In a society which has no set rules for moving from singleness to being in a couple, other than navigating through the shifting world of dating of course, how do we ‘know if they like me back’? How do we begin to find out? Well, this is the part where we need to ask for some concrete tangible advice and find a way to bring clarity over confusion. 

Around 100 years ago, discerning if they ‘liked me back’ was much simpler. Parents and communities were involved, meeting up signalled an intent to marry, and people knew where they stood (Read Why Our Distant Relatives Reduced Romance, In Their Non-Dating Cultures)

As family and parents were cut out from the process of finding a romantic relationship, this question started to become a bigger and bigger concern. From teenagers all the way up to adults of all ages, dating doesn’t always have a clear set path to ‘knowing’ if you like each other.

Meeting up for a date could be a serious step to finding a relationship for one person, to another it’s casual and seeing what happens, to another it’s just seen as a ’hook-up’, to another it’s just a way to find some company and nothing more, and to another it’s discovering if they’re ‘marriage’ material. 

So how do we work this out? 

Fills Us With Fear    

Not only is it confusing for us, but it’s scary too. 

If you like someone and you’ve only been on a few dates or hoping to soon, but you realise you like them and potentially want a relationship, the possibility of rejection is hard. 

One of the biggest problems in modern dating is people not knowing where they stand

Saying you like someone while there’s a chance they will say ‘thanks but no thanks’, is scary. 

No amount of advice can totally take away the worry that thinking about this moment brings. 

However, what we can do is make it easier by taking away the ‘open-endedness’ of dating. We need to add in points and milestones where we know if they’re saying yes or no to the relationship, so we know how they feel and can and move forward. 

One of the biggest problems in modern dating is people not knowing where they stand. Ghosting, breadcrumbing, orbiting, and the like, has made the experience harder and more hurtful.   

Here is how we can begin to help each other know where we stand:

  • Don’t Compare 
  • Speak Before The Date 
  • Ask Whilst On The Date!

Don’t Compare

Many people find it hard to know if they like the person they have arranged to meet up with, or even gone on a few dates with, because they’re comparing that person to other ‘potentials’. 

They compare them to other profiles and other people, believing that with all the single people out there, there must be someone more perfect for them. 

I’ve written many times before about how no perfect person exists (Read How To Stop Waiting, And Start ‘Making The One’). Actually, the mindset of comparison weakens us building the relationship we want. Which is why, even at the very early stages, just focusing on the person in front of you is key. 

If we have arranged to meet someone, we need to stop pursuing or arranging dates with other people, even at this early stage. This way we can focus on the feelings we have for the person in front of us, and not the ‘other potential’ people. (Read What Does Faithfulness Look Like When I’m Dating?) 

Speak Before The Date

Arranging to meet someone through a dating app or mutual friend is fine. But going on a date, getting ready, travelling, etc, is a lot of effort for someone you have never even properly spoken to. 

Arranging a call beforehand is vital. If it goes badly and it’s obvious you won’t get on well, you’ve just saved each other a whole evening and a lot of effort. If the call goes well, then you will look forward to meeting up in person instead of only worrying about what to expect.

It will also mean that you will be able to know if you like them quicker, as a connection has already been built before you meet. It also means there isn’t too much pressure on the date. (Read The 3 Best Ways To Prepare For A Date)

Ask Whilst On The Date!

Hopefully, if we follow the first two bits of advice, we will know how we feel about them, and vice versa. And I don’t mean we will know if we want to get married! I mean, we will know if we would like to go on another date and get to know each other more. 

This is when we need to know what each other’s intentions are.

So this is the most important bit of advice: if you are thinking ‘yes’, then say so while you are on the date.

This may seem strange to many people and can come across a bit pushy if it’s done badly, but we need to know what each other’s intentions are. We can’t just have ‘open-endedness’. 

So say something at the end, which can be as simple as, ‘I would like to do this again, let me know soon if you do too’. This means you’ve made your intentions clear. If they say no at this point, or yes but say no later on, it will be hard to hear, but least you know where you stand. 

If they aren’t kind enough to do it, then we need to be kind to ourselves

If they do say yes, sending one more text/contact after the date if they don’t initiate anything is a good idea, but if you don’t hear back then we need to accept it’s a no. I know it means no closure, and wondering why it didn’t work, but we need to halt the open-endedness. (Read Why People Who Date Well Avoid ‘Open-Endedness’ At All Cost)

If they aren’t kind enough to do it, then we need to be kind to ourselves. 

If It’s a No, Then Say So

If we find ourselves on the other side of the coin, and someone says they like us but we don’t feel the same, we need to say that we don’t want a second date. 

It may be awkward, but we need to bring clarity into dating. If it’s a no, then we don’t need to explain why in detail, or make up a bad excuse, we just need to say no. It is kinder than leaving it open-ended (Read It’s Kinder To Say No To A Second Date’. Here’s Why) 

You can just say ‘I don’t think we are suited’.

Imagine If…

Imagine if we helped reduce the confusion and raised the clarity in dating. One way to do this is to stop the open-endedness and let people know where we stand. It can be as simple as saying yes or no on the date itself. (Read A Simple Guide To Deciding If Your ‘Friends’ Or In A ‘Relationship’).

What else can stop the open-endedness in dating? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 0/0/0000