Maybe the hardest part of early dating is trying to figure out where you both stand in regards to moving forward. If you’re having a great time with someone and totally expecting things to progress, you’re probably starting to feel invested in seeing them again. But if your date’s not interested in you, it’s best to catch the signs early so you won’t be disappointed later on. It’s never fun to face rejection, but the sooner you can recognize something isn’t right, the more quickly you can start to move on.
Everyone shows their affection differently, so there’s no foolproof way to determine whether someone is into you or not. But there are several context clues that let you know your date might not be feeling it. I spoke with dating expert Julie Spira, who shared her tips for figuring out when your date isn’t interested in seeing you again. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything personally wrong — it could just be that they’re not ready for a commitment at this point. If you’re on a date and you notice one of these things, take it as a sign that they might not be prioritizing their time with you. And TBH, you deserve someone who is ready and willing to give you their full attention and care.
1. They’re distracted.
“The biggest sign that someone isn’t into you is their noticeable distraction,” Spira explains. “If they’re not looking into your eyes and listening to you on a date because they’re busy focusing on their phone, it’s a sure sign they aren’t interested.” If someone wants to pursue you, they’ll be giving you 100% of their energy. A date is not the place for texting or scrolling through Instagram.
Spira says if this is happening to you, you can politely ask your date what they’re doing on their phone. “Ask them if they have a work emergency or are waiting for a call from a doctor,” Spira suggests. “This will show that you notice their distraction, and will either result in paying more attention to you, or mutually deciding that it’s not a fit.” It’s not a direct call-out, per se, but it does show them that you won’t accept disrespectful behavior.
2. They make excuses for why they can’t hang out.
If they’re trying to cut the date short, or giving you a list of reasons why they’re “too busy” to see you again, it might be a veiled excuse that they don’t want things to move forward. “When they’re interested, you will be the priority, and any work obligations will have been completed prior to your date, or on the following day,” Spira notes. You make time for the things that matter to you, full stop.
Don’t push too hard to make a relationship happen when you’re the only one putting in the effort. If the person doesn’t care enough to be proactive in the beginning, you can’t expect the dynamic to get any better with time. When the vibe is right, you’ll both find it easy and natural to spend time together.
3. They don’t engage in conversation.
Say you’re trying your hardest to learn about your date’s life and interests, but they aren’t giving you much information. “If you ask them questions about themselves, their answers will be curt and short,” Spira explains. That’s not a good sign. “Someone who is interested will be interesting as well,” she says. “They will want to share their life experiences with you, and hear about yours to see if you’re compatible.”
As much as you might be attracted to someone, you don’t want to invest your energy into a relationship that is one-sided and cold. Open and honest dialogue is the key to a successful partnership, and you need to feel that with someone from the beginning.
Spira assures that you shouldn’t despair just because a relationship doesn’t pan out. “You can still find a way to be memorable, even if it ends up being a one-and-done date,” she notes. You can learn something new from each date you go on — and even if that means you’ve learned how you don’t want to be treated, that’s OK! You’ll become more self-aware as a result. Failed relationships make the right ones even sweeter — you just might have to wait a bit longer for your perfect match.