Psychological Signs Someone Likes You

Here are some obvious psychological signs to tell if someone likes you.


Sometimes it’s what we don’t say that reveals the most, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to dating. From subtle hints to bodily reactions, here are some tell-tale signs to look out for if you want to know whether someone really likes you.


Have you ever spent time around a couple and noticed how eerily alike they are? Turns out there’s a science behind the act of romantic copycatting. This behaviour, known as mirroring, stems from the same reason we’re more likely to yawn or smile after someone else does.

According to scientists, there’s a neuron in our brain which is responsible for recognizing certain expressions and behaviours, causing us to unconsciously replicate them to achieve total synchronicity. This is enhanced when we’re attracted to someone as we begin to subconsciously represent the intimate connection we want to build through our physical behaviours.

Mirroring Mastering Subtle Imitation To Win Over Others manipulation tactic

For example, as a date progresses you might find that both participants take a sip from their drink or touch their face at the exact same time. By identifying familiar traits in another person, we start to believe that we’re on the same wavelength and relax into building a rapport.

Implying closeness with someone through the act of mirroring ultimately opens the door for a lasting connection to be created, and convergence eventually becomes natural. Try adopting the same posture as your date and then purposely changing it later, and if they adjust to mimic your new pose they might just like you, too.

Playing With Hair

It’s easy to assume that when someone likes you they might start playing with their hair, but this could also be misinterpreted as a definite romantic invitation because there are a few different types of hair play to look out for. For example, experts suggest that holding onto hair can indicate feelings of stress or awkwardness.

On the other hand, holding hair with one hand and twirling it with another can be a frustrated or nervous signal. It’s not all doom and gloom though: behaviouralist Monica M. Moore observed 200 women in social situations and found that hair-flipping generally signified potential interest in a partner.

woman twirling hair

This, as well as a more extreme version of tossing the head back and shaking the hair out like in some glossy shampoo commercial, was classed as a non-verbal flirting behaviour, and it all comes down to a simple scientific fact.

These movements actually release pheromones which act as a chemical signal that we’re attracted to someone, and they’re picked up through smell. This type of chemo-signal can be found in both genders and most mammals and insects, but it’s also important to remember just how complex humans are. Context is key, and hair-play isn’t everything; so try to pick up on other clues like eye contact, smiling and open body language.


No matter how we try to conceal our feelings, our bodies will always give things away, and one of the most obvious signs of attraction is blushing. But how does it actually work? Blushing and embarrassment go hand-in-hand, but they can also be stimulated by admiration, eagerness and anxiety; which are all felt when we’re into someone.

Scientifically speaking, blushing occurs when emotional triggers release a jolt of adrenaline into your system, which causes the vessels in your face to dilate as blood rushes to the surface. In evolutionary theory, this has become a method of attracting the opposite sex as it replicates the way our skin becomes flushed during sexual arousal.

why do we blush

This also explains why women have used artificial blush throughout history since the ancient Egyptians first started smearing ground red ochre on their cheeks to attract a potential suitor. When we blush from embarrassment, we show that we recognise our transgressions and this makes us more prone to be liked, so blushing generally inspires attraction, compassion and empathy.

This isn’t the only way our body physically changes when we’re besotted with someone, either, as body language expert Tiffany Toombs claims that attraction also causes our pores to open and produce more oil secretion, which makes our skin shinier. If you’ve ever heard someone described as "glowing" when they’re in love, this is probably why.

Purse Behaviours

Body language experts have identified a form of nonverbal communication which revolves around the existence of certain barriers between potential partners. This is often referred to as purse behaviour because research has mainly focused on the role a woman’s purse plays in revealing whether she’s attracted to someone or not.

Clutching a purse or bag in front of the body, which is referred to as "twofurr" by body language experts, has been identified as a non-verbal signal that a woman is guarded, shy and potentially uninterested.

woman clutching purse twofurr body language

On the other hand, placing it to the side, behind the body or even out of the picture is considered open body language as it represents a desire for nothing to stand between someone and the object of their affection. This theory applies to potentially obstructing objects of any kind such as cushions, table plants or magazines as we try to enhance our connection by creating a more intimate space.

One possible way to monitor how a date is going is to pay attention to glasses on the table: if someone gradually begins placing their glass down to the side, or even deliberately moves it out of the way, then they might be inviting you into their space.

Signs Someone Likes You

Head Tilting

When we show interest in someone we unknowingly resort to behaviours that can communicate our attraction through non-verbal signals. One of these tell-tale signs is head-tilting, which can be interpreted in a number of ways.

The most straightforward explanation for this behaviour is a desire to show our engagement in a conversation, which might be accompanied by prolonged eye contact and gradual body orientation. After turning our head to someone, we might also tilt our shoulders and eventually legs so that we end up facing each other more intimately.

woman Tilting head smiling

Evolutionary theory has also been used to explain head-tilting, as behaviouralist Vanessa Van Edwards has noted that drawing attention to the neck is a symbol of sexual attraction. This is because the neck is considered one of the most vulnerable parts of the body, so flashing it such as when a woman pushes her hair aside is a sign of trust.

The neck-tilted position has also been likened to a stylised version of early infancy when a baby rests its head on a mother's shoulders. By adopting this position during courtship, we show that we aren’t afraid to appear defenceless around someone, and this inspires a surge of compassion and protection in a potential partner.

Voice Changing

We’ve already seen how our physical behaviour changes when we want to please someone, but science says that attraction can even alter the way we speak. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour, people subconsciously tweak the pitch of their voice when talking to someone they’re into.

