What to Say When Someone Says They Like You?

When someone tells you that they like you, it can be a really amazing feeling. But what do you say in return? How do you react?

Do you say thank you? Do you tell them that you like them too? Or do you act like it was no big deal?

If you’re not sure what to do—whether you’re interested in them or not—here’s what to say when someone says they like you:

Imani Ifedi

Imani Ifedi

Women’s Relationship Coach, Same New Love

Respond with respect, understanding, and love

Finding out someone likes you can prompt a wide range of emotions. Depending on the situation, timing, and person who says they like you, you might be: 

  • delighted, 
  • confused, 
  • shocked, 
  • uncomfortable, 
  • curious, 
  • or even disappointed. 

If you feel positively 

If you have a positive emotional response to someone saying they like you, it’s important not to let your emotions get the best of you by neglecting to provide a clear answer. 

Admitting your feelings for someone can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, so reassuring this person that you feel the same way towards them as soon as possible can make them feel calm, happy, and ready to continue the conversation. 

You can say something like, “Thanks so much for sharing that. I’ve been feeling the same way.” 

Or perhaps, “I like you too. I’ve been feeling this for a few weeks now, so I’m glad you had the courage to say something. How long have you felt this way?” 

If you feel negatively

Responding to someone promptly and appropriately when you have a flurry of giddy feelings is a challenge. But if you feel negative emotions when someone says they like you, you may have an even harder time responding. 

Regardless of your feelings about this person, you should start by responding with respect, understanding, and love. You may not feel the same way towards them, but it’s crucial not to be rude or act disgusted. 

Start with anything positive you can say before sharing how you honestly feel. 

You can say something along the lines of: 

“Thanks so much for being honest about how you feel. I respect that you opened up to me, and I want to be just as honest with you in return. I like you as a friend, but I do not see or feel anything romantic between us.”

Note: It may be tempting to lie or fudge the truth when sharing how you feel, but that might only cause them to feel like there’s a chance. If there is no chance or open door for them romantically, then it’s essential to make sure that that is clear and well understood

Otherwise, that can cause more confusion down the road, leading to awkward conversations for you and emotional pain for them. 

Reestablishing terms of the relationship

After you share how you feel, you may want to have an additional conversation about how you would like the relationship to carry on after this. This conversation may be difficult for the other person to have, as they may feel hurt and disappointed at this point. 

However, it’s a good idea to ask them if they’d like to have a conversation to clarify and redefine the relationship:

“I don’t want anything to be awkward, confusing, or misconstrued between us. Is it okay with you if we take the time to redefine our relationship?”

  • If they agree, you can say something like:

“I see us as friends and do not want to pursue anything romantic or physical with each other. I would still like to hang out in a platonic manner, as we have been.”

  • Or, if you are not friends with them or don’t want to continue being friends with them for any reason, you may say:

“I appreciated the time we have spent getting to know each other, but I don’t see any true form of connection.”

Susan Trombetti

Susan Trombetti

Matchmaker and CEO, Exclusive Matchmaking

Respond the way you would want to be treated under the same circumstances

When it comes down to someone saying they like you, there are a few great responses. Prior to that, you need to realize if this comes off as a surprise or from someone who absolutely gives you the creeps. 

If so, feel free to be however you want except hostile because you are in no way obligated to be nice just to make them feel better. This happens way too often. 

As a woman, sometimes, we have been trained more so than men that we need to be nice; I have to tell you firmly that you don’t need to feel obligated or nice. 

Once we get it out of the way, and it’s just a reasonable person telling you how they feel about you, just respond simply. 

If you need time to collect your thoughts because you have never thought about them like that or aren’t sure, it’s okay to do so. Don’t let too much time go by, though, because it appears you are stalling or ignoring, which can be crushing. 

So, what to say:

  1. Let them know you are still processing their statement if you are. This is okay. Obviously, they told you so they can maybe take it to the next level like a date. Would you even consider that? You need to think it through first before answering. 
  2. Tell them how much you appreciate their enthusiasm and honesty. It’s always nice to know someone likes us. It’s reaffirming
  3. Tell them you like them back if this is the thing you are dying to hear. Hey, that’s great news. It could be a great start to something. 
  4. Thank them for their kind statement, and let them know that you don’t feel the same in a caring way. It’s less painful, so be as upfront as possible. 

