I used to misinterpret people’s friendliness for attraction until I understood these key body language signs

Friendships are hard. Relationships are hard. Flirting, especially, is hard. 

Heck, human interactions, in general, are hard!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely experienced misinterpreting someone’s friendliness for flirting before. (Yes, I’m somewhat ashamed of those times—though I’d like to think many other people have done the same, no? ).

After all, for particularly romantic people (like me), positive interactions can easily cause romantic emotions. Personally, I blame the media for all the friends-to-lovers movies.

This misunderstanding can be caused by different factors. Personal experiences, personality differences, and social norms—but chiefly among them, in my experience, is how we misread body language.

So, I’ve listed below the top 11 behaviors and physiological signs that you need to be aware of when it comes to flirting so you can better guess if someone is into you or not.

Because in the past, I used to misinterpret people’s friendliness for attraction until I understood these key body language signs.

Let’s go!

1) Tone of voice

We tend to speak to people we are attracted to in a different way. Maybe we don’t necessarily alter our word choice, but we almost always speak in a different tone.

See if their voice gets pretty high-pitched when talking about something exciting with you. When they chirp up like this, it’s a good sign that they’re particularly enthusiastic about you (read: they’re into you!)

Here’s another way people do this. Men try to deepen their voice to sound cooler or more mature—more masculine. Women may try to make their voices sound cuter or sexier.

What’s important isn’t the tone of voice per se. It’s if and how they change their voice when they’re around you or talking to you.

2) They make a lot of eye contact

If someone finds you hot, they’ll obviously keep looking at you—even if they’re not talking to you at any given moment. 

Bonus points if they quickly look away when you look back. We all know awkwardness is the best friend of flirting, right?

At least that’s the case if they still feel hesitant or shy about their crush on you. For those who are more aggressive or ready to flirt, they won’t retract their gaze. In fact, they’ll likely prolong it!

The thing is… it’s kind of hard to see if they’re looking at you if you’re not looking at them first, isn’t it?

3) They mirror your movements

One psychological phenomenon that’s seldom talked about is how we mirror the movements and mannerisms of the people we like.

So, while the common saying says that opposites attract, in reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth!

The science of why and how isn’t exactly clear-cut, but scientists hypothesize that our brains make us do so to feel more aligned or more attached to the people we value.

Here are a few behaviors that people tend to mirror but we barely notice it:

  • Tilting one’s head;
  • Using the same phrases;
  • Mirroring each other’s posture;
  • Leaning forward toward each other.

4) They face you

If someone is attracted to you, they’re probably facing you (because, duh, to get a good look at your face, you hottie). 

They’ll face you with squared shoulders, and their feet are most likely pointing towards you. It’s because you have all their attention—they want to see and hear everything that you do and say!

On the flip side, if someone is turning away from you (even if they’re still listening), they’re likely not into you romantically. If they’re turning away from you completely and they’re giving bland answers or just humming, then they’re likely uninterested in you, period.

However, a lot of people are also shy when they’re with their crush—they can’t look them in the eye, or else they’ll turn into a hot, blushing mess! 

It’s important to consider their body language as a whole. 

5) They try to seem more masculine or feminine

Broadly speaking, men are attracted to feminine traits in women, and women are attracted to masculine traits in men. Thus, one of the main ways heterosexual people flirt is by accentuating their genderedness.

Men will try to highlight their masculine traits by:

  • Speak in deeper voices;
  • Subtle trying to flex their muscles;
  • Wear tight shirts that highlight their physique;
  • Exhibit more dominant body language, like spreading their legs.

Meanwhile, women will bring attention to their feminine traits by:

  • Speaking in a softer voice;
  • Bringing their hair back
  • Wearing clothes that hug their curves;
  • Acting demurely.

6) They’re always smiling

Who isn’t happy when they’re around the person they like?

People who like you will constantly be smiling and giggling with you if they like you. They just can’t help it; you brighten up their day!

Science also tells us that smiling makes other people feel at ease, making them more likely to smile and talk to us, too. So if they’re flirting with you, then that’s definitely what they’re trying to do.

Still, there are some people who are just naturally joyful and will always be smiling no matter who they’re with. So don’t take this sign as if it’s in a vacuum. 