Both samples of heterosexual men and women in the experiment manipulated their voices to sound lower when speaking to someone they found attractive. It might seem surprising that women didn’t attempt the opposite, but these results also matched a 1979 study which asked participants to simulate a "sexy voice".

man woman on a date

Women generally lowered their vocal frequency even more than men, suggesting that their desire to seem "sexier" directly conflicted with the motivation to appear conventionally feminine. A possible explanation for this vocal manipulation is an evolutionary need to stand out from the pack in order to secure a potential mate. In this case, voices which deviated from the conventional norm were considered the most attractive.

In the animal world, a deeper pitch is associated with larger animals which pose a bigger threat, and men are often guilty of lowering their voices to sound more assertive and intense. So, if she’s sounding husky all of a sudden, or he’s seeming a little sultrier than usual then that’s probably a good sign.

Fertility Signals

You might think that fertility isn’t usually everyone’s top priority on a first date but this historically-valued human attribute has been shown to correlate directly with flirtatious behaviour. The body language of attraction attempts to communicate 5 key messages: I’m open, I’m harmless, I’m interested, I’m approachable and I’m fertile.

From an evolutionary perspective, humans are mostly tuned into signals which indicate youth and fertility, as finding a healthy and fertile mate was imperative from a survival standpoint. Nonverbal signs of fertility are generally classified as open body language, which can simply include having good posture, sitting with evenly spaced legs and displaying open hands.

man attracted to young woman

For women, shiny, healthy and long hair has also been historically considered a symbol of fertility, as well as displays of the delicate and soft skin of the wrists which is often considered a highly intimate and erotic feminine feature.

These are all signs that our ancestors would have used to select a potential partner to expand their gene pool. Nowadays, body language like hair-flicking and expressive hand movements have been adapted into what we consider typical flirtatious behaviour.


Heavy petting is a pretty solid sign that someone likes you, but there’s a whole unspoken language of physical touch which might also tip you off a little earlier. Historically speaking, women are less likely to initiate contact in the early stages of courtship, but behaviour analyst Jack Schafer has also noted that nowadays a woman may opt for a light touch instead.

This could be a momentary touch on the upper arm which shouldn’t be interpreted as a sexual invitation but is usually a subtle indicator that there is enough of a connection to initiate nonverbal contact.

Signs Someone Likes You touching on shoulder man woman on a date illustration

Both genders are also guilty of creating a pattern of "accidental" touches such as deliberately brushing arms in a non-crowded setting or bumping knees under the table, which can indicate that positive rapport has been established.

Body Language Of Accidental Touching Signs Someone Likes You bumbing knees brushing arms

Although touching the upper back usually sends a message of friendly support, a light touch on the lower back (which is typically instigated by a man) can indicate a sign of attraction. Because the lower back is considered a sensitive part of the body, the longer the touch lingers can be a good way to determine whether it’s a deliberate signal of intimacy.

Signs Someone Likes You touching upper back lower back

Another set of behaviours, known as "preening", might include someone fixing your hair or picking lint off your clothes or even fixing their own appearance. These can also be a dead ringer that someone feels a romantic connection and is comfortable enough to demonstrate it non-verbally.

According to research by Monica M Moore, what is described as "preening, primping and pouting" occurs during the latter stages of attraction, when someone wishes to emphasise their own desirability.

Mouth Movements

The lower section of our face is known as the "sensual area", and if someone makes repeated glances here they might just be interested in kissing you, but there are plenty more things people do with their mouths which could signal attraction. In some situations, lip biting might indicate frustration or nervousness, but it also has flirtatious connotations.

Biting or pouting emphasises the fullness of the lips, which is associated with sexual promise and is considered one of the most attractive feminine features. This is likely because, during puberty, testosterone increase means male facial features become stronger and more pronounced, while female features only change slightly, and more subcutaneous fat makes women’s faces seem fuller and more childlike.

This becomes a marker of sexual difference, and behavioural studies suggest that women attempt to overstate this by manipulating the mouth or even wearing red lipstick, which is thought to have a similar effect as blushing.

red lipstick lips woman mouth make up

In any romantic situation smiling is also key, but it’s important not to be fooled by general politeness. A few fleeting smiles paired with momentary eye contact could be an invitation to approach someone, but there’s one winning smile to look out for: the Duchenne smile.

According to research by Paul Ekman, this is when our cheeks are lifted enough to narrow the eyes and produce tiny wrinkles known as crow's feet. Scientists suggest this smile is almost impossible to fake, so if someone flashes one at you then they’re probably genuinely enjoying themselves and might just have a soft spot.

Signs Someone Likes You Duchenne smile

Dilated Pupils

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and surprising scientific studies have shown that they can reveal our attraction before anything else because our pupils literally expand. During attraction or arousal, the brain gets an extra boost of oxytocin and dopamine which aids pupil dilation.

Body language expert Tiffany Toombs also explains that when we like someone we want to see more of them, so the pupils dilate to allow more light in. This already occurs naturally in the evening due to low light, hence the phrase bedroom eyes and studies have even found that men find women with larger pupils more attractive.

Signs Someone Likes You dilated pupils attraction

The earliest knowledge of this unusual beauty concept can be traced back to ancient Egypt when women would deliberately put poisonous belladonna in their eyes to dilate them and attract a lover.

A study from the University of Kent in 2017 took this further by monitoring optical changes in participants when viewing attractive people clothed and stark-naked. They found that pupil dilation was the same in both cases, so whether your date is covered in whipped cream or dressed in a onesie, your eyes are probably still going to give your game away.

The next time you are left wondering whether someone likes you, you know what non-verbal signs to look for. You might also want to read our article about secrets your body language reveals about you. Thanks for reading!

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