Whatever you do, this is someone’s heart dangling, so don’t leave them hanging. There is no need to make a lot of drama and tell others. Just respond the way you would want to be treated under the same circumstances. 

Katie Ziskind, BS, MA, MFT, LMFT

Katie Ziskind

Licensed Holistic Marriage and Family Therapist | Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling

Share your feelings in a clear way

When someone says they like you, the first step is to assess whether you want to move forward in a romantic relationship or if you want to remain just friends. 

If you want to remain just friends, when someone says that they like you, this is them asking if you want to be more than just friends. You will need to set a healthy boundary in a kind and polite way if you do not want to be more than friends. 

It’s vital that you do not let anyone on, so setting this boundary now may disappoint them, but it will prevent future hurt. 

If you want to be more than friends, you can let the person know that you like them back, which often creates a feeling of mutual connection. 

If someone says they like you, thank them for sharing their emotions with you, as it took a lot of courage and vulnerability for them to share their feelings with you. 

When someone shares that they like you, take this as a compliment and appreciate them flattering you. This means you have a lot of good qualities to offer, but it does not mean you’re obligated to let them back. 

If someone likes you, it is essential that you share your feelings of liking them back, or being just friends, in a clear way and express yourself and your needs. 

John F. Tholen, PhD

John F. Tholen

Retired Psychologist | Author, “Focused Positivity: The Path to Success and Peace of Mind

Depending on the circumstances and history, an assertion of “liking” could communicate various messages. 

Avoid disrespecting the speaker

When we have no wish for a closer relationship with the speaker, the best response would be one that avoids disrespect but at the same time signals no encouragement or hope of a closer attachment. 

Examples would include:

  • “It’s great to have a friend in my [history, science, math, etc.] class.”
  • “Good. The more friends at work, the better. If you can wait around after work, I’ll introduce you to my boyfriend/girlfriend.”
  • “Now, there will be at least one person here who appreciates me.”

Reciprocate and inquire

When we hope to explore the relationship’s potential, the goal is to reciprocate and inquire:

  • “I like you too. Would you like to meet for coffee/lunch/etc.?”
  • “It’s sweet of you to say so. Maybe we could attend this work seminar together.”
  • “I think you’re great. I happen to have an extra ticket for a concert Friday night. Would you want to come along?”

When someone we know reveals that they are attracted, our goal depends on whether we want to test the possibility of a more significant relationship. When we do, asserting our similar interests can kick start a test of that possibility.

Jordyn Mastrodomenico

Jordyn Mastrodomenico

Clinical Director, ChoicePoint

There’s nothing wrong with saying “no”

In this day and age, many people are often conflicted about their feelings for someone, and when someone comes outright and says that they like you, it can be a very confusing experience for someone who doesn’t know what to do in a situation like this. 

Here are some of the tips that you can follow when someone says that they like you:

Assess the situation

Sometimes, when another person says that they like us, we might not assess the situation very well, and we could, by accident, make a decision that could negatively impact our relationship with that said person. 

Other times, the person who likes us might still be a bit unsure of this path they took, and if they are unsure, they might back out of the relationship. This, in turn, can hurt the feelings of the person who thought that they actually liked them.

Be honest about your feelings

It takes a lot of courage for someone to confess their feelings for another person, so if someone admits that they like you, you should be honest and clear about what you want and whether you like them back or not. 

There’s no embarrassment in admitting that you like the person, and there’s also nothing wrong in saying “no” to the person.

Honesty is an essential key in relationships, and if you want to have a good relationship with someone, you should be honest with them.

Overcome your doubts

Many people don’t often admit their feelings for someone because they’re doubtful of how the other person would react. They always think negatively like, “What if the other person doesn’t actually like me and is just pretending to?” etc. 

But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that time doesn’t wait for you. In the end, if you want to admit your feelings to someone, you’ll have to take all your courage and confess your feelings because opportunities don’t last long. 

