Getting to know the person you like is very exciting. You feel exhilarated and you want to talk to them almost every day.
However, asking a guy out and telling him how you feel—now that can be quite tricky. The fear of rejection is always there. Finding the right balance between not being too subtle (or shy) and not coming on too strong is not that easy.
So we asked experts to give us their insights on “how to tell a guy you like him“
Here are their thoughts:
Angeline M. Hart
Love Coach | Relationship Master | Speaker | Best-selling Author, “Gorillas Make Great Lovers!“
The art of subtle flirting
Most women tend to think that men are in the “power seat” when it comes to dating because traditionally the guy does the asking.
But, in reality, the woman is the initiator. Before he ever asks, she lets a man know if she is interested in men in general, or one man specifically.
Men have told me that they are actually intimidated at the thought of reaching out to a woman. They fear rejection, especially if it’s in a public place. So they look for signals from women to indicate that they are friendly and willing to engage.
For example, initially, a woman sends a message by the way she dresses, to either display her femininity or to downplay it. On one hand, women who have been abused will often disguise their body with baggy clothes to avoid attracting men. While other women may choose body conscious clothing to attract men’s eyes.
When a woman is interested in a specific man, she may send messages through subtle flirting.
She may look in his eyes for a little longer than is socially expected. She gives him a warm smile that lights up her face. Or she flips and strokes her long hair, which is very similar to the way birds fluff their feathers in mating dances.
Also, it’s a well-known fact that pheromones can attract a man, so most women wear some form of fragrance every day. It may be as simple as herbal shampoo, or as specific as using an expensive signature perfume.
All of these are indicators of a woman’s interest before any words are spoken. And, of course, if he is responsive, the “dance” escalates. The best dancers move intuitively with their partners. They don’t jump out ahead and push or pull. Instead, they flow with the movement, with confidence and grace.
For example, if a woman gets impatient (or insecure), she might text multiple times a day, without one response from him. Although she is showing she likes him, this kind of pushy neediness tends to push men away. He may feel overwhelmed, or that his masculine leadership role is being usurped.
Read Related Article: How to Stop Being Needy and Clingy in a Relationship
NYC-based Dating Coach for Men | Founder, Dating Transformation
Instead of texting him, talk in person
This lets you use your voice, your eyes, your smile—all of your awesome traits. Plus, you don’t have to sweat out the agonizing lag time between sending an important text and receiving his reply.
The real goal isn’t telling him how you feel but getting a date with him.
Don’t pour your heart out like a character in a John Hughes movie—no boom boxes, no Peter Gabriel songs. Just ask him out, making it clear that it would be a date. As men, we LOVE it when women flip the script and pursue us because we know how hard this can be.
We find it refreshing, charming and sexy to be asked out. Give him a specific compliment that tells him why you like him, and perhaps toss in a cocky comment to spice things up: “Brian, I’ve developed a little crush on you. You’re witty, sweet, and ALMOST as good as me at Words with Friends. I think we should go on a date. Your thoughts?”
Directness is a language men understand. Plus, many guys are clueless at taking hints, so it’s best to clearly ask for what you want.
The ideal vibe you want to bring to the conversation is sincere and vulnerable. And you want to be as relaxed as possible. Try to treat this like it’s NOT a big deal. You’re telling your crush you like him, not proposing marriage. Men like being pursued, but if we sense you’re TOO invested, it can hurt attraction.
So think “interested, not eager.” You hope he likes you back, but if not—no worries. You’re amazing, and you have LOTS of other dating options.
When you talk to him, use his first name. Everyone’s favorite word in the English language is their first name, so use his name once or twice.
Also, make good eye contact. As men, our favorite part of the female body is NOT what you think. It’s the eyes when they’re locked on ours. Deep eye contact with a woman makes us feel connected and attracted.
A 1998 NYU study brought together dozens of men and women who’d never before met. They paired up, guy-and-girl, and were told to wordlessly gaze into each other’s eyes for two minutes. The results? A majority of participants said they felt extremely attracted to their study partners—and one couple went on to marry.
There’s no doubt: The eyes have it!
Alessandra Wall, Ph.D.
Psychologist | Coach | Speaker | Life in Focus Coaching
There are games we all play. Games we hope to make us seem less desperate, more desirable, more “whatever it is he wants us to be.”
The problem with those games is… well, they’re games, which means they’re dishonest, they’re misleading, and they are the expression of all your insecurities and trust issues.
Read Related Article: How to Stop Being Insecure About Yourself
So the first piece of advice I give my patients and clients when they talk about liking someone is: speak up!
Speak up, be yourself, just let him know you like him and see where it takes you. Personally, I’m pretty fond of a direct: “I like you, and I’d like to know where this could go, interested in finding out?”
Either you think this guy could be right for you (which hopefully is why you like him), in which case, doesn’t he deserve to get the real you, no filters, no smoke screens, and no games. Or you secretly think he’s a jerk and will mock you or take advantage of your feelings, in which case, why even consider him as an option.
