It’s an age-old conundrum: Is that person really flirting with you or are they just naturally friendly and being nice to you?
Misreading the signs can result in serious embarrassment—or at least hours spent texting your friends dissecting everything your crush said to you. But the good news is that you can often determine if someone is interested in you romantically by observing certain aspects of their body language.
In an article for Psychology Today, Jack Schafer, a behavioral analyst for the FBI, identified five key ways to tell if someone is flirting with you.
1. They make eye contact.
Sure, eye contact is a part of normal conversation, so it’s not necessarily a sign that someone is flirting with you. But pay attention to the length and intensity of it. If someone is into you, they’ll likely hold your gaze for longer and make it more meaningful, whereas friendly eye contact usually comprises intermittent glances.
2. They touch you.
Take notice of any physical contact between you. Do they touch your arm while they’re speaking to you or lightly brush your fingers while reaching for their drink? Or maybe they keep bumping into you or pick (imaginary) lint off your clothing or straighten your collar—all of those actions help fulfill their need to be closer to you. A sure sign that someone’s not into you? They’ll likely pull away if you touch them.
3. They lean in.
This is a more obvious one. The closer someone leans into you, the more likely it is that they’re flirting with you.
4. They mirror your body language.
Often, someone will signal their attraction to you by subconsciously mirroring your body language. This could be the way you are seated, how your legs are positioned (crossed at the legs or ankles), gestures, or even facial expressions. Conversely, if their body language seems to be closed-off, take it as a sign that they’re probably not flirting with you.
5. They remove all barriers.
If you’re having a drink or coffee with someone, watch where they place their glass or cup. If it’s in between the two of you, it could mean that they aren’t interested in anything more than friendship (the same applies to other objects like magazines, wallets and phones). But if they happen to move it to the side—thus eliminating any barriers between the two of you—it can often be a sign that they feel a certain spark with you and want to get closer.
Read more about Schafer’s tips on how to tell if someone likes you.