Related: How to Tell a Woman You Like Her

It’s up to us to make the most of our opportunities and overcome our doubts and fears.

Marlena Del Hierro, LPC, MA, MDiv

Marlena Del Hierro

Licensed Professional Counselor and Dating Expert

Acknowledge the compliment

Smile, make eye contact, and say “thank you” when someone tells you they like you. Avoid self-deprecating comments, even if humorous, or deflect by complimenting them back. Accept the compliment with grace and gratitude.

Probe deeper

It’s almost always nice to be told that someone likes you, but it’s also even nicer to know what it is about you that made a person say that. 

If you’re feeling bold, follow up your thank you with, What made you say that? to understand better what it is they like. This can boost self-esteem but also clarifies what it is that appeals to this person so that you can make more informed choices around your relationship with this person.

Ask yourself, how do I feel about this person?

Sometimes it is awkward to receive this kind of affirmation of feelings from someone you do not like back, and sometimes it’s wonderful to hear, but it might still feel awkward.

It’s a vulnerable moment for you both, so be kind to yourself and the other person when responding. If you have clarity that you do not like them romantically, it is kind to say so to not lead the other person on. If the feeling is mutual, muster up the courage to respond in kind. 

Offer them the truth

When someone shares they like you—receive it, honor the courage and vulnerability it took for the other person to share, and in return, offer them the truth. The truth as you know it at the time. 

Each of us is on a journey filled with moments of self-discovery, which may mean that when approached with someone’s interest, your initial thought might be, “I don’t know.” That is a fair response when it is offered on behalf of the co-conspirator of love which is truth.  

If you do know and the answer is you don’t feel the same way, share that. 

As Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “love liberates.” Share your loving “no” with an intent that in your no, you free the person to find their “yes.” 

Whether the answer is “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know,” let it all be grounded in love which is fermented by truth. This, in my belief, is the best answer to the statement, “I like you.” 

Usman Hussain

Usman Hussain

Founder, RelationCounseling.org

Tell them you appreciate their sentiments

We, human beings, love to be liked. We want others to admire us as a person. When someone says they like us, we feel prestigious, important, and somehow flattered. Hormones of happiness pop through our bodies, and for a moment, we forget what to say in reply.

If we don’t know what to say in reply, we have to say something to show our response, as we can’t stay dumb after being all ears to this romantic statement.

Their confession does not mean you have to come up with a sudden positive response. If you know nothing about them, you need to halt a bit to consider them, as feelings are not produced; they are spontaneous. If you already know them, even then, their confession can be unexpected to you.

You can consider the following points before you go over courteous or rude:

First thing is to feel normal

Don’t be emotionless, but at least don’t change your mood to the maximum. Tell them you appreciate their sentiments. But stating it, don’t be over sweet.

Have a quick analysis

Consider the person who they are and what their motives can be for this romantic confession. If you assess them as true (as it can be judged by the tone and body language), tell them that you are blessed to have such a wonderful person with you.

Still, don’t be hastened to confess to them back that you like them. Keep them engaged and notice their body language and accent of speech.

If they are convenient in giving you more time (it is hoped they will be), ask them to see them some other day. It will help you to think about whether you should move forward or end the scene then and there.

If you feel that there is nothing like manipulation, be there with them according to schedule.

Spend considerable time with them and ask yourself how you are feeling. If you feel: 

  • excited, 
  • blessed, 
  • and mirthful, 

tell them you are having a great time with them.

When you literally feel that you have feelings for them, confess them back to that particular fellow of yours.

Andrew Ferebee

Andrew Ferebee

Relationship Expert and Coach, Knowledge for Men

Thank them for their interest, and be honest about your feelings

The simplest response to someone telling you they like you is to say “thank you.” This acknowledges their feelings without committing to anything. It also shows that you are flattered by the compliment and appreciate their interest.

First, it is crucial to be mindful of your own feelings and intentions. If you reciprocate the same feeling, you could say something like:

  • “I like you too!”
  • “I’m glad you feel that way!” 

This makes it clear that you are interested in pursuing a relationship with this person. 