It’s always flattering to know someone likes you, and sure it can make things awkward if it’s not reciprocated, but if you don’t put it out there nothing will happen. Not happy ever after, no crazy passionate love affair, just you all alone, wondering if the guy you like likes you back.
Amy Schoen, MBA, CPCC, PCC
Professional Life Coach | Dating/Relationship Expert, Motivated to Marry
The most direct approach usually works best
However, in the beginning – a smile, a light touch, leaning in, looking him in the eye, listening to what he says. Are the signals a guy looks for.
You can give them compliments and tell them how great they are. You can offer to help them with something that is more “female” area like shopping or decorating the home.
However, do you know he’s even looking to connect with a female partner? I’m not sure what age group you are talking about. Also, if you meet at a social event, inviting them to do something is a good way to show interest.
Men have been having to work through rejection their whole lives if they are the one that initiates. Believe me, when a guy is interested, he shows it and pursues. If he is not, then you may not be who they see themselves with.
When I look back on who I liked (that I didn’t tell them) and I spent time with them, my thoughts were if they liked me, they would say something or take initiative. We did not end up together and I see that are with much different women than me. So I am glad I let nature take its course.
I did have one client who followed up and said she had a good time and would like to see the guy at the time. He was between jobs and didn’t feel good about himself so he never followed up. He was happy to hear from her and now they are married.
Katie Ziskind, LMFT
Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling Integrative, Holistic Marriage & Family Therapy
Start small and get a reading for where he is emotionally
When thinking about telling a guy that you like him, start small and get a reading for where he is emotionally. Ask him about his past, his past girlfriend or boyfriend, and what he’s looking for in a future relationship.
Be open with your feelings rather than hiding them away for the sake of the other person. If you like someone, go ahead and tell them.
However, you will need to be there for yourself if their answer is not what you’re hoping. Honor the jealousy, the sadness, the disappointment, or even excitement. The person you like might not like you back, so you’ll need to be OK with their answer no matter what it is.
Even if your friend doesn’t like you in the way you like them, you might still be friends and go out on the weekends.
Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics
Opening up to someone and telling them something so personal can put you an extremely vulnerable position. Therefore, telling a guy you like them can seem like something you would never have the courage to do.
But, you can! Deep, deep down, you have the ability to be as brave as you need to be.
There are three possible ways you can go about this. You can find out first if he likes you, you can become friends first, or you can try flirting with him.
If you want to find out if he likes you before telling him you like him, you’ll need to ask a mutual friend to do the work for you. This is the easy way out and shows you don’t have much confidence, but if it’s what you need to do, go ahead.
If you’d like to become their friend first, then it won’t be that weird if you tell them you like them and they don’t feel the same way because at least you know they like you as a friend. It will only be weird if you make it weird.
Lastly, you can flirt with them and see how they respond. If they respond in a flirty way, there’s a good chance they could be into you too. Whichever way you decide to tell him, just remember that whatever his response is, you’ll feel empowered by having the guts to say something.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if he’s already in a relationship?
If the guy you like is already in a relationship, it’s important to respect that and not try to interfere. Pursuing someone who is unavailable isn’t only disrespectful to their current partner and will likely end in disappointment for you.
Instead, focus on building a strong friendship with him and getting to know him better. If his relationship ends in the future, you can reconsider expressing your feelings.
In the meantime, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or the situation. Sometimes timing is everything, and if it’s meant to be, it will happen in its own time.
What if he’s a close friend, and I don’t want to risk the friendship?
Understandably, you’re worried about the impact of expressing your feelings will affect your friendship, especially if he’s a close friend. However, it’s important to remember that friendships can often survive romantic rejection.
If you’re worried about ruining the friendship, try to approach the conversation in a way that emphasizes the importance of friendship.
You could say something like, “I value our friendship very much and don’t want to risk losing it, but I also wanted to be honest with you about how I feel.”
This approach shows that you’re aware of the potential impact on the friendship and are committed to preserving it regardless of the outcome. Remember that relationships and friendships are complex and multi-layered, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Ultimately, you know your friendship best and what approach works best for you.
Should I wait for him to make the first move?
There is no hard and fast rule about who should make the first move in a romantic relationship. If you’re interested in a guy and you feel comfortable expressing your feelings, make the first move!
Waiting for him to make the first move can be frustrating and might cause you to miss out on an opportunity.
However, if you’re unsure how he feels and don’t feel comfortable making the first move, then it’s okay to take a more subtle approach.
Drop hints or engage him in conversation to gauge his interest, and then take it from there. Being true to yourself and your feelings is the most important thing.
What if he doesn’t feel the same way?
Rejection is always possible when you express your feelings to someone, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t reflect your value. If he doesn’t feel the same, try to remain calm and respectful.
Acknowledge his feelings and let him know that you still value his friendship. It’s also important to give yourself time to process your own feelings. Feeling sad or disappointed is okay, but don’t dwell on those feelings for too long.
Remember that there are many other people who could be a good match for you and that rejection is just part of the dating process.
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