So you’ve caught feelings for someone, but they don’t feel the same way. (Sigh.) There are various reasons why someone might reject you romantically — maybe they see you more as a friend, or maybe your crush likes someone else. (Ouch.) And while rejection sucks, it does teach you a lot about yourself and makes space for what you truly deserve. Think about it: Wouldn’t you rather focus on someone who’s head over heels for you than vie for a person who’s just not that interested?
Let’s get one thing straight: Having a crush and romantic feelings for someone, even if they don’t feel the same way, is never a bad thing. The problem arises when you start to catastrophize any feelings of rejection, and tell yourself that because this one person rejected you, you’re not good enough or you’re unlovable. (Just in case you needed a reminder: You are good enough and you are lovable!)
Finding out that your crush doesn’t like you or that they like someone else hurts, but instead of digging yourself into a hole, there are steps you can take to navigate any feelings that may arise and pour love back into yourself.
Elite Daily spoke with two relationship experts about some telltale signs your crush just isn’t that into you and what to do when your crush likes someone else because as the saying goes: It’s not you, it’s them.
Signs Your Crush Likes Someone Else
As the 2009 rom com He’s Just Not That Into You taught us, relationships are complicated (oh, and if a guy is a jerk to you, then he’s probably not that into you). To save you some heartache, here are some expert-backed signs your crush doesn’t like you back or likes someone else:
1. They’re MIA.
If they’re not giving you attention or not writing back to texts, that’s a pretty apparent sign, says Emily Simonian, licensed marriage and family therapist and head of learning at Thriveworks. If they’re taking one to three business days to reply to your messages, or they’re not replying to your messages at all, that’s a clear sign that they’re not making you a priority and it’s probably best to move on.
If when you do hang out, they seem spacey, that’s another sign they’re not into you as their attention is obviously elsewhere.
2. They tell you about their dates with other people.
Sure, this could be a tactic to try to make you jealous (which TBH is a red flag), but if your crush is genuinely asking you for dating advice or telling you how great their other love interests are, then that’s a pretty clear sign that they’re crushing on someone else who isn’t you.
3. They don’t ask you to hang out or invite you to important events.
When you’re interested in someone, you want to bring them into your inner circle and notice how they interact with the people you care about most. “If you’re observing that your crush isn’t asking you to hang out with their friends, inviting you to group activities, or inviting you to events that are important to them, those are probably indicators that they’re not interested,” says Simonian.
POV: Your crush is a DJ, and he’s playing a set that he’s been working on for months on Saturday night at a major venue. You can tell he’s really excited about it, but when it comes to the day of the show, you don’t receive an invite. Yeah, thank you, next.
4. They only invite you to parties.
On the contrary, if your crush only invites you to parties and group hangs, and when you get there they seem to ignore you and dance with other people, they’re probably not that into you. “Aside from the parties, you don’t have a relationship,” Laurel House, eharmony relationship expert and dating coach, tells Elite Daily. “Your conversations live in the fun zone and don’t delve deeper into vulnerability or your truths.”
5. Your crush invites their crush to group activities.
Assuming that you’re in your crush’s friend group, if they’re inviting another love interest to your group hangs, and when you are all together they’re constantly gravitating towards this person and flirtatiously touching them, then newsflash: There’s a good chance your crush has a crush on them.
6. They don’t ask for your advice or opinion.
“Typically when you like someone you want to know what they think, you’re asking them questions about themself, [and] you value their thoughts and advice,” explains Simonian. If they’re not seeking your advice, that means they don’t value your opinion and so they’re probably not thinking about how you would fit into their life.
7. Your conversations are very surface-level.
A deep, meaningful connection between two people is slowly formed and developed over time, but if someone is into you, they might make you privy to information they don’t feel comfortable disclosing to others. If someone likes you and they’re going through a difficult time, they might want to share that with you, says House. But if your conversations remain surface-level, even after months of knowing each other, that means they don’t fully trust you and there are probably no romantic feelings there.
8. They don’t make time for you.
POV: Whenever you ask your crush if they’d like to hang out, they seem to always be busy and never have time to make plans. Or when they do “find” the time, they flake at the last minute, repeatedly. “If they were really interested, they wouldn’t ‘find’ the time, they would ‘make’ the time,” says House.
9. They act like your SO over text, but not IRL.
Not to sound like your Gen X parents, but technology has really shifted how we form and view relationships. Maybe you and your crush text daily, but see each other almost never. At times it feels like you’re pen pals, and in some ways you are. “You make them happy — it might be their daily text habit and they like to have you there to serve that purpose, but in real life, they don’t make you a priority,” says House. “And while texts are nice, they simply aren’t enough.”
What To Do If Your Crush Doesn’t Like You Back
First things first, there’s no way of knowing whether or not your crush likes you back or is crushing on someone else unless you ask them directly. By making assumptions about how your crush feels, you leave room for making up stories and worrying yourself. If you’re familiar enough with your crush and feel comfortable having that conversation with them, Simonian suggests asking something along the lines of, “Hey, are you talking to anybody?” To which they might reply, “Oh, yeah, I like this person.” Or they might say, “No I’m not. Are you?”
Once you get your answer, then you can figure out how you’d like to move forward. If they like you back, that’s great! Make a plan for a date. If they don’t feel the same way, remember: It’s not you, it’s them.
“We take it personally if somebody isn’t interested in us when that [rejection] doesn’t mean something about us, it means something about our crush,” explains Simonian. “It means that our crush has a subjective interest in somebody else, or they’re subjectively not interested in us, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough or we aren’t lovable or we aren’t attractive.” Simonian affirms that attraction is subjective, so is it possible that your crush isn’t rejecting you as a person but just feels that you aren’t a romantic match? Yes. When you avoid conflating rejection as a reflection of your self worth, it alleviates the sting a bit. Just because you’re not a fit for your (now ex) crush, this doesn’t mean you’re not good enough for someone else.
After finding out your crush doesn’t like you back, you then have a decision to make. Are you going to keep them in your life as a friend or do you need more? Can you let go of your feelings for them and reset to maintain a friendship? “What is essential is that you don’t resent them, you aren’t constantly waiting for your ‘in’ for more, and you don’t harbor hard feelings,” says House. “Having an uneven relationship will create stress for both of you and could end the relationship completely.”
In order to heal after facing rejection from your crush, it might help to cut back on contact. “Try to redirect yourself when you feel like looking at any of their socials or texting them,” says Simonian. “You want to try to create a bit of space because you need time to process, and it’s OK to feel your feelings.” Call a friend, pour time into your hobbies, journal, talk to a therapist, move your body, or put on a face mask and hunker down to watch a few episodes of New Girl. And whatever you do, don’t stalk their social media. (I know it’s hard, but I believe in you.)
Simonian says that emotions are like muscles. When you strain a muscle, you’re going to want to ice the injury and stay off it to let it heal. While you can’t see emotions, you want to let them heal in a similar way. So don’t pressure yourself to “bounce back” or get back out there — feel your feelings, and take as much time as you need to process. You got this!
Laurel House, eharmony relationship expert and dating coach