A guy I knew in high school recently posted on his blog asking how he should know that the girls he takes out on dates are interested in him. I was going to respond in the comments, but just decided to answer his question here.
It's a good question to be sure. How DOES a guy I'm out with know I'm interested in him? Here's a few things I know I consciously do to try to send that message.
Pre-date - Many of the following things apply to whether or not I like you before, during, or after the date. However, some things I may say before even going out with you should indicate that I'm interested in doing so. "Have you seen/done/been to _________ ? It looks interesting. We should go/I've been wanting to go." Translation: I'd love to go on a date with you and if you pick that activity, the date is planned! "Are you going to be at ward activity/mutual friend's party/etc.?" Translation: I hope to see you there. Also, while I am a very busy person, not every minute of every day is totally packed, and if I really want to see you, I'll arrange my schedule thusly and make every effort do so.
Open Body Position - If I'm sitting down, my legs are almost always crossed, but if my arms are not folded and instead are lightly placed on my lap - I'm into you. I may even try to point my body in your direction. If we're standing or walking, the closer I am to you, the more into you I am. I may even so much as switch my purse to the side you aren't on, so that my hand is available for you to hold. I once spent an entire date with my arms crossed as we strolled around the National Mall. I was NOT into him at all.
Eye Contact - I definitely try to make as much eye contact with someone I like as possible. I won't stare you down, but I will make you my primary focus. If I don't look at you at all, that's a sign.
Conversation - I'm a talker. I like to talk. Would I have a blog if I didn't? We've all been on dates where the conversation is dying or worse, already dead. Uncomfortable silences are just that, so even if I'm not into a guy I'll try to revive the conversation of few times. If I stop even trying, that's a bad sign. The more I'm talking/listening, the more I like you. This is especially true if I take something you said, relate to myself and then relate it back to you or ask you more about it; I'm trying to learn more about you. If I ask your opinion, I really am interested in what you have to say. Also, the more personal information I give you, the more open I am to letting you into my life. I'm not going spill everything immediately, but the more I tell you, the more I trust you. If we're not on a date and I start a conversation with you, that's a good sign.
On my date on Friday night, I broke the cardinal sin about talking about politics on a first date, and asked him what he thought about the recent election. He had voted for a different guy for president than I had, and not knowing what I had done, he shared his fairly strong feelings about why. When he was done, I told him who I had voted for, and he apologized for going off on the guy. I truly didn't mind because I really enjoyed learning about why my date felt the way he did.
Physical contact - If I touch you, whether that's by putting my hand on your arm, shoulder, knee, etc. (you know, tasteful), that's a good sign. If I shy away from physical contact you initiate, that's not so good. I'm not one to make the first big move - the first time we hold hands, the first kiss, etc. - but by initiating light touches and maintaining an open body position, I'm trying to show you that I'm open to the idea. The more I do it, the better.
Post-date - If I had a good time, I will say so. I will say thank you, regardless, because I'm polite, but if I say "We should do this again", I mean it. If you say it and I say something like "Oh definitely" or "Absolutely" then I mean it. If during a future conversation I say things like what's above in the pre-date section, I'm interested in another date. If I reference our date in front of other people, like "Was that what you were talking about on Friday?" or "Oh! He and I just saw that! We really liked it, right?" it means I'm don't mind that people know I went on a date with you. If I don't say or do any of that, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not going to, it just means that it didn't fit the conversation or whatever. No matter what, the more time I am willing to spend with you, the more I like you.
None of these things mean I suddenly want to marry you and have lots of babies, just that I'm interested in you enough to get to know you and go on a date with you [again]. Whether or not I like you will be manifested by some combination of the things above. If they are not all present, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, nor is this list all-inclusive and there may be things I do that I've forgotten about or do subconsciously. I'm an honest person, sometimes to a fault, and I try to make it fairly clear how I feel about someone. I only ask that you return the favor. I tend to back off fairly quickly if there is no reciprocation, but if I'm responding to your advances in any of the above manners, you can be fairly sure that I like you.
Remember that I can only speak for myself. I feel it's a fairly general response, but other girls may have different methods or responses.
So, I hope this helps Kurt and any other single male readers I may have. At this moment I am hesitating in posting, simply because it's a post that's going to leave me feeling very vulnerable. Still, I think it needs to be said, because this dating game doesn't need to be any harder than it already is.