As an advice columnist, the most common question I get from queer women is some variation of this:
“She did [some small gesture that could possibly be construed as flirtation]! Does that mean she likes me?”
Examples of small, ambiguous gestures have included:
- Sharing a dessert with the same fork
- A roommate who folded a towel without being asked to
- Giving long hugs
Now, I’m not saying these gestures alone are meaningless or don’t have a degree of intimacy to them.
But when it comes to gauging a crush’s interest, it takes more than sharing a fork to determine whether someone wants to swap sexy saliva with you.
So how can we ACTUALLY tell if someone likes us? Here are the top three mistakes queer women make and what to do instead.
We don’t listen to their words
When we like someone, we tend to hear what we want to hear.
We get so swept up in analyzing every tiny gesture and emoji for signs that a girl likes us that we don’t pay attention to her actual words, which are far more telling indicators of interest than whether she ended her text with a winky face.
It’s easy to get fixated on a person and how they are the dreamiest, babeliest creature ever to walk in sensible shoes that we completely ignore when she says things like, “I’m kinda seeing this guy.”
An extreme example of this that showcases my own stupidity:
I met a writer (I have a weakness) and became hell-bent on seducing her. She was fantastic—so talented, attentive, smart, and hot. The only “problem” was she had just gone through a terrible breakup and was not at all over her ex. She mentioned this literally once an hour when we were together.
ONCE AN HOUR. Often this was accompanied by her crying.
Did I listen though? Of course not! I wanted her, so words and logic be damned.
I continued to pursue her, and in the end, was KIND OF successful. We dated off and on for about five months, which was shitty for both of us and ended horribly. Why? She wasn’t ready to be in a relationship and I didn’t want to hear that.
The antidote to a mistake like this is fairly simple, thankfully.
Listen to her words.
Pay attention to her behaviors too, but don’t discount or ignore important facts about her life. Things like, she’s not ready to date, or that she only dates men, or how great a friend she considers you to be.
Don’t turn a blind eye to these statements because you are hoping to play naked rugby with her one day.
We wait for a rejection-proof sign that never comes
Mistake number two is really about not wanting to be rejected.
Rejection sucks and we are not used to it, so we wait and wait for a 100% guaranteed sign that our crush is into us.
We gather intel and data. Ask our friends to read her Facebook comments and count the number of Instagram hearts. Then, we WONDER and FRET and WORRY about it.
Is this the sign? The proof I can use to ensure she likes me back?
Lezbehonest here: There is no rejection-proof sign that someone likes you. The only surefire way to tell is to take a risk and ASK her. This is scary though, so we avoid it like Fox News.
But we shouldn’t.
The best way to get more dates (and get better at rejection, more on that below) is to egg-up and put ourselves out there.
Which brings me to…
We rarely take action
As Tess from Lip Service said beautifully: “I can’t chat people up. I just do what most lesbians do—stare at women hungrily, and pray that somebody else will make the first move.”
Part of overanalyzing our crushes’ every tweet and waiting for a rejection-proof sign means that we often don’t make a move. Instead we pull a Tess and hope hope hope that our crush does instead.
Sometimes this works, but this “strategy” means you’re putting your own fate in another’s hands.
To bastardize a Wayne Gretzky quote, You miss 100 percent of the crushes you never ask out.
This is true in person and online.
For those on dating apps, how many girls “like” you or swipe right only to never actually send you a message? I’d tell you but I lost count after about a thousand.
This is your life! If you don’t shape it, someone else will.
Start small. Take a risk.
Tell a girl at the gym she’s cute so you wanted to meet her. Message that girl on Her and ask her how her week’s been. Invite your crush out for a drink (and try not to say “hangout,” which can be misinterpreted).
Not only will taking charge of your own life land you more dates, if you hear a “no,” it will also help to de-escalate rejection for you.
In a recent NPR story, one guy conquered his fear of rejection by making a point of getting rejected every day. And it worked. The more we get used to small rejections, the easier it becomes.
Stop waiting and start dating. Create the life you want to live. You don’t need anyone’s permission but your own.