Sometimes, a crush sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Maybe you’re just happily living the single life when all of a sudden, your stomach does a little flip with when that classmate or coworker walks into the room. Or maybe you’ve been using dating apps casually for awhile, but then you match with someone who seems perfect for you… and you start catching feelings big time. You’re inevitably left wondering, does this person like me back? Is it safe to open my heart up to them?
You could do the obvious thing and just tell your crush straight up how you feel. But this can be intimidating, especially when you have no idea how they’ll respond to this confession. To help you feel more confident to share your feelings, examine the context clues. The person you’re into could be dropping subtle hints that they’re feeling the same way, and like you, they might be nervous to have that conversation. “Behavior gives it away all the time,” behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva tells Elite Daily. “Increased adrenaline levels [are] what makes you start to sweat, your heart race, ‘butterflies in your stomach,’ and/or your mouth going dry whenever you are around the person.”
Silva explains that when you’re crushing on someone, your brain releases feel-good chemicals like adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. These reactions make your heart race when your crush texts you or when you run into them IRL. And luckily, it’s not hard to spot when your crush is experiencing those heightened emotions, too. Look for one of these telltale signs that you’re both super into each other.
1. You catch your crush looking at you often.
The intense physical reactions to a crush are addictive — that’s why you can’t stop sneaking glances at the person you’re into. “If you catch your crush looking at you more than you would expect them to, it could be a sign that they are falling for you,” Silva explains. And they may not even realize they’re doing it.
2. They’re easy to make plans with.
If you both make consistent plans to hang out despite your busy schedules, it’s a sign that the feelings are mutual. “You both begin to have more constant communication, and they are super responsive to your messages,” Silva says. When someone likes you, they’ll make spending time with you a priority.
Dating expert Julie Spira agrees that text communication can tell you a lot. “If someone really likes you, they’ll be responding to text messages quickly, especially in the first hour of receipt to keep the spark alive,” she tells Elite Daily. If your crush initiates conversations with you frequently, and shows a special interest in the details of your life, they clearly want to spend more time with you.
3. They’re active on your social media.
Silva and Spira both note that it’s a good sign if your crush is constantly commenting on photos or reacting to your Instagram stories. They might even use your social media profiles to learn more about you. “They begin social stalking you to gain more insights on who you are,” Silva explains. “If they know things about you that you didn’t tell them, that’s a non-creepy sign they are into you.” If your crush asks about the road trip you recently took with your friends (or anything specific they would know about you only from Instagram), it means they’re paying attention.
4. Your time together is increasingly flirty and romantic.
You may start out by hanging out casually, but ultimately, things progress in a more serious and intentional way. “The time you spend together begins to evolve into different activities that seem ‘date’-like,” Silva says. “They begin to want to see you more in general and make efforts to be around you.” Try making plans with them and see how they react. If they’re super game to hang out more often, it's probably a sign they enjoy your company.
You can also tell how a person is feeling by noting their physical stance and posture. “When someone is excited to see you, you’ll notice it with their body language, starting with a smile,” Spira explains. She lists several behaviors that show signs of affection: a hug, a touch of the hand, or an arm against the shoulder. “Smile back and embrace it if you feel the same,” she suggests. This will show that you appreciate the gesture.
If you develop a hunch that your crush likes you back, don’t be afraid to talk about it with them. “If you wait too long, you run the risk of ending up in the 'friend zone,' and if you come on too quickly, there's no guarantee you'll get the response you were expecting,” Spira says. “I recommend asking your crush out in a few days or a few weeks.” It can be as simple as asking them explicitly on a date to dinner or a movie. “It's low-pressure, and uncomplicated, [and] you won't be going to a mutual friend's party without a relationship status,” Spira notes. This way, you can actively determine if you’re both looking for something more.
The fear of rejection is scary, but it doesn’t have to stop you from going out on a limb. “If we never ask, the answer will always be no,” Silva says. “Giving yourself the opportunity to know where the person fits in your life can be empowering.” Rejection, she explains, can help point you to what you ultimately need in life. That may or may not be this person — but when you know for sure, you’re able to determine whether to open or close that chapter.