I really love dating. Sure, I complain about it to my friends (especially after a string of bad dates), but deep down, I really love the feeling of possibility that comes with meeting someone with whom I feel a spark. There is, however, one major exception, and that's when folks just aren't open about what they want, whether it's a relationship, or a hookup. All too often, it's easy for someone to string you along, but keeping your eyes open for behaviors that mean someone just wants to hook up might be a good way to guard your heart if you're looking for something more serious.
While apps have been a great addition to the world of dating in recent years, they have also added another layer of complexity to it, Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and relationship coach, tells Elite Daily. "While online dating has created more accessibility and a larger pool to date from, it also creates very confusing dating behaviors," she says, using ghosting and breadcrumbing as examples. Identifying which behaviors can indicate that you and your date are on the same page, whether that be for a quick hookup or something more lasting, can be really helpful. Knowing the difference can save you a lot of time and emotional energy, which, if you're dating, you already know are precious commodities.
With that in mind, here's how the experts say you can tell when someone is looking to hook up, based on their dating behaviors.
How they compliment your photos can be telling.
Say you’re on a dating app, you connect with someone, and you start chatting. A match's first few messages to you can potentially give you a good idea of what they're looking for, according to Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships. “There are some visible signs that someone is putting it out there that they’d like to hook up, and it starts when they describe you or your photos as ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ instead of saying you’re ‘cute’ or ‘pretty,'" Spira explains. It’s subtle, but it can make a big difference.
They try and schedule dates at the last minute.
How far in advance do they want to set up your date? Are they planning ahead, or is their idea of asking you out something along the lines of a “you up?” text? “If someone books a date very last minute, or late at night, chances are they’re hoping for a hookup, as they aren’t interested in courting you on a dinner date,” says Spira.
They're overly touchy on the date.
If you want to know if someone is just after a physical connection, Spira says to pay attention to how physical they are with you on the date. Do they keep a respectful distance while trying to get to know you, or are they all hands? “Signs someone is looking for a hookup can be as simple as someone who is touchy-feely," she explains. "If your date is getting cozy, and touches your leg, arm, or leans in for a kiss early on, they might be more than just physically attracted to you. They are showing you they want a physical relationship, and the sooner, the better."
They talk about other dates and hookups.
Have you ever been on a date where the person talks about other dates they’ve gone on, or past hookups? Spira says they aren't just being rude, they're signaling what it is they're actually looking for. "If you’ve met someone on a dating app, and they tell you that they only date someone who’s hot, and have had a lot of fun meeting [people] on a dating app[s], you might end up being one in rotation,” warns Spira. If you're also looking for something casual and you're fine with this arrangement, that's great! But if not, at least you know and can make an informed decision on how to proceed. “If someone makes it clear they’re looking for a hookup, and you don’t feel the same, cut the date short and let them know you’ve enjoyed chatting, but you’re interested in meeting someone who’d like a long-term relationship,” she advises.
They tell you directly.
If your date or potential date tells you they're only looking for sex, believe them, says Spira. “If someone wants to hook up, they often tell you right away that they’re not looking for anything serious. That’s code for sex, a hookup, or friends with benefits,” she explains.
The key takeaway here is that people can say anything you want to hear, but if you know how to spot telling behaviors, you might be able to weed out the people who don't want the same thing as you — whether that's a relationship or not. “While some singles pretend they'd like to find a girlfriend or boyfriend, their behavior doesn't match up to their words. Observe their actions, and you'll be able to tell if they're looking for a one-and-done date with sex, or not,” Spira concludes. In this case, knowledge really is power.