Be honest and let them down gently

However, if you are not interested in the person, it is best to be honest and let them down gently. You could say something like: 

  • “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel the same way.” 
  • “Thank you, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”

Related: How to Tell Someone You’re Not Interested in a Relationship

Whatever you say, be respectful and sincere. They deserve to be treated with kindness, even if things don’t end up working out between the two of you. Thanking them for their interest and being honest about your feelings is the best way to handle this situation.

Amer Hasovic

Amer Hasovic

Content Writer, Love & Lavender

Let them know how much they mean to you

Depending on how you feel, there are two possible ways to respond when someone likes you. 

If it is mutual: You will know what to say if you appreciate someone who confides his sentiments in you. Right now, all your admirer wants to hear from you is, “I like you too.” 

If it’s not mutual: Be calm. Tell them straight out that you don’t want to lie and don’t want them to believe anything. You should let the person know how you really feel about them. It could be appreciation or respect for certain qualities. 

Let them know how much they mean to you by expressing affection for you. Make it apparent that you can talk to each other more. Let them know how much you value them and want to keep in touch.

This scenario is delicate since love is not always reciprocal, and someone who discloses sentiments may not elicit similar feelings from us. In this instance, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is that we are under no need to reciprocate when someone else confesses. 

If you don’t feel like it, you are not required to respond with, “I like you too.” They are in a very vulnerable position; therefore, it is essential to reply in a way that doesn’t injure them.

Try to maintain your composure; after all, there will be a specific intensity and charged environment nevertheless. Additionally, you need to be sure that your response didn’t insult the person in any circumstance.

Alexandra Mollon

Alexandra Mollon

Educator and Somatic Coach

Be straightforward and offer space

5th grade me giggled and ignored him entirely, and while I commend her socially awkward induced god-complex, I have learned much about the importance of straightforward communication. 

Related: How to Not Be Socially Awkward?

When someone tells you they like you, honesty is always best. 

  • Do you like them back? Great!: “Thanks so much for clearly and vulnerably expressing interest. I like you too and would love to plan a fun date to see where things go!” 
  • Don’t like them back? Say,  “I deeply appreciate you being vulnerable and sharing with me. I don’t see our relationship evolving that way, but I appreciate your honesty. I’m happy to talk about how we move forward from here in a way that feels good for you.” 

They might need space to discuss agreements around what the relationship looks like to create healthy boundaries for themselves, so it’s nice to offer them the freedom to do that.

Dan Farrant

Dan Farrant

CEO, Hello Music Theory

There are two ways to reply to “I like you.” Some replies are perfect for returning the emotions with the same zeal as the opposite person who took the first step in the confession. Another type of reply works well when you don’t feel the same way but don’t want to crush them.

These are a few romantic ways to reply when butterflies are fluttering in your stomach after hearing the endearing line “I like you.

“You made me blush for real”

This can instantly turn the cheeks pink and give new directions to the conversation. If the confessor is someone you adore, say this to make them fall for you a little bit more. 

“What took you so long to admit that?”

If you have been a secret admirer of the confessor, this is the perfect time to express how you feel by clarifying your admiration with this rhetorical question. Remember, if you are too shy, you might lose your chance.

“I was waiting for ages to hear that”

Discard second thoughts and avoid panicking. Open your heart by saying this line when you have already fallen head over heels for the person who is admitting they like you. 

“I like you too. Can we meet in person to talk further on this?”

In case your admirer is texting you their feelings, then say this line to move to the next step. Meeting in person is always better than pouring one’s heart out on social media. These meetups will eventually turn into priceless memories to come. 

Now coming to the part that can be dubbed a heartbreaking plot sentence, these replies can save the day by softening the blow of rejection to a great degree.

“I’m sorry I didn’t know that you feel this way”

This is a breezy way to tell that you aren’t romantically interested in the person without being too harsh or judgemental.

“I couldn’t predict your emotions”

Say this when you want to express that you were a good friend/ acquaintance all along and don’t have any intention whatsoever to refine your relationship with that person. 

