Sometimes, guys have a hard time picking up on the fact that you’re flirting. But it might be because you just don’t know how to let a guy know you like him.
Sure, we all know that business about basic body language, like you touching your hair when we’re talking, and you leaning forward and touching a chest (his or yours) when you giggle.
But those “sure-fire signs” can also be interpreted as wrestling with a bad hair day or a case of laughter-induced vertigo.
How do you subtly let a guy know you are interested?
You can subtly let a guy know you like him by changing your behavior around him. Be excited to see him, make eye contact, touch him slightly when talking, and, of course, laugh at his jokes.
If he’s also attracted to you, he will show his interest by being engaged in the coversation, paying attention to what you say, and including you in the conversation with his friends in a group.
According to dating coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, there are a few questions to ask yourself when gauging his feelings. “Is he paying attention to you? Asking questions about your life? Looking into your eyes or leaning toward you? These are your first signs he may be interested in you. Longer-term interest takes time to figure out, but two important signs are that he takes you out on a weekly date (or more), and stays in touch in between dates with texting and talking by phone.”
Is it a good idea to tell a guy you like him?
Sometimes, you might ask yourself if you should just tell him how you feel, rather than playing games. At some point, there’s not much else you can do to get him to take a hint, especially if your situation is complicated — maybe he has a girlfriend already, isn’t looking for a relationship, or hasn’t shown any indication that he’s into you.
Ryan recommends never telling a man upfront how you feel because that could turn him off or push him away. “By showing interest by talking with him, flirting, and smiling, he’ll get the idea all on his own,” she says. “To make it a bit stronger, you can always give him one compliment like, ‘What a great smile,’ or, ‘You’re so funny,’ if he is.”
If you really want to know how to flirt with a guy and learn let him know you’re interested, the best thing to do is find a middle ground.
Here are 20 low-key ways to let a guy know you like him that are sure to get his attention:
1. Increase physical contact.
A hand-to-butt move is a little tacky; instead, go for an extra-long hug, a kiss hello or a goodbye, or an opportunity for a lap-sit.
Breaking the force field is a great start, and if you’ve rubbed your feet on some fuzzy carpet first and there’s a literal shock when you touch him, well, bully for you.
2. Buy him a drink.
Regardless of what the last several decades have done in terms of earning parity and gender role flip-flopping, guys always recall when a lady buys them a brewski. Flip the script and have the bartender send a drink his way.
3. Compliment his appearance.
If you can throw in a reasonable and flattering celebrity comparison, that’s so much better. Men love praise and compliments, and he will certainly appreciate that you notice his interesting stories or his physique.
4. Groom him.
If his collar is messy, he has unintentional fly-aways, or he’s rocking a frat tuck (a maneuver in which only the front of a man’s shirt is tucked in, oftentimes exposing an interesting belt buckle or emphasizing the crotch region) in a clear no frat tuck milieu, hook him up.
It’s not selfish to increase his attractiveness; it merely improves physical contact and is a way to let him know you’re interested.
5. Establish an inside joke.
It doesn’t have to be a real inside joke; it can be flashing Blue Steel or some other Wes Anderson silliness. A little bit of us-against-them draws people closer (please do not use any of these tips for demagoguery).
Photo: Getty Images
6. Ask him about his wheelhouse.
Everyone feels good about slamming home answers in their areas of expertise. Throwing in a bit of fawning over the depth and breadth of his knowledge is pretty slick, too — maybe even with a lean forward, hand-to-the-chest maneuver.
7. Talk closely and privately.
If all else fails (you’re probably dealing with a fellow who is obtuse, uninterested, or both), ramp up the physical contact. Do not attempt to knot a cherry stem in your mouth, and only write an explicit note on a cocktail napkin if you’re prepared for your friends to see it.
When you’re in a group setting, don’t spend the whole time talking to him or you might look desperate. It can be good to show him you’re social with others and not desperate for his attention.
According to Ryan, you should be friendly, flirty, and inviting when talking to him.
“Think of inviting like being hospitable as a hostess. If he’s comfortable and at ease with you, that makes you more appealing. To avoid looking desperate, don’t linger. After a while, tell him it was nice talking to him and walk away to talk to someone else. A desirable woman who values herself never overstays or lingers and knows if he wants to talk with you more, he’ll find you. This creates that sexual tension that makes him want you even more,” she suggests.