7) Their body temperature increases

There’s a reason why we associate romance, attraction, and sex with heat. We say someone is “hot” if they’re good-looking, or we describe sex as “hot”.

It’s because we feel “hot” when we’re with someone we’re attracted to—not just metaphorically but also physiologically.

That’s why we blush, feel warm, or even sweat during instances of romantic or sexual tension with someone we like!

Of course, it’s not like you can just touch them to check their body temperature. But if you notice their skin feeling warm during those minor, unintentional instances of skin-to-skin contact, then they just might have the hots for you.

8) They preen for you

Preening” is the term used by scientists to describe how birds groom their feathers in order to appear more attractive to potential mates.

As humans, we do the same. We try to look our best with our:

  • Clothes;
  • Hairstyle;
  • Skincare;
  • Makeup;
  • Fitness;
  • Perfume.

It’s simple logic, yeah? We try to look attractive to the people we find attractive (and want to mate with, I guess!)

So if you know someone who’s dressing their best or keeps wearing their hair in a different way around you than they usually do, then they’re likely preening for you!

Of course, much of preening is done at home when we get ready to go out. However, examples of preening in the heat of the moment include women pushing their hair back to reveal more of their features to you (like their collarbone, for example).

9) They have open body language

What does “open” body language mean exactly? It means that they’re exhibiting behaviors that are warm and welcoming. They make you feel like they are listening and paying attention to you.

As said above, a good example is how they’ll always face you when they’re with you.

Another good sign is the position of their limbs. If their legs are crossed, they might not feel too open towards you. But if they’re open, they likely feel relaxed and happy.

The same goes for their hands and arms. If they have their hands in their pockets or if their arms are crossed, then that indicates closed body language

On the other hand, if they’re constantly opening up their arms (and using animated gestures while talking), then they definitely like your company!

10) They talk to you…a lot.

Someone who wants your attention (and affection) will unsurprisingly talk to you a lot. This can apply to in-person conversation or online chatting.

Sure, some people are just naturally talkative. But ask these questions:

  • Are they being particularly talkative with you?
  • Are they almost exclusively talking to you, even in a group setting?
  • Do they ask you a lot of questions?
  • Do they try to extend the conversation?

If so, they just might be into you.

11) They’re nervous

Most of the points I’ve listed above focus on how people will seem happy and eager to know you. Or they might try to act cool and suave to cause intrigue in you (or, like me, seem silly trying to do so).

But we can’t ignore that a lot of people also feel nervous when they’re with their crush!

Their nervousness might stem from feeling intimidated, unsure whether or how intensely to flirt, or the fear of rejection. 

Here are body language signs that indicate they’re nervous:

  • Jittery, jerky, or clumsy movements;
  • Sweating;
  • Stuttering or stammering;
  • Constantly moving their eyes;
  • Heavy breathing;
  • Fidgeting with their hair or clothes or other objects;

These behaviors are also performed by people who feel incredibly giddy (which people also tend to be around their crushes!

How to know for sure if someone likes you

Look, despite all I’ve said above, there isn’t a 100% bulletproof way to tell if someone likes you.

People can exhibit some (or even many) of these behaviors due to a variety of factors, such as their intrinsic personality or the circumstances at hand.

So, while reading people’s body language can definitely be helpful in gauging the situation (and your chances), it’s important to take them with a grain of salt.

The only way to know for sure is to ask!

Of course, I know that you already know that. 

But I hope this article will help you in estimating whether they like you or not and, consequently, decide if you should pursue them.

In doing so, I hope it helps you spare yourself the pain of likely rejection—or the pain of regret that you didn’t take the chance at love!

Anna Dovbysh

With 8 years of writing experience and a deep interest in psychology, relationship advice, and spirituality, Anna’s here to shine a light on the most interesting self-development topics and share some life advice. She's got a Master's Degree in International Information and is a life-long learner of writing and storytelling. In the past, she worked on a radio station and a TV channel as a journalist and even tought English in Cambodia to local kids. Currently, she's freelancing and traveling around the globe, exploring new places, and getting inspired by the people she meets and the stories they tell. Subscribe to her posts and get in touch with her on her social media:
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