“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel the same way”

Avoid ambiguous answers and be direct from the beginning. Express how you feel without sugar coating or giving unnecessary excuses.

“Sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t reciprocate your emotions”

Feeling sorry about not being able to give the love the other person crave is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it makes you compassionate. Clearly stating your intention about the relationship while apologizing beforehand for hurting them is a smart move.

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

You are better off when you speak the truth

Roses are red; violets are blue, do you like me? Because I like you.” 

When starting relationships, there are many ways to let someone know how you feel. But what if you aren’t in the driver’s seat and the other person tells you they like you? How are you supposed to respond? 

Depending on your feelings, there are different things to say when someone says they like you.

If you like them, too 

If the other person’s feeling for you is mutual, when they tell you that they like you, it’s a great opportunity to tell them how you feel. 

You can say, “I like you, too,” and they probably will feel relieved to know that their feelings are being reciprocated. You might even want to plan to get together or do something fun.

If you aren’t sure

Some people may get offended and think it’s an excuse, but explaining how you feel is okay. You aren’t giving them false hope or information. 

“I know you just said you like me, but I’m not sure how I feel. I might need some time.” 

If you need time, then take the time that you need. Don’t feel pressured to rush into something because of how another person feels.

If you don’t like them 

Being direct can be painful to the recipient of what they consider “bad news.” But when you are upfront with someone with whom you don’t share the same feelings they have, at least you’ve done what you can not to keep their hopes up. 

If you spend a lot of time with this person, you may want to pull back some, if possible, to avoid sending mixed messages.

As with many things in life, honesty is usually the best policy. You may not speak what someone wants to hear, but you are better off when you speak the truth.

Span Chen

Span Chen

Founder, The Karate Blog

“Thank you for telling me”

If you aren’t sure about your feelings and need some time to carefully and thoughtfully examine how you feel, saying “thank you” is just appropriate. It’s also a disciplined and smart way to ease any nervousness the surprise might trigger in you or the person.

“I appreciate your tender feelings, but I don’t think of you the same way”

This is a polite response when the feeling isn’t mutual. It is a perfect way of being honest about your feelings while considering the other person’s feelings. This answer carries your clear message to dispatch any optimistic hope for a relationship the person may have.

“I thought you’d never say it loud”

This reply is suitable when there is a shared affection that has kept you expectant for something more. You’re excited about those words and have hoped for them for so long, but you’re careful not to sound too excited. 

It’s also used when you’re interested, but you’re not ready to give an excessive amount of information about your feelings. It’s a mature and smart way of saying, “I also feel the same way.

“I love you way more ” or “I love you to the extreme”

This is an excellent response for intimate relationships where the expression of love is frequent and the normal “I love you too” response sounds casual or uninteresting. 

It’s an insightful way of communicating your feelings to describe freshness. So rather than sending a plain reply to someone who captures your affection, you respond with a decorated answer.

Rahul Vij

Rahul Vij

Managing Director and CEO, WebSpero Solutions

“I’m grateful”

There is no enhanced way to answer than with Thank you or I am grateful when someone tells you they like you. Additionally, it is the most secure response. 

Simply hearing the words “I like you” is a compliment. It implies that someone finds you attractive on the inside as well as on the outside. And by gently and humbly saying “thank you,” you can further reinforce the idea that you are a lovely person in the eyes of the other person.

Upon mutual liking

The most lovely scenario is that you will know what to say if you like someone who confides their sentiments to you. Avoid attempting to employ complex grammatical constructions, metaphors, etc. 

Right now, all your admirer wants to hear from you is, I like you too.

Here are a few substitutes:

  • “Wow, how delightful to hear this. I feel the same way!”
  • “Thanks a lot; it touched my heart. I like you too.”

Kathryn Snapka

Kathryn Snapka

Founding Partner, The Snapka Law Firm

Gently convey your feelings

Instinctually, if you receive an “I like you” text from a friend or acquaintance, you can reply by saying “I like you too” if you feel the same way. 

If you feel conflicted or would much rather speak to the person before replying, it is completely fine to even respond with, “Can we have this conversation in person instead of via text?” However, that is not the best response in every scenario. 