8. Drop a big hint — literally.
There’s one obvious way to get his attention and it’s all about the look.
If you wear an outfit that’s sexy, do your hair, and wear a little makeup when you’re around him, he can notice you dress up a little nicer for him.
9. Take plenty of photographs featuring both of you.
This may be your instinct. Go with it and post those photos where applicable.
Have someone else hold the camera and do the hand-over-the-iPhone-close-together picture. It’s a great way to get closer to him while getting a great shot of you together.
10. Make him feel good about himself.
You can make him feel really good if you come in prepared with a couple of pick-up lines and compliment him when you’re flirting. This way, you’ll make him feel special. He should notice that you’re paying extra attention to his best qualities.
11. Use eye contact.
This is one of the most well-known and essential tips. Giving him your full attention and looking at his eyes when speaking to him lets him know you’re interested and want to listen closely. If he reciprocates, that’s a good sign he’s catching on. Then you can add in some subtle touches when talking.
Ryan says that using eye contact and body language from a distance, like at a party or a bar, will telegraph your interest easily.
“Once you catch his eye, smile and hold eye contact for only 2-3 seconds. Then gracefully turn away,” she recommends. “A few minutes later, check back in and smile briefly again. If he’s interested, he’ll know you are open to his approach. This also works great if you turn your head and look over your shoulder — very flirty! Keep that smile brief and playful!”
12. Be a little sensual.
Another essential tip is staying physically close while you flirt. If he can’t pick up on sensual and subtle touches, he may have never experienced it before, or perhaps he’s just not aware of your actions.
This should be a clear sign to him that you’re flirting. And if you’re a little shy, this is one of the easier ways to let him know you like him.
Photo: BAZA Production / Shutterstock
13. Flaunt your assets.
If you know you have great greats or a nice butt, use that to your advantage. Wear clothing that supports your body and helps you flaunt it. Wear a low-cut top or high-waisted skinny jeans, and lean across the table or bend down to pick something up. Use different poses that get him to notice.
14. Let his friends know.
If he’s catching on really slowly, your best bet is to let his friends know you like him by asking them questions about him. If you want to be more direct, just say you’re interested in their friend.
After they tell him, he will either go after you or will let you know he’s not interested. Either way, it’s a good idea and it saves you time if you’re exhausted from making too much effort with no progress.
15. Laugh at his jokes.
This might be the easiest way, but only do this if you genuinely think his jokes are funny and you want him to know you appreciate them. When you laugh at his jokes, remember to use eye contact and let him know you have his full attention.
16. Flirt with him over text.
When you’re with him, ask for his number so you’ll have a way to text him and send him flirty texts to get him thinking about you. Let him know you’re interested over text by sending flirty responses and cracking jokes with him; a winky face emoji can always help.
According to spiritual coach Dona Murphy, we know men aren’t stupid; however, when you don’t let them know you like them directly, they’re not nearly as tuned in to subtle messages and subtexts as women might want.
“If you’re waiting for him to take the hint, you may wait a long time for something that doesn’t happen. Don’t go overboard in intensity. It’s not the time for over-the-top declarations of love, which can overwhelm him or feel creepy,” Murphy explains. “Just say what you mean (and mean what you say). No one likes to risk rejection but you’ll never know unless you try.”
17. Ask him directly if he’s single.
To get him thinking about dating and women, just ask him outright if he’s dating anyone. If he says no, reply with a cute, flirty response. This will hopefully send him a hint that you’re thinking about whether or not he’s available, and if there’s a chance to get together.
18. Try a little dancing.
Sure, grinding on the dance floor may not be your style, but you don’t have to dagger to trigger a light bulb of attraction in his mind. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your moves as well as your body.
Photo: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock
19. Be confident.
When flirting, a guy likes when a woman is confident and loves herself.
You don’t need a man, of course, but you like one around for fun. Let him know that you’re in the dating game trying to find a nice guy. Let him be the one to ask you out first after you catch his attention with your confident self.
20. Be happy to see him.
Be genuine and let him know how excited you are to see him. Initiate a conversation and start talking. To let a guy know you want more than just a casual fling or dates, let him into your life a little bit to learn things about you, and express that you want to see him again sometime soon.
Tom Miller is a writer, actor and YourTango’s accounts payable guy living in Los Angeles. He mostly writes about pop culture, weird news and stuff that grinds his gears. He loves college sports, movies with lasers and his Brussels Griffon Watson.