Practical Ways of Detecting Secret Admirers
You may suspect one of your friends or coworkers is interested in asking you out on a date.
This is either good or bad news, depending on the circumstances, and your feelings.
Obviously, not all crushes are welcome or healthy.
Some progress into unrequited love —which I have dealt with for years in my professional life prosecuting stalkers. But some crushes are harmless, and some are reciprocal.With reciprocity, however, comes insecurity.
Your crush-detector begins to waver when you are already interested in the other person because you have traded in your reading glasses for rose-colored glasses, making it harder to accurately interpret signals indicating interest.
The good news is that there are some objective ways to determine whether or not someone has a crush on you. Here are a few ways to tell.
Proximity: The Not-So-Secret Admirer
You might remember this from grade school.
Someone who likes you wants to be around you. The fellow student who snagged the desk next to you in a class or found a way to squeeze into your table in the school cafeteria might now be the fellow coworker who grabs a seat next to you in the lunchroom, or the neighbor who joins you at the counter at the corner coffee shop or deli. But how do you know it is not just coincidence?
A potential suitor who pursues getting-to-know-you through proximity might not be obvious about his or her intentions due to insecurity or social awkwardness. Nonetheless, these people will likely do or say something to ensure you know they are there — from asking if the seat is taken, to saying hello, to finding another reason to spark (even brief) conversation. About what? Probably something you have mentioned to them in the past.
Someone who is interested in you remembers what interests you.
From music, to travel, to favorite foods, a person with a crush wants to please you — often demonstrating selective memory through conversation. Someone who likes you remembers what you reveal about yourself. (This is also, by the way, why you should avoid revealing personal details to strangers.)
Someone with a crush on you will ask about topics or events you mentioned in passing. They want to know how you are enjoying the book you are reading, or the movie you said you were going to see over the weekend.
Admirers who know you fairly well ask about your family members and friends. The common denominator is their tendency to distinguish themselves from your other acquaintances by what they remember about you.
But hold on, don´t good networkers and politicians do the same thing?
You bet, which is why you need to examine more than one factor.
When it comes to selective memory, for example, potential suitors often act on the information you share. Ideally, this behavior is appropriately tailored to the setting.
A bag of peanut M&Ms left on your chair at work might be appropriate; a box of Valentine chocolate is not. Within more established relationships, two admission tickets to the county fair for you and your child might be appreciated, where a single ticket to the opera is inappropriate (guess who has the seat next to you).
Here is an interesting one. Do you ever take a lunch or a snack break with someone you suspect is interested in you? Pay attention to what they order.
When Snack Selection Reveals Affection
Xun (Irene) Huang and Ping Dong in "Romantic Crushes Promote Variety‐seeking Behavior" (from 2018) demonstrated through a series of studies that having a romantic crush increases variety-seeking consumption behavior. Apparently, as they explain, this stems from a desire to regain a sense of control — which is lost within the throes of an unreciprocated romantic crush.
Huang and Dong describe a romantic crush as the state in which someone has not communicated their feelings to the object of their affection, but has expectations for sparking a romantic relationship. A crush is therefore not a mutual relationship with reciprocal feelings of affection.
What types of foods did they test? In one study they found that participants with a crush expressed a more positive attitude to a flavored yogurt variety-bundle (containing five different flavors) than a single-flavor bundle. In another study they found that participants writing a story about their romantic crush selected more candy flavors offered to them afterwards than participants without a crush who wrote about a typical day.
How do you know if your variety-seeking lunch partner is experiencing a crush, but not on you? Good question. This is why we have to examine such behavior in combination with other indications of romantic interest.And sure, some people just believe variety is the spice of life and behave accordingly. But someone who reveals multiple different indicators in having a crush on you — probably does.
This article was originally published in Psychology Today.
Wendy L. Patrick is a career prosecutor, named the Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year, and recognized by her peers as one of the Top Ten criminal attorneys in San Diego by the San Diego Daily Transcript. She has completed over 150 trials ranging from human trafficking, to domestic violence, to first-degree murder. She is President of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals San Diego Chapter and an ATAP Certified Threat Manager. Dr. Patrick is a frequent media commentator with over 4,000 appearances including CNN, Fox News Channel, Newsmax, and many others. She is author of "Red Flags" (St. Martin´s Press), and co-author of the revised version of the New York Times bestseller "Reading People" (Random House). On a personal note, Dr. Patrick holds a purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, is a concert violinist with the La Jolla Symphony, and plays the electric violin with a rock band. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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