Replying with any of the above options opens up a chance for a continued conversation. 

If you receive this text from someone you do not know or don’t feel the same way about, do not reply with “I like you too” to appease them. Instead, you can gently convey your feelings by saying, “I do not feel the same way.”

Sameera Sullivan

Sameera Sullivan

Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers

You don’t have to tell them how you feel immediately

When a person tells you they like you, you don’t have to tell them how you feel immediately, but you should acknowledge that your initial reaction is genuine. 

You can proceed by saying, Thank you for telling me! It’s straightforward and polite and establishes a tone of discourse that can ease the tension. 

Then you can politely tell them how you feel about them; if you like them too, go ahead and confess your feelings, but if you don’t, politely turn them down without hurting them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I maintain a friendship with someone who has expressed their feelings for me?

Maintaining a friendship after someone has confessed their feelings can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Clear communication is essential in establishing boundaries and managing expectations.

Be open and honest about your feelings and reassure the person that you value the friendship. It may take some time for both of you to adjust, and it’s crucial to be patient and understanding during this process.

Sometimes, you may need to give each other some space at first to allow your emotions to settle down and find a new balance in your relationship.

How can I handle the situation when I start to develop feelings for someone who has previously expressed feelings for me?

When you begin to develop feelings for someone who has previously expressed them to you, it’s essential to approach the situation honestly and sensitively. Begin by expressing your appreciation for the previous openness and let the person know that you’re also developing feelings for them.

It’s important to talk about your expectations and any concerns you may have about entering into a romantic relationship. Communicating openly and honestly can build a solid foundation for your potential relationship.

How can I tell if someone likes me without them explicitly telling me?

While it can be challenging to tell if someone likes you without them explicitly saying so, there are some signs to look for. These may include increased attention, consistent eye contact, physical closeness, and active efforts to spend time together.

It’s essential to remember that these signs can be subjective, and their presence doesn’t guarantee that the person has romantic feelings for you. The most reliable way to understand a person’s feelings is through open and honest communication.

How can I prepare myself for the possibility of someone expressing their feelings for me?

While it’s challenging to predict when someone might express their feelings for you, developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence is helpful. Reflect on your feelings and values and consider how you might respond to different scenarios.

Consider the importance of honesty, empathy, and clear communication when responding to someone’s feelings, whether you reciprocate or not. If you’re emotionally prepared, you’ll be better able to handle such situations with grace and understanding.

How do I handle mixed signals from someone who may have feelings for me?

Dealing with mixed signals can be confusing and frustrating. When faced with this situation, it’s essential to maintain open and honest communication.

Initiate a conversation with the person to clarify their feelings and intentions. Share your observations about their behavior and express how it made you feel. Remember to approach the situation with curiosity and empathy for a constructive and meaningful conversation.

What if my feelings change after telling someone I like them?

If your feelings change after you have expressed them to someone, it’s crucial to address the situation with honesty and sensitivity.

Communicate with the person about how your feelings have evolved and why you think they have changed.
Acknowledge the impact this may have on the person and show compassion and understanding.

It’s important to remember that feelings can change, and being open about your emotions will help maintain a healthy and respectful connection.

Can a long-distance relationship work if both people have expressed their feelings for each other?

A long-distance relationship can be successful if both people are committed to making it work. Open and honest communication and establishing mutual trust and understanding are critical.

It’s important to set clear expectations and boundaries for the relationship and to discuss any issues that arise regularly. Strive for emotional closeness by sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other, and find creative ways to stay connected despite the physical distance.

While long-distance relationships can be challenging, they can also be very rewarding with the right level of commitment and dedication from both individuals.

How can I support a friend who struggles to express their feelings for someone they like?

If you have a friend struggling to express their feelings, offer a listening ear and empathize with their situation. Share your own experiences and offer advice on how to handle similar situations.

Encourage them to be open and honest with the person they like, and remind them of the importance of vulnerability in building strong connections. Reassure them that regardless of the conversation’s outcome, you’ll be there to support and encourage them.

Your understanding and encouragement can be a valuable source of comfort for your friend during this challenging time.

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