Okay, gents, you've just got back from a night out on the town with your favorite girl but you're still not sure if she's into you.
What's the difference between a look and a Look? Do I need to foot the bill, and what does her outfit mean? That's fine; if you're confused, it's likely because there have been a couple of mixed signals as she figures out her own feelings herself. The fairer sex is a generally contradictory and unknowable entity, so be reassured that you aren't alone in not knowing where you stand.
Here's where I come in to shed some light on both the obvious and unexpected hints that the gal you have your eyes on is looking right back, with interest.
1. Eye contact.
Possibly the most intimate form of connection that can go unspoken. The intentionality and direct, unflinching interest in your response or reaction to things tell us that she cares about the nuances of your behavior. So, when she catches you looking at her, remember that by definition, it means she was looking too.
2. Physical contact.
This conveys intimacy, affection, and a desire to be close to you, combined with a signal to other people in the room that you two are something of an item, even if you don't know it yet. Her hand on your thigh or shoulders is a key tell, as is a playful rouche of the hair. Which isn't a friend zone gesture as many think, but an expression of her being comfortable.
3. She's introducing you to her friends.
They might be annoying and bewildering, and she might be a slightly different person when she's with them, but you will learn to love all of them and make an effort. If she's introducing you to more of her world, she is making herself vulnerable and demonstrating that she's ready to commit and very much interested in you.
4. She's always suggesting dates and spending time together.
Special bonding time can lead to special bonding time, that's all I'll say...
5. She dresses up when you guys meet up.
One quick tell about whether a get-together is a 'date' or just 'hanging' is what the woman is wearing. While this is not totally conclusive, because after all, we can go on dates in chill, comfortable clothes, just as much as we can relax and be comfortable at home in our best dresses. It does generally indicate that if she's dressed up, she cares. Even if this comes from wanting to feel desirable in herself and feeling good, you can interpret that she is working to impress you. Your job here is to compliment her.
6. She's wearing heels.
This is no small feat and the fact that she's willing to sacrifice the feeling in her feet for a few hours to dress up with you means that you are valued and that she thinks you're worth it. Hopefully, you are.
7. She's willing to compromise.
Yes, she watched you play Fallout all afternoon, but when you took her to lunch the next day instead of playing more video games, her eyes sparkled and she looked so happy that it was beyond worth it. If she feels secure that you are both working on the relationship, even if it seems platonic, people need to know where they stand before they commit themselves.
8. She's all about the give and take.
Emotionally, and in the bedroom (wink).
9. She surprises you at work with a meal deal from Sainsbury's.
When she knows you forgot your lunch and have to work overtime and it's so thoughtful that for a minute, you almost want to cry
10. She is calm, compassionate, and forgiving.
You guys exhibit maturity as well as passion in your relationship. The attraction isn't all physical gut feelings and secret snogs in the back alleys. Sometimes it's expressions of intimacy or vulnerability or being honest and communicative with each other.
11. She wants to meet your friends and family.
She's interested in who you are and how you came to be you and wants to meet all the people who are important to you.
12. She knows all your favorite things.
And knows you well enough to get them for you when you need a pick me up
13. She calls you when something big (or small) happens to her.
If she trusts you, has faith that you will be there to answer the call, and can provide emotional support if she needs it, then my friend, you're in. That's big, trust me. There is a big myth that you can't be friends or escape the 'friend zone,' but that emotional intimacy is what truly makes you 'need' another person to confide in
14. She respects you and your privacy.
Essential, particularly in establishing boundaries in the relationship.
15. She winks at you.
Even if she did it once and you thought she might have had a fly in her eye, or she whipped a wink out at the final call for drinks in the pub when she got the last round after one too many. They all count, and they all get a small flock of butterflies flapping madly about in your stomach.
16. She's making an effort to prioritize you.
If she texts you saying that she's slammed all weekend but wants to know if you're available Sunday evening, or she wants to meet for lunch at work when you wouldn't otherwise see each other, that's where she's established that she misses and needs you, and is willing to make it work.
Finally, the most important, but least expected hint to know if a girl is head over heels for you:
17. She tells you.
Seriously, that's it. Communication, guys, I know that it's usually the man who has to be cajoled into emotional expressions. But the more you communicate what you expect out of the relationship - be it friendship or something more - the less chance that you will both get hurt, and the more likely it is that you can both move forward in a mature relationship.
The more tells on this list that you recognize, the more likely it is that she's interested in you, and if in doubt - as all the primary school teachers told us - ASK!
If you recognize more than 10 on this least, then you're probably some sort of Brad Pitt figure, which I applaud. I wonder whether she's a Jennifer Aniston or an Angelina Jolie... (hashtag team Jen, FYI)