes more inclusive in his texts. He tells you what he's doing, he asks what you're doing, and then he asks you out on a date."
It’s important to note that not everyone moves at the same speed, so don’t be discouraged if the person you’re talking to hasn’t asked you out on a date within the first couple of days — they could just not be ready yet, or they could be waiting to see if you take the leap instead.
5. They’re direct in what they want.
"Guys tend to be thinking more in cause and effect, and they have an objective [whereas] the girl will be more subtle,” says Dr. Wanis. “She [probably] won't come out right and say, 'I want to go out with you.' She’ll express interest in a more subtle way.”
But there's no defined rule out there that says only guys can be direct. If you’re a girl talking to another girl and you feel like you’re in a subtle-texting stalemate, it may be in your best interest to ask her if she likes you, especially if you’re unsure whether or not she is interested in dating girls. Or if you're interested in a guy who isn't asking you the question you want to hear, nothing is stopping you from asking him yourself, except for yourself.
While it can be scary to answer a direct question, it’ll only work for your benefit to be straight-up with your answer. "Answer the bloody question!" Dr. Wanis says. "Just be honest.” Everyone will certainly appreciate it.
6. Emojis Don't Necessarily Mean Anything.
Dr. Wanis also notes that some people are just emoji people while others are just not. “I think, generally speaking, women use them much more than men do,” he says. Because emoji use depends on the person, it may not prove particularly helpful in figuring out whether or not a person is interested.
Overall, pay attention to how the person you're talking to is or is not expressing interest. If your text exchange turns flirty, toss out a feeler or two to see how they respond. Compliments and quick-fire texts can be a sign of interest, but they could just be friendly communications, as well. Talking to someone you’re crushing on can be pretty nerve-wracking at times, especially if you want to pursue a relationship. Texting should be a fun and light way to get to know each other. With these little tips in mind, you can feel more confident about whether someone is expressing genuine interest in you or not.