I hope you already know this by now: you can't depend entirely on what people say to figure out their feelings. You also need the subtle art of reading between the lines and understanding what people are telling you based on their actions and body language.
So, even though someone is saying "I like you" to your face, they might be saying something entirely different.
Here are some things they might actually mean and why.
1. "You're Cool"
Most people can tell that these two words mean "I like you." However, this might mean the person likes you as a person, not a romantic partner.
Maybe the person enjoys your personality, but it can also mean they are attracted to you romantically.
2. "When Can I See You Again?"
If the words "I like you" catch you by surprise because you hardly know each other, then they clearly mean someone definitely likes you enough to want to see you again.
3. "I'd Say I Love You, But It's Too Early For That"
When someone says "I like you" a little too often, especially when you have not known each other for long, it might be their way of saying "I love you." People often wait for the perfect moment to say I love you.
Until then, they find other ways to make you know they have strong feelings for you by saying things like "I like you."
4. "I Miss You When You're Not Around"
When someone says "I like you" out of the blue, especially through a text or a call when you are not together at the moment, it could be a sign that this person misses you. It's adorable, right?
Also, this might come from your ex in the middle of the night. Obviously, this might mean he/she is thinking of the intimate moments you shared.
5. "I'm Not That Into You, But I Want You Around"
Someone might tell you I like you just as a way to make you stick around because they prefer your company to no company.
Usually, when people say this type of "I like you," they will not look you in the eye, and if they do, their emotional state or facial expressions will tell you that they don't mean what they say.
To them, you are just the easiest thing in their grasp, and they want to hold on to you until something better comes along.
6. "I Adore You"
When someone looks into your eyes and tells you they like you, then know that they mean every word they say. In fact, they more than like you because these words mean the person adores you.
Obviously, this would be the ideal time to let the person know you feel the same way about them as well.
7. "I'd Like To Have Sex With You"
Someone who has never asked you out but has often said they like you might be saying they think you are great and that they would like to have sex with you.
In this case, the "I like you" might mean that the person is not interested in a long-term relationship. Otherwise, they might have asked you out.
8. "I Care About You"
When someone says this when coming to your aid, then it's another way of saying they care. However, you have to be careful about these words as they might not mean that someone is interested in you romantically.
Maybe the person likes you as a friend and nothing more. That should be okay if you have a great relationship.
9. "I Know I'm Drunk, But I Really Like You"
We get that people have been known to tell people they like them when drunk. However, if someone has had a chance to tell you this when sober but couldn't, that might be a sign they were too nervous to say so when sober and waited until they were hammered.
As you know, alcohol lowers inhibitions and makes it easier to say things we wouldn't say when sober.
However, don't be surprised to get an apology the following day, but that does not mean the "I like you" wasn't genuine. Maybe the person was afraid of how you would take it and decided to disclose this to you when drunk so that they have an excuse in case it offends you.
10. "You're Hot, But Annoying"
The person might seem mad at you practically all the time, but if they still can't stay away from you, avoid touching you, and give you compliments like "you're hot", then they definitely like you.
It's just that they don't like the whole package.
"I Like You" Can Mean Lots Of Things
Understand that people can confess they like you as a way to say a lot of different things. Some will even say that as a way to say "thank you," such as when someone says it immediately after you have had sex.
Similarly, when someone looks a little too surprised when saying it, it could mean you have completely surprised them in a way they never imagined you would. Maybe you handled something a little too well, and they never thought you could ever be that good.
However, although our focus here has been on how hearing "I like you" can mean something good, there are times it can mean terrible things. For instance, when you hear someone say they like you after you tell them you love them, then that person might not even like you at all.
Obviously, this can be heartbreaking.
Other Ways To Say "I Like You"
As you probably know, saying "I like you" works best when in high school to make someone understand you have a crush on them, not when you are grown adults with a deeper understanding of romance and relationships.
Therefore, you should know a few other ways to let your partner know you like them.
For instance, you can say, "I like it here" when you are together, and they will probably get the hint that they have something to do with it.
You can also let someone know you like them by accompanying them to events you would not normally attend and changing other aspects of your life for their sake.
Short Phrases That Say "I Like You"
Need a quick way to tell someone you like them without saying the actual words? Here are a few phrases to help you along.
1. Can I give you a hug?
2. I appreciate you as you are.
3. You inspire me.
4. I fell safe around you.
5. I understand how you feel.
6. You have helped me a lot.
7. Your opinions mean a lot to me.
8. I'm so grateful to have you in my life.
9. You're important to me.
10. I feel more courageous around you.
11. You're so generous.
12. I like your surprises.
13. Time flies when I'm around you.
14. You are so funny.
15. I love your smile.
16. I like that you know me so well.
17. I wish I had known you earlier.
18. I feel at peace around you.
19. I will never forget you.
20. I always have a good time when I am with you.
21. I think we should know more about each other.
22. You give me goosebumps.
So, realize that when people say "I like you," they don't always mean what they say, and that's not entirely a bad thing. Otherwise, there are also several other ways to make sure that special someone knows that you like them without saying these three magical words.